Bangalore is officially known as Bengaluru and is located in southern India in the state of Karnataka. It is a large, cosmopolitan city and is actually India’s third most populous. It is also the country’s fastest-growing metropolis and an important economic and cultural hub, as well as a major Information Technology center. Furthermore, it is home to a large number of Anglo-Indians and is one of India’s most westernized cities. Bangalore is affectionately known as ‘the Garden City, due to its numerous parks and green areas, including Lal Bagh and Cubbon Park.
Even though Bangalore is not considered a tourist destination, it nevertheless has a lot to see, for example, the Palace of Tippu Sultan, the Bull Temple, the Indian Institute of Science, Cubbon Park, and the Lal Bagh botanical garden.
Bangalore is also a good starting point to explore the state of Karnataka and the many attractions in the surrounding area: the Mysore Palace, the Nandi Hills, Bandipur National Park, Hampi, Jogfalls, and the ayurvedic relaxation centers of Kerala. The city is also home to the Kannada film industry, which produces around 80 movies per year.
Bangalore has a tropical savanna climate with a wet and a dry season. Temperatures are moderate due to the city’s high elevation, except for occasional heat waves during the summer. The hottest month is April and the coldest is January. The wettest months are August, September and October.
January average temperature 21 deg Celsius 27 mm rainfall February average temperature 23 deg Celsius, 72 mm rainfall March average temperature 26 deg Celsius, 44 mm rainfall April average temperature 27 deg Celsius, 46 mm rainfall May average temperature 27 deg Celsius, 119 mm rainfall June average temperature 24 deg Celsius, 80 mm rainfall July average temperature 23 deg Celsius, 110 mm rainfall August average temperature 23 deg Celsius, 137 mm rainfall September average temperature 23 deg Celsius, 194 mm rainfall October average temperature 23 deg Celsius, 180 mm rainfall November average temperature 22 deg Celsius, 64 mm rainfall December average temperature 21 deg Celsius, 22 mm rainfall
The Bangalore International is located at Devanahalli, 44 km north of the center of Bangalore. It is one of India's most modern airports and handles a lot of traffic. It is served by direct European and Asian flights.
Numerous bus lines connect the airport with various points in the city, and operate day and night. Prepaid taxis are available at counters in the arrivals area. Self-drive cars can be rented at various agencies. Regular taxis are located beyond the terminal plaza. It is best to negotiate the price before the journey.
Bangalore has an extensive bus network. The services are cheap and frequent but can get very crowded. Women traveling alone are advised not to use bus services at night.
The three-wheeled vehicles are a fast way of getting around the city. They are metered, as are taxis.
Taxis are safer than auto rickshaws and more convenient. They are not marked by yellow signs of the roof but with stickers on the sides instead.
Car rental is available at various places throughout the city. It is possible to hire either a car with a driver or just the car.
The most popular sport in Bangalore is Cricket, and the city has produced many famous cricket players. The main international cricket stadium is the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium. It can take up to 55,000 spectators and took part in the multicity 1996 Cricket World Cup.
Located 146 km southwest of Bangalore, Mysore was the capital of the state during British colonial rule. The city is famous for the Dasara Festival, which attracts many tourists. The 10-day event features a colorful procession on the last day as state guards lead the way for the Goddess Chamundi who is seated on a golden howdah, mounted on an elephant. The city’s main attractions are the Mysore palace, the Brindavan Gardens and St. Philomenas Church.
Hampi was the site of the magnificent capital of the 14th century Hindu Vijayanagar Empire. Today its evocative ruins are a UNESCO World Heritage site that attracts large numbers of visitors. On and around Matanga Hill are 400 monuments including beautiful temples, palaces, remains of aquatic structures, ancient market streets, royal pavilions, bastions, royal platforms, and treasury buildings just to name some. The area is stunning: there are hundreds of boulders dotting the arid landscape, and near the river there is an oasis that is lush with palm, banana, and mango trees.
One of the most imposing buildings, not only in Bangalore but in India, is the seat of the state legislature of the state of Karnataka. It is a massive granite building constructed in 1956 in neo-Dravidian style.
Bangalore palace was built by the then King of Mysore, Chamaraja Wodeyar in 1884 in the Tudor style. The design of the palace was inspired by the Windsor Castle of England and its interior is rich with elegant woodwork, paintings and carvings. The palace stands in the heart of the city and is surrounded by beautiful gardens.
The Bull Temple
The temple, built in the 16th century in the Dravidian style, is one of the oldest in Bangalore. It is dedicated to Nandi, the mount of lord Shiva. Its object of veneration is a magnificent statue of a bull 4.5 meters tall and 6 meters long, and carved from a single block of black granite. Offerings are made to the bull on the occasion of the Kadalekayi Parishe (The Groundnut fair) held in November or December. On this occasion, farmers offer the first groundnuts to the deity.
The Palace of Tippu Sultan
The palace dates from 1790, and was constructed as the summer residence for Tipu Sultan. The beautiful two-story building, also known as the "Abode of Peace", is carved out of teak wood and boasts ornate pillars, balconies and arches. Today it houses a museum displaying ancient artifacts from that time.
120 ha of lush trees and tall bamboos located in the center of the city, the park is a welcome respite from the bustle of city and is truly the green lung of Bangalore.
