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Bangalore: 18 Places to Visit and Explore (Tourist Guide)

A tourist guide to exploring Bangalore (1 day, 3 days)

Photo Credit: Amith Nag

Bangalore – known as the Silicon Valley of India – is one of the most vibrant and charming cities, teeming with multitudes of people from across the country. Known for its booming IT industry, the city offers you a multitude of sightseeing options, for here is where you will find lush-green gardens and parks, beautiful lakes and splendid buildings of architectural wonder. Millions of people visit Bangalore every year and wonder what they can do in this bustling cosmopolitan city. So here is the list of places you can explore if you are planning to do a trip to one of the most happening cities in India.

1. Lalbagh Botanical Garden

Lalbhag, Bangalore
Photo Credit: Amith Nag

An enchanting garden located in the southern part of Bengaluru, sprawling over an area of 240 acres, dotted with innumerable trees that are adorned with vibrant flowers. Laid out by the erstwhile emperor Haider Ali in 1760 and completed by his son Tipu Sultan, this beautiful garden is home to diverse species of plants, imported from various countries. It was built along the lines of the Mughal gardens. Just stroll through the garden and you will find grassy earth mounds, flower beds, fountains and pools, and layers of rock formations that attract geologists from across the world.

The clock tower, the imposing glass house, the rose garden with myriads of colourful roses, the beautiful lake, the Kempe Gowda tower and the Japanese monument are some of its iconic attractions. And if you are here during the Republic Day or the Independence Day, you will be fortunate enough to witness the grand flower show which has been conducted every year since 1889.

2. Vidhan Soudha

Vidhana Souda Bangalore
Photo Credit: Bikashrd (Wikipedia)

One of the most magnificent buildings in Bengaluru, which houses the Karnataka state legislature. It was built in 1956 by the then chief minister Kengal Hanumanthaiah, who called it as ‘the people’s palace’, and it is one of the largest legislative buildings in the country, covering a landscape of over 60 acres. Inspired by the neo-Dravidian style of architecture, this striking edifice, which is surrounded by rich greenery, is built of granite, excavated from places like Mallasandra and Hesaraghatta.

It has four magnificent domes on its four sides and around three hundred rooms with various departments functioning in them. A flight of stairs with 45 steps will lead you to the entrance of the building, which has a huge dome with a four-pillared lion on its top. An inscription on the entrance of the building reads ‘Government’s work is God’s work’. More than hundreds of local convicts, who were unskilled, were used to construct this building and they were freed upon its completion.

3. Cubbon Park

Photo Credit: Vidhya Chakravarthy

Steal away from the hustle and bustle of the city and get yourself absorbed in the tranquility of this alluring park, breathing in fresh air and marvelling at the luxuriant trees, flowering creepers, grassy terrains and monumental statues. Located at the heart of the city and spread across 300 acres, this beautiful park, which is in proximity to prominent government buildings, was created in 1870 by Major General Richard Sankey, the former British Chief Engineer of Mysore, and it has around 6000 exotic trees and plants with over 96 species.

Initially, it was called the Meade’s Park, since it was named after John Meade, the acting commissioner of Mysore in 1870, and it was renamed after Sir Mark Cubbon, the longest serving commissioner of Mysore during the British Raj. Close to this park, you will also find the Indira Priyadarshini children’s library, the YMCA ground, the Bengaluru Aquarium, the Chesire Dyer Memorial Hall, the Venkatappa Art Gallery, the Press Club, the Century Club, Jawahar Bal Bhavan and a tennis pavilion. An ideal spot for jogging, cycling, morning walks and other leisure activities, the park also allows light motor vehicle rides on its walking trail, and those who own dogs can bring them here every Sunday.

4. Bangalore Palace

Photo Credit: Bikashrd (Wikipedia)

One of the greatest legacies left behind by the Wadiyar dynasty, which was home to the renowned king, Chamarajendra Wadiyar, who reigned the state about centuries ago. Built somewhere between 1874-1878, on the lines of Tudor style of architecture, with fortified towers and turreted walls, this magnificent palace covers an area of 454 acres, surrounded by beautiful gardens, and it has 35 spacious rooms, an extensive ballroom and an open courtyard on the ground floor.

