When I learned that I would be given another traveling opportunity to visit Bengaluru (formally known as Bangalore), India, I was thrilled. To me, India represents a richness of culture and I have always been intrigued by its diversity. It would be my first time visiting the country and I couldn't be more excited for the 4-day trip.
Fact: Known as the IT capital of India, Bengaluru is home to many local startups as well as serving as an innovation hub by multi-national corporations (MNCs). As of 2018, it boasted a population of almost 12.5 million people, it is interesting to know that 8 years prior, the population was just under 8.5 million people. As per study by Oxford Economics, Bengaluru, with an average annual growth of 8.5%, will be the third fastest growing city in the world over the next 15 years.
Overall, the entire 4.5 hour journey to Bengaluru was pleasant. The landing was one of the best experience I've ever had and I commend the pilots for their expertise. Arriving just at the break of dawn, we were welcomed by the magnificent view of the beautiful sun breaking through the clouds. The airport felt modern and new, with a variety of eateries that cater to the local visitors and tourists alike.
Arrived in Bengaluru just at the break of dawn
Outside Bengaluru Airport
The journey from the airport to our hotel took about 40 minutes. According to our friendly taxi driver, if we were to take a cab during peak hour (between 8am-9pm) it would have taken us about 2 hours to get to our destination. After recuperating for a couple of hours, we decided to have an early lunch. Indian food has always been one of my favorite dishes and I was so excited to have the first authentic taste of local Indian food. The dining experience was an absolute delight.
A pleasant dining experience at the restaurant with a beautiful and simple setting
My first taste of the famous Indian Masala Tea
As we had half a day to spare on leisure activities, we decided to visit the majestic Bangalore palace in Karnataka, located just 6km west from our hotel. The traffic at 3pm was already congesting and it took us around 35 minutes to arrive at our destination. While on our way to the iconic landmark, it was a refreshing view to see a small herds of cows and goats wandering around the hustle and bustle of the streets.
The architecture of the Bangalore Palace captures the essence of old regal opulence and the beauty and magnificence of the surrounding greenery was utterly fascinating. From the outside, the palace looks smaller in size but in fact it is extraordinarily vast and spread across 45,000 square feet. We could also see many families visiting the palace.
Panoramic View: The grandiose facade of the palace
A flight of stairs with walls decorated with pictures upon entering the palace
Throughout our tour around the palace, the colorful walls are adorned with a variety of paintings and pictures from different cultures as well as photos chronicling the life of past royalties. From portraits of the Victorian era to the Hindu Gods, it was fascinating to see the vast interest in art collection by the royalties The wooden structure of the palace along with the beautiful carvings both inside and outside showcases the royal culture in different ways. Apart from being a major tourist destination, the palace is a host to different cultural events, rock shows, and marriages.
Vibrant paintings along the one of the hallway's wall
Royals would meet with diplomats and guests in this function room
A picturesque view of one of the corridors
Standing in front of a collection of pictures of the Hindu Gods
Fact: As per beliefs, King Chamarajendra Wadiyar drew his inspiration for building the palace from the Windsor Castle of London. The granite seats decorated with fluorescent blue ceramic tiles on the ground floor, a fairy tale Ballroom, the famous painter Raja Ravi Varma's paintings, vine-covered walls, and the Durbar Hall on the first floor come together to form the prepossessing Bangalore Palace.
Day 2 and Day 3 were filled with business meetings. In conversation with one of the business associates, it was interesting to find out that microbrewery is a booming sector in Bengaluru with the rise of brewpubs in the city. When asked about the reason of this growing trend, he stated that unlike the older generation, young working adults now enjoy socializing with their peers and catch up over a beer or two, providing microbreweries an opportunity to expand their craft beer market.
Fact: Bangalore comes 2nd with more than 50 microbreweries and another 20 are coming up by next year. Average sale of beer in ltrs per Microbrewery per month is highest in Bangalore, recording above 12000 ltrs sale.
Our business meetings were held in a busy district, we bore witness to the hectic and heavy traffic during peak hour at 7.30pm, with incessant honking sounds in the background.
A common occurence in Bengaluru: Traffic congestion during peak hour
We then dined at an Indian bistro restaurant, served with a delectable feast of North and South Indian dishes.
On Day 4, it was time to bid farewell to the vibrant city.As we arrived early for our flight back to Singapore, I had the chance to walk around the airport that has a handful of restaurants and eateries.
The crowded airport outside the departure terminal
Sleeping pods were seen inside the airport catered to passengers who need a snooze
Modern interior of the airport with many resting lounge available
A short and sweet trip, I am grateful to be given the wonderful opportunity to visit and learn about this beautiful country.