Many people from around the world visit Bangalore. For many reasons its a good place to be in and an ideal tourist spot. The roads of Bangalore are congested and crowded but manoeuvring them is a world class experience.
Something about the history of Bangalore. During different periods of time this place has come under the influence of various rulers with the British making it a serious settlement, thereby the city getting a western look and outlook. Many centuries ago bangalore seems to be a large place with a rustic face with ferns and tall trees much abound. I happenned to see a picture of Mayo hall which is at present on the MG road which was a imposing building in the backdrop of mud roads ans small ponds. With the increase of habitation the city gradually got a modern look.
The name Bangalore is attributed to a prince in the 11th century who called this city "benda kalu uru" which means "place of cooked beans". How authentic this story is not known. The most recent aspect of Bangalore can be traced to the Vijayanagar empire which ruled south india in its entirety. This is a formidable empire and many of the various names of towns in the southern part of India can be attributed to this empire. A person by the name of Kempe Gowda was a chietain of Bangalore under the overall control of the Vijayanagar empire. Kempe Gowda gave Bangalore its boundaries; what exactly these boundaries are I do not know, but this person exercised control over this territory. Thereafter comes the rule of Hyder Ali and Tippu sultan - a not so long period of around 40 years ending in 1799. The stamp of their short rule can be seen in the lalbagh, a park conceived and designed by them. Thereafter it is the British...British and the British who held sway over this town. Strictly speaking a part of bangalore was under the Mysore Maha rajah and the other part with the Madras presidency which was merged after independence. During my childhood days I could see one part of bangalore spoke tamil too as a language because of the earlier influence of the madras presidency.
I would boldly put the following places as ones worth visiting while in Bangalore and also the approximate distance from the MG Road; I would list twelve of them
- The Ulsoor Lake(3 kms)
- Lalbagh(6 kms)
- Cubbon Park(2 kms)
- Vidhana Soudha( 3kms)
- Statue and park of King George(1 km)
- Tippu Sultan Summer palace and fort(7kms)
- Bannerughatta National park(35kms)
- Iskcon Temple(11 kms)
- Bull Temple(15 kms)
- The Nandi Hills(50 kms)
- Raja Rajeshwari Temple off Mysore Road(15kms)
I think each of these places needs qualifications which will unearth myths about the city. Some of these places are in the proximity of one another. May be I have missed out certain places- like the many parks that have come up around renovated lakes that have been recently circumfenced and protected. To see all these places It would take three days ang MG Road is the right place for any one keen on shopping.
The Ulsoor Lake : Bangalore in its pristine form had many lakes- some of them have vanished and given place to human habitats. The cold weather of Bangalore can be attributed to these lakes. At present there is a concerted effort from the government to protect these lakes. Ulsoor lake took the fancy of the British and they set up an aquatic training system for the Madras Engineering Group MEG in the mid 18th century which exists to this day. There is a hillock on the one side of the lake and a park on the other.
Any visitor to this place would find the park an ideal place to spend some time and indulge in boating. There is an eat-out for refreshments and just watching the traffic along the fringes of the lake itself is can be a favourable past-time.
Lalbagh : From Ulsoor lake lalbagh is on the yonder part of the city. Manouvre through M G Road into double road and at the end of the road you meet with a circle and the gates of lalbagh can be seen . Lalbagh can be approached through other gates too but I would suggest this gate. Once inside immediately walk up the hill to get a view of Bangalore. Coming down the hill there is a mini-vehicle that ferries people across the park. This is a good resting place for anyone.
The Cubbon Park: The Cubbon park was built by Lord Cubbon who was a regent at this place and stayed at the Raj Bhavan. For brief periods the control of the Mysore kingdom was wrested on these Regents. It is Sir Mark Cubbon who had the idea of building this park in the vicinity of the modern day Raj Bhavan. This park is slowly losing its identity to the corporate offices around. But it is a worthy spot to be in for various reasond and I sincerely appreciate the efforts of Sir mark Cubbon for having had the idea of building such a park.
