Located 1000m above sea level, the capital of the state of Karnataka, Bangalore, is a vibrant cosmopolitan city, a major industrial and commercial centre of the country.The city was founded by Kempe Gowda in the early 16th century. Two centuries later, it became an important fortress city under Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan. The ruins of those periods can still be seen on the Bellary Road, at Lal Bagh, Ulsoor and Gavi Gangadhareswar Temple.
Bangalore is known as the Silicon Valley of the country, the nerve - centre of India's software industry. Its other major industries include aircraft, electronics and machine tools. Despite being one of Asia's fastest growing cities, Bangalore remains one of the most elegant metropolises in India. A well - planned city, with tree - lined avenues, a large number of parks, gardens and lakes, Bangalore is aptly called India's garden city. The city attracts people in large numbers, from all over the country, and abroad, who come to look for better job opportunities, and higher education. Surprisingly, all this frantic industrial expansion and increase in the population, has not robbed Bangalore of its essential old-world appeal. It is, in the true sense, a very 'happening' city.
What to See
The Vidhana Soudha is one of the most splendid architectural creations, India can boast of. Located at the north - west end of Cubbon Park, it is a granite structure built in the neo - Dravidian style of architecture. Conceived and executed by Kengak Hanumanthaiya, the then Chief Minister, it houses both the State Legislature and Secretariat.
Bangalore is also famous for its fine sprawling gardens, the notable amongst them being the Lal Bagh and Cubbon Park.The Lal Bagh, was laid out in the 18th century by Hyder Ali and his son, Tipu Sultan. Spread over an area of 240 acres, the park contains a variety of plants and trees, a deer park, and one of the largest collections of rare tropical and sub - tropical plants, in the country. The Glass House, a huge conservatory, a later addition, is the venue of the annual flower, vegetable and fruit shows.
The Cubbon Park, laid out in 1864, a brainchild of the British, covers an area of 300 acres. Within its premises are the Public Library, the High Court, the Government Museum and the Visveswaraiah Technological & Industrial Museum. The Attara Kacheri, as the High Court building is known in these parts, was built in 1864. The Government Museum, one of the oldest in India, came into being in 1886, and houses collections of coins, art, relics from the Mohenjodaro and also, some pieces from Halebid and Vijayanagar. Located near the City Market, are the remains of a fort dating back to the days of Hyder Ali, and also, Tipu Sultan's summer palace. The palace, an elaborately decorated structure, has ornate arches and minarets. A museum within, has on display, the life and times of Tipu Sultan and Hyder Ali.
Bangalore boasts of some of the oldest, and most beautiful temples in the country. Adjoining Tipu's summer palace is the Venkataramanaswamy Temple, a 300 year old temple built by the Wodeyars, which is still in very good condition. South of Bangalore, in Basavangudi, is the Bull Temple, built by Kempe Gowda. The deity is a massive 15 foot Basava or bull, which has been carved from a single boulder. Another impressive temple is the Gavi Gangadhareswara temple, an unusual cave temple. It has been designed in such a manner so that, on the festival of Sankranti, the rays of the sun pass between the horns of a Nandi Bull placed outside the temple, and thereby, illuminate the image of Lord Shiva. Another temple dedicated to Lord Shiva is the Someshwara Temple, built by Kempe Gowda, in Ulsoor.
The city also has its share of pleasant lakes, the principal amongst them being, the Ulsoor Lake, which also has boating facilities. The other lakes around Bangalore are the Sankey Tank, the Yediyur Tank and the Lal Bagh Lake.
35 km from Bangalore, at Hesaraghatta, is the famous Nritya Gram, a centre for dance that imparts extensive training in seven dance disciplines and two martial art forms, to residential students. The village is rustic in design, and blends with the bucolic surroundings. The Hesaraghatta Lake, a man - made lake, near the village is also a popular tourist spot. Just 21 km from the city, and easily accessible by road is the Bannerghatta National Park. A part of the Bannerghatta forest, the Park houses a mini zoo, a crocodile farm, lion and tiger safari parks.
Situated 60 km from Bangalore, at a height of 1478 m above sea level, is the Nandi Hills resort. What used to be the favourite summer getaway of Tipu Sultan, is now a popular picnic spot with its awesome fort, sprawling lawns and two ancient temples. A little away from the city is Ramohali, a picturesque picnic spot, that boasts of a 400 year old banyan tree, that spreads for over 4 acres. It is believed to be the site of sage Muneshwara's penance.
The region around Bangalore is dotted with gigantic rock formations, the two notable amongst them being Shivaganga (4599 ft.high) and Savandurga. The latter used to be a fortress and the hideout of Kempe Gowda.
Mysore is just 139 km by road from the city. It was the capital city of Hyder Ali, Tipu Sultan and the entire Wodeyar clan. Mysore's prime attractions are the Mysore Palace, the Chamundi Hills, the famous Brindavan Gardens, the Jayachamarajendra Art Gallery which is located in the Jaganmohan Palace, the Mysore Zoo and St. Philomena's Church. 15 km from Mysore is the old capital of Tipu Sultan, Srirangapatna . Its fort bears witness to the Tiger of Mysore's last battle against the British. His mausoleum, the Gumbaz, which sports ivory inlaid doors and the famous tiger - striped emblem is also nearby. Near Srirangapatna is the Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary. 40 km away from Mysore is the Somnathpur Temple, a star - shaped structure built in 1260 A.D, an outstanding example of Hoysala architecture.
The Karaga Festival that comes around in March/April, is celebrated with great pomp and show, at the Dharmaraya Temple. The Karaga, an earthen pot that stands for the goddess Shakti, is taken out in a procession at night. The spot is immersed in the Sampangi Tank, which is 20 km from the city.