Outdoor Pool

Planning Your Trip

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Bangalore is the capital of the southern Karnataka state; it is often referred to as the Silicon Valley of India, thanks to its lightning-fast high-tech development in recent years. But with its charming architecture, important historical landmarks and lush greenery, it also lives up to its other moniker: Garden City. Here’s a packing guide for your vacation.

Circular rooftop bar with banquette seating, small round coffee tables and impressive skyline city views at night
Circular rooftop bar with banquette seating, small round coffee tables and impressive skyline city views at night
What to Pack

As befits any cosmopolitan city, Bangalore is dotted with trendy restaurants and bars. To partake in the nightlife offerings, bring a few sophisticated separates: skirts, blouses and strappy sandals for women, and trousers and button-down shirts for men.

Exploring the City

From shopping sprees on Commercial Street to tours of Bangalore’s many museums, palaces and buildings, there is much to see here. Pack versatile basics to easily get around town.

You’re going to be doing a lot of walking, so choose comfort over style in your shoes and opt for flat sandals or sneakers.

Bangalore is at an elevation of about 3,000 feet, the highest of India’s major cities, which means its temperature is relatively moderate with winters in the 60s Fahrenheit and summers in the 80s. However, it’s still prone to heat waves and rainfall, so be prepared with a few waterproof pieces and plenty of sun protection.

Bring along an extra carry-on for all the souvenirs you’re going to want to bring home.

Day Trips

Bangalore already has lots of green, but venture outside the city limits and you’ll find breathtaking hills and landscapes. Whether you want an easy stroll, a fabulous sunrise view or a visit to a temple, the hills are a magical escape.

Bring a pair of sturdy sneakers or hiking boots to climb the trails, even if you plan on doing one that is nonstrenuous.

Pack workout clothes (keep them conservative, no midriff-baring sports bras and micro shorts), along with a hoodie or sweater to account for temperature drops.

A light backpack will hold your essentials, like water, a camera and bug spray.  

Cultural Considerations

Bangalore’s strong and innovative tech sector makes it very westernized. Still, modesty is highly encouraged here and is also a way to show respect for India’s customs.

There’s no rule against wearing shorts and tank tops, however keeping in respect for the local culture, visitors may want to opt for maxi skirts, tunics and loose trousers in breathable fabrics like cotton and linen.

You’ll be required to take your shoes off when visiting temples. Leave complicated contraptions at home.

Embrace bright colors! They’re a big part of traditional Indian attire.

A woman relaxing in a large rectangular whirlpool beneath a ceiling of curved wood
A woman relaxing in a large rectangular whirlpool beneath a ceiling of curved wood
What to Reserve

With a rich cultural heritage and all the trappings of a modern metropolis, Bangalore is a perfect combination of old and new. From grand palaces to avant-garde art galleries, here are a few suggestions for your itinerary.

Inspired by New York’s quintessentially bohemian East Village neighborhood, Toast & Tonic is a fun, chic gastropub that features local Indian ingredients and freshly made products. You’ll be served an inventive seven-course menu using only the freshest ingredients, which you can enjoy alfresco in the garden. To sample the cuisine of northwest India in an upscale setting, book a table at The Ritz-Carlton, Bangalore’s restaurant Riwaz and pair your dishes with a creative cocktail derived from indigenous flavors.

The Ritz-Carlton, Bangalore’s massive 17,000-square-foot spa is the perfect place to unwind after a long day of sightseeing or to take a quick breather before your next jaunt. Restore the equilibrium in your body with the Jaali Embrace, a two-therapist, four-handed massage that uses warm oil and hot volcanic stones. And partake in India’s most famous practice with the Manoyana, which begins with a yoga expert sharing meditation techniques and ends with warm oil poured on your third-eye chakra. Need an emergency blow-out? The Rossano Ferretti Hair Spa is on-site.

Bangalore’s greatest landmarks are undoubtedly its incredible architectural masterpieces. There’s the 45,000-square-foot Tudor-style Bangalore Palace, which the Maharaja of Mysore bought from the British and which the royal family still owns. Tipu Sultan’s Summer Palace, built in a different Indo-Islamic style, belonged to the Mysorean ruler and national hero. Attara Kacheri, with its eye-catching red color, is hard to miss and its European classical building is now used for the High Court. Finally, Bangalore’s architectural pièce de résistance is the Vidhana Soudha, home of the state legislature and an icon of Dravidian architecture. To see works by India’s most famous artists, pay a visit to the National Gallery of Modern Art. And make sure to take a stroll around Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath, a beautiful 18-gallery complex in the center of the city.

