Bangalore, which means ‘the town of beans’ was founded by Kempegowda, a chieftain under the Vijayanagar empire, in the early 16th century. The Capital of the  state of Karnataka, Bangalore is situated at an altitude of 920 meters above se leve, and extends over an area of 120 sq.kms. With a population of nearly 40 lakhs.

Bangalore is considered as the ‘Gateway to the South’ because of its strategic geographic location, and is connected by air, rail and road to all major cities in India. The ‘Garden city of India’ with beautiful parks, gardens and tree lined avenues, Bangalore once considered a veritable pensioner’s paradise because of its salubrious climate, is today a bustling metropolis, and an important nexus of commerce, industry, science, technology and culture.

Probably the faster growing city in Asia, Bangalore, the home of the Indian electronics industry is also considered as the ‘Computer City of India’ and often projected as the ‘Indian city of the future.’ Bangaloreans though essentially Kannadiga, are a conglomeration of people from all parts of India, with a pace of life that can be described as brisk, though tending towards the easy going.

For the traveling businessman or the tourist, Bangalore is an excellent place to visit, offering a wide range of hotels, restaurants, films and other cultural activities like dance and music, performances, sporting events, seminars, conventions etc. throughout the year.
Orientation: Life in Bangalore revolves around Kempegowda Circle and bustles in the narrow, busy streets of Gandhinagar and Chickpet, adjacent to the bus and railway stations. Here are the main shopping areas, cinemas and a variety of restaurants. Further to the west of Cubbon Park along Mahatma Gandhi Road and near Commercial Street are the more expensive hotels, restaurants and shops plus various office complexes.
Shopping: Bangalore has much to offer the discerning buyer. Here one can by the exquisite Mysore silks and handicraft items that Karnataka is famous for, namely rosewood and sandalwood carvings, ivory carvings, lacquer ware, bidriware and wood inlay articles. Mahatma Gandhi Road, Bridge Road and Commercial Street are the places to shop for trendy western style clothing besides traditional Indian styles. For handicrafts, the Government ‘Cauvery’ emporiums offer the best selections at the most competitive prices.

Theatre: Cultural life in Bangalore revolves around the Ravindra Kalakshetra, Chowdiah Memorial Hall and Guru Nanak Bhavan. Besides these there are a number of smaller auditoriums where cultural performances are held. In addition to its local productions of drama, dance and music, Bangalore is a stop for all touring national and international productions, in India.
Cinema: Bangalore has perhaps the largest number of cinema houses in the country. Its over 100 theatres provide the latest in English, Hindi, Kannada, Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam cinema. While the regional language cinemas are located near Kempegowda Circle, The English cinema houses are cluttered around Mahatma Gandhi Road.

Museums/Galleries: The Government museum   houses sections on geology, art, numismatics and relics from the Mahenjadaro Civilization. The Visveswaraya Technological and Industrial Museum has as its themes the application of science and technology to industry and human welfare. Both these museums are located on Kasturba Gandhi Road.
The Chitrakala Parishath near the Hotel Ashok, the Venkatappa Art Gallery on Kasturba Gandhi Road and the Kritika Art Gallery on St.Marks Road, provide year round exhibitions of art.

Races: Bangalore is one of the leading centers for horse racing. Its two seasons  marked by summer and winter cover eight months a year. Many prestigious national racing events are  held at the Bangalore Turf Club.
Golf: Bangalore has an excellent 18 greens golf course set in sylvan surroundings in the heart of the city.
Vidhana Soudha: Built of granite in the Neo-Dravidian style of architecture by Kengal Hanumanthiah and located at the northern end of Cubbon Park, this spectacular 5 storied building houses both the State Legislature and the Secretariat. The Vidhana Soudha cabinet room is famous for its massive door made of pure sandalwood. This building is illuminated on Sunday evenings and  on public holidays between 6.30 and 8.30 p.m Visitors to the building are allowed between 5.30 and  p.m. on all week days.

