Difference between revisions of "Bangalore"
Revision as of 09:22, 9 January 2006
The earliest records of a place named 'Bengalooru' were found in a 9th century temple in an area that is now known as 'Old Bangalore'. Once, while the feudal lord Kempe Gowda was hunting in the area, a rabbit turned and attacked his dog. This made a great impression on the lord and he named the place gandu bhoomi (the place of heroes) and in 1537, with the assistance of the local king, he constructed three districts protected by a walled fort on the site.
During the next three centuries, Bangalore existed very much in the shadow of its neighboring city Mysore, and control of the town changed hands many times. The year 1831 marked a major turning point for the city. Claiming misrule by King Krishna raja Wodeyar III, the British took control of the Mysore Kingdom and, possibly influenced by the city's mild climate, moved the administrative capital to Bangalore. New telecommunication systems were laid, rail connections built, fine government buildings constructed and the city's famous parks and gardens established. After independence, Bangalore maintained its position as Karnataka state capital and continued to flourish.
For many years, Bangalore was known throughout India as the most green, liberal and forward-thinking city. In recent years, these attributes have propelled Bangalore to the forefront of the high-tech industry boom in India, and it currently ranks as India's most developed city and one of the world's fastest growing urban areas.
The name Bangalore appears to come from an Anglicization of adaptations of the original name in Kannada - Benda Kaal Ooru, which roughly translates as boiled beans. Apparently this rather humble name was bequeathed to the city by King Vira Ballala. Once while lost in the area, he was offered boiled beans by an old woman, and it was out of gratitude that he named the area after this simple offering.
Bangalore is made up of two districts, Bangalore Urban and Bangalore Rural.
Bangalore, called "The Garden City" during the 20th century, has now gained recognition as the Silicon valley of India has many other epithets to its credit, which may soon earn it the City with many epithets epithet.
Some Popular epithets
But of late, there has been an increase in parks around residential areas, which may see Bangaloreans proudly reclaiming this epithet.
Area: 365.6 square kilometers Altitude: 3000 ft. above sea level Geographical Location: Latitudinal Parallels: 12 degree 8' N Longitudinal Meridians: 77 degree 37' E Climate: March to May (warmest months) December to January (coldest months) June to September (rainy - South-West Monsoon) November to December (rainy - North-East Monsoon) Temperature: Highest maximum of 33 degree C to lowest minimum of 14 degree C Language: Regional Language: Kannada
Kannada, English, Hindi, Telugu and Tamil are widely spoken and understood Population: Around 6.5 million
Bangalore has a domestic airport and caters to certain international flights too. Among others, notable direct flights are between Bangalore and Frankfurt on Lufthansa, and Bangalore and Singapore on Silk Air (Singapore Airlines), Bangalore and Kuala Lumpur (KL) on Malaysian Airlines, Bangalore and London on British Airways and Bangalore and Bangkok on Thai Airways. British Airways has five flights a week to London and Lufthansa now has daily flights connecting Bangalore and Frankfurt. Recently, Air France has started operating flights between Bangalore and Paris. From Jan 2006, the low cost airline JetStarAsia will fly between Bangalore and Singapore five times a week.
Proposal for an International Airport in Bangalore has been accepted and construction is underway at Devanahalli, 30 km north of downtown Bangalore. The Airport will be ready in the first quarter of 2008.
Indian Airlines now renamed as Indian connects Bangalore with all parts of the country. In addition, Jet Airways and Sahara are other two major domestic airlines that fly into Bangalore from other major cities. Air Deccan is a popular no frills airlines that operates to most cities and large towns.  Kingfisher Airines is a Bangalore based discount airline company, offering regular flights between Bangalore, Delhi, Goa and Mumbai.
The Bangalore City railway station is situated in the centre of the city, around the Majestic Bus stand and all trains, local and out-bound arrive and depart from here. A new terminal at the Yeswantpur railway station not very far away away from the main railway station is growing and there are a few outbound trains that regularly arrive and depart from it.
