The Bangalore Palace is one of the city’s best-known landmarks and one of the former homes of the royal family of Mysore. Five generations of the Wadiyar family had ruled over a large part of South India for over 500 years during the powerful Mysore kingdom. A visit to the palace offers a glimpse into the private world of one of India’s royal dynasties.
The palace is situated in enormous grounds of over 450 acres and is set in a large landscaped garden. Built in the Tudor style, construction of the palace began in 1862 and was completed in 1944. More recently, the current heir of the Wadiyars started an ambitious renovation project and opened part of the palace to the public in 2005. He still lives in a private wing of the palace.
The interiors of the palace feature different elements of the Gothic, Victorian, and neo-classical styles. There are over 35 rooms, most of them bedrooms, and a grand ballroom on the ground floor.
The Lalbagh Botanical Gardens provide a picturesque and peaceful respite from hectic city life. The 240 acres of green space are a paradise for the morning walkers and shy lovers who come here to stroll along paths lined with majestic trees, past lotus ponds and water fountains, and occupy the benches hidden under flowering creepers.
The many tropical plants and exotic flowers are a delight for nature lovers, and with over 50 species of birds, this is a popular spot for bird watchers. One of the best-known landmarks is the greenhouse, which was modeled after London’s former Crystal Palace. The Lalbagh Rock, a large hillock made of granite, is another popular attraction: visitors like to climb to the small temple at the top.
The Sunday morning heritage walk is popular with nature enthusiasts who would like to learn about the garden’s many exotic species of plants and trees. Join naturalist Vijay Thiruvady at 7am at the base of the Lalbagh Rock.
Cubbon Park is a 300-acre (121-hectare) oasis located in the heart of Bangalore just off the city’s main thoroughfare, MG Road. The park is a hive of activity in the early mornings when people come here for their morning walks and then again in the early evenings when the walkers descend again. With close to a hundred different species of plants and trees, this is also a favorite haunt for nature lovers and birdwatchers.
The park is painted a different color each season as the tall majestic trees flower and drop their petals to the ground, creating a beautiful carpet of flowers. In the spring, the Rain Trees are covered with delicate pink blossoms, while summer is when the Jacarandas release their bright purple blossoms, creating a brilliant tapestry on the ground. At the height of summer, it’s the Gulmohars’ turn as they bloom and turn the park’s avenues a bright red. Twice a year, the eccentric Cannonball tree flowers, releasing the blossoms’ intoxicating perfume.
The ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness – also known as the “Hare Krishna” movement) temple is a massive complex perched on a hilltop and one of the largest ISKCON temples in the world. Dedicated to the god Krishna and his consort Radha, its official name is Sri Radha Krishnachandra temple, but it’s more popularly known as the ISKCON temple and is one of the city’s best-known places of worship.
The temple opened its doors in 1997, becoming not only the center of the ISKCON movement’s spiritual, educational and cultural activities in Bangalore, but also an important place of worship. The temple’s architecture and interiors contrast sharply with the other older temples of the city. The building is modern and spacious, with the four towers of the main temple building connected with glass. The temple spire and flag post are gold-plated.
Bannerghatta National Park is one of the largest and most well-conserved wildlife areas in India, home to both a zoo and a biological reserve spanning more than 25,000 acres.
Visitors can interact with native wildlife through a number of facilities or on a guided safari through the area. Surrounded by the Talli Reserve Forest to the east and the Bilikal Forest to the south, the hilly terrain of the park is lush with forests, valleys and scrubland. Elephants often pass between the two forests, making for more frequent sightings.
There are also several rural villages, ancient temples and paths that are great for trekking. Resident animals include elephants, bears, deer, wild boar, leopards, jackals and various reptiles and birds. The park includes an animal rescue center, an aquarium and a butterfly enclosure, India's first. With 27.5 inches of annual rain, there is also unique plant life to see, including sandalwood, tamarind, bamboo and eucalyptus plants.