Hospitality: Bangalorewalla's 'Traveller's Tips'

Dear Visitor to Bangalorewalla, many a request has come across to me over the years asking for information on various subjects. I felt that after all these years since I was concentrating only on the past, I needed to impart some present information. A specific instance motivated me was was when my friend from Bombay (Mumbai) related to me how he paid Rs.400/00 for a short journey (Airport to Viveknagar ) to a so called 'Qualis' Taxi Cab after reaching by a late flight, as he was with a small child and was at a loss to arrange a proper cab. He also inferred that there seemed to be a cohesion at the airport by some official 'authorities' present, hence had no choice. Coming to my City of Bangalore,  I hope you will not go through a similar experience, most cab and autorikshaw drivers are honest, but then again, there are some who take advantage of a situation. Coming to Bangalore at such a late hour, one should have been more thoughtful.  This is mainly general information for the visitor, and is by no means perfect or upto date, and is far from being sponsored or commercial. I was asking my wife a question, "If you were a visitor to Bangalore, what would you be looking for?, and pat came the reply "Food" and "Sleep", I asked my daughter, she had a different view, 'looking for places of entertainment' and a little practical point, 'tell them about the one-and-a-half meter charge by autorikshaws after 9 pm and before 9 am!!', Yes, that is something one has to remember when using local transport in Bangalore.

 However ," I  will not be liable for any loss or injury caused by this information, nor do I take any responsibility for the information causing inconvenience, financial loss. etc. The visitor is always instructed to doubly check out and verify from their own sources, that the information within this page is correct and the latest". What is being provided is only a basic courtesy guideline, and entirely my own way of expressing some help towards your convenience. Should you have better ways of expressing your experiences and suggestion to fellow visitors, please send me a mail or or preferred mail address and I will incorporate the same for the benefit of others. Do not be surprised by the above clause, everybody seems to be putting one and so I am following too! In all the 7 Years of the Bangalorewalla, I have had one or two negative mails, but 99.9% were those positive ones have encouraged me to keep at it. PLEASE NOTE THAT ALL 7-DIGIT BANGALORE TELEPHONE NUMBERS HAVE BEEN CHANGED TO 8-DIGIT NUMBERS for example: 2240145 is now 22240145... .Ronnie

Arriving at the Bangalore City Airport. The   Domestic and International  Airports  of Bangalore are located  at the East side of the City (the yet-to-be-built new Bangalore International Airport is to be in the North-West side of the City, a good, good distance away, and really out of the City, and I suppose one could only reach it by taxi or their own cars!!).  Whitefield - IT Park is to the East side of thee  Airport  (i.e. When you come out  of the Airport , turn RIGHT for the correct direction you should be travelling), for all areas like Koramangala, Indiranagar, Basavangudi, Frazer Town, Benson Town, Cooke Town, Palace Orchards, Rajajinagar, Malleswaram, Brigade Road, St. Mark's Road, M.G. Road, are all to the West side of the Airport (TURN LEFT when coming out of the Airport). However, for far off places like Peenya, Hebbal, Banaswadi, Krishnapuram, Old Madras Road towards Hoskote, Software Technology Park - IT Park, it may be necessary to TURN RIIGHT when coming out of the Airport and a few minutes drive in that direction will take you to a very broad road called the Outer Ring Road (ORR). This may shorten your journey time to where you are going, as this Ring Road is quite convenient for traffic to move in directions North or South of Bangalore, traveling by auto on the ORR may not be advisable because of the swift traffic. You may spend a few moments at the Arrival Lounge and you will find some 'pre-paid' counters for taxis and autos, these may be expensive for short distances, but then you now have introduced into Bangalore the "CITY TAXI" which is very economic and convenient, they all have radio-telephones with them, and you could call one from the Phone Booth in the Lounge, (I presume that Bangalore Airport has this facility!!) Some of the City Taxi phone numbers you could try at your own risk : 3128888 , 3337777 , 5539999 , 5422222 , ( all numbers taken at random from the Bangalore Telephone Directory 2002 - 2003, Vol. I,) or you could search on the Net for 'bangalore city information' , and I am sure you will be able to get some more upto date  information. When arriving during the DAY , you may run into some ' traffic jams ' on Airport Road near Domlur, as they are in the middle of construction of a fly-over, keep that in mind for arrival at any function/ activity. When leaving Bangalore by DAY, the same applies to the catching of a flight, as many a VIP also travels on the same route and your transport may be delayed on account of this natural calamity. (Top of Tips)

Now, arriving at or departing from the Railway Stations is quite a different ball game than from the Airport, namely because of their location and the number of passengers alighting simultaneously on the platform. Although the Bangalore Police have made an attempt to streamline the passengers to autorikshaws at the pre-paid stand, the delay for the passenger is quite a bit. No proper queues formed by irritated passengers add to the confusion, and then there are some of those who do not have consideration for the system or the aged, and push their way through. (Top of Tips)

