Bangalore - 7 local delights your travel agent won’t tell you about

When power narrows the area of man’s concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of existence.
— JF Kennedy

Bangalore to me is that poem. Growing up in this beautiful city bursting with diverse cultures, most of us can understand 7 languages without ever having studied them; we can cook up a variety of cuisines without batting an eyelid; and if we do know religious strife - it is only as a faraway concept. Diversity – this is the theme of the poem that is Bangalore and I hope to show you its rhyme.

Bangalore has some wonderful tourist attractions and your travel agent or a good guide book will take you there, but my city is so much more than that. The real allure of Bangalore is its multicultural vibe -  the colorful sight of a Kannadiga woman in her cotton sari haggling with an Urdu speaking vendor in his lungi (a wrap worn around the waist), the cacophony of different tongues as software geeks gather at the local café to have their cuppa of piping hot South Indian filter coffee, the aroma of freshly baked Iyengar (chain of bakeries) bread vying for attention above the tantalizing whiff of the Tibetan momo stall next door, and the throbbing pulse of life that is unique to a city that embraces people from far and wide as its own – that is what Bangalore really is; and here is a sneak peek into it.

Here is a list of 7 places in Bangalore that you simply must visit:

1)    Mosque Road, Frazer Town

local haunts in bangalore_mosque road.jpg

A whole street packed with Middle Eastern fare with all the best of the different cuisines that its renowned for. The street would come to life in the months of Ramadan (June, July) with a host of stalls and tents boasting the best of Middle Eastern street food- kebabs, biryani, shawarma and more. The food is just as good all year round too so head on over there if you fancy a flavorful meat treat. Some local delights on Mosque Road:

Savoury Restaurant

Arabian food at its best. Their shawarma roll (USD 1.8) is a must have. The Al-faham-dajaj (chicken marinated in mild spices and grilled over a charcoal spit – USD 6.6) with hummus is delicious too. Finish your meal with a cup of sulaiman chai (almond flavored lemon tea).

Rahham’s 

Head out here for melt-in-your-mouth mutton cooked to perfection in a biryani (USD 3.5)  Their kebabs are a must-have as well. You will be spoiled for choice here for sure.

Albert Bakery

This is a small little bakery on the main road. Ask anyone and they will direct you there. People from all over Bangalore flock here for their famous kova naan (naan bread with a special condensed milk stuffing – USD 1.3 for a naan with 6 pieces).

2)    Thindi Beedhi

 Image Courtesy: https://www.thebetterindia.com/62369/thindi-beedi-vvpuram-bangalore/

Image Courtesy: https://www.thebetterindia.com/62369/thindi-beedi-vvpuram-bangalore/

The name literally means "snack street" and this is a treat that you must not miss. The street is lined with stalls bursting with delicacies from all parts of India. Tempting as the laid out fare may be, this place is best known for its South Indian treats so make sure you sample that. Try the idlis (hot, steaming rice dumplings) and crispy dosas (flat, rice pancakes) with chutneys and sambar (South Indian curry) as dips. Go easy on the dip; they might be a bit fiery. If you have a sweet tooth, head to the Shivanna Gulkand Center for some benne gulkand (a preserve of damask rose petals combined with cold butter) down the street.

The place is officially called V.V Puram. You can get there by 7 p.m. but be warned - the traffic is pretty bad if you are getting there from the city and the fight for parking space is so a cab might be a good idea. so ask for it if you are taking a cab there, which might be wise considering the traffic and the fight for a parking space.

For more specific info on the stalls to visit, check this article out: https://www.thebetterindia.com/62369/thindi-beedi-vvpuram-bangalore/

3)    Watchtower and Bible Tract Society – Rajankunte, Yelahanka

Image Courtesy: https://www.jw.org/en/

This beautiful place is about 40 minutes away from the International airport, so you could schedule your visit on the day you plan to head back home. Spread out over 43 acres of beautifully tended gardens, this is the translation and distribution center for bible-based literature in more than 34 Indian languages. As complicated as Indian languages are, this society goes all out to ensure that literature is translated in a way that reaches the heart of people of all languages. What is even more interesting is that all those who work here are volunteers. The translation work of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society is being carried out in 954 languages the world over, so it would be interesting to see how its done!