Bangalore also has a railway station in the Cantonment Area, called the Cantonment Railway Station - this is centrally located and in a better part of town. Not all trains stop here, though. However, there is a proposal to develop this into a new hub, in order to ease congestion out of the ever bustling Bangalore station.
Bookings can be done at either the railway station or at a few of Indian Railways booking counters at major residential areas. Booking can also be done online from the Indian Railways site. Note that if you are booking at Bangalore Central and are travelling to Mysore, there is a different line for travellers to Mysore and travellers to all other destinations. This is to cater for the large amount of travellers between Bangalore and Mysore. If travelling to Mysore on a Sunday afternoon, arrive early as there is usually a long line for buying tickets!
Bangalore bus stand is well-maintained and conveniently located opposite the city railway station. Officially named after the founder of Bangalore, 'Kempegowda' but more commonly known as 'the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) bus stand,' it handles buses that connect Bangalore to all major cities and states in south India. The main bus stand of 'the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) ,' which maintains bus services within the city, is located next to the 'Majestic Bus stand'.
There are frequent services of inner and outer-state buses. The standard of vehicles ranges from the most basic and economical to semi-deluxe and even plush Volvo buses.
Get your own car, go to petrol station, fill the tank with speed high octane fuel and zip away. Petrol prices in India as everywhere in the world reflect world oil prices, so don't expect it to be cheaper than in western countries. In fact, petrol is more expensive in India than in the US (even after taking the recent hike in gas prices in the US into account).
Pick up a copy of City Guide when you see it. It is generally available at a lot of places (hotels and stores), but not guaranteed to be found at any! It is a monthly publication, and is a mini yellow pages, but is up to date. Even an older copy is useful--so ask in Bangalore are cheap and usually frequent. There are 4 major Bus stands: Majestic Bus stand near Gandhi Nagar is close to the railway station and is quite neatly organised and is easily navigable. City Market is around 2 to 3 kms away from Majestic and could daunt newcomers, since it is very disorganised. Shivajinagar in the north and Jayanagar 4th Block in the south have Bus stands as well. Most Bus stops in the city are undergoing a revamp and have good display depicting the buses that frequent the stop and the name of the stop.
Autos are quite frequent and are usually found clustered near bus stands, prominent roads,etc., Autos charge according to the meter, and you should simply refuse to board if the meter is faulty or the driver refuses to use it. Autos add a 50% surcharge after 10 PM. Some drivers may demand 100% surcharge after 10 PM or 11 PM but one must refuse to board in such a case. Heavy luggage will incur an additional fare, usually around Rs.10 or 20. Nowadays a lot of auto-rickshaws come fitted with an electronic fare meter. If you want to take an auto-rickshaw, it is better to look for one with an electronic fare meter - these meters are generally accurate. A few auto-rickshaw drivers are ill-mannered, and you should be careful when dealing with them. Note that the new digital meters already show the corrected price for the trip (1.5x) after 10PM. Although Bangalorians are known for their polite and mild manners, auto drivers are an exception. Therefore to avoid conflict, consider taking taxis.
The taxis in Bangalore are very convenient and comfortable. Most of the vehicles are Maruti Omni Vans or Tata Indica cars, which are much safer than Auto rikshaws, and in addition, the drivers are politer. Its advisable to hire City taxi to go around the city, especially if you are alone or going to an unknown destination. The rates are Rs35 for 4 km (minimum) and Rs 9 for every extra kilometer.
The following are some City Taxi numbers.
Spot Taxis Tel:551 0000, City Safari Tel:553 9999, Garden City TaxisTel:343 7646, 343 4274, Gopinath Radio Taxi Services Tel:360 5555, 332 0152, RK City Taxi Tel:312 9999, 332 7589, Roman Taxis Tel:548 6606, 548 6616
Many visitors come to Bangalore searching only for sandalwood carvings and silk sarees and so miss out on the true Bangalore shopping experience. Here is a low down on shopping - Bangalore style:
The M.G Road/Brigade Road area is the most popular place for tourists, and these two roads are filled with shops of every kind, whether it be tradational handicrafts or the latest western wear (this is especially true for Brigade Road).