Cubbon Park: Laid out in 1864 by Lord Cubbon, this beautiful beflowered and wooded park, dotted with fountains and statues covers an area of 120 hectares. One of the main “lungs” of the city. This part also  houses the Public Library- an imposing red Gothic building, the High court, the Government Aquarium (the second biggest in the country), the Visveswaraya Technological and Industrial Museum and the Venkatappa Art Gallery. The Bal Bhavan- a children’s park, offers toy train and pony rides and a variety of play equipment.
Lal Bagh: Located in southern Bangalore, the Lal Bagh botanical gardens were laid out in the 18th century by Hyder Ali, and cover an area of 96 hectares. This park contains over a thousand species of trees and plants, lakes, lotus ponds, flower beds, a deer park and one of the largest collections of rare tropical and sub-tropical  plants in India. The Glass  House, modeled on London’s Crystal Palace is one of the main attractions in the Park, and the venue of bi-annual flower shows held in January and August.

Tippu’s Fort: Located on Krishnarajendra Road close to the City Market, this was originally a mud-brick structure build by Kempegowda in 1537. It was later rebuilt by Hyder Ali and his son Tippu Sultan in the 18th Century, but much of it was destroyed during the wars with the British. The fort is open to tourists everyday from 8 am to  6 pm.
Tippu’s Palace: Constructed largely out of wood, with elaborate arches surrounded by minarets and paintings, this place was once the summer residence of Tippu Sultan and completed in 1791. It resembles the Daria  Daulat Bagh at Srirangapatnam near Mysore. The place is open to the public from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. everyday.

Ulsoor Lake: A picturesque artificial lake surrounding five islands, situated in the heart of the city. Boating facilities are available for tourists. This islands are illuminated on weekends and public holidays.
Karnataka is a world within the world called India. An amalgamation of various cultures  through centuries of history. Karnataka has an enviable heritage and presents much to be discovered.

Temples and Structures:
Karnataka is a land rich in religious heritage. Across the entire state, temples and other religious structures dot the landscape, weaving a harmony amongst the people through their diversity of styles and synthesis of purpose. 

Aihole: At Aihole can be seen Hindu temple architecture in its embryonic stage, from the earliest Ladkhan temple to the later and  more complex Kunligudi and Durgigudi temples is unique being circular in shape, and surmounted by a primitive goupuram. The town has in addition over 70 temples dedicated to various deities of the Hindu Pantheon.
Close to   Aiuhole is Badami and Pattadkal, also famous for their magnificent representations of early Hindu architecture from the 5th to the 8th century.

Talkad: 45 kms from Mysore is the site  of the Vaidyeswara temple built of granite in the Dravidian style.
Belur and Halebid: Sixteen kms from each other, Belur and Halbeid present the most outstanding examples of Hoysala temple art that dates back from the 10th to 13th century. Built from soap stone, the 
walls of these temples are elaborately carved with scenes from war, hunting, agriculture, music and dancing. The sculptural decorations on these superb temples-the Hoysaleswara temple at Halebid, and the Channekeshava Temple at Belur-rival the temples of Khajuraho and Konark or the best of European Gothic art. 12kms north of Halebid is Belavadi, where the biggest triple shrinedtemple of the Hoysala is situated.

Other important temple sites in Karnataka Somnathpur near Mysore which like the Hoysalan temples of Belur and Halebid is star shaped, but unlike them it is a triple shrined temple which a cloister like enclosure forming a courtyard in which the shrine is set.

