Legend has it that King Veeraballa of Vijayanagara once lost his way in a forest. Hungry and exhausted, he chanced upon an old woman cooking outside a hut. He begged her for food and was given a bowl of baked beans or ‘benda kallu’ in Kannada.
The king’s gratitude was so immense that he named the place after the dish. Hence the region came to be known as ‘Benda Kallu Ooru’, or ‘Land of baked beans’ which eventually became Bangalore.
The History Of Bangalore
On the cusp of achieving independence, Bangalore was still a part of the state of Mysore in 1945-46. The city was one of the first in Asia to use hydroelectricity. Bangalore was known as the Garden city of India.
Today, the name of the city may have changed to Bengaluru, but the essence of the city remains the same. Brigade road, one of the most crowded roads today, was a wide road back in the day that saw limited vehicular movement.
Like the road, many of the buildings flanking the road are also still standing today. Some of these buildings house the current Post Office and stores like Ashok Electricals and the Louis Philip and LEE showroom. South Parade Road was another important artery in the city. Today, it has been renamed as M.G. Road.
Over the years, Bangalore has expanded and grown in all directions. The present-day IT hub and the electronic city did not always look like this. Back in the day, Hosur Road saw more bullock cart traffic than people and vehicles.
It is believed that before independence, Bangalore had fewer than 1000 cars plying the streets. This may be hard to imagine given the mile-long traffic jams that are an everyday occurrence now. How do we know this- the number plates for the cars of that time had only three digits.
Thus, not only could the number of cars in Bangalore have been limited to under 1000, there may have been fewer than 1000 cars in the entire state of Mysore.
Soon after independence, the state of Mysore was renamed as Karnataka with Bangalore continuing to be the capital. The city experienced tremendous real estate growth with the IT boom and is today one of the most populous cities in India.
Bengaluru – A Tourist’s Heaven
Bangalore (Bengaluru), also known as the Silicon Valley of the south, is a perfect example of peaceful coexistence. Recent years have seen Bengaluru develop and grow exponentially, while staying true to its roots. Despite its gradual metamorphosis into a concrete jungle filled with corporates and high-end pubs, Bengaluru remains a tourist hub with several million tourists flocking to see the various sights in and around the city every year.
Sightseeing options in and around Bangalore
Bengaluru is blessed with a multitude of sightseeing options, which include architectural marvels as well as spots of unparalleled natural beauty. Some of the chief attractions are mentioned below.
Lalbagh: Sprawling over 240 acres of land, Lalbagh gets its name due to the sheer number of red roses growing in it. Ever since it was built in 1760 by Hyder Ali, Lalbagh has grown in leaps and bounds. It now boasts one of the most extensive collections of rare tropical plants, topiary, and several other attractions.
Cubbon Park: Cubbon Park is synonymous with Bengaluru. Situated at the very heart of the city in close proximity to several landmarks such as Vidhana Soudha, Cubbon Park offers respite from the hustle and bustle of modern Bengaluru. Boasting a variety of flora in its premises, Cubbon Park is very popular among both fitness enthusiasts and botanical researchers.
Vidhana Soudha: This is an edifice which is steeped in the history of Bangalore, and is symbolic of the melting pot of ethnicities that Bengaluru has become. Its construction was completed in 1956 and was inaugurated by the then Prime Minister, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. The building contains elements of British, Dravidian and Indo-Islamic architecture, and is truly a marriage of cultures.
Bangalore Palace: Built in 1887 by King Chamaraja Wodeyar, Bangalore Palace is noteworthy for its Tudor style design. The beauty and simplicity of its wooden façade and lush green grounds has fascinated tourists for decades. It has an open courtyard in its ground floor which has been used for several purposes, such as concerts, weddings, exhibitions etc.
Tipu Sultan’s summer palace: Built in 1791 as the summer residence of the then Sultan of Mysore, the palace is still a popular tourist destination due to its exquisite and intricate architecture. There is an Islamic tone to much of the carvings and decorations. The ground floor is now used as a museum and draws a large crowd every year.
Bannerghatta National Park: Started in 1971, Bannerghatta National Park was started with the objectives of conserving endangered species, and promoting ecotourism. With a plethora of wildlife, ranging from panthers, lions, tigers, and black bears, the park draws several thousand visitors every year. It is situated 22 km from Bengaluru and is easily accessible by car.
Nandi Hills: Situated 60 km from Bengaluru, this hill station is one of the most convenient weekend getaways for people living in Bengaluru. It is extremely popular among superbike clubs and vehicle enthusiasts due to the good quality roads. The Nandi sunrise is legendary and draws people from all over the country to this eclectic and remote hill station.
Budget shopping destinations in Bengaluru
Bengaluru is also a shopaholics’ dream come true and boasts of several budget shopping destinations.
Chickpet: Over its 400 years history, Chickpet has carved its own niche in the textile industry as a saree haven. Several millions worth of every variety of saree known to man are sold every day in Chickpet. Silver and gold ornaments at very reasonable rates also witness booming sales here.
Brigade road: Brigade road is one such place that has commercial establishments at both ends of the price spectrum. It has generic designer outlets and brand showrooms, as well as its own collection of budget stalls and small shops. Anything from handicrafts to cloths and spices are available at reasonable prices. In spite of the mushrooming of expensive outlets in and around it, Brigade Road has stayed true to its origins as a budget shopping destination.
Commercial Street: Ever since its inception, Commercial Street has seen a footfall of a few thousand every day, due to the reasonable prices and the shopkeepers’ receptiveness to bargaining. Sports enthusiasts especially will love Commercial Street for the amazing deals it offers on sports goods and accessories. Traditional and imported footwear, electronic items, biker apparel are all available for half the price at branded outlets.
How to reach Bengaluru
The city is well connected by air, rail and road to all major cities in the country.
The city is well-connected by regular flights from almost all important cities in India. Many international carriers flow in and out of the Bengaluru International Airport. The airport is located at a distance of about 40 km from the city center.
Two main railway stations connect Bengaluru e to the rest of the country – Bengaluru City Railway Station and Yeswantpur Junction. Both the stations have regular trains running from various cities of the country.
The city enjoys road connectivity to several nearby cities through a network of buses. Different kinds of buses, including regular buses, Volvo, air-conditioned, and sleeper coaches are available for reaching Bengaluru. Some of the buses are operated by Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) while others are run by private operators.
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