Brigade Road was used to be where once British soldiers bought their necessities. How things have changed! Today Brigade road is the centre of yuppie Bangalore, you'll see hordes of college students on the road anytime of day or night. Some of the stores on Brigade Road include: Planet M (a huuge music store with everything), Louis Phillipe, Pepe Jeans, Levis,Lee, SanFrisco Jeans, Nike, Titan (great Indian made watches) just to name a few... There are also many eateries on either side of the roads and on the side roads that lead of Brigade road, so that you can refuel yourself for shopping! There are your fast food outlets: KFC (right at the entrance), Pizza Hut at the other end of the road and many cafes including the Indian Coffee Chain Cafe Coffee Day.Also includes a Tattoo parlor.
Commercial Street another legacy of the British is another shopping mecca, is again full of shops from international brands (similar to Brigade road) to small generic shops. Commercial Street has more of a bazaar feel when compared to Brigade Road.Also includes a few Tattoo parlors which also run as piercing centers for body piercing.
Visit Commercial Street to get some great stuff's at very low prices as there are discounts / sale going on round the year.
Malls in India are a recent phenomenon, the first opened back in 1999, since then there has been a boom with malls around every corner in large cities (now also in smaller cities). Bangalore is no exception! Here is list of the major Malls in Bangalore, but beware that there are at least a dozen in the planning and construction stages!
Forum ('The Mall') These days no trip to Bangalore is complete without a visit to the Forum on Hosur road in the upmarket suburb of Koramangla, which is fast becoming the shopping hub of Bangalore ready to throw the M.G/Brigade Road area of its throne. Again like other shopping areas, you can find anything at the Forum, high international brands such as Tommy Hilfiger, Swarovski Crystals to traditional Indian Khadi clothing at the Khadder. Other brands with outlets include: United Colours of Bennetton (much cheaper here than in the west), Pepe Jeans U.K, William Penn, Wrangler Jeans, Weekender and of course Nike. The Forum incorporates the clothing from international brands as well as haute couture boutiques including: Mustard, Isis, B and the Chai shop. For books head straight to Landmark and huge store has everything from books to perfumes and music. On the top floor of the mall you will find a PVR multiplex comprising 11 cinemas. For eating there is everything, Fast food (KFC, McDonalds, Pizza Hut, Subway) Cafe Coffee Day and a food court with world cuisines including: Chinese, Vietnamese, Mexican and Italian and Indian. So thats that forum all your shopping needs under one roof! Its just a must see, especially the outside.
Garuda Mall Located on the corner of McGrath and Commissariat Roads, is the newest mall in Bangalore. This Mall is definitely catered to the upper class of Indian society. Many of the same brands as Forum are available as well as some that are not. One of the major draw points of this mall is that it houses the Indian department chain store: Shoppers Stop, which once stood across the road as a separate building but is now part of this new mall. The Mall also houses a INOX cinema multiplex on the top floor.
Bangalore Central Opened around the same as the Forum, Bangalore Central is more of a large department store than a mall with separate retailers. It still is must visit for shoppers in Bangalore. It is located in city centre on the corner of M.G and Residency Roads (Opposite Mayo Hall), so unlike the Forum it is walkable distance to the main M.G/Brigade Roads shopping area. It has a huge range of everything (like department stores in the west), clothing (Indian and Western brands), electornics, perfumes, accessories as well as a supermarket on the top floor and food court plus a Cafe Coffee Day. They have a altering service with in the store and can be done in two hours depending on the rush.