The area surrounding Bangalore is a true nature lover’s paradise, ripe with verdant hills, hiking trails, waterfalls and dramatic views. Savandurga, said to be Asia’s largest monolith hill, actually consists of two hills, making it great for both those looking for an easy climb and those wanting something more adventurous. Afterward, you can visit the temples nestled at its base. At Hogenakkal Falls, also known as the “Niagara Falls of India,” the force of the water rushing down the rocks makes it look like white smoke — a haunting and mesmerizing sight. Finally, set your mind to do an early morning hike of Nandi Hills and you’ll be rewarded with a spectacular view of the sunrise.

Ritz Carlton Hotel image
Ritz Carlton Hotel image

Once known as the Garden City of India because of its glorious parks, Bangalore today has emerged as the country’s technological hub. It is the fastest-growing major metropolis in the country, and a hotbed of Fortune 500 companies that have infused the city with creativity and wealth. Past and present collide here; plan a day trip of temple hopping and touring raj-palaces by day, before exploring brew pubs and star chef restaurants filled with the city’s tech elite at night. Scratch the surface and you’ll discover there’s more to Bangalore than its tech reputation.

  • A Tranquil Respite. Bangalore may be growing, but amid the traffic and high rises you’ll find 197-acre Cubbon Park in the center of town. Built by the British in the late 1800s, the park is surrounded by historical, neoclassical buildings and is full of Banyan trees, bamboo groves, flowering plants and unique bird species, such as green-bee eaters. Rise early and join the locals who come to walk and jog here.

  • Coffee Break. India may be best known for tea, but the country also produces quality coffee in the south and the northeast. Sample different single-origin Indian coffees at Café Coffee Day Square just across the street from Cubbon Park. The café also sells whole bean or ground coffee if you want to bring home a taste of India.

  • Modern Art. Time & Space and Sublime are two trendy art galleries worth exploring. Visitors will find a well-curated selection of contemporary art from throughout India.

  • Raj Living. Feel like royalty as you explore the rooms and grounds of Bangalore Palace. This architectural marvel took more than 80 years to build and was decorated with the finest furnishings imported from around the globe. The ballroom exemplifies the palace’s opulence, done up in polished teak from the forests of Myanmar and cut-glass chandeliers.

  • Dine in Style. Peruse Bangalore’s luxury shopping destination, UB City mall. Shop the wares at Armani, Jimmy Choo and Ferragamo, then enjoy dinner at one of the many onsite eateries.

  • Urban Jungle. You could easily spend an entire day wandering the Lalbagh Botanical Garden. Hyder Ali, the emperor of Mysore, laid down the groundwork for the 2,400-acre park in the 18th century. His son, Tipu Sultan, completed his vision, importing exotic plants from France, Afghanistan and Persia. Today, the gardens hold the distinction of having the largest collection of rare plants in India.

  • Dosa Tasting. Sampige Road, in the Malleswaram neighborhood, is ground zero for dosas, the savory crêpes that are a South Indian staple. New Sri Sagar, known locally as Central Tiffin Room, is arguably the most beloved dosas spot in the city. There’s no menu, but ask for the classic and your server will deliver a piping hot, potato-stuffed crêpe.

  • It’s Showtime. Built in memory of Tirumakudalu Chowdiah, India’s music maestro who pioneered the use of the seven-stringed violin, Chowdiah Memorial Hall was appropriately built in the shape of a violin. One of Bangalore’s most photographed buildings, the hall has also emerged as a national center for music, arts and theater.

  • A Proper Pint. Bangalore’s burgeoning craft beer scene has earned it the nickname Pub City. Popular spots for a pour include Biere Club, which was the city’s first microbrewery, Windmills and Arbor.

  • Eggs Every Way. A short auto-rickshaw ride from Cubbon Park, the Egg Factory reimagines the egg beyond your standard breakfast dishes. Sure, the menu has your standard omelets and over easy, but it also has entire sections dedicated to egg-focused pastas, rice dishes and even curries like egg vindaloo.

  • Sensory Overload. Be prepared for sensory overload (in the best way) when you visit Gandhi Bazaar. This busy market in Basavanagudi, one of the oldest areas in the city, is known for its flower and condiment hawkers. Let yourself get lost in the bustle as you weave your way past fragrant spice vendors, sari shops and colorful piles of flowers used for ceremonies.

