Bangalore is India’s version of the Silicon Valley is also its third largest city, but it doesn’t show it. Unlike chaotic, dirty beehives like Mumbai, Kolkata, or Delhi, the thriving tech center of Bangalore looks like a prosperous Asian city. It enjoys some greenery on its streets and bears its mammoth size of 5 million people in the way a Western city might.
The downside is that Bangalore is a hum-drum destination for tourists. It has little in the way of the major attractions that make India so incredible. However, as a place to live and work, Bangalore is an expat’s dream. Sitting somewhere in the middle of those two poles is the business traveler, and there are plenty of those in Bangalore in need of something to do with their downtime. Here are some ideas that should keep a hard-working traveler working on assignment in Bangalore busy for weeks:
Lal Bagh Gardens: Laid out by the 18th Century overlords of Mysore who gave the British so much trouble, Haider Ali and Tipu Sultan, these are famed as the most romantic gardens in the city. Located in the southern part of town, they are meticulously groomed and feature some truly lovely glass houses. This is a great place for a late afternoon or early evening stroll.
Wonder La Amusement Park: Opened in 2006, this is the largest amusement park in India, and the only one that competes with its American counterparts. It is worth going to see just for the combination of roller coasters and Hindi pop.
The Nandi Hills: A little over 35 miles outside of the city, this is an old hill station that makes for a scenic weekend day trip. The area is a bit milder than the surrounding region, being at roughly the same average elevation as Colorado. It is home to a pair of beautiful 10th Century Hindu temples, was popular with both Gandhi and Nehru, and remains popular as a film set for Kannada language movies.
Go Pubbing: Bangalore is one of the very few places in India where a proper pub crawl can be staged. Head down to the area around Brigade Road, Church Street, and MG Road. Stick your head into the first pub you find and get started.
Study Buddhism: Bangalore has seen a lot of growth in its Buddhist community in recent years, with Theravadan and Mahayana style Buddhism being practices and taught there. Most of the Mahayana presence is in the Vajrayana model that serves as the basis for Buddhists in Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan, and Himalayan India.
Buy a Book: As a city basing its future on Information Technology and the English language, Bangalore is arguably the best place in India to buy English language books. It is stuffed with stores that stock them, and some are very American-style and include little tea shops that serve yummy chai. The business traveler and avid reader going to Bangalore only needs to bring a book for the airplane.
Sources: Personal experience