SAMPLE BANGALORE’S STREET FOOD AND VISIT A FLOWER MARKET
- Walk down food street and sample local delicacies
- Buy or photograph the region’s biggest flower market
Not for the faint of heart (or feet), this requires walking through jostling crowds. Food Street or Thindi Beedi comes alive when the sun goes down but is open through the day. Broadly akin to Singapore’s hawker centres, this version is less organized, and—it must be said—less clean. This is not to say that it is unsanitary. Given that most of the food is cooked or fried, visitors should be okay. Sample sweet holige made with unprocessed sugar or jaggery, ghee, and patted into a flat circle. Have a masala dosa made to order in minutes. Try a Congress bun, named after a political party at VB Bakery. Try fried savory snacks and chips, called chaklis at Vaishali Condiments. Sip some coconut water or carry a bottle. If nothing else, enjoy the theatrics of sizzling food, shouted orders, bargaining vendors and bemused tourists. The nearby KR Market is where jasmine, marigolds, tuberose, and roses from the region come to be sold in bulk to florists across the city. Witness and photograph the riot of colours and designs with which the flowers are hand-tied into garlands. You cannot bottle their fragrance alas, but buy a tuberose garland to take to your room.
EXPERIENCE A HOLISTIC HEALTH CENTRE FREQUENTED BY THE PRINCE OF WALES
- Consult with a homeopath, naturopath, or ayurvedic doctor
- Experience a massage
- Enjoy medicinal gardens followed by an organic vegetarian meal
An hour outside Bangalore is Soukya, a world-class holistic health centre visited by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cambridge and Middle Eastern royal families. Headed by Dr. Issac Mathai who has a thriving homeopathic practice in London and the Middle East, the verdant property lined with pink bougainvillae has organic gardens, a restaurant, rooms, and halls for massage, meditation and yoga. They make ayurvedic massage oils in-house using herbs grown on the property, thus compounding their effect, one presumes. Have the concierge make an appointment and get out of the city for half a day.
GO SHOPPING IN JAYANAGAR
Jayanagar and Basavanagudi are old neighbourhoods where the original Kannada inhabitants of Bangalore live. The late great author, R.K. Narayan combined Basavanagudi and Malleshwaram, two iconic Bangalore neighbourhoods to come up with his fictional town of Malgudi, where all his books are set. The Jayanagar 4th block market is a bustling kitschy market that sells condiments, powers and Hindu puja-ritual objects. The surrounding area is full of shops. Visit Angadi Silks for, well, silk saris– its swanky sister shop, Angadi Galleria, is across town. Go to Basava Ambara, opposite Krishna Rao Park for its curated curios, clothes and jewelry. Gandhi Bazaar is an Instagram-friendly and fragrant flower, fruit and vegetable market. Wander through to another iconic restaurant, Vidyarthi Bhavan, just to see the waiters carry a line of plates containing crisp dosas on their hands
VISIT A NATIONAL PARK AND LOOK AT WHITE TIGERS
- Go on a herbivore safari
- Visit a butterfly garden
- Watch Indian conservation at work
Banerghatta Biological Park is about 45 minutes from the hotel. It is a great place for nature lovers and families to visit. Go on an hour-long safari to see deer, gaur, tigers, lions, leopards and bears. There are butterflies and birds aplenty so carry binoculars. Birdwatchers can join the Bangalore birding community’s free Sunday birding trips. Details at bngbirds.com