Bangalore’s face to the world is that of being the IT hub of India. Most loved for its awesome weather, innumerable drinking spots, effervescent culture, strong literary mindset, and an unending list of descriptors make this South India’s most “alive” city. For residents, immigrants, and visitors’ Bangalore can also be a springboard to explore beyond the ordinary.
The city can be viewed as an epicentre of places to visit, sights to see within crowded areas of a small city gone awry, adventure sports, wildlife activities, and so much more. Each of these offbeat things will certainly make you fall in love with Bangalore – twice over.
Believe you can fly! Paraglide at Nandi Hills
Image Credits: Flickr- Anne Roberts
Here’s a new way to look at ‘what else’ is in store at Nandi Hills, the oft “drive-out-to” destination for most of us Bangaloreans. Situated right outside the city limits, standing stoic barely a short distance from the International Airport the solitary hill is no stranger to a visitor either. Yes, our city’s very own go-to hill station is also a delightful destination to paraglide. With its beautiful canopies, the arial view surrounding the enchanting hilltop is breathtaking. If you’ve the smallest inkling to feel like a bird, soaring high in the skies, cutting across crisp wind, and marvel at the adrenaline thrust, simply go for it.
Of course, if you are first time paraglider you’ll require a weeklong crash course in learning the techniques to confidently drift in the clouds. With easy access to support this learning, transforming your dream to fly over nothingness is not an ardent task after all.
Image Credits: Flickr- Girish Ramesh
Rising to a height of 1,455m, this erstwhile summer getaway of Tipu Sultan effortlessly pleases people across ages. Yet another stroll around the hill’s many meandering tiny trails is always appealing. Discovering spots like the Chola temples and the magical small Indian Post Office perched atop the hill are magical any day.
In an organic therapy mood? Hamsah Organic and Sustainable Living
Sarjahpur Road Distance: 15km [Approx, MG Road]
Facebook: Hamsah Organic Farm and Sustainable Living
Responsible living is the order of the day. But to make it a way of life is definitely a deed worthy of applause. To experience this slice of life in its entire vibrancy visit the extremely friendly and large-hearted space Hamsah Organic that’s made sustainable living its very essence.
In a city, which has become a tad too busy this farmland grows almost every kind of crop that not only feed its cattle, the farmer behind this four acre organic endeavour John Fennessey jokes that his land produces perhaps the highest quantum of peanuts around Bangalore city. An ideal getaway to enrich a Sunday afternoon, this benevolent farmer appreciates a gesture of community farming. You can also enjoy a humble meal prepared by Farmer John and his staff using the land’s very own produces upon prior notice. Going on this offbeat track has to make its way into your list of must do things in 2015.
Entice your nocturnal self. Anthargange Night Trek
Best time: All year round
Image Credits: Flickr- anoop madhavan
Let’s agree, Bangalore spoils everyone rotten. The weather, people, mind-boggling diversity, food, and even the common pet peeve maddening traffic! However, Bangalore also gives you a chance to be cool as a cucumber. If you are the adventurous kinds, there are dime a dozen options.
Image Credits: Flickr- anoop madhavan
Achieve a whole new level by feeding your thriller instinct with an ideal experience by heading to Anthargange on a night trek and caving exploration trip. Drive around 70km towards Kolar to find rocky hill range of Anthargange nestled amidst the Shathashrunga Range. The ancient volcanic rock boulders covered with thorny shrubs are a brilliant setting replete with nocturnal sights and sounds. A beautiful night sky playing in perfect harmony with the surroundings, the green beautiful plateau that appears after an hour of climbing serves as your pad for the night under the starry sky with a bon fire for company. For the brave hearted, cave formed by the heaps of odd sized boulders can be an added option to make that adrenaline rush into a larger booty.
At daybreak, the downhill trek reveals the natural beauty of picturesque area. Rappelling and rock climbing are activities that can be planned for the day hours.
Try a new hobby. Microlight Flying
Mysore Airport [140km, 3hours]
Jakkur Aerdorome [17km, 1hour]
Image Credits: Flickr- Nick Stewart
Take advantage of a city that throws so many choices your way. Any age is good to pursue an interest and create a new hobby for ones own self. With micorlight flying the pleasure is two-fold for this conventional two-seater aircraft is a lesser-exploited hobby to pursue. Or you can take that pass-time forward to even get trained and certified.
Image Credits: Flickr- Jess Robinson
For a day out with nature away from the city’s tornado ambience, microlight flying can be a great escape as a recreational pursuit. If you curiosity is second skin, you’ll certainly enjoy the aesthetically designed high wing aircraft with its engine mounted high, giving you excellent visibility from the cockpit.
Make this experience possible at Mysore Airport or Jakkur Aerodrome depending on your mood to make the day out as exciting as you wish.
