The political hub of the region, Bengaluru is a world apart from the rest of the state and in many ways India’s most Westernized urban centre. Once a sleepy cantonment, the charming, verdant “Garden City” of just over 600,0000 people at Independence has been completely transformed by the technology boom into both a trendy, racy business hub and a bustling, smog-choked megalopolis of around 8.5 million, perhaps the fastest growing city in India. These days, signs of the West are thick on the ground: big-brand fashion stores and branches of CCD or Barista on nearly every corner; a swanky international airport and ultramodern metro (still far from completion); and legions of hard-working, free-spending twenty- and thirty-somethings in designer T-shirts and miniskirts.
Despite its lush environs and cosmopolitan air, Bengaluru’s few attractions are no match for those elsewhere in the state. That said, it’s an efficient transport hub, well served by plane and bus, and paired with first-rate shopping, dining and nightlife, and a calendar packed with big-ticket events in music, dance, art, literature, theatre or folk arts, this vibrant city can still deliver a few days’ respite from south India’s more taxing inconveniences.