Bengaluru is a developing city but that's not to say expats can't lead a comfortable lifestyle in the Karnataka capital. Known as the Garden City for its leafy avenues and quiet suburbs, Bengaluru was the first city in Asia to be lit by streetlamps and has since continued to spearhead India's technological boom.
The ensuing influx of Westerners and a rise in wealth have contributed to an open-minded city culture, and its sprawling layout makes for a calmer environment in certain suburbs than other Indian metropolises.
Though it isn't a major tourist hotspot, there are still great shopping opportunities, an excellent range of restaurants and an active bar scene. For a break from the city, there are also great options for weekend getaways.
Nightlife in Bengaluru
While Bengaluru nightlife may not be comparable to that of Mumbai, expats will find that there is a fair amount to keep one entertained after the sun goes down. The city has numerous entertainment venues, including open-air lounges, sports pubs and chic rooftop bars on some of its tallest structures. For a hipster crowd, hop over to Indiranagar where scores of craft breweries and lively pubs abound.
Eating out in Bengaluru
Like most big cities, Bengaluru has a lot to offer in terms of dining options. Whether expats are on the lookout for authentic local street food, a fine dining experience or something in between, they're sure to find it in Bengaluru. Thanks to the city's large expat population and exposure to international cultures, residents will find that there is a wide variety of different cuisines on offer.
As the population of people with a high disposable income grows in Bengaluru, the city has also seen the rise of more and more innovative experimental and premium restaurants.
Shopping in Bengaluru
Shopping enthusiasts in Bengaluru won’t be disappointed. The city has something for everyone, regardless of their budget or preferences, from narrow market lanes to swanky shopping malls.
Commercial Street is one of the most popular shopping spots, stocking a wide range of clothing, textiles, footwear, jewellery and sports equipment. Mahatma Gandhi Road offers a more authentic Indian shopping experience, where expats can find good deals on silk saris, antiques and local handicrafts.
Expats with children will enjoy shopping centres such as Garuda Mall and Phoenix Marketcity, which are full of entertainment facilities for the little ones as well as plenty of shopping opportunities.
Sports and outdoor activities in Bengaluru
Active expats can find various sports and outdoor activities to try out in Bengaluru. Not far west from the city lies Savandurga Hill, which offers great nature trekking routes, and there are several other hills and mountains with great hiking trails, caves to explore and opportunities for easy walks as well as rock climbing.
Dirt biking is a popular outdoor activity with centres such as Dirt Mania Outdoor Adventures, and paragliding from Nandi Hills has been a unique way for new arrivals to see the city.
See and do in Bengaluru
Also known as the Garden City, there is plenty to see and do between the lush gardens and leafy avenues found all over Bengaluru.
One of the city's top attractions is this royal palace. Expats can learn about the history and architecture of the building or enjoy a concert held on the palace grounds.
The Bull Temple famously houses a 16th-century black granite statue of a bull known as Nandi. According to one legend, the area's agriculture was being destroyed and when one local farmer hit and killed what they thought was the culprit behind the destruction, it turned out to be a bull. The bull transformed into stone and this became a shrine.
This central park provides a place of relaxation for early morning walkers and residents who want to escape the city bustle. Not only does it provide an attractive respite for the civil servants who work in the surrounding administrative buildings, but it's also the platform for many of the city’s cultural institutions.
Lalbagh Botanical Gardens
This splendid botanical garden has expanded from a Mughal-style private garden to showcase close to 2,000 species of flora. The gardens also boast a beautiful glasshouse which plays host to Bengaluru’s famous biannual flower shows.
One of India's leading amusement parks, Wonderla provides a fun-filled day out for the whole family. There's something for everyone here, with an assortment of rides for young and old.
What's on in Bengaluru
Bengaluru embraces the colour and commotion that can only be created by the age-old festivals that link this modernised city to its traditional past. Below is a list of not-to-be-missed yearly festivals and celebrations.
Lalbagh Flower Show (January and August)
Held twice each year, the Lalbagh Flower Show is a popular event on the Bengaluru events calendar. Attendees can wander among themed arrangements and take in Bengaluru's natural beauty.
Karaga Festival (March/April)
The Karaga Festival or Bengaluru Karaga is one of the city's oldest festivals and is celebrated to honour the goddess Draupadi. A visually impressive nighttime procession takes place, where an earthen karaga pot is carried through the city.
Ganesh Chaturthi (August/September)
Ganesh Chaturthi and its 11-day Bengaluru Ganesh Utsava celebration form one of Bengaluru’s most famous festivals. Many of the city's temples are devoted to the elephant deity and the holiday is enthusiastically celebrated by the Hindu population.
Kadlekai Parishe (November)
One of the most popular fairs held in Bengaluru, Kadlekai Parishe offers the opportunity to sample hundreds of types of groundnuts and several other foods. There are also a whole host of vendors operating and selling foodstuffs and trinkets in and around Basavanagudi.
►For more ideas on how to spend your free time, see Weekend Breaks in Bengaluru
Are you an expat living in Bengaluru?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Bengaluru. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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