Arriving at Bangalore Cantonment Station , the platform is southward or towards the Queens Road area, and those alighting for places north, Hebbal, Yeswanthpur, Benson Town, Frazer Town, Kammanhalli need to cross over the 'over bridge' to the departure platform and exit via that gate. This is not very convenient if you have some luggage, as porters will bug you and the crossing over the tracks is quite a walk to the other end of the station. Looking at these choices, if you have less luggage, then over the foot-bridge and out through the north gate, else through the south gate and go right towards the under-bridge towards your destination. There is a new lightly used good underpass towards Vasanthnagar (via Mount Carmel College grounds) that allows you to join up to Bellary Road along the Palace walls, this may be convenient for places like Rajajinagar, Malleswaram and surrounding areas. If you do get out through the North gate of the station, I am not sure as to the arrangement of the autostand there. Very few City Taxis are parked in this area, my guess is that the business from the passengers is not that profitable, but if you do have many passengers and much material that needs to be transported in one lot, not separated into 2 autos, then it would be convenient to call a Taxi, this can be done from the Station itself. Keep a weary eye on hawkers, conmen and porters, and above all on your luggage!! it may get misplaced. Most autorikshaw drivers are honest, and will take you to your destination without a hitch, sometimes a little detour because of 'one-way' restrictions which are changing day by day. If you are travelling light and in the direction opposite to the Station entrance, then suggest that you cross the road and wait for an autorikshaw on the other side of the road, and you may have to flag down one or maybe upto three of them before one decides to take you to your destination. Please make a mental note that once you exit out of the Cantonment south gate or main gate, the road in from t of you cam only take you left towards Tasker Town, Shivajinagar, Frazer town, and places in that area, this is because of the new one-way of Queens Road that allows traffic to go up to the Cunningham/ Indian Express/ Queens Road junction and they will be force to turn left to wards Shivajinagar. If you want to go to Richmond town, MG Road and south locations, then you will have to take the direction right till you come to the Miller Tank Bund road (you will see the under bridge on your right leading to Mekhri circle and Palace grounds, Benson town), turn left and go up to Cunningham Road, where you will have to turn left on it, and reach the Queens Road - Indian Express - Cunningham junction where you will be allowed to turn right towards the Cricket stadium, Infantry road, MG Road, and south areas. Sorry, but this is the arrangement that our Traffic Police have made regards the convenience of  motorists, and traffic jams! Pedestrian, please beware that the traffic lights although showing 'red' for traffic, sometimes allow traffic to turn left at a stop and you may never be able to cross without fear of injury, and for senior citizens, fear of being killed, this is something that some of the senior citizens of  Bangalore or visitors, should take up with the Commissioner of  Police through the newspapers. One zebra crossing is the Prof. Asirvadam Circle - the crossroad between Museum Road and Reesidency Roads. There are 3 Colleges and 7 Schools in that area, and the children have to cross from Museum Road to Museum Road over Residency Road (one part of Museum Road from around St.Joseph's School is only one-way and allows traffic to go through from St. Marks Road to Museum Road second part and Residency Roads), the traffic light signal is on for only 4 to 5 seconds for a pedestrian to cross, and many a child has been hurt because the police man keeps waving his hand and allows the traffic from Museum Road coming from Hosur Road to turn left onto Residency Road without a break although there is a clear board which says 'No free left'!!

To reach the Cantonment Station from areas like Cricket Stadium, M.G. Road, Richmond Town etc., you will have to go on Queens Road,  and around the Indian Express Building, down Queens Road till you reach the Government Veterinary Hospital, where you will have to take a diagonal left to the  Station. Now Departure from Cantonment Station is a little different. The trains leaving for outbound destinations all leave from Platform No.2, which is opposite to the main entrance. In case you are agile and travelling light, then a walk over the foot bridge leading from Platform No.1 to No.2 is the way, but alternative is to arrive at the North gate or the back gate on Millers Road. To reach this, you will have to take the underbridge on Miller Tank Bund Road and after the underbridge take an extreme right turn around the circle and you will enter into the back of the station, more convenient for elderly and lots of luggage to be handled. Always leave a little early for the Station as Bangalore has now become famous for her 'Traffic Jams', and not the 'Garden City' she is supposed to be, and the trains hardly wait for 3 to 4 minutes before departing!! New Update: Beginning Sunday 30 November 2003, major roads around Raj Bhavan will be made one-way to smoothen traffic flow. Traffic movement on Raj Bhavan cross road has been reversed, allowing flow from Raj Bhavan road, Central Telegraph Office (CTO) circle to Basaveshwara circle. ( For your confusion the Road Map! )
Traffic on T.Chowdaiah road: Vehicles allowed from the High Grounds police station junction to Raj Bhavan Road.
Traffic on Ali Asker road: Traffic moves from Raj Bhavan circle to the Infantry Road junction.
Traffic on Infantry road: Vehicles allowed from the Ali Asker Road junction to the Queen's Road junction.
Traffic on Palace road: Vehicles can ply both ways from Basaveshwara circle to the High Grounds police station junction.
Vehicles coming from Race Course road towards Raj Bhavan Circle will have to take a detour at Basaveshwara circle, move through the High Grounds police station junction, T. Chowdaiah road and then join Raj Bhavan circle.  Vehicles can take a left onto Ali Asker road, Infantry Road and then move through Coffee Board circle to join Queen's Road and CTO circle.
One-way will also be introduced from CTO circle where vehicles will ply on Raj Bhavan Road, police Thimmaiah Circle, Raj Bhavan Circle and then take left onto Raj Bhavan Cross Road (behind Legislators' Home), Basaveshwara Circle and then join Race Course Road and High Grounds circle.  Parking of vehicles has been banned on both sides of Infantry Road from Ali Asker Road junction to Queen's Road junction. Check out my page on Driving in Bangalore!!   (Top of Tips)