King Chamarendra was stunned by the architecture of the Windsor Castle of London and built this palace along its lines. Just step inside the palace and you will find exquisite paintings of Raja Ravi Varma and family portraits of the Wadiyars adorning the walls, as well as finest wooden carvings, splendid furniture of Victorian and Edwardian style and ancient relics. Aside from being a popular tourist spot in the city, the palace also hosts various cultural events and weddings.

5. Mahatma Gandhi (MG) Road

MG Road Bangalore
Photo Credit: Amith Nag

A perfect destination for shopping where you will find everything that you need, from finest fabrics to handicrafts, bags, toys, accessories and crockeries. Known as the South Parade during the pre-Independence days, it was renamed after Mahatma Gandhi on 26 February 1948. Just take a stroll through this busiest road in the city and you will be enraptured by the plenty of cafes, shops, restaurants and pubs it has.

6. Ulsoor Lake

Photo Credit: Chetan Krishna

If you love nature or want to take a break from your busy schedule to soak yourself in serenity, then this is the place for you. Situated on the north-eastern part of the city, this beautiful lake, which was created by Sir Lewis Bentham Bowring, sprawls over 123 acres and is surrounded by verdant trees in full bloom. Sit back and listen to the melodic chirps of the birds or stroll along the footpath, drawing in fresh air and enjoying the picturesque view of the landscape.

Although you cannot swim in the lake, which has a radius of about 3 kms, you can have a delightful boating experience in it. And if you are in the the city during August-September, you will get to witness the grand Ganesha festival held here.

7. Bangalore Aquarium

Bangalore Aquarium
Photo Credit: Deepak (Wikipedia)

An octagonal-shaped building at the entrance of the Cubbon Park, which has on its display wide varieties of ornamental and exotic fish. It is the second largest aquarium in the country, established in 1983 and well maintained by the Karnataka state department of fisheries, and it has three floors. The ground floor has an office and a laboratory, and the first and second floors have huge water tanks with plenty of fish in them. Some of the rare species of fish that you will find here are eels, Siamese fighters, angelfish, red tail shark, glowlight tetra, hockey stick tetra, goldfish and freshwater prawns. If you are an aquatic enthusiast and want to catch a glimpse of rare species of fish, then this is the ideal place for you.

8. Tipu Summer Palace

Tipu Sultan Summer Palace
Photo Credit: Aiswarya G (Wikipedia)

A finest specimen of the Indo-Islamic architecture, built in 1791 by the erstwhile ruler Tipu Sultan, who named it as ‘Rash E Zannat’ – ‘the envy of the heavens’ upon its completion. Also known as ‘the abode of happiness’, this beautiful palace has two storeys, with exquisitely carved wooden pillars resting on a stone plinth, and it has splendid arches, balconies and beautiful floral motifs decorating its walls.

It once served as the summer residence of Tipu Sultan, where he also conducted his court proceedings on the eastern and western balconies of the upper floor. However, after the death of Tipu Sultan in the fourth Anglo Mysore War, the British forces took over the palace and used it as their secretariat from 1831 to 1838. The ground floor of the palace has now been converted into a museum which has on its display ancient relics, exhibiting the gallant of the Mysore kings, as well as the crown and royal attire of the king.

There is also a portrait of magnificent royal throne that Tipu Sultan had visualised. Close to the palace, you will find a beautiful temple of Lord Ganesha in 1790 and an art gallery, displaying innumerable paintings and carvings of the bygone era.

9. Sankey Tank Lake

Sankey Tank Lake
Photo Credit: Bhanu Prakash S

A beautiful man-made lake situated in the western part of the city, covering an area of 37.1 acres, nestled among thick groves of trees. It was constructed by Richard Hieram Sankey in 1882 as a source of water supply to the inhabitants of the city. Also known as Gandhadhakotikare, it serves as a perfect spot for picnics, mornings walks and jogging. There is a playground for children at the Malleswaram entrance as well as a gym for elders.