Vineyard tales! Wine tasting tours.
Nandi Hills [70km]
Image Credits: Flickr- visit florida
Yet another goodness of Bangalore is its strong affinity towards good tasting wine. Very many Bangaloreans love that sip of wine on more occasions than one. This recently acquired affluent lifestyle quotient is largely due to lavish green vineyards that are spread across exquisite natural settings pretty much in the city’s neighbourhood at Nandi Hills and Kaveri Valley, which have induced a culture of wine appreciation among the populous.
Whether you are lover of wine or not here is an experience that is irreplaceable. The vineyards organise conducted guided tours, which open the magical aromatic world of wine to visitors. On the tour you’ll learn the intricate process of wine making, wine tasting, and even stomp grapes during season. Over lunch, you can savour your glass listening to music or have a great conversation to find yourself unwind amidst the tranquil backdrop.
Why not go on a luxurious wine tour for a day or even a weekend to weave your very own vineyard tales?
Literally eat your weekend away! Bangalore’s street food.
Image Credits: Flickr- Anant Nath Sharma
Need a gastronomical introduction to Bangalore, savour its street food. Perhaps one of the least spoken about cultural attribute of our city is its street food culture. The city serves a rollicking array of flavours and cuisines [even the inspired cuisines have their distinct charm] in quite a few pockets across the city. From the ubiquitous juice shop [typically called Juice Junction] serving fresh fruit juice, to steaming hot momos, and the evergreen chaat, you can savour it all.
If you romance eating on the street and can go into a spree to put your palate on an overdrive check on this city’s street food over a weekend. For the ultimate experience visit the city’s iconic food street VV Puram. You’ll never be short of choices. Here you’ll find stores that have been serving the quintessential South Indian meals and snacks for generations still entice old and new folks with the same vigour. Aroma of freshly fried crisp bhajji, vada pao, pav bhaji, and a variety of dosas can drive the hunger pangs of a food buff absolutely topsy turvy. Spot the unexpected things to grab like parathas, Rajasthani delicacies, kulfi, gulkun icecream – an indigenous creation of this street, and such other.
Image Credits: Flickr- Phaneesh N
A disclaimer. Ensure the place you choose to eat maintains basic hygiene practices, uses fresh ingredients, and is clean. Follow the thumb rule of following the crowd to put your stamp of recommendation too. And lastly, carry your own water supply always ! Certainly now you would love to eat your weekend away, wouldn’t you?
Discover the city on your two feet. Bangalore Walks.
Image Credits: Flickr- Gagan Moorthy
There cannot be a more charming way to discover the city you live in or visiting than by going where your feet take you. And if you like to have some method in the madness, guided city tours organised by professional setups can be a wonderful way to discover the city in the least hurried and calm way. Pick any weekend of your choice to connect with the city to observe its fabric form as its local colour fills up. Depending on your interest you can choose to go on a nature walk, which presents the city’s green vistas such as Lal Bagh and Cubbon Park continuing to provide a shade of relief to residents and visitors while being located in the city’s business district.
Bangalore has a thriving history, which can be viewed on a military heritage walk that takes you through the MEG cantonment and War Memorial and Museum. The city’s very distinctly Victorian architecture landmark buildings are muse for history lovers on these walks. These themed walks are customised for children too making it a phenomenal offering from the city’s residents to help others to know their own city.
Pub crawls on pedals.
Image Credits: Flickr- Hari Bhagirath
Bangalore is loved world over for upholding the status of being a Pub City among various other coveted titles. Infectiously infested with countless nightspots, the city caters to its diverse set of lovers a chance to form their very own hangout. From places serving their owned brewed beer to the most loved street corner pub serving the most divine comfort food to go along, the city’s watering holes are easily among the best anywhere in the world.
One of the newer ways you can rediscover your preferences or discover the city’s iconic nightspots if the city’s reputation has brought you here is by getting high on wheels. Professional operators with well-planned itineraries offer a pedal-away experience of the city’s vibrant pub ethos using the popular pub crawl culture using bicycles.
Have an encounter with Bangalore’s buzzing nightlife, food, music, and people in a whole new way. After all, it is about getting high on life.
Catch the theatre scene. Plays at Rangashankara and Jagriti
Image Credits: Flickr- zehawk
One can never question Bangalore’s inclination towards art, literature, and theatre. A lover of performance art or any one whose seeking to take the time off to spend a few hours of solitude would find the city’s theatre scene magnetic.
Well-known productions, amateurs, or professionals the city gives everyone a fair chance to showcase their right of self-expression. You can watch the theatre go alive at Rangashankara, a passionately conceived world-class theatre facility in the cultural heartland of South Bangalore. The theatre hosts annual festivals and attracts children too.