Safina Plaza Is sale central in Bangalore, located on Infantry Road. Every week there is sale going on of any type. One week it might be home furnishings and the next men's wear. Good place to find some bargains. Many exhibitions are also held here, although there are retailers (Dockers, Lee Jeans, Titan too name a few) here too. So for quiet shopping come here (much less crowded than the other malls). Its best to visit during end of season sales (summer, monsoon) or during festivals (New Year, Christmas, Ganesh Chaturthi).
Marathahalli Main Road and Factory Outlets Located a distance from central Bangalore (although not difficult to reach), is Marathahalli (a village in a previous life). The main road of this suburb is now a haven for factory outlets for all major brands: Nike, Adidas, Pepe Jeans, Killer Jeans, Louis Phillipe, Levi's, Reebok etc.. You can expect prices here to be cheaper than in the Malls, atleast 20-30% price difference but can be upto 50% cheaper when it comes to some of the major denim brands! As if India wasn't cheap enough. Although this is the best place to go to for factory outlet shopping, there are smaller factory outlets scattered across the city. Also look out for sales held by the major brands to get rid of end of season stock (again end of summer or end of monsoon), these are usually advertised in newspapers or look for signs posted on major roads.
Bangalore literally has hundreds of fast food joints serving south Indian vegetarian food. They usually are identified with small round steel tables and diners standing around them having food. Dosas, idlis, vada's, curd rice, Vegetable Pulao, rice with sambar, lemon rice are usually standard fare. Quality widely varies, since most of them cater to working people. The following are recommended:
Jayanagar 4th Block, take the road facing BHS First Grade College. Basavanagudi
Banashankari 2nd Stage, opposite BDA park
Fast Food and Ice Cream Parlors
Fresh coconuts are abundant in Bangalore, and the juice drunk straight from the nut is a healthy, enjoyable and cheap way to quench the thirst.
Pubs and bars
Bangalore is home to numerous pubs and bars - earning it the epithet the Pub City of India.
Most hotels have spiffy bars with every imaginable concoction of drinks available.
Some of the more expensive hotels have different rates for foreigners and Indians. Serviced Apartments are a good alternative to standard hotels and are chosen by visiting executives and travellers these days.
The most commonly spoken language in Bangalore is Kannada. Other languages include English (also very common) Hindi, Tamil and Telugu. Below are some local expressions:
"Chennaagidira?" Are you fine? (equivalent of Hope you are doing well?)
"Yen aagoithu ninge? " What happened to you?
"Sumne nodu!" Keep quiet and see!
One common expression probably peculiar to Bangalore would be the "By two coffee" meaning a coffee shared between two people. Mostly overheard at the stand-and-eat darshinis.
Bangalore is considered the safest of all India's major cities. However, having said that, it is not advisable to walk along deserted alleyways or lanes after dark. Rising incomes has brought an influx of people from outside the city, which has resulted in a rise in crime.
Avoid using an autorickshaw if the driver is not alone.
Besides the local trader found on most main roads and in most residential areas, there are a few supermarkets in most areas. Prominent among them are Foodworld with outlets in Basavanagudi, Jayanagar 4th Block, Malleshwaram, M.G.Road and new ones coming up in prominent areas. Other chains with a less prominent presence include Nilgiris(M.G.Road), Dmart(D.V.G Road), etc.,
Body and Soul - Near Purvankara-Riviera (Marath halli) - expensive and not good
List of Major Hospitals:
Plus a whole lot of smaller hospitals in every area.
Band Box on Brigade road . Snow white on Mission road Also You can find almost one laundry shop in every major road.
Mochis on Brigade Road. You'd find the regular cobbler on every street corner.
Pharmacies are dime a dozen and you should not have any problem locating one. You do not need any prescription for allopathic Over the Counter drugs and ayurvedic medicine(proprietary and traditional), which are available for most common ailments like fever, headache,etc., But you will need prescription for other medicines, which are categorised as Schedule H drugs.
A tourist who travels to Bangalore will find an added bonus in a rich variety of activities that they can do close to and around Bangalore. There are lovely trekking spots, a wide range of waterfalls and scenic locations, picturesque drives close to and around this city. Some are mentioned below in detail.
