Bangalore is another Indian city that's undergoing a change back to its traditional name, Bengaluru. In contrast to many south Indian cities, Bangalore is a contemporary, fast growing, and prosperous place that's home to India's IT industry. Many multinational corporations have set up their Indian head office there. As a result, the city is full of young professionals and has a vibrant, cosmopolitan air about it. Many people love Bangalore, as it's a relatively relaxed city that's full of greenery and interesting buildings. This Bangalore guide and city profile is full of travel information and tips.
Bangalore was founded in 1537 by a local chieftain, who upon being given the land by a Vijaynagar emperor, built a mud fort and temple there. Over the years, the city has undergone a massive transformation. Its earlier days saw it passed from ruler to ruler, until the British Raj took hold of it and located their south Indian administration there in 1831. The British constructed considerable infrastructure, and after India gained independence, Bangalore grew into an important center for education, science, and information technology.
Bangalore is located in the state of Karnataka, in southern India.
There are 6 million people living in Bangalore, making it India's fifth largest city after Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, and Chennai.
Due to its elevation, Bangalore is blessed with relatively pleasant climate. Day time temperatures remains fairly constant, between 26-29 degrees Celsius (79-84 degrees Fahrenheit), for most of the year. The temperature usually only exceeds 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit) during the hotter months from March to May, when it can reach around 34 degrees Celsius (93 degrees Fahrenheit). Winters in Bangalore are warm and sunny, although the temperature does drop at night to around 15 degrees Celsius (59 degrees Fahrenheit). Winter mornings can also be foggy. September and October are particularly rainy months.
Bangalore Airport Information:
Bangalore has a brand new international airport, which opened in May 2008. However, it's located 40 kilometers (25 miles) away from the city center. The travel time to the airport is between one and two hours, depending on traffic. A taxi costs around 800 rupees ($20) one way, so many people prefer to take the airport shuttle bus service provided by the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation. These air conditioned Volvo buses are scheduled to depart every 15 minutes from various locations around the city, and cost 100-200 rupees ($2.50-$5.00) one way.
The quickest and easiest way to get around Bangalore is by auto rickshaw. However, if you're not from the city, it's certain that drivers will try to cheat you by taking a long route to your destination. Taxis are only available by prior booking, thus making them inconvenient for impromptu travel but great if you want to rent a car and driver for a few hours of sightseeing. The other alternative is to take a bus, and this can be a cheap and easy way of going on a mini tour of the city. Board a bus near the start of the route at Majestic or Shivaji Nagar, and you'll get a great insight into life in Bangalore.
The Bangalore Metro train service is now also up and running, although the first phase won't be completely functional until 2013.
Bangalore Top Attractions:
Nature lovers will delight in the Lal Bagh Botanical Gardens, and two hour Green Heritage Walks
take place from 7 a.m. on weekends. Tipu Sultan's Fort, the imposing Vidhana Soudha parliamentary building, various temples around the city, Bangalore Palace, and Venkatappa Art Gallery are all worth seeing. There's also a great science museum for kids. The Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation runs Bangalore sightseeing tours.
Just out of the city, elephant rides are possible at the Bannerghatta National Park. Bangalore has a thriving pub scene, but most places shut around 11 p.m. due to the curfew in place.
Bangalore Health and Safety Information:
Bangalore is a relatively safe Indian city and organized crime is almost non-existent. The city is also quite liberal in its attitude compared to many Indian cities, resulting in better treatment of women and less staring. However, be careful of pickpockets in tourist areas. The usual tourist scams also operate in Bangalore, but again, to a lesser extent than in many other Indian cities. Overall, Bangalore is a friendly city to visit.
As always in India, it's important not to drink the water in Bangalore. Instead buy readily available and inexpensive bottled water to stay healthy. In addition, it's a good idea to visit your doctor or travel clinic well in advance of your departure date to ensure that you receive all the necessary immunizations and medications, especially in relation to illnesses such as malaria and hepatitis.