The new bustling suburb of Whitefield is the location of Jagriti, a hub for performance and visual arts. Collaborating with national and international artists, here too one can find the coming together of artists, musicians, actors, singers etc.
Whether on a weeknight or weekend, Bangalore definitely believes in setting the stage for a riveting performance.
Bangalore is surrounded by exotic locales just a stone’s throw away. With a thriving cycle culture amongst residents and immigrants, here is a hobby or interest one must pursue in 2015. Discovering the city’s heritage, culture, and countryside that reveal its flavours over intimate biking experiences and customised tours can be easily planned in Bangalore.
Approach professional groups specialising in experiential itineraries, using imported bikes, support vehicles, and scenic accommodation choices to plan a daylong or a short biking expedition to nearby destinations.
You could also participate in a periodic social campaign endeavour called Cycle Day, held across the city aimed at reclaiming the streets, increasing usage of green, sustainable and non motorized mode of mobility. Time to start that travelogue.
A slice of Tibet around Bangalore, Bylakuppe
Distance: 370km, 5hrs
Image Credits: Flickr- Premnath Thirumalaisamy
Bangalore’s most favourite getaway Coorg has several hidden treasures that are revealed with every trip you make here. No wonder there is a mass exodus by the city dwellers at the slightest hint of a taking a break. One such treasure is Bylakuppe, the second largest Tibetan Settlement in India after Ladakh.
Image Credits: Flickr- Premnath Thirumalaisamy
Bylakuppe is a distinct world by itself. Endless reams of colourful prayer flags welcome you heart warmingly into a land that is home to several Tibetan refugees and monks. The highlight of this place is the Namdroling Monastery with its magnificent Golden Temple. This spectacular shrine is impressive with its 18m tall golden Buddha statues. Soak in this slice of Tibet by relishing a meal of local cuisine, which could include the delicious thookpa, chowmein, and momos that are served by roadside diners run by Tibetans. Other monasteries in the settlement also offer accommodation with basic facilities. Else you can stay over at Kushalnagar or Madikeri.
India’s answer to Grand Canyon. Gandikota, Andhra Pradesh
Distance: 250km, 5hrs
Image Credits: Wikipedia
Were you aware that hardly 250km from Bangalore is a hidden secret called the Grand Canyon of India? Don’t be surprised, this stretch of topography will surprise you with its distinct similarity to the only amazing Grand Canyon we’ve known so far.
With all ingredients for an adventurous weekend getaway, Gandikota in the neighbouring state of Andhra Pradesh will bowl you over several times. An unconquerable fortress made from red sandstone, ruins of temples and many more architectural structures, chasms of red rocks that are eroded over centuries to make way for the snaking River Pennar, and glimpses of Mylavaram dam and reservoir at a distance are elements worthy enough to attract you to plan a weekend break. Easily accessible via buses or make it a pleasurable self-drive destination, Gandikota will not disappoint you in 2015.
The free spirited flea markets of Bangalore.
Witness the city embrace and celebrate its rich assortment of culture, taste, cuisine, ethnicity, and fashion statement at its multiple flea markets happening across different parts of the city. Typically hosted on a Sunday, flea markets are by far the easiest and most ‘happening’ ways to spend the weekend. Attracting a spectrum of merchants, entrepreneurs, artists, and the like flea markets are a relatively recent acquisition in the city’s activity repertoire.
Some flea markets have gained more popularity for what they offer to the city’s dynamic residents and visitors. Like the Sunday Soul Sante and Kitsch Mandi flea markets have transformed ‘normal’ Sundays into ‘super’ Sundays. Stalls selling products that can be tagged as ‘unique buys’, live musical performances, food stalls, fashion shows, and hobnobbing with the city’s socialites anything is possible at these crowded markets. Pretty much touching the core of any flea market held world over, experiencing Bangalore’s free spirited flea market is a must do in 2015.
Lets go to the market. KR City Market
Image Credits: Flickr- Nicolas Mirguet
A rich legacy of 150years makes City Market Bangalore’s oldest commercial hub. Selling the city fresh produce all through these times, the marketplace also holds the prestigious position of having the first light bulb in Bangalore being lit in 1905. For a taste of the sights and smells of this extremely busy side of town a walk around here is highly recommended. Huvina mandi or the flower market is the market’s highlight. Reams and piles of colourful flowers letting out intoxicating fragrance take over the entire space. It is from here that flowers to the entire city get dispersed to.
Image Credits: Flickr- Nicolas Mirguet
As you exit from here you’ll also find the remnants of Bangalore Fort, which does take you by surprise for this a forgotten chapter in the present status of the city. Also around here are Tipu’s Palace and an ancient Venkataramana Temple. Since you’re in the South of Bangalore make most of the outing by taking a bus to Basavangudi. Check out the Dodda Ganesha Temple and the colossal Nandi Bull Temple. Also the local shopping scene is quite enchanting.
