I moved to Bangalore, like most other techies in India, in the search of a job. I was enamoured by the lifestyle of the city and fell in love with it within quite a short while. But being a wanderer at heart, I wanted to get lost in the streets of this city, explore it like there’s no tomorrow. When I finally made up my mind do that, I discovered the hidden treasures which this city hides in its heart. The glorious history and rich architectural background of the city made me wonder about the real story which was lost behind the flashy lights of night clubs and pubs. So I decided to do some leg-breaking tours of the city to discover the local history of Bangalore.
The name of Tipu Sultan is exceptionally well known as we go down the history of India, but very few people know his contributions in the shaping of Bangalore’s history. Sultan was born in a quaint little place called ‘Devanahalli’ which is located right next to the Bangalore International Airport but reaching there can be a challenge in itself. The tour was organized by a group called ‘Bengaluru by Foot’ and there are no words to mention how worthy it was to join their tour. We could see the real enthusiasm on the face of the guide as he walked us around
the place, with no monetary advantage in mind but just out of pure love for history and culture. Devanahalli Fort is a must visit. It’s not a touristy place but it should be on your list if you have an interest in History. We drove on to Sultanpet, a small town at the foot of the famous Nandi Hills. Sultanpet was named after Tipu Sultan and once you enter the town, you’ll know why. We visited a beautiful 1,000-year old temple followed by an abandoned British burial ground. Just next to Burial ground, was an ancient and small mosque which looked like it was ready to crumble at any moment.
The best moment of the trip was when we walked up to the top of the Nandi Hill. The Nandi Hill is another famous weekend gateway for many Bangaloreans because of its view of sunrise and sunset. It is believed that watching the sunset from Nandi Hill is a divine feeling and I had experienced that before and this time, I was there to explore the Tipu Sultan’s hunting lodge and walk along the 18th Century fortifications which still stand strong. Till over a few years ago, there weren’t any History tours within the city and tourists were told that
there was nothing ‘historical’ to see in Bangalore and were directed to Mysore instead. INTACH (Indian trust Art and Cultural Heritage) is another organization which organizes tours exploring the heritage of the city. INTACH walks are grand but they almost too organized which often tramples over the additional curiosity of the travellers. But, the solution to the problem is another company called-BangaloreWALKS.
Owned and run by a Bangalorean couple, Bangalore WALKS was the divine answer to my prayers as I was looking to learn more about the city. Mrs. Roopa Rai (the honourable wife), met the group at Trinity Church. Trinity Church is another architectural masterpiece in the city from the time of British colonial in India. We walked through the south of M.G Road, exploring the beauty of British Indian architecture. We spotted the bungalow where young Winston Churchill had supposedly lived. History wasn’t my favourite subject per se, but knowing about the historical value of the city I was living in was an extraordinary experience. This was something which was new to me since I had never woken up at the wake of dawn on a Sunday morning to go on leg-breaking tours around the city. But Bangalore had a certain charm which kept pulling my strings and motivated me to wander around and get lost in the city’s never-ending offerings.
Talking about Bangalore’s cultural and missing out on the food is impossible. If you are a wanderer and a foodie, why not combine both in one and see the real foodie love in Bangalore. ‘A Biryani Walk’ in Fraser town organized by Unhurried. Unhurried conducts tours to explore the food traditions as well as the architectural history of the city. If you are a non-vegetarian and are ready to explore crazy spicy Indian food, Biryani walk will be perfect for you. It includes trying many versions of Biryani in dozens of specialty-restaurants on the Mosque Road in Bangalore. A few versions you should definitely try are the Dakhni Biryani (Also known as Bengaluru Biryani), Gujarati Kutchi Memon style Mutton Dum Biryani, a rare Kofta Biryani, and the unique Bhatkal style ‘Saiya Biryani’. There are endless snacks and desserts you can try and explore in these tours.
I have seen people complain about not being able to travel because of their hectic work schedule and one thing or the other and I have been a part of that custom as well. But you can always start from the place you live in. All it takes is a few hours and the real motivation to go out and know your city like never before. You will be surprised to see how many things you had no idea existed right in front of your eyes. You may not have an interest in history but among the options of food, books, music and even culture, I am sure that you can always find one thing which will interest you and motivate you to go out. Once you are out there you will see many things which you can explore and follow through. So start getting lost, because that is the best way of knowing your own city.
Bangalore By Foot: http://www.bengalurubyfoot.com/