The Lal Bagh Botanical Garden
Located in the southern part of the city, this carefully arranged garden encompasses almost 100 ha of space. It features beautiful glass houses, lotus ponds and fountains and was constructed during the 18th century.
Eating out is part of the local culture, and Bangalore boasts a large and varied selection of eateries selling South Indian, North Indian, Chinese and Western food. Udupi restaurants serve regional, and mostly vegetarian cuisine.
The art festival is open to all genres - it features music, dance, and theatre performances, and showcases some of the most extraordinary talents from across the globe.
Date: October or November Location: throughout the city
Diwali is the most popular traditional festival in India. It has its roots in Hindu mythology and is celebrated each year for 5 days in October or November with much grandeur. Diwali is also known as the festival of lights because of the thousands of diyas (small oil lamps) lighted in all the homes. This signifies a bow to the God, and is supposed to bring joy to a person’s life. It also brings hope of finding light in the darkness, and happiness instead of unawareness. During the festival the cities all over North India are turned into a carnival, houses are decorated with lanterns and candles and the streets fill up with food stalls and those selling all sorts of knick-knacks. Firecrackers go off and people exchange sweets and gifts.
Rama Navami Festival
Date: April Location: various
Rama Navami Festival marks the birthday of Lord Rama and is celebrated as a religious ceremony all over India. In Bangalore, however, it has an even bigger prominence as it extends into a huge cultural event, with a week of classical concerts and dance performances held at various locations around the city.
Ganesha Chaturthi festival
Date: usually between 20 August and 22 September
Ganesh Chaturthi is an important festival in honor of Lord Ganesh, the son of Shiva and Parvati - the God of knowledge and the remover of obstacles. The festival usually tales place between August 20 and September 22, and lasts for 10 days. During this time the deity is worshipped until the final 11th day when the statue is taken through the streets in a procession accompanied with dancing, singing, and fanfare to be immersed in water, to signify a ritual farewell on his journey towards his dwelling in Kailash – at the same time removing all the misfortunes of his devotees.
Bangalore Karaga is one of the oldest and most important festivals celebrated in the heart of Bangalore. It is held in reverence of Goddess Shakti and is held at the renowned Dharmaraya Swamy Temple in Bangalore. The festival starts on the full moon day of Chaitra and lasts for 9 days. The highlight is the procession from the temple, headed by the priest, dressed in female attire, who carries an earthen pot, accompanied by a procession of Thigalars who engage in a dazzling play of swords.
Bangalore is a major center of classical Indian music and dance and many performances are held throughout the city. The agenda is especially busy during the Ramanavami and Ganesha Chaturthi festivals.
The Bengaluru Gayana Samaja
Address: K R Road, Basavanagudi
This is one of the city’s oldest cultural institutions. It promotes classical music and dance, such as Carnatic music, Hindustani music, devotional, light music, Harikathe, folk music and theatre, and various forms of Indian dance (Bharatanatya, Kuchipudi, Kathak, Kathakali, Chau, Odissi and Manipuri).
Ranga Shankara and Chowdaiah Memorial Hall host English and regional language theatre performances.
There are a large number of pubs in the city. It also plays host to numerous international rock concerts.
India is a hierarchical society so you should greet the eldest or most senior person first.
Shaking hands is common, especially in the cities and in more educated circles, where people are used to dealing with the westerners.
Avoid public displays of affection, as these are seen as impolite and rude.
Bargaining is common in shops and on markets.
Indians are very curious about personal things and asking extremely personal questions is not seen as impolite.
Also, Indians are reluctant to say ‘no’, which means, if something is not available they will give you an affirmative answer, but will be deliberately vague about the specific details.
Women are advised to dress conservatively – to show respect and also to avoid the unwanted attention.
Topless bathing is illegal.
Smoking in public was banned in October 2008.
Visitors to the temples should remove their shoes and cover their heads.
Tipping: a tip between 5-10% is common at the sit-down places. If service charge is already included in the bill, you don't need to leave an extra tip.
Gifts: Be careful not to give certain gifts to either Hindus or Muslims. For example, do not give anything made of leather to a Hindu. Similarly, avoid presenting Muslims anything made of pigskin or alcohol. People usually do not open the gifts upon receiving. Wrap gifts in yellow, green or red colors, as these are deemed lucky. Do not give frangipani or white flowers because these are used at funerals. If you are invited to an Indian household, bring sweets or flowers.
Bangalore is a relatively safe city during the day time.
After dark, the safety of some areas becomes dubious so caution and common sense are required. It is not wise to walk alone in deserted areas and in lonely alleys after dark.
Valuables should be kept in a hotel safety box and cash concealed in a hidden pocket. Expensive jewelry, watches, high-end mobile phones or lap tops should not be visible. ATMs in deserted areas should be avoided.
Pickpockets are present in crowded areas.
Auto-rickshaws should not be taken at night.
Tap water is not safe to drink. Food sold at street vendors may also be of questionable quality.
Note that malaria and dengue fever outbreaks do occur in Bangalore.
The threat of dehydration can be averted by drinking plenty of bottled water.
Emergency Phone Numbers
Police – 100 Fire – 101 Traffic or Accidents – 103
Mallige medical center (24-hour pharmacy) - 2220 3333 Chaitra ambulance: 2552 7737 Gayathri hospital: 2335 2085 Indian Red Cross Society: 2226 4205