I was taken around Bengaluru by entrepreneur Arjun Bhat of Travspire (travspire.com). He promised a packed four hours during which he would show me the whole city, and that’s exactly what I got. You can very well travel back in time by hanging onto Bhat’s voluble descriptions of historic events, supported by his collection of photos pulled from archives.
Flower Market at KR Market or City Market as it is more commonly known is Bengaluru’s largest wholesale market for fruits, vegetables, flowers, and everyday items. The best time to visit is before 10am so you aren’t jostled for space. Of course, the prettiest part here is the crowded floor that vends more than 20 tonnes of tulips, roses, orchids, marigolds, jasmine, and other such varieties daily. This is believed to be Asia’s largest flower market. It is indeed a feast for the eyes, not to mention the nose!
Bangalore Fort was built from mud in 1537 by Kempre Gowda, the founder of Bengaluru. When Haider Ali took over in 1761, he strengthened the structure with stone. The layout is such that it wasn’t easy for enemies to take over the fort. The British army could capture it only during the Third Mysore War from 1790 to 1792. Not much of the fort remains, except for the stories, one of four gates, and two bastions.
Tipu Sultan’s Summer Palace is a beautiful teak building of Indo-Islamic architecture built in 1791. It used to have bright red walls, and intricate flower paintings on the ceiling and pillars. Decorative spaces in the walls used to hold candles lit at sunset, which illuminated the entire palace in a magnificent glow. Unfortunately the British invasion ruined its beauty due to shabby treatment, and today it is barely a glimpse of what it used to be. A small space holds stories and items from those times. Open 8:30am-5:30pm daily; entry `5 for Indians, `100 for foreigners, and `25 extra for photography.
EAT AND DRINK
Koshy’s Bar and Restaurant is where most of the city’s lawyers, journalists and entre-preneurs hang out. Don’t expect the food to be extraordinarily flavoursome though. However, the club sandwich (`161), Koshy’s hot chocolate fudge (`175), and cream coffee (`104) are exceptions. Koshy’s is synonymous with Bengaluru and has survived the decades since pre-independence because it has retained its old-world charm. Open 9am-11pm daily.
Nagarjuna has been serving Andhra-styled dishes, from Karnataka’s neighbouring state. True to the Andhra Pradesh’s cuisine, most of the food served is spicy. They have three outlets in Bengaluru, and the first one opened on Residency Road in 1984. Don’t leave without trying the chicken 65 (`210). Open 11:30am to 3:45pm and 6:30pm to 10:45pm daily; nagarjunarestaurants.com
Mavalli Tiffin Rooms (MTR) are hard to miss with eight outlets in the city. They first opened in 1924 as Brahmin Coffee Club. In 1960 MTR got an image makeover and the current name. They are known for authentic South Indian cuisine from all regions. Even though they list a few as their specialities, almost everything on the menu is worthy of recommendation. Their pure filter coffee (`28) is like no other. Timings differ for all outlets; mavallitiffinrooms.com
Written for Business Traveller India. Volume 1 Issue 6. facebook.com/BusinessTravellerIndia