An erstwhile cantonment, a region that saw succession of South Indian dynasties, a present-day megacity and the nation's IT hub, Bengaluru is a fine place indeed. This was my maiden trip to the city loved by all discerning travellers for its round-the-year pleasant weather and the glitzy city life. Though mine was a rather short visit, I squeezed in what I could. But if you are a newbie and were wondering what to expect from a megacity, here are some ideas:
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Spoil yourself silly during your first meal of the day because the city has some great eateries, that, mind you, do open early (and won't burn a hole in your pocket). Start your day with breakfast at Koshy's at St Mark's Road, or if you are in and around Koramangala, head to The Hole in the Wall or Cafe Terra (among many!). Also, when in Bengaluru, eat local. My personal favourites were ragi mudde (ragi balls), bisi bele bath (hot lentil rice) and obbattu. Ragi mudde–rich in nutrients–was fun to eat. It came with one rule–don't chew, only swallow. That's the way to have it, and once you get past swallowing little balls of ragi, follow it up with mutton or chicken curry. You'll come across small street-side stalls selling hot piping dosas. Throw in some freshly fried crispy murukkus while you're at it.
You are in city of all cities; Bengaluru is not called a megacity for nothing. But the city isn't only about high-rises and concrete. The city's green spots are a visual delight. For some greenery, Lalbagh Botanical Garden–40 acres of garden space built in 1760 by Hyder Ali, father of Tipu Sultan–is home to 1,854 species of plants; Cubbon Park–spread over an area of 300 acres, this massive park is home to some 6000 species of trees and plants. [Keep an eye out for snakes if you happen to walk around dried tree stumps or pile rocky outcrops]. These two parks are great for leisure walks.
Vidhan Soudha–one of the largest legislative buildings in Bengaluru–is a fine example of Dravidian architecture.
For history buffs, must-visits are Bangalore Palace and Tipu Sultan Palace. Bangalore Palace (NO, it's not Windsor Castle) is a popular tourist spot. From the fine interiors to the magnificent display of art, the Palace is a place to be in if you are a fan of art and history. The Tipu Sultan Palace is a pure teakwood marvel.
Drink. Bengaluru is also known for its microbreweries. With so many breweries up and about and to choose from, there are no dull moments for a beer lover. Toit in Indiranagar, Prost Brew Pub in Koramangala, Brewsky in J.P. Nagar, Windmills Craftworks, Arbor and Biergarten in Whitefield are just some of the many options you'll find in the city. Cheers!
Make a beeline for Commercial Street for junk jewellery, Chickpet Market for sarees (and silver and gold!) and Brigade Road if you want to shop. And that too without hurting your bank balance! While you are at it, go to Blossom Book House in Church Street–a haven for book lovers.
From luxury hotels to budget bed & breakfasts, Bengaluru has a lot of options to choose from. Some of the luxury options are The Oberoi Bangalore, The Leela Palace Bangalore, ITC Windsor, ITC Royal Gardenia and the new entrant, The Den Bengaluru. For more budget-friendly stay, you can check out B&Bs like Laika Boutique Stay, Akshaya Lalbagh Inn, Terrace Gardens Guest House, to name a few.