Regal royal residences of Bangalore. Bangalore’s palaces!
Image Credits: Flickr- Raghu Jana
It seems a li’l far fetched that a bustling cosmopolitan city could still house the leftovers from Victorian era and strands from the Mysore royal family. One such is the Tudor styled, Windsor Castle inspired Bangalore Palace built in 1887 as a summer palace for the Wodeyar royalty. Today the premises of this 400acre space are used for large-scale public events. But if history tickles you, then why not in 2015 get a closer look of the palace’s Gothic and foiled windows, intricate woodcarvings, paintings, and more.
Image Credits: Flickr- John Hoey
Almost a stone throw away from here is the Jayamahal Palace. Now a heritage hotel in the very heart of the city, head here for a leisurely meal and explore its premises. Maintaining the true classic colonial architecture and composure this former palace never misses letting out an aura of regal royalty. It is dubbed as the city’s best kept secret. How about finding out this for yourself in 2015?
Go wild around Bangalore. Wildlife parks and sanctuaries
Image Credits: Flickr- Ashwin Kumar
Bangalore can literally make you go wild. Scattered all around this IT capital are several wildlife reserves, parks, and sanctuaries that you can spend an entire year heading out every weekend. It really doesn’t matter whether you are a wildlife enthusiast or not, nature has its way around. So, if you decide to go wild in 2015, we recommend these five:
Bannerghatta National Park: Bordering the city is your closest choice. Famous for its lion and tiger safari, the park provides a charming green cover with its quaint ambience. Popular wildlife such as elephants, lions, panthers, crocodiles, and a very popular butterfly park with over 45 species is the major attraction. Accommodation options are also available at the park.
Distance: 21km Best time to visit: September-January
Nagarhole National Park: An enchanting forest flooded with rich wildlife and support by some exquisite pristine natural beauty, Nagarhole National Park in the gorgeous locales of Coorg is one that cannot be missed. Adjoining the tracks of the River Kabini, the park gives a true jungle experience. Tigers, leopards, elephants, langurs, and over 250 bird species are known to have made this their home. With several resorts and campsites available within the park’s locales makes Nagarhole a favourite among travellers.
Distance: 218km Best time to visit: October-May
Kudremukh: One of India’s best-kept wildernesses can be found at Kudremukh, in the thick sholalands of the Western Ghats. Engulfed in the pristine natural beauty of Chikmagalur Kudremukh has an abundance of flora and fauna. Such a region has two tiger reserves Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary and Kudremukh National Park. A land woven by the intervening rivers Tunga, Bhadra, and Netravati, both wildlife haunts are covered with thick forests. With several meandering trails, the peaks around Kudremukh National Park and Bhadra Wildlife are attractive trekking trails too. A nature lover’s delight these sanctuaries have tiger, leopard, panther, giant Malabar squirrel, langurs, and birds such as great pied hornbill, Malabar whistling thrush etc.
Image Credits: Flickr- Ashwin Kumar
Distance: 350km Best time to visit: October-February
Kokkare Bellur Bird Sanctuary: A hub for painted storks gives this bird haven its name. Located just a short drive away from Bangalore, Kokkare Bellur is a quintessential Indian village with green paddy and sugar fields, which has courteously welcomed these wild citizens into their daily routine and created a magical world for urban dwellers. During season, you can spot painted storks and spotted billed pelicans by the dozens.
Distance: 89km Best time to visit: February-March
Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary: A quick getaway for nature buff, Ranganathittu Bird Santuary situated on the outskirts of Mysore can be delightful experience. Located on the banks of River Cauvery, this stretch is an important nesting ground in Asia for migratory species such as common spoonbill, painted stork, spoonbill, whistling duck, and many more. The vegetation also is home to mangoose, Indian magger crocodiles, flying fox etc.
Distance: 125km Best time to visit: February-March
Chase that adrenaline. Adventure sports and activities around Bangalore
Image Credits: Flickr- Harsha K R
The stressful city life has many takers for adventure sports in Bangalore including visitors to the city. The city gives hassle free access to outdoor enthusiasts to explore the region’s rugged terrains and expanse of blue waters through a number of activities and sports. Surrounded in religion and an ancient past locales such as Hampi, Dandeli, Coorg, Kudremukh, Mangalore are diverse platforms to try your hand at rock climbing, rappelling, white water rafting, trekking, and camping. Listen to the call from the great outdoors in 2015 and keep that bag pack in handy.
Image Credits: Flickr- Harsha K R
Being ‘Bangalored’ is a sentiment you’ll carry with you for an entire lifetime. This pulsating city throws every possible flavour at you and gives you the freedom of choice. Choose any flavour and you’re bound to find happiness.