And a separate pool, close to the lake, is used for immersion of the idols of Lord Ganesha during the Ganesha Chaturthi. Allow yourself to be caressed by the gentle breeze as you amble along the paved sidewalk overlooking the lake or settle yourself down comfortably, beholding the placid waters of the lake and listening to the chirrups of the birds.

10. Shivoham Shiva Temple

Photo Credit: The Solitary Navigator

One of the most beautiful shrines, dedicated to Lord Shiva, which will give you a feel of being amidst the splendorous peaks of the Himalayas or Kailasa, the abode of Lord Shiva. Inaugurated by Sri Shankaracharya of Shringeri Mutt on 27 February 1995, on the auspicious day of Shivratri, this temple has a magnificent 65-feet-tall idol of Lord Shiva, seated in a yogic posture and absorbed in deep meditation in an artificial pool of water, surrounded by marble mountains, quite different from the other temples of Lord Shiva.

11. Bull Temple

Bull Temple Bangalore

Nandi, or the bull, is the Vahana (mount) of Lord Shiva and the guardian deity of his abode, Kailasa. One will find this deity in almost all the temples of Lord Shiva, yet the bull temple in Basavanagudi, which is inside the Bugle Rock park, holds a great significance. Also known as ‘Dodda Basavanagudi Gudi’, this temple was built in 1537 during the reign of Kempe Gowda, the founder of Bengaluru, and it houses a huge statue of Nandi, measuring 4.5 metres in height and 6.5 metres in length, carved out of a single granite stone. Adjacent to this temple is a shrine of Lord Ganesha, where the idol is entirely made of butter. There is a fascinating legend behind the construction of this temple.

The land around this temple was once a fertile field, rich in cultivation of groundnuts. Once a bull went on a rampage, destroying the crops in the field. And the natives of the land decided to stop the bull from destroying the crops further. They built a shrine for the bull, and surprisingly, the bull ceased to cause damage to the crops.

To mark this event, the temple hosts a grand groundnut festival, Kadalekaayi Parishe, every year during the Vedic month of Kartika (November-December), and hundreds of people throng to this temple to witness this festival. An inscription on the walls of temple states that the Vrishbhavathi river, which flows through the western part of Bengaluru, has its origin beneath the statue of Nandi.

12. Venkatappa Art Gallery

Venkatappa Art Gallery
Photo Credit: Amith Nag

If you are fond of painting and sculpting, then this is the place for you in Bengaluru, for here is where you will find more than 600 paintings, each one of them unique in its own way. The gallery was built in 1975 and is situated close to the Cubbon Park and the Bengaluru Museum. However, the building underwent a renovation under the Karnataka Public Works Department with a beautiful lotus pond surrounding it. Walk inside the museum and you will amazed at the stunning artworks of M.F. Hussain, K. Venkatappa, K.K. Hebbar, Yusuf Arakkal and other renowned artists.

Also, there is a gallery full of sculptures and artefacts from the Mathura and Khajuraho schools of art and Indus Valley Civilisation, dating back to 12th century AD, as well as a gallery of armoury, where all kinds of weapons belonging to the medieval period are displayed.

13. ISKCON Temple

Iskcon Bangalore
Photo Credit: Amith Nag

One of the largest ISKCON temples in the world, resting beautifully on a small hillock in Rajaji Nagar in Bengaluru, dedicated to spread Krishna Consciousness across the world. The construction of this temple was initiated by Shankar Dayal Sharma in 1997 and executed by Madhu Pandit Dasa. The striking features of this temple is its gilded spire, which is 8.5 metres and the gold-plated flagpost at its entrance, measuring a height of 17 metres. This magnificent temple, which is at the heart of the city, has the idols of Radha and Krishna, decked with dazzling ornaments and clothes.