The Bangalore City Railway Station is a little different in approach, and depending on from where you are reaching the Station to depart. All vehicles have to go around the Bangalore Bus Station to reach the Railway Station. Here we have many Platforms and one is reminded to ask over phone which platform the train departing for which place is located, as it is quite inconvenient to reach the platforms, because one has to go to a lower lever below the tracks and then climb steep stairs to reach the Platforms, and for the elderly and physically challenged, it is quite a feat. There is the old Station entrance that leads to certain Platform, and that is advantageous to know the departure of the trains from which Platform in advance. Arriving at Bangalore City Station, and when you come out of the City Railway main entrance you will find an autorikshaw stand on the left side, and also you will be surrounded by hordes of people trying to get you transport and even hotels. If you know your way around Bangalore, then you could go straight out of the station compound and catch an autorikshaw on the road, or wait queuing up for an autorikshaw. The taxi and cars are parked on the right side when you come out. You could also make an arrangement for prepaid autorikshaws and taxis from within the station itself, through one of the counters, mind you purse and distractions of conmen. The road facing the station is one way and you will have to travel left once you exit, the vehicle will then go around the Bangalore Bus Station on the right side and head towards the Race Course and then to your destination, except if it is towards Rajajinagar, Malleswaram, where the vehicle will keep left and go under the underbridge and turn right and the left depending where you are going. From this point you will be able to see the entrance to the old City Railway Station. Never at anytime leave your luggage unattended on the platform or in an autorikshaw . My daughter related to me the sad experience of some of her Iranian college friends who went shopping to Koramangala, and bought provisions for the month and being foreigners, courtesy asked the auto driver if he wanted anything, and he asked them to get him a cake, when the poor students went to get the cake, he took off with what ever they bought. So much for kindness. (Top of Tips)

What to See in Bangalore, what you can't and what you can .

With the ever changing scene of environmentally unfriendly situations, a very few locations are left in Bangalore that one can visit as a 'Tourist', although 'Foreigners' may have an advantage over the 'natives'. Places like Vidhana Soudha, Attara Kacheri (the lovely red building opposite it), are advertised as a 'spot', but it is so highly fortified and with such restrictions, that one cannot even stand on the steps to take photographs from or on, and the way it has been blocked off makes it so ugly when actually shot! The Attara K. has also been turned into a restricted area being a 'Court' building, and the lovely green grass knoll in front has been fenced off. Lalbagh has a few spots to see within, like the 'Glass House' which is undergoing a complete 'restoration', the water tank is also being dredged, the trimmed and shaped bushes are a little treat for the kids and 'honeymoon' couples, and it does have lots of walkways to 'time-pass' the day. Cubbon on the other hand is a disappointment as it is a vast barricaded park with little or nothing to croak about. A 'bandstand' with no 'band' or 'live band'  to play from, although a few years back an attempt was made to have a rock concert played in the park, guess people mistook it for Hyde Park or New York!! In the Park you will find the Seshadri Iyer Memorial Hall which also houses the Public Library. Tippu's Fort and Palace can be visited, if you brave the traffic of City Market and the confusing traffic detours. The Palace is in fairly good shape, but the Fort (originally built of mud by Kempu Gowda in 1537, and 200 years later of stone by Tippu Sultan) had a crumbling of the outer wall lately, this is not maintained properly for it's historical importance. Then, there is the cultural classical dance village of Nrityagram near Hesarghatta. One can also get permission to visit the Bangalore Palace in between the 'trade fairs', 'exhibitions' and 'rock shows'!!. Visiting the Museums (Government, Visvesvarya) by children can be very educating and should be encouraged. The Nehru Planetarium next to the 'Raj Bhavan' and the Musical Fountains opposite it are also entertaining. The arts music and theater  halls are Town Hall (acoustics poor because of the traffic), Ravindra Kalakshetra, Chowdiah Memorial Hall (shaped like a violin), Guru Nayak Bhavan, to name a few, and photographs could be found on my web pages. Ulsoor Lake used to be a good tourist spot with boats that you could take to the island in the middle of the lake, but after it had been cleaned up, there is not enough water for such activities, and is not a very pretty site now. The Bull Temple at Basavangudi, Kempugowda Tower near it, the Gangadharesvara Cave Temple built by KempuGowda. I had come across a young gentleman, Roy Verghese by name, who had done a beautiful project for his thesis on fine arts and it was all about 'Walks around Bangalore'. So far he has not yet put this book into print, but it is the only one in existence on Bangalore walkarounds. I hope to get some pointers from Roy to share with you. (Top of Tips)

