Top 10 Things to do when in Namma Bengaluru

Bengaluru, a bustling and diverse city, is a great destination for tourists and business travelers alike. Dubbed the Garden City, Silicon Valley, Pub Capital, and Start-Up Capital of India, Bengaluru is known for its vibrant culture and cosmopolitan atmosphere. With its eclectic mix of people from all over India, Bengaluru is the most diversified city in the country. As someone who was born and raised here, I have compiled a list of must-do activities if you have only one day to spend in Bengaluru. These include my favorite experiences, places to visit, and restaurants to try.

1. Lalbagh garden

Lalbagh Botanical Garden, Mavalli, Bengaluru | WhatsHot Bangalore

To kickstart your day in Bengaluru a visit to the beautiful Lalbagh Botanical Gardens is an excellent option. While this tourist attraction is popular among visitors, locals prefer to visit the gardens early in the morning to take advantage of its serene atmosphere. You’ll find people of all ages engaging in various activities, from yoga and meditation to jogging and walking, as you explore the park’s numerous attractions. These include a 3000-million-year-old rock formation, India’s first lawn clock, a 300-year-old tree, and the Glass House, which showcases an array of exotic flowers and plants from around the world. The gardens were established in 1760 by Tippu Sultan and have since flourished into an extensive botanical paradise. The Glass House also hosts a biannual flower show with varying themes that attracts thousands of visitors each year.

Tip: Here’s a useful tip for your visit to Lalbagh Botanical Gardens: the park has four entrances, and the main gate is located near the MTR restaurant, which is worth a visit after you explore the gardens. Keep in mind that plastic bottles are not permitted inside the park, so if you’re carrying bottled water, make sure it’s in a steel, glass, or Tupperware container. Additionally, you can take a 40-minute tour inside the gardens on a buggy cart for a fee of Rs.100 per person.

2. MTR

Bangalore's 98-Year-Old Iconic Restaurant MTR Opens Outlet In London

(Mavalli Tiffin Rooms) is a renowned chain of restaurants in Bangalore, but if you want to experience the original one, head to the Lalbagh Road outlet located near the east entrance of Lalbagh Botanical Gardens. The restaurant, which dates back to the 1940s, is a favorite breakfast spot among locals and visitors alike. The star dish at MTR is the Masala Dosa, which is generously coated with ghee and best enjoyed with a cup of filter coffee. Over the years, MTR has served many dignitaries and famous actors, with their photographs proudly displayed on the walls. Despite its storied history, MTR continues to charm customers with its authentic South Indian cuisine and old-world ambiance.

Tip: Here’s a useful tip for visiting MTR: the restaurant can get very crowded, especially on weekends. To avoid the rush, try to get there as early as possible. It’s also common for customers to share tables, which can be a great way to strike up a conversation with locals who are eager to share their love for this iconic restaurant.

3. The Bull temple

2023 Bull temple layout Heritage walk provided by Bengaluru By Foot

It is a must-visit destination in Bengaluru. This 500-year-old temple is famous for its monolithic statue of a bull, carved entirely out of granite stone. Located near the MTR restaurant, the temple attracts both devotees and tourists alike. Unlike other temples, it remains open throughout the day, making it an ideal destination for a visit any time of day. The temple’s history is fascinating, and the area it’s located in is known as Basavanagudi, meaning “the abode of the bull.” I recommend going inside the temple to take blessings from the friendly priests and observe the customs and traditions of the temple.

Tip: When visiting the Bull temple, keep in mind that footwear is not allowed inside the main temple area and must be left outside with caretakers who charge a small fee for their service. It’s customary to leave a small donation in the box inside the temple, as it goes towards the maintenance of the temple. Dress code is casual and modest, with knee-length and sleeveless attire being acceptable.

4. Chitrakala Parishath

Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath | WhatsHot Bangalore

It is a multifaceted institution that serves as an art school, museum, gallery and performance venue. The gallery is home to a vast collection of paintings, including works by students and renowned artists. These works showcase a range of subjects, from people to Indian architecture. The space also frequently hosts cultural performances, as well as local flea markets where craft makers display unique items from different states, such as blue pottery, glassware, silks, traditional jewelry, and more.

One of the most anticipated events at Chitrakala Parishath is the annual street art festival called ‘Chitra Sante’, which takes place every January on the open road next to the institution. This festival is the largest street art festival in India, featuring art from artists across the country for sale. It attracts thousands of visitors each year.

Tip: Great tip! It’s important to note that the gallery timings are usually from 10 am to 5 pm, and it’s closed on Sundays and national holidays. However, it’s always better to check the official website or call the gallery before planning your visit. The entry fee for the gallery is nominal, and it’s advisable to keep some cash handy for any purchases you might want to make at the flea market or street art festival.

5. The Bangalore Palace

Bangalore Palace | Entry Fee, Visiting Timings & History of Bangalore Palace

The Bangalore Palace is constructed during the British colonial era in the 1800s by the Mysore kings, boasts a majestic Tudor architecture that exudes a royal charm. Upon entering the palace, visitors can witness the Royal Ballroom, Durbar Hall with its neo-classical furniture, an open courtyard influenced by Spanish design, separate quarters for men and women, and many more features. The palace is adorned with exquisite paintings by renowned artists and photographs of the royalty of yesteryears. Guests can also admire the beautiful wooden furniture, artifacts, and decorative items that showcase both Indian and European influences. The kings’ fondness for hunting is evident with the presence of a large elephant tusk mounted on the wall and a stool made from its legs.