And in addition to the main shrine, which has beautiful archways, the temple also has sub-shrines of Krishna-Balarama, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Nityananda, Lord Venkateshwara, Srila Prabhupada and Prahalada Narasimha. It also has a huge amphitheatre, where spiritual discourses and other cultural programmes are held every week.

There is also a 25-feet-tall Shiva Linga at the entrance of the temple, as well as a huge statue of Lord Ganesha, the remover of obstacles, inside the premises. The temple also organizes spiritual discourses and cultural events often.

14. Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium

Photo Credit: yoosafinpace

An exciting place for kids and science enthusiasts, established in 1989 by the Bangalore Government and administered by the Bangalore Association for Science Education (BASE). It was named after the first prime minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, and is a perfect hub to explore and acquire knowledge about the entire cosmos. One of the main attractions here is a dome-shaped sky theatre, which will offer you an enthralling experience of being in space amidst the stars, planets, constellations and galaxies through a series of shows.

There are four shows that attract the people who visit this place:

  1. Exploring the universe, where you will get a glimpse of the entire universe with its planets and stars.
  2. Dawn of the Space Age, where you will be shown the origin of human beings in the universe and their evolution.
  3. Natural Selection, where you will get to see the journey of Charles Darwin and know about his theory of evolution.
  4. Know your stars, where you can get a night view of the sky with its millions of stars and planets, and also read the sky chart.

Apart from this, the planetarium also has a science centre and a science park where exhibitions and other events related to science are often conducted by various schools and colleges.

15. HAL Aerospace Museum

HAL Aerospace Museum
Photo Credit: Museums of India

India’s first aerospace museum, located at the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited premises. Established in 2001, this virtual wonderland is a part of HAL heritage centre and has on its display various specimens of aircrafts, helicopters, fighter jets, as well as a mock air traffic control tower. It is an ideal place for aviation enthusiasts.

16. Visvesvaraya Industrial and Technological Museum

Visvesvaraya Industrial and Technological Museum
Photo Credit: Sarie Soewargana

Established in memory of M. Visvesvaraya, a renowned Indian engineer and statesman, this museum is situated close to the Cubbon Park, covering an area of 43,000 sq. ft. It was opened by the first Prime Minister of India, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru in 1962, and has galleries, exhibiting various industrial products, engines, machines and other devices. There are also interactive displays about the fundamentals of machines, the science behind sound, fluids, optics, the principles of electricity, electronics and communication, and so on.

17. National Gallery of Modern Art

National Gallery of Modern Art
National Gallery of Modern Art

A splendorous edifice with a pool, lush-green lawns and fountains, known for its finest collections of contemporary artworks of eminent artists. Sprawling over an area of 3.5 acres, this beautiful gallery was built in 2009 and is located on the Palace Road and houses famous paintings of Raja Ravi Verma, Jamini Roy, Rabindranath Tagore, Amrita Shergil and other renowned artists, thus offering a visual treat to the people who visit this place.

Inside the premises, you will also find an art reference library, an auditorium, a cafeteria and museum shop. Now a major cultural hub, the gallery organizes workshops, programmes, exhibitions and events related to art. It also screens films and documentaries, and organizes guided walks across the gallery.

18. Lumbini Garden

Photo Credit: Rajat Gupta

An enchanting amusement park, spread across an area of 1.5 kms and located on the banks of the Nagawara lake, bustling with fun activities, attracting thousands of visitors every week. It was named after Lumbini of Nepal, Beautiful fountains and statues adorn its lush-green landscape, which is also filled with various tropical plants and trees.

The exciting water rides in the park, the 12500-square-foot artificial beach with its gentle waves and the enthralling boat rides in the placid waters of the lake will take you to a different world altogether. Also, do not miss to experience the fine dining in the floating restaurant inside the park – the Golden Pearl, the first of its kind, where often family reunions and get-togethers and other corporate events take place.

What do you think?

Written by Harsha MV

Far far away, behind the word mountains, far from the countries Vokalia and Consonantia.

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