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Bangalore - The Garden City

Bangalore, the “Garden City” is located in the state of Karnataka in South India. Known for a pleasant climate and the many gardens that dotted it in yesteryears, it is an ideal place to visit. Bangalore is famous not only for its own beauty or for being the silicon valley of India (with offices of all major national and global software giants) but also for the easy access it provides to its interesting neighboring places of Mysore (famous for its royal palaces, Brindavan Gardens, Silk saris etc), Hampi (housing many historical monuments), Gol Gumbaz (dome, second in size only to St. Peter's Basilica in Rome), Kolar (deepest gold mines in the world) etc.
The place has a young population, many pubs (recreation places that offer fun, food and drinks) and a lot of good Indian, Continental and Chinese restaurants. Communication is very simple in this city where majority can converse in English with ease. Check in to a good hotel for a comfortable stay. After getting refreshed, let us start our tour first day going not very far from the city.

About 18 kms from Bangalore is the beautiful Bannerghatta National Park. The “Safari” vans there will take us through the forest to see the tigers very close by. This park is open from 09:00 to 17:00 on all days except Tuesday. Getting back to city let us have lunch and then proceed to Lalbagh Gardens the small Glass House of which is one attraction. From there, let us proceed to Cubbon Park to see its associated buildings - The Museum (one of the oldest in India (1886)), Art Gallery, Library and the High Court. Nearby is the Vidhan Soudha – the State Legislature and Secretariat office, which is a sight to see on a weekend evening when lit with myriad lights. There is also the Bangalore Palace in the heart of the city - a unique edifice built in 1880 inspired by Windsor castle.

We can spent the rest of the evening shopping. Many shops in MG road and other places has for sale traditional artifacts, sandal wood souvenirs, handicrafts, fragrant incense sticks, silk garments etc.

We can start the second day morning visiting Nandi Hills, a summer resort. Mahatma Gandhi, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Queen Elizabeth II were among some dignitaries who enjoyed their stay here. Before returning to city, let us make quick trips to some shrines (if you get permission to enter) atleast to take snaps and enrich memories. Ask your Guide or Taxi Driver to take you to the Badami cave temples (On the way you may see the Bull Temple having a magnificent statue of a divine bull). The largest and most ornamental is the 3rd cave temple. So, visit this first & if it interests you proceed to the others.

Once back in city, we can first visit Karnataka Folk Museum where several attractive and rare artifacts are displayed. It also has a good collection of folk music and videos of folk dances. There is also, the Gandhi Bhavan, holding a comprehensive picture gallery and other exhibits that tell the story of Mahatma Gandhi, The Father of Nation. Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium (Daily two shows are held here at 1500 hrs and 1630 hrs except for Mondays) and the nearby Aquarium also offer a good time pass.

We can also make quick visits to shrines like Jumma Masjid (oldest mosque in the city) or the St. Mary's Basilica or the Iskcon Temple Complex or Whitefield (Sri Sathya Saibaba Ashram) based on time availability and interest.

Evening, let us start our 30 km trip via Tumkur Road to the Nrityagram Dance Village - built around the norms of a traditional gurukula, the system of education of ancient India. Overnight stay can be arranged by booking in advance over phone. It will help us get a feel of this rustic Indian charm. The next day, we can attend the session on Guru-Shishya (teacher and pupil) relation and have a pure vegetarian lunch with teachers and students, served in the traditional manner, before continuing our trip.

Further in Tumkur road is the Shivaganga with its small but well-known temples. Still further is the Devarayanadurga, a hill resort almost 79 kms from Bangalore with its artificial lake spreading nearly 1000 acres.

If you have visited Bangalore and did not go to Mysore (a place different from Bangalore with its colors, palaces, silk and sandal), it will be a real loss. Travel-India will cover details on Mysore soon. Assuming our next destination is Mysore, let us pack our goods, start, and on the way (& a bit out of way) we can make a quick look at places like the Big Banyan Tree housing a 400-year-old banyan tree with branches spread over 3 acres. We can also have a quick stop at the Kanva Reservoir before taking a diversion from Mysore road to Shravanabelagola to see the 17 meters high monolithic statue of Jain Lord Bahubali. You have to climb a lot of steps up the hill to reach the statue but the place is really worth seeing.

Bangalore is a place well connected by road, rail and air to all the major cities of India. Auto Rickshaws (carry only 3 passengers) are the common, convenient means of transport within the city. However it is advisable for tourists to hire taxis through the Hotel reception/ Travel Counters. Good guides will be of great assistance in taking you to the right places. Sure, you will like the place. ENJOY !!!