Capital of Karnataka state, Bangalore is a clean, spacious and well-planned city of beautiful parks, long avenues and magnificent buildings. One of Asia’s fastest-growing cities, it has lost many of the trees, gardens and quaint bungalows that gained it the soubriquet ‘Garden City of India’, but it still remains the nation’s tidiest and greenest capital. A busy commercial and cosmopolitan centre, Bangalore is rapidly advancing towards Nehru’s vision of it as India’s ‘City of the Future’, yet retains its old summer-resort charm and sophistication. It is an ideal base from which to discover the south of India.
and churches, gothic bungalows and colleges sprang up. Encouraged by the enlightened Maharajahs of Mysore, Bangalore swiftly became a leading educational and industrial centre and eventually replaced Mysore as the state capital.
Now, Bangalore is a city of the 90s. Many hi-tech industries have been developed here; India’s huge computer software industry operates from Bangalore, jet fighters and helicopters for the airforce are made here and some of the country’s largest garment exporters make the city their manufacturing base. Yet, ‘beautiful Bangalore’ still has a wealth of colourful vegetation; notably its two lungs of Cubbori Park and Lal Bagh, and is one of India’s most attractive cities. Despite the crowds, there’s a refreshing sensation of space created both by the broad open-plan avenues, and the orderly sophistication of the city’s inhabitants. These are a well-educated, invariably polite people, who even form queues outside cinemas. And Bangalore has an awful lot of cinemas.
Situated on a high, cool plateau above the plains, Bangalore has an all-year tourist season but is most pleasant in October-November and February-May. To see the gardens, parks and flowers at their best, come in January or August.
Indian Airlines offers daily flights between Bangalore and Bombay (Rs1675), Calcutta (Rs3000), Cochin (Rs842), Coimbatore (Rs600), Delhi (Rs3057), Goa (Rs1077), Hyderabad (Rs1083), Madras (Rs727), Pune (Rs1583), and Trichy Rs847). There are less frequent flights to centres like Madurai (Rs847) and Trivandrum Rs1192). Bangalore airport is 13 km (8 miles) from the city centre and is connected by taxi or auto-rickshaw.
There are several trains daily to and from Madras (6/7 hours) and to Mysore (about 3 hours). From Madras the two best trains are the (Brindhavan Express and Bangalore Mail from Madras Central station (7 hours). The Hyderabad Express leaves Bangalore 5.15 pm daily, arriving Hyderabad around 8 am the next day.
The Hampi Express leaves 9.40 pm daily, getting in to Hospet around 6 am the following morning. The Bangalore-Trivandrum Express leaves daily at 6.15 pm (journey time 18 hours) and the fast Karnataka Express goes daily (journey time 38 hours) to Delhi. A faster Shatabdi Express has been proposed between Delhi and Bangalore but probably won’t be introduced until late 1993. There are various express trains to Bombay (24 to 27 hours), some of them requiring a change of train at Miraj.
Bangalore’s efficient central bus-station, directly opposite the city rail station, offers superb connections to Mysore (express buses every 15 minutes from 6 am to 9.30 pm; 3 1/2 hours), to Madras (many departures throughout the day; 9 hours), to Bombay, via Belgaum (buses at 8 am and 2 pm; 24 hours), to Ernakulam and to Hospet (plus two buses direct to Hampi; journey time 8/9 hours). There’s also at least one bus daily to Ootacamund and to Goa (Panjim).