Bengaluru Tour

Young, dynamic and fresh, Bengaluru is no longer a pensioner’s paradise. Early deadlines may have limited the city's partying-into-the-wee-hours pub scene, but there's plenty else to do. The city has acquired luxury hotels, great eateries, art galleries, designer labels, quaint boutiques, multi-storeyed bookshops and wellness retreats. Its year-round pleasant climate and wealth of gardens allows for al fresco entertainment. Bengaluru is also a good starting point to explore the coffee plantations of Coorg, ornate palaces of Mysore and Srirangapatnam, exquisitely-carved temples of Somanthpur and silk factories of Ramanagaram.
MONUMENTS
 
Tipu Sultan Fort and Palace
Tipu Sultan, also known as the Tiger of Mysore, was a devout Muslim ruler of the predominantly Hindu Kingdom Mysore. Originally built in 1537 by Kempe Gowda and later expanded by Tipu Sultan and his father, today the fort is regarded as a testament to his battle against the British, despite them having used the property as their secretariat after his death. Tipu Sultan’s palace, also known as the Abode of Peace, is beloved for its stunning teakwood carvings and gorgeous Islamic architecture. The fort also has hidden chambers, which you can see with the help of a guard or guide. Be sure to visit the museum within the compound, it features an incredible collection of nearly 1,000 historical photos. Sadly, photography is not permitted.
 
Bangalore Palace
This miniature Windsor Castle may look somewhat strange in the middle of frenzied Bengaluru but be sure to stop and admire its beauty. Construction on this replica of the British Royal Family’s home in Berkshire began in 1862 and took nearly a century to complete. Today private parties are held in the ballroom and the sprawling grounds often play host to public events. If you can’t dance the night away inside then marvel at the palace’s Gothic windows, towering turrets and creeping ivory before returning to the hustle and bustle of Bengaluru.
 
Vidhan Soudha
Home to the state legislature, this strikingly impressive building was completed in 1956 after four years of construction carried out by 5,000 labourers and 1,500 artisans. Conceived of in the 1950s by Kengal Hanumanthaiah, a chief minister of the former Mysore State (now Karnataka) the building was created to showcase the splendour of South Indian architecture and the beauty of British and Islamic design influences. Permission is restricted so appropriate advance planning is required to arrange entry. We recommend visiting on Sunday evenings and public holidays when the Vidhan Soudha is floodlit—this stunning sight is not to be missed.
 
MUSEUMS
 
Government Museum
Whether or not you’re an ancient history aficionado the Government Museum in Bengaluru will easily capture your imagination and bring the past to life. Established in 1886, this is one of the oldest museums in India, with a fine collection of ancient coins, sculptures and paintings. Among its many prized possessions are relics from the Indus Valley Civilisation and mesmerising jewels from South India. Give yourself a few hours to meander through the various collections, after all, time tends to stand still here. 
Government Museum, Cubbon Park, Kasturba Road, Bengaluru (+91 80 2286 4483) Open Thurs-Tue, 10am-5pm.
 
Visvesvaraya Industrial and Technological Museum
Attracting nearly a million visitors a year, this interactive museum is a fascinating place for families to learn about the wondrous world of science. Discover the history of space exploration in the Space Gallery then head to Dinosaur Corner to witness a moving replica of a Spinosaurus. The Electrotechnic Gallery has interactive electrical exhibits that are a hit with electrical engineering students of all levels and the new 3D theatre is not be missed—shows on deep-sea diving and the brain make science exciting for children.
Visvesvaraya Industrial and Technological Museum, Cubbon Park, Kasturba Road, Bengaluru (+91 80 2286 6200; www.vismuseum.org.in) Open 10am-6pm.
 
ART AND THEATRE
 
Ranga Shankara
Thanks to their ‘play a day’ policy, Ranga Shankara has established itself as one of the premier theatre venues in the city. Conceived of by actor-director Shankar Nag and now managed by actor Arundhati Nag, this venue stages a show every day, except on Mondays when the theatre is closed. True stage-lovers rejoice—Ranga Shankara is one of the few venues in the country dedicated solely to plays (no Bollywood-style dance numbers here.)
 
