BY KAMAL SHARMA
I remember my dad telling me years ago that Bangalore is one of India’s most beautiful city but much has changed since then as it’s now called BENGALURU (since 2006), the 5th biggest city of India and the capital of KARNATAKA which is also the home of Indian Institute of Science ( IISc ), Bharat Electronic Limited (BEL), Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), Hindustan Aeronautic Limited (HAL), National Aerospace Laboratory (NAL), INFOSYS, WIPRO, the Kannada film industry and is known around the world as the SILICON VALLEY OF INDIA. Well, that’s exactly where our South India tour started as we landed at the ultramodern Bengaluru International Airport and I must say that the ride was very smooth to the hotel.
The City of Gardens, Bengaluru is famous for its year around cool climate as it is 3000 ft. above sea level and boasts of the finest legislative building in India, and we started our city tour by visiting LAL BAGH, also known as the Botanical Garden. Commissioned by HYDER ALI in 1760 and finished by TIPU SULTAN, the gardens are spread over 240 acres and were also improved by KEMPE GOWDA, the founder of Bengaluru. Another famous site is TIPU SULTAN’S SUMMER PALACE, which was started by Hyder Ali and completed by Tipu Sultan in 1791, and became the British Secretariat after the 4th Anglo-Mysore War.
Right in the heart of Bengaluru is DODDA BASAVANA GUDI (THE BULL TEMPLE), dedicated to NANDI, sacred Hindu Demi God, and is the biggest NANDI TEMPLE in the world. Besides Kolkata and Delhi, Bengaluru is the only other city to have Metro and yet traffic is a huge problem as Bengaluru is going to overtake Chennai as the fourth biggest city of India.
MYSORE, situated at the base of Chamundi Hills, is the third largest city of Karnataka and served as the capital from 1399 until 1947. The Kingdom of Mysore was ruled by the Wodeyar dynasty. Known as the CITY OF PALACES, Mysore is the cultural capital of Karnataka and boasts of the world famous CITY PALACE (also known as AMBAVATI PALACE), CHAMUNDESHWARI TEMPLE, VRINDAVAN GARDENS and many other palaces turned into museums. Mysore silk is famous around the world and it attracts the world during Dussehra festivities. Nineteen kilometres from Mysore is SRIRANGAPATNA, the capital of Tipu Sultan, and the ruins speak of its glorious times. Home to the mausoleum of TIPU SULTAN, DARIA DAULAT (the palace of TIPU SULTAN), Tipu’s mosque and RANGATITLU BIRD SANCTUARY, this city at the banks of Kauvery river is a must for all. Well, this concludes our trip to Karnataka and next week I’ll talk about MAMALLAPURAM, TAMIL NADU!