When you first think of Bangalore, the image that pops into your head will usually be a city full of pubs, cafes and of course, a traffic jam that you’ll get stuck in. I went there with this pre-conceived notion, but a visit there showed me a different side of the city. As a traveler, there are a lot of other things to do in Bangalore and interesting places to visit.
1. Tipu Sultan’s Summer Palace: An Architectural Marvel
Built by an 18th-century king, Tipu Sultan’s Summer Palace will give you a glimpse of the royal lifestyle of the kings. Right from the entrance, I could feel the palace’s regal vibe with two lush green gardens at the sides as I walked to the main palace.
Inside, I was lost in the maze of pillars, balconies, and rooms. I was amazed by the architectural marvel — several arches at the backside of the palace are designed such that they reflect sunlight, lighting up the entire gallery with a golden tint. The rest of my time there was spent in awe over the beautiful paintings and artefacts from the king’s collection.
2. Bangalore Fort: History Lost in City
The fort is at a walking distance from Tipu Sultan’s Palace, but it is hidden from plain sight, so it took me a while to find the entrance. Once there, I felt so stupid for nearly missing out the large towering gate with spikes on it.
The intricate fort walls with beautiful carvings certainly caught my eye. Each carving on the stone has a story to tell — normally, the tales of gods and goddesses. My time quickly passed by as I tried to decipher each one. The fort was well-maintained, but only later did I know that the current state of the fort is only a remnant of the original larger one that was destroyed by the British in a battle. It made me glad that at least a fraction of the beauty had survived the test of time.
3. Lal Bagh Botanical Garden: A Peaceful Getaway
This garden is enormous! It took me almost 3 hours to finish walking around the periphery. I didn’t mind it though as it gave me the much-needed respite from the city noise.
First, I visited the Glass House inside the garden which was inspired by the Crystal Palace in London. When I went there, it was empty, and only the symmetry of the pillars became the subject of my photographs. However, if you visit it on the ‘Indian Independence Day’ or the ‘Republic Day,’ you will see an exotic flower show exhibition that houses more than 300 species of flowers.
I then proceeded to Peninsular Gneiss, which is a rock formation that is nearly 3 billion years old and is one of the oldest rocks on the planet! There is an old watch tower where you could get a beautiful view of the garden and city; the tower was built to mark the limits of the old Bangalore city.
There is also a huge lake in the compound, where I had the pleasure of watching some birds taking a dip in the water to beat the heat. But I was disheartened to see people fishing from this lake although it isn’t permitted.
4. Bangalore Palace: Glimpse into Life of Kings
A visit to the Bangalore Palace will take you back in time when ‘grandeur’ was the norm. Just like Tipu Sultan’s Summer Palace, this one is bound to stun you with its opulence. The palace is full of vintage paintings, elegant furniture, and sophisticated chandeliers. But what struck me the most were the eerie faces of dead animals on the walls staring right at me.
There were also tables and chairs made from elephant legs and trunks — a cruel reminder of animal hunting, both now and in the past. The whole tour was made more informative because of the audio guide, which was provided at the entrance and it helped me to take my own sweet time to move around the huge palace.
Though the entry fee might be rather expensive (Rs.225 for Indians and Rs.450 for foreigners), I found the visit was worth the cost.
5. Kaikondrahalli Lake: Savior of Bangalore’s Lakes
Bangalore has many lakes, but sadly, most are polluted now. Kaikondrahalli is an exception — thanks to the citizens’ initiative that revived the lake. Before I reached the lake, Google Maps led me to a dead end with no lake in sight. Thankfully, the lake wasn’t too far, and I managed to reach the lake with the guidance from the locals.
This lake is a birds paradise as you can see hundreds of birds flocking on a tiny island in the middle of the lake. The sounds of these birds even drowned the maddening city traffic noise nearby. I visited this place during sunset, so the view of the sun and the birds combined was a bonus for me. But most bird-watchers prefer to go in the early morning when the birds are just getting out of their nests.
6. Tipsy Bull: Eat, Drink and Trade!
This place was recommended by my friend, and I’m glad I listened to his words. This bar is pretty unique because the prices of all the drinks keep changing according to the demand, just like a real stock market! I suggest you download the Tipsy Bull’s app to help you monitor the drinks’ prices (especially when they hit the lowest) and to place your orders quickly too. The stock market adrenaline rush added extra fun to our drinking sessions.
Apart from drinks, we got ourselves some pizzas and pasta which were really well-cooked. Once the food arrived, we immediately put our drinks aside and dug into our plates. The rooftop had a chill and laid-back ambient with some exciting music being played by the live DJ. They also had their own photographer who was going around taking some amazing photos!
In my recent trip to Bangalore, I chose to stay at Fabhotel Grand Continent JP Nagar, which was comfortable with some great deals to offer. Its strategic location and accessibility were the plus points, and there were tons of restaurants nearby as well!