Bangalore, now known as Bengaluru is the capital of the state of Karnataka in India. I have visited this city pretty often, so much so that I have picked a bit of the local language Kannada. Bangalore is the heart of Karnataka’s culture. As a metropolitan, it houses numerous offices and factories. It has got many of the country’s finest educational institutes, not to miss the Indian Institute of Sciences (IISc).
I was here to attend a house warming ceremony, and could witness the culture from real close. Here’s a bit about Bangalore. Bangaloreans are very warm and helpful to tourists, goods are reasonably cheap and transport is equally convenient. Weather is very pleasant, and the city is abound with vegetation. In a nutshell, it is an ideal destination for solo travelers.
I was in the city for 3 days, however 1 day was reserved for the ceremony. The entire blog is about the other 2 days, and what Bangalore had to offer me in the ranges of shopping and food. When I travel, I make sure to keep it hassle-free. I don’t cram my tour with a lot of things to do. After all, we tour to relax and charge ourselves to get set for days to come
Day 1: Arrival, MG Road
Kempegowda International Airport:
Since I was with my family, I had a thick wallet. We reached Bangalore by flight, at around 8 in the morning. Bangalore’s Kempegowda International Airport is very dynamic, and offers a plethora of choices in food. I gorged on a Kathi roll (a Bengali delicacy) at Kathi zone, and the highly acclaimed Bella Kaapi (coffee) at Hatti Kaapi. This brightened my day, and I was all set to explore and relive the city!
Transport is readily available at the airport, despite being located on the outskirts of the city. The airport is well networked with the city with buses and cabs. We took an OLA cab to reach our hotel. A small tip for enthusiasts like me, always choose OLA Prime for long distances, to experience a superior and flawless ride. OLA Prime provides you with a screen with internet, and lets you browse through various options in music, videos, news, movies.
Royal Orchid Central Bangalore:
We put up at ‘Royal Orchid Central Bangalore’, a 4-star hotel located near a buzzing locality ‘M.G. Road’. The hotel is replete with good service, and the rooms are comfortably big.
Exploring MG Road:
After a warm welcome, we walked to M.G. Road, a one stop place for shopping and bingeing. There are 2 metro stations to reach here, the M.G. road station and the Trinity station. M.G. Road stands for Mahatma Gandhi Road. One of the busiest roads in the city, it is lined with shops and restaurants on one side. The Karnataka emporium is situated here. This shop offers a range of the local commodities like Silk Sarees, Mysore Sandal soaps, incense sticks, dhoop, oils, cosmetics, ornaments and so on.
This road is connected to the very Brigade road which is flanked by shops and food courts. This boulevard further bifurcates into smaller streets which are lined with cafes, bookstores, restaurants, shops and offices. After a little shopping, we stopped by Bheema’s, an Andhra styled restaurant. They are famed for their delectable thali and Biryani. Their appetizing set of chutneys and pickles are irresistible. No meal ends without dessert, and their Sheera was just the right choice. Another thing worth a mention is that, this place serves food on Plantain leaf, the traditional Indian plate.
Church Street, a street across Brigade road, is lined with bookstores. We dropped in at Gangarams, and browsed through various genres, and picked a great deal of books. They generally keep discount offers on many books.
With so much walking and standing, we were tired, and returned to hotel. We relaxed and freshened up, and headed to our favorite Thai restaurant ‘Benjarong’. It was here when we were introduced to Miang Kham, a traditional Thai snack. It is Betel or Lettuce leaves wrapped with coconut shavings, ginger, lemon, chilly, onion, peanuts and sauce. Essentially, the blend of these gives a fantastic flavor, and this snack is ideally shared with friends.
When I am new to the cuisine, I let the waiters suggest me their delicacies, so I save time on checking the menu. We were delighted with the succulent Pandan Leaf Chicken, something we couldn’t have just one.
We also ordered Burnt Garlic fried rice and spring rolls and ended the affair with fried ice cream balls.
On the next day, we attended the ceremony, to which I am profoundly grateful, since I got to experience the culture, the tradition and not to miss, the food
Day 3: MG Road and Cubbon Park
Indian Coffee House:
On the following day, our return flight was scheduled for the evening. With half day in hand, we went back to MG Road, and dropped in at the celebrated Indian Coffee House on Church Street for breakfast. This ancient café is typically famous for the pure filter coffee.
The menu is short and sweet with local dishes like Masala Dosa and its variants like Paper dosa, Sada dosa, followed by Omlete variants, cutlet, shakes, coffee, tea, and so on. The ambience is rather old, with wooden benches and no AC. But that doesn’t fail to impress you, since it’s an offbeat place these days.
Mr Gangayya was all smiles to serve us. The crowd is mixed, so you don’t feel incongruous. With an excellent value for money, this place is ideal for budget tourists.
The best way to beat the heat is to make friends with trees. Cubbon Park is at a walkable distance from M.G. Road. With a rich recorded history of abundant flora and fauna plantation, this park is full of peaceful vibes, amidst the hustle and bustle of the city. Youngsters and elders, all alike visit the park with their pets.
Vidhana Soudha, the seat of the state legislature is located very close to Cubbon Park.
It is recommended to hire a rickshaw that has collaboration with Bhairava Silk Palace, a factory showroom of silk garments. The rickshaw tours you around the area, drops you at Bhairava Silk Palace, and back to Church Street.
The fare is 50 bucks, which is inarguably cheap. We stopped by KC Das, a sweet mart. My recommendation to you is their Mishti Doi, essentially the Bengali yogurt.
With a plethora of fine dining options, we chose to lunch at Ente Keralam, a Malayali restaurant right next to Benjarong.
After a long walk in the sun, we were delighted to be welcomed with the Kerala dainties, i.e. sweet and spicy banana chips. Here’s another tip for you! If you are seeking to discover a cuisine, always go for their thali provided you are able to finish it. Thali is a harmony of differences in cultures.
Their mouth-watering appams go amazingly well with fish curry or chicken curry.
P.S.: No restaurant is paying me or offering me free food for this write-up.