Bangalore General Information
- Area 159.10 sq. km
- Population 33,02,296
- Altitude 920 metres
- Languages Kannada, Tamil and English
- Best Time to Visit All through the year
- STD Code 080
Bangalore – An Introduction
Bangalore is one of Asia’s fastest growing cities and the most visited destinations of southern India. Situated at an altitude of 920 metres above sea level, Bangalore is the principal administrative, cultural, commercial and industrial center of the state of Karnataka. Spread over an area of 2190 square kilometers, Bangalore enjoys a pleasant and equable climate throughout the year. Tree-lined streets and abundant greenery made it the ‘Garden City’ of India. However, since local entrepreneurs and technology giant Texas Instruments discovered its potential as a high-tech city in the early 1980′s, Bangalore has seen a major technology boom and is now home to more than 250 high-tech companies, including homegrown giants like Wipro and Infosys. The erstwhile garden city has now been pegged the ‘Silicon Valley’ of India.
To give you a little background, Bangalore was founded by Kempe Gowda in the early 16th century. Two centuries later, it became an important fortress city under rulers Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan. The ruins of those periods can still be seen on the Bellary Road, at Lal Bagh, Ulsoor and Gavi Gangadhareswar Temple. The people in the city are warm, hospitable and friendly. Bangalore is generally regarded as a place that most visitors like to chill out in. Not to say that it has nothing for the people interested in history. Along with the modern day pubs, discos and hangouts, one can still see remnants of the older Bangalore. All in all, a lovely city to visit.
Places of Interest:
Located at the northern boundary of Cubbon Park, this majestic building, with a total plinth area of over 5,00,000 sq. ft is built in a Neo-Dravidian style was built in the year 1954. It houses the Secretariat, the State legislature and several other Government offices. The gleaming white domes pillars and archways resemble the architectural pattern of Mysore’s old palaces. The huge, carved doors of the cabinet room are made of pure sandalwood. The entire building, when floodlight on Sunday evenings, presents a truly breathtaking picture.
The name Lal Bagh has been given to it for the wonderfully bloomed red roses that remain blooming all through the year in this garden. This 240-acre gardens were laid out during the Muslim era (18th century) by Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan, 200 years ago. They contain the largest collection of rare tropical and sub-tropical plants with many awesome century-old trees. Fountains, terraces, lotus pools, rose gardens and a deer park surround the magnificent glass house built in 1840, on the lines of London’s Crystal Palace. The Annual flower, fruit and vegetable shows are regularly held here. Lal Bagh also houses the offices of the Karnataka Horticultural Society that renders free advice to those interested in flowers and gardens. A giant Electronic Quartz Flower clock is also in the garden.
Planned and laid out in 1864, this beautiful 300-acre park contains the public library and the museum. The illuminated “fairy fountain” and the elegant graeco – colonial style buildings add to the beauty of this park. The imposing red Gothic structure within this park is Seshadri Iyer Memorial Hall, which houses the public library. Also situated here are the High Court, the Government Museum, the Technology Museum, the Govt. Aquarium and the Jawaharlal Bal Bhavan.
The Bangalore Palace was built in the year 1887 by the Wodeyar dynasty. It is built similar to medieval castles in Normandy and England. It’s interior boasts of elegant woodcarvings and Tudor -style architecture. The building stands in grandeur on palace grounds in the heart of the city. During a trip to England the King, Chamaraja Wodeyar was inspired by Windsor Castle in London, and along similar lines he built this palace in Tudor style. The palace was earlier surrounded by beautiful gardens in the midst of a vast open area, which have reduced considerably today. The structure has fortified towers and its interiors boast of elegant woodcarvings and Tudor-style architecture, complete with Gothic windows, battlements and turrets. This palace, is largely constructed of wood, and is famous for its carving and paintings. An exquisite door panel at the entrance leads to grand settings inside. The construction of this 45,000 sq ft palace cost just over Rs 10 lakh. Reverend Garret originally owned the land, on which the palace rests today. The palace is truly a case of an architectural splendour.
Situated opposite the City Market, the Fort is noted for its beautifully carved Islamic-style arches on the gate walls, and for the well-preserved Ganesha Temple within its precincts. One of the temple’s outer walls carries an exquisite carving of Sri Krishna playing his flute, and within, there is a fine statue of Lord Ganesha. Originally built in mud by Kempe Gowda in 1537, the Fort was extended and fortified by Tipu Sultan. He preserved the Ganesha Temple as a testament to his religious tolerance. It is open to the public from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Situated near the fort, construction of this palace was begun by Tipu Sultan’s father Haider Ali, and completed by Tipu himself in 1791. It resembles the Daria Daulat Palace at Srirangapatna, Tipu’s capital. It was known as `Rashk-e-jannat’ – the Envy of Heaven. Constructed largely of wood, it is known for its five elaborately decorated arches surmounted by exquisite minarets, and paintings on the walls and ceilings. It is open to the Public from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Venkatappa Art Gallery
Venkatappa art gallery is a pleasant treat for the art lovers. It has about 600 paintings on display that you can see all through the year. The art gallery also has some of the exclusive collections of scenic displays.
South of Bangalore in Basavangudi, is the Bull Temple built by Kempe Gowda. The deity is a massive 15-foot Basava or bull, which was believed to have been the vehicle of Lord Shiva. The cause for wonder about this Nandi is that it has been carved from a single boulder.
Gavi Gangadhareswara temple
Another impressive temple is the Gavi Gangadhareswara temple, an unusual cave temple. It has been designed in such a manner that, on the festival of Sankranti, a local festival, the rays of the sun pass between the horns of the Nandi placed outside the temple, illuminating the image of Lord Shiva.
Another temple dedicated to Lord Shiva is the Someshwara Temple built by Kempe Gowda in Ulsoor.
Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium
Among the other places to visit, the Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium is a must see. Visiting any of the shows here gives you a good view as well as factual knowledge on astronomy. Easily accessible from any corner of the city, the planetarium hosts daily shows of astronomy. It is a fascinating experience for the children.
Bannnerghatta National Park
Just 21 kms from the city and easily accessible by road is the Bannerghatta National Park. A part of the Bannerghatta forest, the park houses a mini zoo, a crocodile farm, lion and tiger safari parks. Situated 60 kms, at a height of 1478m above sea level, is the Nandi Hills resort. What used to be the favorite summer getaway of Tipu Sultan, is now a popular picnic spot with its awesome fort, sprawling lawns and two ancient temples.
This is a hill resort near this city whose solitude has not been tampered by commercialization. The weather is very pleasant and though a far cry from the misty Himalayan hill-stations,Nandi Hills has a very pleasant ambience about it a nice place to chill out in if you are in the vicinity. For one, it has been a popular hill retreat right from the days of Tipu Sultan who is said to have visited here occasionally. Tipu’s drop, a 600-metre high cliff offers a fantastic view of the plains down below. Ideal picnic spot.
Mysore is just 139 kms by road. It was the capital city of Hyder Ali, Tipu Sultan and the entire Wodeyar clan. Mysore’s prime attractions are the Mysore Palace, the Chamundi Hills, the famous Brindavan Gardens, the Jayachamarajendra Art Gallery located in the Jaganmohan Palace, the Mysore Zoo and St. Philomena’s Church.
15 kms from Mysore is the old capital of Tipu Sultan, Srirangapatna. Its fort bears witness to the Tiger of Mysore’s last battle against the British. His mausoleum, the Gumbaz, which sports ivory inlaid doors and the famous tiger-striped emblem, is also nearby. Near Srirangapatna is the Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary.