City Info

Bangalore is India’s 6th largest city and has taken on many avatars over the centuries, starting with the town of wild beans (from which the name Bengaluru is derived), to pensioners paradise, to India’s garden city, to the IT Capital that it has boomed into today.

The original small town was founded by a legendary Chieftan from Vijayanagar, Kempe Gowda, in the early 16th century. The city primarily grew around 2 hubs: the old city on the west and the new cantonment on the east. The old city and the cantonment eventually merged to form the present city after the British left in 1947, and Bangalore became the capital city when Mysore state joined the Indian union in 1956.

Drawn by the mild climate, Bangalore became a preferred destination for pensioners to settle down especially after retiring from the armed forces. But the real impact of urbanization began to be felt in the early 1900’s, following Bangalore’s electrification on priority, when the city made a headstart in the fields of scientific research, advancement, and industrialization, thus attracting people from different parts of India began to migrate to Bangalore.

Between 1901-1991 the city expanded from 74.72 Sq. km. To 200 Sq. km. and the population increased from 0.16 million to 4.75 million. And so, not so gradually, the pensioners paradise transformed into a booming urban metropolis becoming more complex and diverse. It stands at over 10 million and is still the fastest growing city in the country. A recent McKinsey study says that by the year 2020 Bangalore will become the single largest IT cluster on the planet —overtaking the American Silicon Valley — with 2 million IT professionals, 6 million direct or indirect IT jobs, and $80 billion in IT exports.

Tips4Travellers

It would be wrong to compare Bangalore with Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Hyderabad, cities that have long preserved their history. So if you come in expecting monuments that blow your mind, then you will only be disappointed. Instead, you can expect Bangalore’s pleasant climate, friendly people, English speaking population (much more than most other big cities in India), easy-drinking and dining spots, great shopping, and fascinating curated cultural experiences.

Answering common questions and offering advice that can be very useful. If you don’t find the answer to your question, please email us on  neha@culturerings.com. If you plan to move to the city, you should seriously consider joining FIVE OCEANS (www.fiveoceans.club), which is a lifestyle and social community that regularly organizes events and gets its members invited to the best do’s in the city.

Do not expect world-class tourist attractions, as it is more of a business/tech city which nonetheless has retained some of the British Raj cultures in charming little pockets, along with some green spaces, parks and interesting colonial architecture.

Getting an Indian visa is relatively straightforward, with standard immigration and customs procedures. Like most countries, all you need is a valid passport and an onward/return ticket. You’ll also need a visa, which some nationalities can now obtain on arrival. Other nationalities or those wishing to stay more than 30 days need to get their visa beforehand. Your passport should be valid for at least six months beyond your intended stay in India. If your passport is lost or stolen, immediately contact your country’s representative. Keep photocopies of your airline ticket and the identity and visa pages of your passport in case of an emergency. Even better, scan and email copies to yourself. Check with the Indian embassy in your home country for any special conditions that may exist for your nationality. A single entry visa valid for one month (VOA) is available at Bengaluru, Chennai, Cochin, Delhi, Goa, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai and Trivandrum airports. However, to avail this facility, you need to apply online at https://indianvisaonline.gov.in for an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA), a minimum of 4 and a maximum of 30 days before you are due to travel.

The fee is the US $60, and you have to upload a photograph as well as a copy of your passport. Travellers have reported being asked for documentation showing their hotel confirmation at the airport, though this is not specified on the VOA website. The VOA is valid from the date of arrival.

Drink & Dine

Bangalore is a Foodie, Drinker and Shopper’s Paradise
Explore with us…

For the best in class Food Tours, sign up here. If you’re more of a drinker, sign up for a personalised bar Crawl.

Explore Bangalore’s versatile food scene on your own or through our fascinating food and drinks tours and culinary experiences!

Local traditional Bangalorean mornings usually start with a very standard South Indian breakfast consisting of idlis, vadas, dosas accompanies with different chutneys and sambar, wrapped up with a cup of filter coffee to give you the caffeine you need to kickstart the day. However, there are also the more western palates that demand bacon and eggs or pancakes and toast, based on what you would like.

The traditional South Indian lunch on a banana leaf is a must have and can be found in various restaurants like Nagarjuna, Meghana foods, Nandhana etc.

Known as the pub hub of India, sober nights are a myth. From the biggest brewery in the country, Byg brewsky, to wine tastings, to cocktails to get you through the night or a peaceful scotch on the rocks, accompanied by the best finger food to keep it light, this city is sure to make sure you are not disappointed.

If you need advice on where to eat, we recommend that you visit the listing page on the website of Five Oceans, a social lifestyle club that has chosen the cities most worthwhile food and drink spots and recommends them.

If you’re a foodie and live in Bangalore, we also recommend you become a member of this exclusive club. The benefits of being a member will make you truly feel like royalty. VIP privileges extended by their partner brands to pamper you include special access to events, priority seating, upgrades, discounts, and add-on services in dining, wellness, home services and more. Your Five Oceans card will let you be privy to previews and exclusive shows that their have especially curated for their members. And you will partake in carefully selected experiences that exude luxury, adventure or entertainment – all at a special member rate.