  • Learn Indian Mythology. Near Gandhi Bazaar, the Bull Temple is an enormous granite monolith of Nandi (the Bull). This is thought to be the only temple where the vaahana, or vehicle, of the God gets precedence over the master, or the Hindu God, Shiva. The giant bull is surrounded by idols of the god Surya and the goddess Chandra, riding on their chariots.

  • Toast to City Views. End the day at Bang, the highest rooftop bar and restaurant in the city, at The Ritz-Carlton, Bangalore. Nibble on mezze platters and sip creative cocktails as celebrity DJs perform against a stunning backdrop of city views.

  • A Walk in the Park. Lace up your sneakers and join locals for a morning walk or jog in Cubbon Park, a 197-acre green space in the center of town. 

  • Fare Start. Head back to The Market at The Ritz-Carlton, Bangalore, where the rich aromas of coffee and tea will wake you right up. Choose from baked goods, egg dishes and fresh parfaits to help you fuel up for the day. 

  • Market Tour. Get schooled in India’s most popular cooking ingredients at Gandhi Bazaar, a busy market in Basavanagudi, one of the oldest areas in the city. Known for its condiment hawkers, the market feels like a dizzying, fragrant maze of colorful stalls. Seek out Sri Manjunatha Condiments. One of the oldest stores in the bazaar, it sells close to 450 products ranging from pickles and sambar to chikki and kodubale. The owners will happily give you a tutorial in the exotic ingredients.

  • Divine Dosas. Vidyarthi Bhavan, on the Dandhi Bazaar main road, makes one of the best masala dosas in town. This Southern Indian snack staple is similar to a large crêpe stuffed with potatoes and dozens of spices.

  • Wine Country. India is home to some surprisingly delicious wines. Hire a car and make the hourlong trip to Grover Zampa Vineyards on the outskirts of the city at the foot of the Nandi Hills. One of India’s oldest and most respected vineyards, Grover offers three-hour tours of its 410-acre vineyards. You’ll finish with a tasting in the barrel room (don’t miss their La Reserve range) and lunch overlooking the vineyards.

  • Northern Flavors. Take a culinary journey through Northern India during dinner at Riwaz, the fine-dining restaurant at The Ritz-Carlton, Bangalore. Your server can help you navigate the menu of iconic dishes like tandoori aloo (potato stuffed with nuts, cottage cheese and pomegranate) and chopan kebab (lamb chops steeped in a spice hung yogurt and sour cream marinade). Save room for dessert. India is known for its sweets and you won’t want to miss the gulab jamun (cheese dumplings drizzled in a saffron-flavored sugar syrup). 

  • Botanical Wonder. The lovely Lalbagh Botanical Garden, a 2,400-acre park dating back to the 18th century, today holds the distinction of having the largest collection of rare and exotic plants in India.

  • Tiffin Brunch. Mavalli Tiffin Room is a local institution, and its brunch spread serves dishes rarely found elsewhere in the city. Opened in 1924, the restaurant serves Southern Indian comfort food including not-to-miss dishes like kesari bhath, a porridge flavored with ghee, cashews, raisins and saffron, and rava idli (steamed semolina cakes made with yogurt, coriander, curry leaves and mustard seeds).

  • Discover Hyderabad’s Rice Dish. Each region of India proudly boasts a distinct cuisine, and Bangalore has always been a melting pot of cultures, with culinary influences from regions like Hyderabad, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. The next best thing to making a trip to the source is to get a taste of the regional cuisine at either Meghana Biryani Foods or Nagarjuna on Residency Road. Both restaurants specialize in biriyani, a casserole-like baked rice dish.

  • Eco Home Goods. Take home sustainably crafted souvenirs from Go Native in Jayanagar, where the products are from local designers. Shop lighting from Purple Turtles and fresh jams from Martha’s Preserves, which are delivered straight from a farm. The space also has a yoga studio and a farm-to-fork café.

  • Pub City. Visit Bangalore’s first microbrewery, the Biere Club, and you’ll get a firsthand look at the city’s craft brew mania. In addition to traditional styles, like stouts and lagers, the taps also pour creative brews like chilly lime and mango ale. The pub regularly hosts live music from popular singers like Vikramjit Singh.

  • China Town. Designed to resemble its namesake, The Lantern at The Ritz-Carlton, Bangalore combines an informal Chinese fine dining experience with cutting edge nightlife. Savor masterful dim sum served from wheeled carts and flavorful regional delicacies that embrace China’s proud gastronomic heritage.