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Here are a few things listed by a Bangalorean for a first-time visitor to namma Bengaluru.
Bangalore is the capital city of Karnataka state in South India. Kannada is the local language spoken in the city though in the current times, most are well-versed with English and Hindi as well. There are a significant number of people who can speak Tamil, Telugu and other Indian languages, even though it may not be their native language. Similarly, there are migrants to this city who are from various parts of India.
The city has undoubtedlyestablished itself as a cosmopolitan city that offers a glimpse of the country, with its ability to welcome and live with members from any part of the globe.
The following are the ten things that I can put down as a first-hand guide for a visitor who is new to the city.
1. Masala Dosa: Make sure you eat a masala dosa at a darshini in the city. Darshinis are the hotspots for breakfast eat outs, and almost run through the day. The ones that have people swarming at the eatery will surely have a good masala dosa. Popular ones are Vidyarthi Bhavan, Adigas, MTR and Maiyyas.
When it comes to eateries and cuisines, Bangalore has welcomed various cuisines. If you are fine trying a rice dish, then try out a Puliogere (tamarid rice) or a Bisibelebath (sambar rice). Also if possible, take time to have an authentic and grand Karnataka lunch. Good options are MTR and Pai Comforts at JP Nagar to name a few. And last but not the least, while you may otherwise enjoy cappuccinos and black teas, try a filter coffee – light at any darshini.
2. Heavenly climate: Bangalore has a unique climate. Though the season is divided between summer, winter, spring and rains, it is not uncommon to find cool and pleasant weather in the mornings and scorching heat in the afternoons. It is again not a rare sight to find a heavy rainy shower in some streets during the rainy season of July-September, and bare dry weather in other street which may be just few yards away.
3. Silk sarees: When in Bangalore, make sure you visit a good saree store to buy a saree for a loved one. A reasonable good saree ranges between Rs 1,000 to Rs 10 000. The range can go higher too. A few popular stores are Vijaylakshmi, Prasiddhi, Deepam, Nalli, Soch. Alternatively you can buy khadi kurtas at Desi, Fab India stores and Grameen Angadi at JP Nagar.
4. Feast for a thiest: Bangalore has quite a few scenic temples. If you can make time then do visit Bull Temple at Basavanagudi, Rajarajeshwari temple (for its intricate work), Iskon temple (a temple that has a modern touch to it) and Venkateshwara temple at Banashankari.
It is recommended that you dress conservatively when visiting a temple. You can wear trousers and tops, but shorts and short skirts are not welcomed at the holy shrines in Bangalore. And yes, covering up would save you from unwanted stares too.
5. Parks: Bangalore is home to a few gardens. For a stroll you can visit Lalbagh. Cubbon Park is more of a tree park. While it may not appear safe for a visitor, those areas of the park close to the police station and Chinnaswamy Stadium are widely used by people.
6. Malls: Bangalore has quite a few malls in various parts of the city. Phoenix Market City at Whitefield, Mantri Mall at Malleshwaram, Orion Mall in Rajajinagar and Forum Mall at Koramangala are the popular ones.
7. Heartwarming performaces: The city has a great patronage for Indian art forms. Almost every week there are performances ranging from Bharatnatyam to classical Indian music shows. Some are conducted at temples, others at specific venues for performing arts. Look in an English daily supplement to find out about the performances in the city. You can attend a few for free too.
Bangalore has a vibrant theatre scene as well. Right from English plays to French, German and Kannada performances, the city has numerous shows every single day. You will have to plan a bit in advance, if you want to attend a theatre perofmance. Good plays are regularly staged at Jagriti at Whitefield, Ravindra Kalakshetra in the heart of the city, K H Kalasoudha at Hanumantha Nagar, Alliance Francaise in Vasanth Nagar, Rangashankara at JP Nagar and Chowdiah Memorial Hall in Malleshwaram.
8. Restaurants and pubs: Restaurants in Bangalore shut between midnight to 1 am, while pubs close by 11 – 11.30 pm on weekdays and at 1 am on Fridays and Saturdays. Bangalore is known for being home to several good pubs. A few good ones are Hard Rock Café, a few at UB City and in the MG road area. The Indiranagar area too has a multitude of them to choose from.
9. A foodie’s delight: Bangalore, due to its mixed population, is home to various inter-state and international cuisines. So if you are missing your home food then you can be assured of finding a restaurant that serves your choice of food – Bengali, Gujrathi, Punjabi, Rajasthani, Andhra, Kerala, Mexican, Thai, Chinese, Pizza and more. Oh yes, there are scores of fast-food chains too – KFC, Subways and McDonalds.
10. Moving around: Be wary of taking cabs and autos. It is advisable that you have a friend who knows the local language/any Indian language when travelling in the city, if you do not know the city. Most auto rickshaw drivers will understand English. You can check your location and destination beforehand with GPS, and have a safety-app enabled mobile with you. You can also take a pre-booked auto or cab, if you inevitably have to travel alone. Alternately, you can choose to hop on to one of the city buses.
Do remember that is there much more to explore in Bangalore, but I hope this would be of use to people who want to get a taste of the city when they are here for a brief visit.
A time when ‘South End’ was really Bangalore’s southern end
Silks to substations – Sarjapur through the years
A bull that never stopped growing
The vataaras in South Bengaluru’s petes and gudis: a retro-journey
MTR: the tiffin room Bengaluru will cherish forever