24 hours in Bengaluru
Written by Jaideep Sen Illustration by Fernando Volken Togni
Bengaluru – ‘The garden city’ – in the dawn of 2011, is an invigorating but tasty city to tackle. The local flavours are aplenty, but to relish any of them you’ll need the resolve and patience of a seasoned wayfarer – especially to tackle the traffic chaos caused by an as-yet rough-hewn metro rail system cutting through the city’s central avenues. Yet beneath its knotty, hard-shelled surface exist layers of delights, distillations, and delicacies unique to Bengaluru. All you need to do is dig in with gusto.
The botanical gardens, back offices, and colonial landmarks are evident on the skyline, but what will catch your eye are signs of a metropolis on the cusp of a regenerated identity – reaching over its past to affirm itself as a city of truly groundbreaking transformation. That change promises to further evolve in another year of punishing, development-related endeavours. Until then, you’re invited to explore an unfolding testament to renewal, and look beyond Bengaluru's manifest mess.
Like any well-conceived city, Bengaluru consists of extensive ingredients – in this case pioneering technology parks lining its outskirts; an abundance of clean, airy parks, notably in the older neighbourhoods; and a bustling central district that has every metropolitan proposition on offer. The city’s bane, for now, is in an overly-delayed metro that has crippled commuting times (the first few stretches will open this year, untangling traffic snarls in the process). Bengaluru, in the last decade, has surely and ambitiously turned into a hotspot for jet-setters and well-heeled partygoers (as well as a booming music scene). But with a handful of recommendations here, you’re urged to sample some of the finer, authentic flavours of the city.
It’s best to have an on-call service handy, to book a ride or even hire a driver to ferry you in your own wheels.
These three-wheel rides are the city’s preferred mode of commuting, but be sure to check the fares beforehand.
Bengaluru's bus system is the best bet for short stops; Vayu Vajra shuttles to the airport include individual Internet-enabled monitors.
The Namma Metro project is set for a grand opening later this year; until then, a dummy coach parked on MG Road promises a feel of it.