Close and around
Supa Dam: Canoeing on Supa Reservoir The Back water of the Supa dam is formed on the Kali River . The river originates at Dighi close to Ganeshgudi and flows through the Dandeli wildlife sanctuary before it opens out into the Arabian Sea in Karwar. The water is warm and friendly.
Other trips you can make are to
Yelagiri is a peaceful hill station in Tamil Nadu, 160 km from Bangalore. If you think that places like Ooty are mercilessly commercialised then Yelagiri hills is a peaceful, sleepy retreat where everything is in slow motion. It is a sleepy hill retreat as yet unspoilt by wanton commercialisation. One can find some 10 nice places of stay in Yelagiri. I would recommend Rainbow Resorts which is a cozy place tucked even further into the hillside. Budget travellers can check out Nigress hotel which provides comfortable rooms (with attached dining/sitting area, badminton court etc for Rs500/- [as in July 2005])
Getting There : Route is Bangalore -(40km)- hosur -(70km) krishnagiri -(40km) Vanayambadi -(20km) Yelagiri. (distances are approx) Highway branches after Krishnagiri and you need to travel on highway going left to reach vanayambadi. Do not be tempted to take the shortcut via Tirupatur as there is a stretch of mud road to navigate and 4 wheelers can get stuck there, plus you won't be saving much time.
The highway from Bangalore till Vanayambadi is a dream... You can cruise along at 120 kmph on 4 lane highway, some stretches of which are even better than US InterStates with 3 lanes + shoulder on each side separated by a wide median. The last 12 km from Vanyambadi - Yelagiri is lovely Ghat(mountain) Road which is wide enough and in good condition with very light traffic.
Things to do: Best is to relax in theme cottages at Rainbow Resort (or anywhere else), watching the misty hills in evening.
There is also a lake where one can enjoy boating ( I would suggest being at lake by 9:00 - 9:30 am to avoid the rush after 10 am).
Next one can move 5 km down on main road to reach the valley view point at SwamyMalai. You will have to park the vehicle at temple on left side of road and trek uphill for an hour or so. The trek is enjoyable passing through local farms with fruit trees near you (u can pluck a pomegranate or Shareefa/sitaphal to nibble upon). do not forget to carry water as there is no water up the hill.
There is also some waterfalls which I hadn't checked out. Ask your hotel front desk or at boat house for instructions about getting to the Falls.
Shivanasamudram is the location of a HydroElectric project, but more pertinently it is also home to a few lovely water falls. The two falls are really majestic in the monsoon season ( I went in August) but there is water year-round.
Getting There : Route is Bangalore - kanakpura -malvalli - Shivasamudram (Approx 120 km) Take the Kanakpura road and drive peacefully till Kanakpura, traffic is slight compared to the other route and this route should be ideal for bikers. After Kanakpura there is a fork in road where left branch goes to Chunchi Falls, you need to take the straight branch (ask someone for direction to Malvalli). Drive through Malvalli is scenic with lush green paddy fields on both side.. (Young/new paddy shoots are the greenest-green you would see in nature.) Anyway take left after Malvalli, you would be reaching the falls in 20 kms or so...
Alternate Route : You can also drive along Mysore road till Maddur and take a left from there towards Malvalli and keep going straight till Shivanasamudram. A bit longer route though road condition would be much better (but you will find lot more traffic as well.)
Things to do: There are 2 falls about 2 km apart, the first one (Bhara Chukki I guess) has also got a Dargah near it. I was able to have a splash in the next fall (I think that one was Gagana Chukki) If the conditions are right (not too much water) then you can walk/trek all the way down to the falls and have a nice swim. Locate a nice shallow area and wade in...
PLEASE BE CAREFUL IN SELECTING A SAFE PLACE AS THERE ARE NO LIFEGUARDS AROUND!!
