The Garden City of


One of Asia's fastest growing cities, Bangalore combines a quaint old world charm with the hustle and bustle of a modern metropolis.

A well planned city, with tree-lined avenues, a large number of parks, gardens and lakes, Bangalore is aptly called India's garden city. Visitors to Bangalore have plenty to see and enjoy. For the nature lover, Lalbagh, one of India's most beautiful botanical gardens -- set in an area of 240 acres and a walk through Cubbon Park, a green oasis in the city's center, are a must. Ulsoor lake with its tiny islands is an ideal picnic spot and a great place to take a break from sightseeing.

For the art lover, the Government Museum and the Venkatappa Art Gallery are places worth visiting. The former is one of the oldest museums in the country and houses an exquisite collection of old paintings, sculptures, coins and excavated artifacts. The latter contains an enthralling collection of famous paintings and wooden sculptures. If children are accompanying you on your trip, a visit to Bal Bhavan would make their day.

A Cosmopolitan City

Bangalore has many majestic old mansions and structures like the Vidhana Soudha and the fort. When India gained independence the British retained the city's administrative and military quarters. As a consequence the east of the city has a sprawl of military cantonments, the largest in India south of the Krishna river.

Take a trip to the Bangalore Palace. Built in Tudor style the building looks very similar to England's Windsor Castle. Bannerghatta, 21 kilometres from Bangalore on the Anekal Road is ideal for trekkers and those who want to look at wildlife. Bannerghatta National Park has a lion and tiger safari as well as a snake and crocodile farm.

Bangalore, in recent years has grown both in population and area. Many new suburbs have come up and there are hotels to suit every pocket. Numerous restaurants and cafes cater to all kinds of palates. Karavalli a restaurant on Residency Road serves authentic south Indian cuisine from the Malabar coast, Goanese fare, and dishes from Karwar and Mangalore. Coconut Grove serves ethnic Coorgi and Chettinadu delicacies, Paradise Island is known for its Thai food, Sana's on Haines Road for its Arabian cuisine, Ebony caters to the Parsi palate and in the Peacock Garden on Residency Road one can sample the delights of north Indian food.

Bangalore was the first city in India to introduce the concept of pubs. Informal drinking places which serve a wide variety of beer, Bangalore's pubs are meeting places for people from all walks of life. And after a quiet drink take a walk down Mahatma Gandhi Road or Commercial Street, the city's main shopping areas. Emporiums and boutiques that sell the famed Bangalore silk, leather and handicraft items apart from curios made of sandalwood.

Today's Bangalore is a city with rapidly expanding industries. It is also the undisputed leader of software exports from India. Apart from these distinctions the city has been well known as a center for higher education. Prestigious national institutes like the Indian Institute of Science, the Raman Research Institute and the Indian Institute of Management are situated here.

Finally a word about horses! Both horse racing and horse raising are popular in Bangalore. The city has one of India's finest race courses not to speak of some of the very best stud farms in the country.

A city of many facets, Bangalore never fails to fascinate the first time visitors and ensures that they come back time and again.

Exerpted from AIR INDIA magazine

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Srirangaraj Setlur (