Bengaluru – A Walking Tour of India’s Silicon Valley
Bengaluru (Bangalore is no longer the name, as of 2014) was a quiet town meant for Britain’s troops and civil servants to recuperate and retire. Legend says its name comes from “Bendha Kaalu,” which means boiled beans in the Kannada, the local language. A king was lost in a forest, and stumbled across an old woman who only had boiled beans to offer him.
The people are still warm and friendly; Bengaluru has changed drastically otherwise. Now it’s home to hundreds of IT firms and some call it the Silicon Valley of India. It balances surging development and traffic with well-preserved green spaces and colonial-era architecture.
A great way to experience the city is on foot. The best time for this walk is before 8a.m. in the morning; or dusk, when the natural lighting is at its best.
Start at the heart - the upscale Vittal Mallya Road. The street is home to the city’s most luxurious shops, homes and restaurants. It’s also close to Cubbon Park, which has more than 300 acres of sprawling greenery, along with fountains, statues, trees, and even an aquarium. Some call it the city’s oxygen tank. It was named after Sir Mark Cubbon, a former Commissioner.
Stroll down the canopied pathway from Vittal Mallya Road and you’ll be in in front of the State Central Library, an impressive red Gothic structure. Here you can embark on a number of well-laid out routes.
Turning left in front of the library will find you facing a grand, tree lined avenue.Turning right will help you circumvent the park, passing the statue of Jaya Chamarajendra Wadiyar, the last ruling monarch of the princely state of Mysore.
Turning left at this statue will take you down a vehicle-free road, past the Dog Park, a mini-lake and through the heart of the park. The pathway comes out in front of the Aquarium with a statue of Queen Victoria on your left.
Look diagonally to your right here, and you will be presented with the imposing colonial structure of St Mark’s Cathedral, built in 1812 and modelled after St Paul’s Cathedral in London. Stop here for a while to admire the architecture.