It would be a good idea to pack your lunch and water as not much is available apart from warm softdrinks.
Around 90 km from Bangalore one can reach Chunchi Falls which are 'Bathable/Playable' falls, meaning that one can jump in and have fun. Non - swimmers can splash in smaller pools upstream from the main falls ( go to second or third upstream pool where depth is around 5 feet) BUT USE YOUR DISCRETION BEFORE TAKING THE PLUNGE. Normally you would get automatic company of small local boys who would escort you down to the falls/pools and expect Rs20-50, they can point out suitable pools and even dive in to show you the actual depth.
Getting There: Move out on Kanakpura road (it's on Banshankari side) and move past kanakpura, you will reach a fork in the road and take the left fork, after travelling 22 km or so on this left fork you would come across a gate sort of structure on the left with small cement board saying Chunchi Falls. The falls are 5 kms from this place. If you are starting from Outer Ring Rd/Kanakpura Rd junction, Kanakpura is 47 kms.
To reach Sangam do not take the Chunchi Fall gate and continue straight on the same road for another 12-15 kms. Around 2 kms stretch on this road is not in a very good shape. Here again the waters are shallow and bathing is safe (Again use your discretion). You can pay Rs 80 to get "Basket Boats" to cross the stream. The other side has a children park, better greenery and a track to walk along the stream.
It would be a good idea to pack your lunch and water as not much is available at Chunchi Falls (you can get omelettes, fish pakoras and cold drink etc at Sangam but not much else)
A range of craggy hills (the highest peak being 1,478 m) that hold the shimmering Amrita Samovar Lake and and offer walks of sylvan beauty. A popular health resort today, it was also the place Tipu Sultan and assorted royalty retired to when they sought to escape the din of battle and the heat of the plains. Nandi Hills
The hills are located about 60km north of Bangalore and about 3940 ft above sea level. The deviation road at Oordagere on the Bangalore-Tumkur Road can reach it. On the top of the hill, there are temples dedicated to Sri Ugra Narasimha and Sri Yoga Narasimha. On the lower hill there is a temple dedicated to Sri Bhoga Narasimha. There is a Traveler's Bungalow and a Kalyana Mantap on the top of the hill and a Forest Lodge and Taluk Board T.B. at the foot of the hill.
A flight of 1,175 steps leads from the base of the hills to the top. On top was Tipu Sultan's summer retreat and remains of Tipu's fort bear this out. Tipu's Drop, a 600 metre high cliff face, where prisoners were hurled down the precipice is an awe-inspiring sight.
Sir Mark Cubbon, when he was Commissioner of Bangalore made this his summer residence. Mahatma Gandhi, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Queen Elizabeth II were among the other dignitaries who enjoyed their stay here. More recently, former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi and the SAARC delegates chose this spot for a retreat after their international deliberations. For accommodation at the T.B., contact the Executive Engineer, Public Works Department, Tumkur.
There is a motorable road to the top of the hill. There is a fairly extensive plateau with a garden. There are well-furnished bungalows for lodging and good catering establishments. For reservation of accommodation, the Director of Horticulture, Lalbagh, Bangalore- 2, (Ph.90 - 080 - 6611925) may be contacted. Hotel Mayura Pine Top, managed by KSTDC is here. (Ph: 90 - 08156 - 78624).
Kokkare Bellur (Village of Storks) is a small village on route to [Mysore]. Its one of the few nesting sites in India of Spotbilled Pelican. Its also home of hundreds of Painted Storks. Best time to visit is No to May and best time to see Pelicans is Dec and Jan. Its not a regular sanctuary. the Storks and Pelicans live on threes in the middle of village and quite used to humans around them. Mysore Amateur Naturalists (MAN) has been working in this village with the participation of villagers to preserve the nesting site of globally endangered Spotbilled Pelicans.
To reach here by road drive on Mysore highway for 65 km. Lookout for an easy to miss sign for Kokkare Bellur to take left. Drive another 12 kms.