EXplore the Kempe Gowda Fort, which was originally made of mud, and Tipu Sultan’s summer palace, made of expensive teak with beautiful carvings and paintings on it. Though the paintings are almost destroyed today, it’s still worth a visit. This was the scene of many a bloody battle between Tipu Sultan and the British. The Bangalore Tudor-style palace of the Mysore Wodeyar dynasty is a grand sight and is somewhat reminiscent of England’s Windsor Castle. The 16th century Bull temple is worth a visit. The deity here is Nandi the Bull, or vehicle of the Hindu God Shiva. Locals claim that the already gigantic bull is growing a bit every year. It currently measures some 5 meters in height and 6 meters in length!
EXorcise at the health resort at the Nandi Hills, a small drive away. Make a day trip to the Jain holy town of Sravanebelagola, which is calm and unspoiled and uncrowded. One of the world’s largest monolithic statues, of the Jain saint Gomateswara is here. The 17 meters high statue, is carved out of a single rock, and is visible from miles away. For more culture you can visit Somnathpur, Belur and Halebid where beautiful 10th century temples built by the Hoysala kings are to be found.
EXpress at the rustic Nrityagram Dance Village is where you can watch students learning Odissi, a classical dance form. Stay overnight for a guided tour with explanations of India's philosophy, culture, lecture/demonstrations in dance, and organic vegetarian lunches. The village also conducts the “Vasantha Habba” or the festival of spring, when leading musicians and dancers participate in concerts. Visit the Karnataka Folk Museum (Kumara Park West) to find out about the state’s old folk traditions; other than the displays you can watch videos of folk music and dances. At the Karnataka Chitrakala Parishat, you can view a collection of traditional paintings, leather puppets, and other relics (Kumara Krupa Road, 91-80-2226 1816). If you’d like to learn about Hindu scriptures or Indian painting, music, and dance you can take one of the short term courses of the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan (Race Course Road).
The Craft Council of Karnataka (Malleswaram) regularly holds lectures on demos on local craft and handlooms. Ranga Mandira organizes dramas, and concerts frequently (JC Road, 91-80-2222 3744).
EXhale: The Bannerghata National Park is situated a short drive away and is home to a variety of wild animals. Bangalore is pub capital of India. If you walk along St. Mark’s Road, MG Road, or Brigade Road you come across umpteen bars open through the day. Try out Sparks (Brigade Road, 22230306), and Spinn (Residency Road, 25581555) for night outs; and Hibiscus for cocktails (Hotel Ashok, Kumara Krupa Road). Shopping is at a great bargain.
Shop for footwear and fabrics at the lanes off Commercial Street, or at the wholesale market at Chickpet. If you are feeling gastronomically adventurous, then stopover at roadside stalls for a traditional meal of ‘ragi’ (millet) and spicy lamb curry. It’s a treat.
Naiya Sivaraj has been traveling since the age of three, bitten by the travel bug because of a family who took her on long summer holidays and a boarding school which took her on two week long trips to exotic places every year. Since then Naiva says she has sought desperately (while growing up) and more calmly now, to explore this beautiful world and learn about her peoples and cultures. She is currently an independent researcher, writer and photographer, and avid book reader.