Bangalore city: beyond traffic and IT
January 1, 1970
Bangalore, the city with the best weather. Bangalore, the Silicon Valley of India. Bangalore, the “Garden” city. Bangalore’s traffic, Bangalore noise. Bangalore’s congested roads and mostly broken pavements. Bangalore, the city devoid of notable historical monuments and photographic spots.
Is there really anything to see or do in this cosmopolitan city? Well, lucky for you, I am here to rescue your trip that may otherwise be falling apart as you browse the internet for “things to do in Bangalore”. We locals love this city and maybe if you get a chance to feel its true spirit, you may love it too?
Here is my list of “what not to miss in Bangalore“:
(A lot of these are food related so make sure you are going into this with an appetite)
1) Kappi: our gold standard for coffee
While coffee is prevalent world over, Bangaloreans need their filter coffee of nothing at all. While the rest of the country runs on chai, Bangalore lives on its milky, strong, sugar loaded “kappi”. The Kappi can be tried at any of the South-Indian fast food joints called Darshinis.
Don’t like sugar in your coffee? You can request the milk without sugar. Like less sugar? You can ask them to do “half-half”. I took years for me to figure this out but here’s hoping this helps you sugar conscious peeps like myself out.
2) Masala Dosa: the blissful snack, breakfast, lunch, and dinner
If you come to Bangalore and not eat a masala dosa, you need not have lived at all. Masala Dosa is the perfect balance of crunch and spice, of soft potato side and coconut chutney to strike the perfect balance of flavors. The sambar is a spicy side although, in my humble opinion, unnecessary in the holy combination of masala dosa and coconut chutney. For the non-Indians, who are unsure of whether this is an acquired taste kind of matter, I quote the example of 2 my German friends who so fell in love with this dish that for their last meal in India they each ate 4 masala dosas and even followed it up with dessert. A regular person eats one. So yes, this the real deal.
Favourite joints: Vidyarthi Bhavan, CTR, MTR.
3) The Leaf Meal: banana leaf and eating with bare hands
This is a must do on your visit to Bangalore. The full meal is served on a Banana leaf rather than on plates and is eaten with bare hands. If you thought chopsticks were hard, try the pleasurable experience of eating curry and rice with your fingers. I would recommend the closest Nagarjuna for this blissful experience.
Don’t miss the chicken biriyani if you are non-vegetarian, at Nagarjuna. It is a flavourful rice preparation I eat at least once a week and that’s being in control.
Grab a coconut water, later in the day, to wash the spices down.
4) Art Spaces: Bangalore’s creative outlet
Bangalore’s art spaces are reflective of the progressive society that has developed here. A visit to one of these, if not all, is a must to grasp the kind of work that is going on in music, dance, comedy, literature and more importantly alternative events that have started to surface thanks to the creative burst that has overtaken the city in the last few years.
Lahe-Lahe, The Humming Tree, and Atta Galatta have constructed art spaces where events like “bring back the typewriter”, “books and brews”, gratitude listening sessions, mosaic workshops, tribal art, walk-in-dance workshops, playback theater etc. are conducted regularly. If you find yourself in Bangalore looking for some interesting activities, check out the events happening at these places or simply drop by and join in on the fun.
5) Cubbon Park: a break from the chaos
If you come from a land of immense natural beauty and find yourself feeling claustrophobic in Bangalore’s hustle and bustle, Cubbon Park, and Lalbagh botanical garden offer great escapes, equivalent to a central park of NYC, right in the heart of all the action. Cubbon Park is filled with magnificent and large trees that provide a natural shade. It is definitely my preferred park. Lalbagh is popular amongst flower lovers and is a garden is more manicured. If you find yourself in Bangalore during January 26th or August 15th, check out the flower show at Lalbagh. This event attracts massive crowds gathered to celebrate their independence and republic days on those dates and can be interesting for someone who likes to observe the people and chaos but a nightmare for someone who is seeking some peace and quiet.
Don’t hesitate to settle down in a comfortable spot to witness one of Bangalore’s remarkable sunsets, the clouds and the hues of the sky make us fall in love with our city as if it was our first time.
6) Shopping and marketplaces: something for everyone and more
Commercial street is the best option for Indian clothes and Jewelry. I’d dare say it’s a street-shopping paradise. I’d recommend also visiting Jayanagar market complex in the 9th block Jayanagar market to get a more authentic feel of local Indian markets, not necessarily for clothes but more for the environment. The complex is very basic but it is a fun visit in the evening time. The oldest and most popular places for souvenirs are Cauvery emporium but you can find plenty of new stores on MG road and Brigade road with better collections.
7) Koramangala and JNC area: the student hangout
If you want to get a feel of where students are chilling in the afternoon I’d recommend hitting Koramangla around Jyothi Nivas college. There are plenty of cool cafes, food places, pubs and some nice murals where you can chill and strike a conversation with some of the locals. Walking distance from JNC is a cafe called Cafe Dyu which is my personal favorite. If you wanna relax, grab a book and head to one of Bangalore’s most cherished features, its outdoor cafes. Bangalore specializes in cute outdoor cafes, thanks to its perfect weather.
Brigade road, Church street are places not to miss if cafes are what you are looking for.
8) Corner House Ice Creams: Bangalore’s guilty pleasure
You must find time to try out the hot chocolate fudge at this ice cream parlor that has set our standards for the hot chocolate sauce so high we dare enjoy it anywhere else. Chocolate lovers can try their best seller the “Death By Chocolate”. Another favorite is the fresh strawberries with cream and ice cream, season permitting of course. They have chains all over the city and hence you need to be in really obscure parts of Bangalore to be too far from a corner house.
9)Breweries, pubs, and clubs: the vibrant nightlife of the IT city
Bangalore has one of the most vibrant nightlife in the country. However, the state follows an early closing time of 1:00 am which means they start kicking you out by 12:45 am. The early closing time, though a buzzkill for most foreigners and fellow Indians traveling from Mumbai or Delhi or Pune, isn’t necessarily a buzz kill for us Bangaloreans. If the party ends early, naturally the city heads out to party earlier.
Fun fact: The closing time used to be 11:00 pm so we are actually thrilled to have it extended to 1:00 am. Don’t hesitate to start early because it is quite normal for us to hit the clubs as early as 8:00-9: 00 pm.
Indiranagar is the place to be if you thrive in an array of choices. 100feet road, Indiranagar is my suggestion because pubs are mostly all on one street a one can pick and choose by feeling the vibe and deciding. You can walk on the nice and wide pavements and stop wherever you like the vibe. If you like to dance (Loft, bottle, and glass, tippler, love shack) are my gotos. If you simply want a nice locally brewed beer(Toit, Arbor, Prost, Vapor). Live music is usually on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays. I recommend humming tree and B-flat.
Above all, Bangalore is the city with amazing people, creativity, and definitely the most pleasant weather. So come on with the clothes of your choice and feel the electric energy of the city embedded in chaos and the one I am proud to call home.