If you have specific questions related to Dining and Drinking in Bangalore, please write them to  neha@culturerings.com.

History

Bean-town to Silicon Valley

The earliest references to Bangalore may have come from the rather esoteric term bendakaluru, meaning ‘boiled beans’, or an old stone inscription in ancient Kannada mentioning ‘bengaval-uru’, which translates into ‘City of Guards’. Once a dense forest with cool weather, myriad lakes, diverse fauna and flora, and a hunting-ground for kings and noblemen, bendakaluru has had a history that is part gentle folklore and part bloody war chronicles dating back to the Chola period in the 10th century AD. For the benefit of history buffs, here is a quick peek.

Arts

During the era of kingdoms, craftsmen and artisans were patronized by the different dynasties who ruled over the state of Karnataka (earlier known as Mysore State), but over the last few decades they have gradually adapted their crafts to suit the needs of more modern lifestyles. Age old arts and crafts that were indigenous to villages that surrounded Bangalore are available in the city and make for beautiful keepsakes, often useful in a utilitarian way too.Lately, Bangalore has become a nurturing platform for upcoming artists and also for traditional craftsmen from across the country. The city hosts a variety of art and artists centric events and exhibitions, inviting traditional and modern craftsman from all states of India to come and make themselves seen and appreciated.

The state is best known for its thriving industry of silk. Silk weaving that began in1912, when Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV, who ruled the princely state of Mysore, imported looms to weave customized silk for the royal family. Today Mysore silks are famous the world over and popular for their rich vibrant colors, luxurious feel and stunning gold borders.

  • Some of the crafts that have managed to hold their own in a rapidly changing environment:
  • From the toymakers of Chennapatna who manufacture lacquered wooden toys
  • Stone sculptors from Shivarpatna and Devanahalli who work with stone
  • Metal casters from Nagamangala inspired by the human form.
  • Fragrant sandalwood carvings, (do we still get these now?)
  • Delicate rosewood inlay work traditionally using ivory but now with faux ivory or mother of pearl
  • Bidri-ware made from an alloy of zinc, copper, tin, and lead, kinhal toys
  • Navalgund durries: cotton rugs woven by the Jamkhan women from the Dharwad district with interesting geometric designs.
  • Traditional jewelry: layered necklaces, elaborate bangles, earrings and waistbands made of gold and embellished with red, white and green stones.
  • Folk art puppets of all shapes and sizes
  • Traditional Mysore paintings that are easily recognized by their delicate lines and the subtle use of vegetable colors and rich gold leaf.

People

Bangalore- The fastest growing city in India. And home to a vibrant cultural and, entrepreneurial vibe that is evident across the old markets, the twisting alleyways, the bustling main streets and gleaming malls. Kannada film industry (affectionately called Sandalwood) thrives here and so multiple brewpubs, coffee houses ( this is the home of Café Coffee Day after all ) and an eclectic mix of old British colonial clubs , hi-tech hubs like electronic city plus a multitude of trendy bars, gastropubs a few cozy family run restaurants like Koshys that keep the old familiar pace alive.

Bangaloreans are by and large a friendly lot. Currently rather overwhelmed by the unprecedented influx of people from other parts, the ‘Old Bangalorean’ can still be spotted in the fascinating framework of this burgeoning city. Look for them among the pleasant merchants of KR market, who rarely hustle visitors, the hard working Dhobis ( washermen and women) who relentlessly toil away at their granite stone stations, the crafty tradesmen of Shivajinagar who can procure anything from rare car parts to antique ceramic doorknobs even if the source is rather dubious. Then among the dwindling Anglo Indian population, known for their unique joie de vivre, the reserved old Kannadiga families in the bylanes of Malleshwaram and Jayanagar, and the savvy shopkeepers of Commercial street. Then you have the newbies. Not for nothing has Bangalore earned the moniker of Silicon Valley with its proliferation of IT engineers, startup geeks, and successful CEO’s who have made their mark on the global economy with companies like Biocon, Infosys and Wipro,( not to forget the now infamous Vijay Mallya and Kingfisher beer) to name just a few.

But Bangaloreans are not limited to techies and brewmasters. Apart from a long line of distinguished scientists like CV Raman, mathematical genius Shakuntala Devi, cartoonists like B.V Ramamurthy, and architects like musicians like T. Chowdiah (after whom Chowdiah hall is named) Bangaloreans can also boast of wonderful musicians, artists, and designers. From rocking Biddu Appaiah with his special brand of music to Prasad Bidappa who helped make Bangalore the fashion capital of the South as did the likes of Deepika Padukone and Lara Dutta, with their glam factor. So whether its IISC ( Indian Institute of Science ), IIMB( Indian Institute of Management ,Bangalore) Shrishti , Chitrakala Parikshat and music schools Like the Bangalore School of Music run by the late Aruna Sundarlal , turning out achievers and shaping mindsets, Bangalore has always been a welcoming, open-minded friendly place where old-fashioned good manners were very important. And money was treated as a necessary evil to be spent judiciously not flashed and flaunted. But having said that, Bangaloreans are also adroitly shaking off old cautious spending habits, and willing to give the local economy a good kickstart.