The name Bengaluru today instantly evokes an image of a bustling, high-tech metropolis that has transformed not just economically, Rather also in the cultural, intellectual and social spheres. Formerly known as the anglicized Bangalore, legend has it the city derives its name from boiled beans or ‘benda kalu’ in Kannada. A fatigued and hungry king Veera Ballala II of the Hoysala dynasty lost his way while hunting in the forest was helped by a poor old woman, who fed him boiled beans. The 12th-century king thus named the city ‘Benda-kala-ooru’, which subsequently became Bengaluru.
The global city has much to offer for the avid traveler, and here we bring to you some of the lesser-known gems of the city:
1. Savor authentic Konkani and Mangalorean Food in the tranquil atmosphere of Kanua
Located off Sarjapur Road, this boutique restaurant is a sensory treat not just for the taste buds, but also for the eyes. Spacious and airy with tastefully crafted wooden furniture typically found in a Mangalorean home, it feels like an oasis away from the hustle and bustle of the city. The dim lighting at night makes for some great dinner time conversations. If you’re into great food, classy decor and want to enjoy a meal in a calm, serene setting within the busy city, look no further than Kanua.
It is a haven for seafood lovers, but has some great vegetarian options as well. Culinary delights include the highly recommended Chicken Ghee Roast with Neer Dosa, Yetti Naked Masala (prawns), Biskoot Rotti and Tallal Kabbu (deep fried sugarcane with spices).
2. Enjoy a movie and make merry at the Drive-in Cinema ‘Under the Stars’
What better way to enjoy the famed Bengaluru breeze than watching movie stars whilst sitting under the stars! While this concept has been around in the West for quite some time, there are only a few drive-in cinemas in India and this one in particular has some great food trucks and dance nights you’ll surely enjoy.
Located on the outskirts of the city, Under the Stars is the perfect getaway that’s perfectly within reach. It is completely surrounded by fields all along, which makes it a great place to just sit back with friends, family and even your pet and look up at the stars. So come grab some munchies, cozy up under a blanket and enjoy the talkies right under the shining, starry sky!
3. Spend some quality time cycling or hiking in Turahalli Forest
For all the morning people and nature lovers out there, close to the main Kanakapura road lies a small forest. This is the Turahalli Forest, a rarity as forests within cities are scarce these days. Whether on foot or on a bicycle, the towering eucalyptus trees, chirping birds and butterflies, and dancing peacocks will provide you with the peace city dwellers long for.
The forest has a small hillock, the top of which offers breathtaking views of the forest as well as the city. For people interested in rock climbing, there are programs for beginners as well as more experienced climbers. The locals recommend visiting the forest in small groups.
4. Take a stroll down the lively and fascinating KR Market
A trip to any Indian city would most certainly be incomplete without a visit to a local market, and this holds true for Bengaluru as well. These markets embody India’s vivacity- the people, culture, colors and cuisines. One such fascinating market is KR Market. Centrally located and very close to the Bangalore Fort, this market derives its name from Krishnarajendra Wodeyar, an erstwhile ruler of the princely state of Mysore.
Brimming with vendors and hawkers selling a variety items- flowers, fruits, vegetables, spices, tools, electronic items and many others, this market is said to be among the oldest in the city and also among the largest in the country! It is particularly delightful to visit early in the morning and during festival seasons. It is most interesting to note that prior to its current avatar, the marketplace was a water tank and then a battlefield. Make sure you visit this marketplace of myriad colors, commodities and charms.
5. When in Bengaluru, sip on a Filter Kaapi
Long before international coffee chains presented options galore for coffee drinkers in India, it was in Karnataka that the first coffee seeds were sown by Baba Budan, who smuggled seven coffee beans on his way back from a pilgrimage to Mecca in the 17th century. While in Bengaluru, nothing beats an aromatic and flavourful cuppa good old filter kaapi at the several outlets of Kalmane Koffees. The Kalmane Estate near Chikmagalur has been growing coffee for 140 years and their retail coffee chains welcome you with the rich aroma of freshly ground coffee, brewed to perfection.
For traditionalists, the Kaapi Premium is a natural choice. However, true to its mission of popularising the taste of traditional south Indian filter coffee, Kalmane Koffees offers several variants for those who like options. Kaapi Blue Grass, Kaapi Samrat and Kaapi Mocha are some of the options worth trying. What’s more, you have the option of munching on all-time favorite Indian snacks like samosas along with your coffee!
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