This city welcomes all. However, if you know some of these tips beforehand, your stay in Bangalore will become enjoyable!
Here are a few things listed from a Bangalorean for a first-time visitor to namma Bengaluru.
Bangalore is the capital city of Karnataka state in South India. Kannada is the local language spoken in the city though in the current times, most are well-versed with English and Hindi. There are a huge number who speak Tamil, Telugu and other Indian languages even though it is not their native language. Similarly there are migrants to this city who are from various parts of India.
The city has established itself undoubtedly as a cosmopolitan city that offers the glimpse of the country, with its ability to welcome and live with members from any part of the globe.
The following are the ten things that I can put down as a first-hand guide for a visitor who is new to the city.
1. Masala Dosa: Bangalore is also known as Bengaluru. Make sure you eat a masala dosa at a darshini in the city. Darshinis are the hotspots of breakfast eat outs that almost run through the day. The ones that have people swarming at the eatery will surely have a good masala dosa. Popular ones are Vidyarthi Bhavan, Adigas, MTR and Maiyyas.
When it comes to eateries and cuisines, Bangalore has welcomed various cuisines. If you are fine trying a rice dish, then try out a Puliogere or a Bisibelebath. Also if possible take time to have an authentic and grand Karnataka lunch. Good options are at MTR, Pai comforts at JP nagar to name a few. And last but not the least while you may otherwise enjoy cappuccinos and black teas; try a filter coffee –light at any darshini.
2. Heavenly climate: Bangalore has a unique climate. The season though is divided between summer, winter, spring and rains; it is not uncommon to find cool and pleasant weather in the mornings and scorching heat in the afternoons. It is again not a rare sight to find a heavy rainy shower in some streets during the rainy season of July-September to have some streets which may be just few yards away a bare dry weather.
3. Silk sarees: When in Bangalore, make sure you visit a good saree store to buy a saree for a loved one. A reasonable good saree ranges between Rs, 1000/- to 10,000/-. The range can go higher too if you want to buy. A few popular stores are Vijaylakshmi, Prasiddhi, Deepam, Nalli, Soch. Alternatively you can buy a khadi kurta at Desi, Fab India stores and Grameen Angadi at JP Nagar.
3. Feast for a thiest: Bangalore has quite a few scenic temples. If you can make time then do visit Bull Temple at Basavanagudi, Rajrajeshwari temple (for its intricate work), Iskon temple (a temple that has a modern touch to it) and Venkateshwara temple at Banashankari.
It is recommended that you dress conservatively when visiting a temple. You can wear trousers and tops but shorts and short skirts are not welcomed at the holy shrines in Bangalore. And yes dressing full covered clothes would save you unwanted stares.
4. Parks: Bangalore is home to a few gardens. For a stroll you can visit Lalbagh. Cubbon Park is more of a tree park, on the face of it, it does not appear safe for a visitor, however the places near to police station or Chinnaswamy stadium are widely used by people.
5. Malls: Bangalore has quite a few malls in various parts of the city. Phoenix Market city at Whitefield, Mantri Mall at Malleshwaram, Orion Mall in Rajajinagar and Forum mall at Koramangala are th epopular ones, while there are other malls too.
6. Heartwarming performaces: The city has a great patronage for Indian art forms. Almost every single week there are Bharatnatyam performances to classical Indian music shows. Some are conducted at temples, others at specific venues for performing arts. Look in an English daily supplement to find out on the performances in the city. You can attend a few for free too.
Bangalore has a vibrant theatre scene. Right from English plays to French and German and Kannada performances, the city has numerous shows every single day. You will have to plan a bit in advance, if you want to attend a theatre perofmance. Good plays are regularly staged at Jagriti at Whitefield, Ravindra Kalakshetra at the heart ofthe city, K H Kalasoudha at Hanumantha Nagar, Alliance Francaise in Vasanth Nagar, Rangashankara at JP Nagar and Chowdiah Memorial hall in Malleshwaram.
7. Restaurants and pubs: Bangalore has a midnight deadline in restaurants, while pubs will close at 9.30 pm. Be a little careful about auto rickshaw drivers, or even cab drivers. It is advisable that you have a friend who knows the local language/any Indian language when travelling in the city, if you do not know the city. Most auto rickshaw drivers will understand English. You can check your location and destination beforehand with GPS, and have a safety-app enabled mobile with you. You can also take a pre-booked auto if you inevitably have to travel alone in an auto. Bangalore is known for being home to good pubs. A few good ones are Hard Rock café, a few at UB city and around MG road.
8. A foodie’s delight: Bangalore, due to its mixed population, is home to various inter-state and international cuisines. So if you are missing your home food then you can be assured of finding one restaurant at least that will offer Bengali, Gujrathi, Punjabi, Rajasthani, Andhra, Kerala, Mexican, Thai, Chinese and the Pizza chains. Oh yes, there are scores of KFC chains, Subways and McDonalds in the city.
Do remember that is there much more to explore in Bangalore but I hope this would be of use to people who want to get a taste of the city when they are here for a brief visit.
By Reshma Krishnamurthy Sharma
Reshma Krishnamurthy Sharma lives in Bangalore and loves reading and writing on society and changing lifestyles
As published on Citizen Matters online edition on September 13th 2014