Chowdiah Memorial Hall
What’s the best way to pay tribute to a great violinist? Simple—name a hall after him. Bengalurians went one step further for maestro Tirumakudalu Chowdiah: they created a violin-shaped hall in his honour. If that didn’t pull the right strings, nothing could. This prestigious venue also holds plays and dance recitals.
Chowdiah Memorial Hall, 16th Cross, GD Park Extension, 2nd Main Road Malleswaram, Bengaluru (+91 80 2344 5810)
 
Venkatappa Art Gallery
For the enterprising art aficionado, a visit to Venkatappa Art Gallery is a must. This space functions as a museum, as well as a gallery and classic Indian art is the main fixture here. The 600-strong permanent collection includes paintings by legendary Indian artist MF Husain, ancient stone sculptures from the Mathura and Khajuraho schools of art as well as pottery and clay artefacts from the Indus Valley Civilisation.
Venkatappa Art Gallery, Cubbon Park, Kasturba Road, Bengaluru (+91 80 2286 4483)
 
Gallery SKE
Keen to know what’s hot in the world of contemporary Indian art? Stop by the dynamic Sunitha Kumar Emmart’s Gallery SKE and put your curiosity to rest. This respected gallery is a must-visit and a favourite of visiting international collectors and curators. Its collections boast work from some of the most exciting artists on the scene (such as CNT favourites Bharti Kher and Sudarshan Shetty) and its exhibitions are consistently dramatic and thought-provoking.
Gallery SKE 2, Berlie Street, Langford Town, Bengaluru (+91 80 4112 0873; www.galleryske.com)               
Gallery Time and Space
This quaint gallery evolved from an initiative that originally sought to educate laymen about art and its importance in today’s world. Located next to a historic bungalow, the gallery often uses its space for art appreciation courses, artist dialogues, group discussions, book launches, experimental theatre and film screenings.
Gallery Time and Space, 55, Lavelle Road, Bengaluru (+91 80 2212 4117; www.gallerytimeandspace.com)
 
National Gallery of Modern Art, Bengaluru
Set in what used to be the property of the Mysore Royal Family, the NGMA Bengaluru sits on 3.5 acres of land and houses over 500 exhibits. Here, one can see paintings by Raja Ravi Varma, Jamini Roy, Amrita Sher-Gil, Rabindranath Tagore as well as a large number of modern and contemporary artists. Additionally, the venue also organises film screenings, dance recitals and discussions on different art forms. (Closed Mondays, otherwise daily 10am-5pm)
NGMA, Manekyavelu Mansion, 49, Palace Road, Bengaluru (+91 08 2234 2338; www.ngmaindia.gov)
 
WHAT TO DO
 
Lalbagh Glass House
A historical garden, Lalbagh was built by Hyder Ali—one of the rulers of Mysore—and his son Tipu Sultan. Modelled after Mughal gardens that were fast gaining popularity at the time, this space is spread over 188 acres. Its most arresting feature is the Glass House, built in the very centre and modelled after the Crystal Palace in London. Originally meant to acclimatise the foreign and exotic plants to the Indian weather, this structure is now the venue of Bengaluru’s famous biannual flower shows. This is the place to be if you’re a nature lover and aficionado.
Lalbagh Glass House, Lalbagh, Bengaluru
 
Cubbon Park
Bengaluru is known as the ‘Garden City’ and Cubbon Park is one of the reasons. Officially known as Sri Chamarajendra Park, this green oasis is 300 acres and rich with flora and fauna. Head here for an evening of people-watching or just to take a brisk walk along the tree-lined avenue; you won’t leave disappointed.
Cubbon Park, Bengaluru
 
Bangalore Turf Club
 Hit the horseraces at Bangalore Turf Club and enjoy the adrenaline-charged atmosphere at this 85-acre track where races take place throughout the year. Be sure to study the race schedule in advance so that you’re fully prepared to mingle with the social set as they cheer on their preferred ponies. High stakes and high society will certainly charge your equestrian excitement. Eager to swing into the saddle? Learn the posh game of Polo or perfect your swing at the Club’s riding school.
 


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