You can call them up and ask for a tour of the facilities. They do not charge anything for it and are happy to show you around. They are open Monday to Friday. You can call them on +91 80-2309-2400

Official website: https://www.jw.org/en/

More on translation into Indian Languages:  https://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/101979409?q=message+of+the+bible&p=par

4)    Corner House

Their Ice cream sundaes are out of this world. You must have had gourmet sundaes fancier than this, but Corner House is something very dear to a Bangalorean. Their Death by Chocolate sundae is one to die for (couldn’t resist the pun), but their fruity sundaes are excellent too. My personal favorite apart from the DBC is the Choca Mocha sundae. These mouth-watering sundaes cost less than USD 3 and they have numerous outlets all over Bangalore, so you can ask for one near you.

5)    Kokkarebellur

 Image source: http://hibengaluru.com/kokkare-bellur-pelicanary/

Image source: http://hibengaluru.com/kokkare-bellur-pelicanary/

If you feel like a day out birdwatching, this is where you should go. The village is about 80 kilometers (50 miles) outside Bangalore city. The village is named after the painted stork (“kokkare” means stork in Kannada), which is a migratory bird that finds its way home to the village every year. The spot-billed pelican is also a patron of the village, believed to be a herald of good things to come and a contributor of the guano (manure) that is a boon for agriculture. Other birds like the Little Cormorant, Black-Crowned Night Heron and the Black Ibis can also be spotted here. This quaint little village is a lesson in sustainability and co-dependence between man and nature. The best seasons to go is from January through to May. Make a trip of it and also visit the Iglooru Dam and Ranganthettu nearby. Take a picnic hamper with you as there aren’t many eateries around.

More on Kokkrebellur: http://hibengaluru.com/kokkare-bellur-pelicanary/

6)    Antharagange, Kolar

 Image Source: https://amazingholidaysblr.com/packages/antharagange-with-emerald-isle-resort/

Image Source: https://amazingholidaysblr.com/packages/antharagange-with-emerald-isle-resort/

The name means “Ganges from the deep” and is in the once famous Kolar, which is about 2 hours away from the city. The volcanic rock formations, natural caves and a cool perennial spring take you back to a time when the Kolar Gold Fields stood in all its glory as the largest gold production center in Asia. It is best you go with a tour guide - Emerald Isle or Woody Adventures have good tour packages that you can check out.

7)    Mysore Pak from Sri Krishna Sweets, C.M.H Road

 Image Source: https://metrosaga.com/best-mysore-pak-in-bangalore/

Image Source: https://metrosaga.com/best-mysore-pak-in-bangalore/

This place is renowned for its mysore pak (a rich sweetmeat made of clarified butter and gram flour – USD 7 per kilogram) This is a traditional sweetmeat of Karnataka, which was thought to have been created in the kitchens of the royal kings in the Mysore Palace.

For more Bangalorean special sweet treats, check this link: https://metrosaga.com/best-mysore-pak-in-bangalore/

And so we end on a sweet note. Hope you have an excellent trip and have fun discovering these wonderful secret delights of Bangalore.

General tips:

1)      Avoid the autos (tuk-tuks) if they demand more than whats on the meter. Its best to take a cab. You can download the Ola app or Uber to book taxi cabs on the go.

2)      Avoid peak traffic hours. Traffic is one of the banes of Bangalore and is at its peak from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Although you might not be able to completely avoid it, you could brace yourself for it with a good stock of podcasts!

3)      Try out the beer culture that is fast catching on as the many breweries here brew up a storm. (Check out Arbor Brewing Company, Toit, and The Bierre Club.)

Tell me what you thought and drop in a comment if you want more information.