Karnataka capsules 1500 years of Indian architectural history. From the 6thth  century Bijapur, and the later British rule in India. One can witness cultural relics of the various dynasties that ruled Karnataka, commencing with the Chalukyan’s to the 15th century Adil Shahi’s up to the British Raj. Diversity and synthesis of Jain, Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim and Christian religions meets the eye in the discovery of architecture in Karnataka. century Aihole to the 15

A princely state until independence, Mysore even today retains much of its old charm. Beautifully planned gardens and palatial buildings give Mysore and individuality and unique ambience. Te Maharaja’s palace built in the Indo-Saracenic style of  architecture with domes, turrets, arches and colonnades as beautiful Hoysala style carvings decorating its walls. The other important buildings are the Lalitha Mahal Palace and Rajendra Vilas Palace now converted into hotels, and the Jagmohan Palance now the Sir Jayachamarajendra Art Gallery. The St. Philomena’s Church at Mysore is the only example of Gothic architecture in this part of the world.
Just  outside  Mysore is the ruined fortress city of Srirangapatnam built by Hyder Ali and his son Tippu Sultan on an island in the river Cauvery in the 18th century. Also near Mysore is the famed and beautiful temple of Somnathpur.


‘The Agra of the South’ Bijapur is a pleasant garden city, full of ruined though intact gems of 15th to 17th century Muslim architecture-mosques, mausoleums, palaces and fortifications. The Golgumbaz, and enormous structure with its vast hemispherical dome has acoustics that repeat each sound 12 times, said to be the second largest in the world. The Ibrahim Roza mausoleum in Bijapur is one of the most beautiful and finely proportioned  Islamic monuments anywhere in the world, with substantial stone filigree and decorative work.


Once the greatest of all medieval Hindu capitals, Hampi or Vijayanagar is a city of architectural delights. From its fortifications and gateways to the famed Virupaksha, Krishna, Tiruvengalanatha and Vittala temple complexes, Hampi presents a unique style of architecture categorised by its low elevations with elaborate filigree work.

Situated between the Vindyagiri and Chandragiri hills, Sravanabelagola is one of the oldest and most important JAIN pilgrimage centres in India, and the site of the 107 year old 17 meter high statue of Lord Bahubali (Gomateshvara)- the largest monolithic statue in the world. In addition there are many interesting Jain temples and monasteries in the vicinity.

Karnataka, whose forests cover over 18% of the land area, has an abundance of wildlife to offer. From the lion safari and mini zoo at the Bannerghatta National Park (20 kms from downtown Bangalore) to the most popular Bandipur (Season between May and November) beyond Mysore and on the way to Ooty, where tigers, elephants, bison, spotted deer and sambar can be viewed from tree platforms, jeeps or elephant back.

The Nagarhole wildlife Sanctuary (season between October and May) offers excellent game safaris with residential facilities, besides the opportunity to see roaming wild boar or the breath-taking sight  of a tiger or leopart. Northwards, close to Karwar with Belgaum as the airport is Dandeli, offering a view of the wildlife from watch towers. For anglers, there is a variety of fish in the adjacent Kali river.

Close toe Srirangapattnam on the way to Mysore from Bangalore on an island in the river Cauvery is Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary. Thousands of migratory birds ranging from the Caromonerat, White lbis, Pond Herons, Spoonbills etc., flock here to the sheer delight of bird watchers. Season at Ranganathittu is between June and October.

With a coastline of over 300 kms, Karnataka offers some of the finest virgin beaches in India. The Ullal beach is an Arabian seaside resort, more popular than the rest, just 5 kms from Mangalore-the business city, which is connected by air, rail and road. Not very far away is the now fast developing Malpe, with access from Manipal. The port town of Coondapur, and further the Binaga and Araga beaches of the seaside town of Karwar in the north were once visited by Vascoda-Gama, and extremely popular with tourists.

Hill Stations:

Coorg or Kodagu is the  most popular hill station in Karnataka. The source other river Cauvery, Coorg nestles in the Western ghats, and is approachable by road from Mangalore, Mysore and Bangalore. A land of Green-topped hills, downs and bush valleys, famous for its extensive coffee estates, Coorg has a lifestyle that is reminiscent of British times.  Tadiyendamol, the tallest peak in Coorg is a trekkers paradise.


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