The Vidhana Soudha - This is a magnificient and imposing structure built by the local government to locate administrative offices and a specimen of its kind in oriental architectural model and a strong building it is. Due to security concerns the building is encircled by a fence and visitors could view its grandeur from the walkways around or from the high court building. But its worth seeing it once. Note that the cubbon park is in the vicinity of this building.
The statue of King George unveiled in 1911 is in the vicinity of the of the Cubbon park.
Tippu sultan Summer Palace - This palace is a relatively small structure and the nearest land mark is the City Market. The palace has a large garden in the front and it is worthwhile to spend some time here. The construction of this place was started by Hyder Ali and completed by Tippu Sultan over a ten year period. It is arelatively small palace. Near the palace is the Bangalore fort of Tippu Sultan which was beseiged by Lord Cornwallis in 1792-93 during the third Mysore war. I have tried to enter the fort but was not successful. I think the concerned departments of the government of India must make this fort accessible to the public as it figures in the "seige of Bangalore " by Lord Cornwallis in 1792 and also inform tourists about its significance.
The Bannerughatta National Park - This is a park worth visiting for various reasons. I would like to disclose to you a myth of bangalore. This part of Bangalore where this park is situated is on one of the edges of the western ghat mountains which jetset into this part of the world. This is the reason that there is elephant menace in the outskirts of Bangalore-basically meaning herds of elephants that possibly lose their way and enter human habitats in search of food and water.
I t would need a day to have a good time at this place. There are multiple routes to this place. One is to drive into bannerughatta road from dairy circle; another one I discovered recently and would be the fastest is to take the Mysore road and get into the nice road which is a toll road and enter into the Baneerughatta road and eventually to Bannerughatta.
There are two components of bannerughatta; One is the the zoo and a museum which houses many wild animals and birds. The other component is the safari where habitats of animals can be visited in a mini bus specially designed for this purpose.There is the bear safari-the tiger safari- and the lion safari. It would take about an hour and a half to visit these safaries. Take a camera along to make live shoots of animals in un-assuming postures.
Please note that one can travel to Mysore from this point through the kanakapura road which is close by and reach mysore via malvalli.
The Iskcon temple - This is a place worth visiting for many reasons. It would take around an hour to visit the temple fully. The view of Bangalore from the temple-top is fascinating. This temple is near yeshwantpur on Vijayanagar road and opposite Mysore soap factory and also close to malleshwaram.
The Bull Temple - This temple is in Basavanagudi and is close to lalbagh. Legend has it that a bull was killed by peasents working in ground-nut farms in this place. They regretted their action and built a temple for the bull. (Basavanagudi literally means bull-temple). This incident dates back to the 1600's. I have not been to this temple myself but one must visit it atleast once.There is a ground-nut festival conducted here once an year.
The Nandi Hills - This hill is located near Devanahalli and must be around 50 kms from Bangalore. Both Tippu Sultan and thereafter the British have occupied this hill. It is in the eastern ghat mountain ranges. Few rivers take birth at this place. I have myself not been to this place and would visit it shortly.
The Raja-Rajeshwari Temple - This temple is located off mysore-road. One has to move into the Raja Rajeshwari Arch. This is a temple built in ancient dravidian style and is frequented by many people.
Hesarughatta - This place is off dasarahalli on peenya road and has the hesarughatta lake. I have not visited this place myself but heard that it is a place worth visiting. Any one keen may do a google search of this place to get more details.
Here ends I think a sojourn of the key places around Bangalore. I have found some people find it boring to visit the places mentioned in the proximity of the city. In such an event visit the places around Bangalore like bannerughatta, nandi hills etc which would brighten up a casual traveller. (Bannerughatta is linked by the local bus BMTC).Visitors should know that for Rs.32/- thirty two only the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Service provides a day pass where a passenger is allowed to travel on any bus(except the volvo buses).
My effort was to just introduce to you some key possible tourist destinations in Bangalore and beleive that some justice has been done. However please make very neat tour plans before embarking on any journey to make travel both leisure and pleasure.