Best things to do in Bangalore: Where to stay, what to eat and places of attraction in the Silicon Valley of India
There's a lot going on in Bangalore. It pulsates with an infectious moxie that urges you to move — or rather move steathily. From the moment your plane touches down, the walk through airport security gives a prelude to what your visit will entail. Bright lights, a sea of people on their devices, voices blurring, more human traffic — a true embodiment of what you would imagine a tech hub to look like. Or in this case, the commonly known moniker is the Silicon Valley of India, which rolls off the tongue better.
If you ask me, the 'IT' connotation doesn't do the veritable city justice — especially since it's got a whole lot more soul within. Everyone appears to have somewhere to be, something to do and apparently, so do I.
First things first: Find a snazzy hotel. Renassiance Bengaluru Race Course Hotel ticks all the boxes. The glorious edifice boasts 276 luxurious rooms and suites; all dripping with moody elegant hues of grey and midnight blue. Dining offerings extend to a nifty lobby deli where you can get a quick cuppa for the road or a nice, relaxing meal at Lush — a beautiful all-day dining restaurant that offers South Indian cuisine as well as your continental favourites. A nightcap can also be safely procured at the R Bar — featuring an inviting lounge of plushy sofas and an open bar ready to serve their house tipples. You don't have to worry about hailing a cab after one too many drinks.
A DAY AT THE STABLES
Bangalore Turf Club stands as an old-world gem located in the heart of the city. Keen observers will take pleasure in watching the races here, not to mention if you're up for a gamble. The entire space sprawls across 85 acres, including a main grass track, an equine swimming pool, training schools, walking rings, stables, veterinary hospital and an amateur riding school. Stick around at the right time and you'll be able to catch the horses when it's bathtime.
Built in 1878, the majestic Bangalore Palace is an architectural beauty to spend the afternoon. Today, the grounds have been a signature concert venue for international artists like Aerosmith, Deep Purple and Iron Maiden, The Rolling Stones and more. Truly, most of the world's legends have convened here.
Everything has been preserved with regards to its fortified towers, turrets and battlements. The property comprises of 35 rooms, a garden, and swimming pool. Your audio tour starts with exploring historical sites where the royal family held private parties, where official meetings with the assembly were conducted and where some of the most iconic artefacts of Bangalore's history are displayed. The interiors go from a canary yellow courtyard to stained glass windows in Gothic style to a cluster of old photographs and paintings dating the timelines of the royal family. You'll find yourself immersed in a visual diary through historical milestones and of course — old regal opulence. Cameras? Mandatory.
DIVE DEEP INTO SOUTH INDIAN CUISINE
You haven't tasted the wonders of vegetarian grub till you've been to Konark. Of course, while I'm sure Bangalore's choices of South Indian cuisine are gloriously plentiful, this 18-year-old establishment is primed at the top few on any foodie's list. I was utterly convinced, after a winning plate (i.e. breakfast for champs) serving pillowy idli, a savoury rice cake and crisp vada accompanied with hot sambal and coconut chutney. Also, don't leave wihout trying pongal, a savoury rice dish that's boiled in milk, coconut and pepper.
BAZAAR IT UP
Markets are a big thing in Bangalore. So skip the commercial malls and head for the streets instead. Of course, be discerning of what you actually pick up and always attempt to bargain for the best buys. Head to Residency Road if you're looking for sandalwood crafts and other souvenirs. But our favourite has to be Jayanagara 4th Block that stands as one of the oldest markets in the city. You'll find basic representative foods of the cuisine, various knick knacks and more within the maze-like formation of the market. Yet another testament that the best way to explore the city is ultimately on foot.