Shopping can be an experience in Bangalore depending on what you want to buy. The crowded areas for shopping in Cantonment are Brigade Road, M.G. Road and Commercial Street. Commercial Street has more shopping for clothes and shoes in a line than Brigade Road, which has many large shopping so called 'malls' that have electronic goods, clothes, shoes and other items shuffled. In the City, the area called Chikpet which is to the North of Avenue Road is famous for its selection of whole sale silk sarees, gold and silver jewellery, and textiles, although there is a selection on Brigade Road/ M.G. Road , it is more expensive. Both Chikpet and Brigade / Commercial Street areas have a parking problem, Commercial street has the advantage of the Cavalry (K.Kamaraj) Road parking areas next to the Military school, where you can park and walk down to Commercial Street, you could even walk down to Brigade road from here, but is is a longer and non-motivating walk. Avenue Road is the best place to pick up college books and stationery. Brigade Road and surrounding areas of Residency Road have a few Government Handicraft emporiums. Kempegowda Road has a Janata Bazaar for utensils, and a 'Burma Market' for imported goods, but one has to be sharp for duplicate items. Russell Market in Shivajinagar has many items of cane, glass, porcelain, wood and pots and pans for the home, aquariums and wooden toys can also be picked up. You can get a spinning 'top' with the 'jahayti' here!!. The whole sale vegetable and meat /fish markets are well stocked, and one has to bargain for a good deal. (Top of Tips)

Bangalore is the home of 'Beer' and so by default, there are numerous pubs come up. Some of these pubs have a cover charge to enter, and mostly cater to the executives and IT people. These may have a Jazz Band or a DJ, but because of the problems and bad name given by the 'Live Bands', most pubs do not have live music. Pubs of this category (with bands) can be found on Airport Road, and some even insist on a dress code and perhaps a couple entry, or the girl is free but the gent has to cough up!!. The less sophisticated pubs can be found on every nook and corner, and Residency Road, Brigade Road,  M.G. Road has quite a few pubs which cater to the general visitor and mostly students, and surely they have a DJ that caters to the younger crowd music. Pubs are expected to close by 11.30 the latest, some do ride past that time. Track and Book House on St. Marks has been converted into a Pub!! Earlier it was '180 Proof'! now it is called '1912', the year of the foundation stone! If you are not a beer drinker, do arm yourself with a bottle of drinking water, especially for those overseas visitors. (Top of Tips)

I have been asked if it is necessary for overseas visitors to take malaria inoculations when coming to Bangalore. The answer is Yes and No. Yes, mainly because you would be travelling out of Bangalore to other places that have not been protected and you may get infected. Also since many of the Lakes / Tanks have been drained, there is not much water in them for the breeding of the mosquitoes, so they tend to move into the gardens and cess-pools of the city drains. The answer being 'No' if you want to avoid the side effects of the inoculation, but that is entirely at your risk. Bangalore is relatively safe to visit, but one can never tell about the 'one' that got away or in the way as it could happen. Check with your local travel agent on the travel and Government information about Bangalore or any other place you wish to visit enroute. In these days of strange virus infections, don't take a chance with life, it is short, and worth living!

Some of the Government Offices and their sites/emails can be found here , and this is another site that links Government Office Sites or information


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Thought for the Day: " Blessed are you poor, For yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who hunger now, For you shall be filled. Blessed are you who weep now, For you shall laugh. Blessed are you when men hate you, And when they exclude you, And revile you, and cast out your name as evil, For the Son of Man's sake. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy! For indeed your reward is great in heaven, Fon in the manner their fathers did to the prophets. But woe to you who are rich, For you have received your consolation. Woe to you who are full, For you shall hunger. Woe to you who laugh now, For you shall mourn and weep. Woe to you when all men speak well of you, For so did they fathers to the false prophets." Holy Bible: Luke 6:20-26