Tip: The palace is open to visitors from 10:00 am to 5:30 pm on all days of the week. There is an entry fee for Indians and foreigners, and additional charges for cameras and audio guides. Photography inside the palace is prohibited. Plan to spend at least 2-3 hours exploring the palace and its surroundings, which includes a beautiful garden, a fountain and a small souvenir shop. There are also occasional events and concerts that take place in the palace grounds, so do check the schedule before you plan your visit.

6. Soda Bottle Opener Wala

SODABOTTLEOPENERWALA, Bengaluru - Richmond Town - Restaurant Reviews, Phone Number & Photos - Tripadvisor

It is a Bombay-style cafe and Irani bar that offers mouth-watering dishes for both vegetarians and non-vegetarians. The restaurant is always bustling with patrons, and you can enjoy old Bollywood music playing in the background as you listen to the lively chatter. The interior decor is vibrant and eccentric, featuring amusing signage to entertain you while you wait for your order. There is even a train track running along the ceiling that you might get to see in action if you’re lucky. Some of their standout dishes include Bori Kheema Pav, Vada Pav, Khanda Bhajjiya, Dhan Shak, Crispy Okra, and my personal favorite, the Matunga Coffee Cake!

Tip: Additionally, it’s important to note that Soda Bottle Opener Wala has multiple locations in Bangalore, so make sure to check the address of the specific one you want to visit before heading out. Also, be aware that the restaurant does not serve alcohol.

7. Vidhana Soudha

Vidhana Soudha, Bangalore (Karnataka) | Timings, Entry Fees, Photos

Vidhana Soudha is a magnificent legislative house located in Bengaluru, and it serves as the seat of the state government. It is a must-visit place for anyone traveling to Bengaluru, and you shouldn’t miss the opportunity to take a picture of it. The building’s architecture is stunning, and it’s the largest legislative-secretariat building in the country. Interestingly, the High Court building on the opposite side of the road has colonial architecture, creating a striking contrast between the two buildings. Additionally, there is a smaller building nearby called the Vikasa Soudha, which was built to accommodate the growing number of state administration members. A statue of Mahatma Gandhi stands between the two buildings.

Tip: To get a better picture of the Parliament house, stand on the opposite side of the road. Unfortunately, entry inside the building is restricted due to security reasons.

8. Commercial Street

Commercial Street, Bangalore - Wikipedia

It is a popular shopping destination in Bengaluru that offers a mix of branded and local products. It is a great place for window shopping, as locals come here to shop for clothes, shoes, accessories, home décor, antiques, dress materials, and more. While the main street has a variety of items, there are smaller streets, alleys, and buildings that specialize in particular items, such as Jewellery’s street for silver jewellery, Silver Plaza for fabrics, and Narayan Pillai street for dupattas.

When shopping in Commercial Street, keep in mind that bargaining is only possible at the local stores, street shops, and Kashmir handicraft stores. Branded stores have fixed prices that cannot be negotiated. Additionally, the shops close by 8:30 pm, so it is best to plan your shopping accordingly.

Tip : If you’re planning to shop at Commercial Street, keep in mind that bargaining is only possible at local stores, street shops, and Kashmir handicraft stores. Branded stores have fixed prices. Also, note that the shops close at 8:30 pm, so plan your shopping accordingly if you have a long list.

9. Brigade Road

6 Things To Do At Brigade Road In Bengaluru

It is a smaller shopping area in Bengaluru compared to Commercial Street, but it offers a unique blend of entertainment, including both branded and unbranded stores, cafes, bars, and restaurants. It’s a popular destination for college-going students, and a walk down this road will give you a taste of the city’s vibrant culture. At the beginning of the street, you’ll find the iconic Cauvery Emporium, a must-visit old building for souvenirs and handicraft shopping.

A small street adjacent to Brigade Road is Rest House Road, which is home to several pubs, including the famous Pecos, a rare find in Bangalore where the pub culture and rock music scene has declined. At the end of Brigade Road is the Opera House, which was once a renowned entertainment spot during the British era. Now, it’s been restored and transformed into the Samsung Experience Centre.

Tip: To truly soak in the culture of this area, it is recommended that you take a stroll down Brigade Road instead of just driving past it.

10. Permit Room

The Permit Room - Picture of The Permit Room, Bengaluru - Tripadvisor

It offers a unique twist on traditional Indian cuisine and beverages, particularly from the South India region. Some standout dishes include the Cubbon Park salad, Non-resident Idlis, Brain dry fry, Nalli Biryani, and Baked Mysuru Pak. The bar menu is also noteworthy with drinks such as Fizzy Kosambari, Ammachis Kashayam, and Guntur Liquid Chutney, adding an Indian flair to classic cocktails. Additionally, the quirky decor adds to the overall experience with movie posters and vintage matchbox designs adorning the walls. Whether visiting with family or friends, the ambiance of Permit Room is sure to impress.

Tip: It is recommended to make a reservation in advance, especially on weekends when the place gets crowded quickly. If you’re unsure what to order, feel free to ask the waiters for recommendations based on your taste and spice preferences

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