Namma Bengaluru

Updated as of 20 March, 2021

This post is not about photography, but my experiences of living in Bangalore from July 2015 to December 2017 as a lawyer and a wedding photographer. This is where I fell in love twice, once with the city and later with a girl from Bangalore.

The first thing that you will love about Bangalore is its cool weather. Even in the peak summer, you may just find a great sigh of relief with drizzling rain by the evening. The temperature here averages 23.6°C, with the hottest month being April (28°C avg). The natives may tell you the weather here is getting worse as it once used to be.

More than anything else, Bangalore helped me visualize the wedding photographer inside me. The first time I came to Bangalore, it was to cover my friend’s wedding at Art of Living International Center situated on a small hill around 21 km south of Bangalore. Apart from being a bizarre venue for a wedding, the Center offers a wide range of interesting programs in yoga, meditation, and India’s age-old breathing techniques to the likes of Pranayama

Later in few months, I actually ended up relocating from Hyderabad to Bangalore where my brother had just started working. I was super excited to be with him together in the same city, ever since we left home for schooling sixteen years back. However, destiny had something else in store for us. The euphoria lasted hardly six months and my brother moved to Hyderabad for a better career opportunity. In hindsight, it looked like an exchange program, where I moved from Hyderabad to Bangalore and my brother from Bangalore to Hyderabad. With the small window of time we had together in Bangalore, we could only visit Mysore once, which was barely 2-3 hours from Bangalore by train.

For the Wanderers and Tourists

As a city, Bangalore does not have much to offer in terms of tourist attractions, except for city glimmer, parks and few monuments like Bangalore Palace, Vidhan Soudha building, etc.

Shot on Samsung Galaxy S20 FE

However, if you can venture out of the city once in a while, you must visit some interesting locations like Bannerghatta National Park, Nandi Hills and Wonderla.

Weekend Getaways

There are many weekend getaways that Bangalore has to offer. If you love hills, Chikmagalur (240 Km) and Coonoor (285 Km) are the two best options, followed by Coorg (267 Km) and Yercaud (205 Km). If history is what gets you intrigued, you must visit Hampi (341 Km). Mysuru (141 Km) can be another interesting place to visit, though not very highly recommended (except for its iconic Mysore Palace). If you prefer luxurious travelling experiences or camping on the way, you may consider travelling to national parks like Bandipur and Kabini in Camper Vans with Luxe Camper. For those who do not wish to travel very far, you can also make a one-day trip to Lepakshi.

Image Courtesy: Campervan Camps and Holidays India Pvt. Ltd.
For the Photographers in Bangalore

If you ask me, the only place I could call as my favorite, it was none other than Nandi Hills giving a refreshing respite from the noisy traffic and hustle bustle of a city life. I also found this place interestingly different for some of my pre-wedding shoots, given the panoramic scenic view from the hill top. Some of the other locations that you may find useful to get your pre-wedding shoot done in Bangalore can be Cubbon Park, K.R. Flower Market, and Lumbini Gardens.

My city commute in Bangalore was limited to my office at M.G. Road and random wedding venues taking me to distant corners of the city. More than anything else, wedding photography in Bangalore helped me imbibe the food, culture and true essence of the city. This is where I started from zero as a wedding photographer to reach a point with most of my weekends booked.

If you have been planning to level up your wildlife or travel photography, you may join guided photography tours offered by Sudhir Shivaram, Bobby Joshi and Toehold, or simply attend their live workshops in the city. Toehold also offers a very wide range of professional cameras and lenses on rent. If you are looking for slightly cheaper rentals, you can also contact my go-to rental guy, Purushottam at + 91 99802 80384. For printing albums and photographs, you can trust GK Vale to do a good job.

For the Gluttons in Bangalore

When Hyderabad turned me into a big sucker of Biryani, setting the highest standard of its divine taste, coming to Bangalore, I started hunting for the best place where I could get authentic Hyderabadi Biryani. To my dismay, I could not find many, except Hyderabad Biryaani House and Paradise. While you may not find the ambience at Hyderabad Biryaani House good enough to come for a date, you can definitely choose Paradise at Indiranagar for a wider range of food and plush ambience. If up for a different kind of biryani (which I am not a big fan of), you can also try Karnataka’s native ‘Donne Biryani’. I also gathered many other useful recommendations for good food in Bangalore, and thoroughly enjoyed the food from MTR 1924 at St. Mark’s Road, Mahesh Lunch Home, Meghana Foods and Nagarjuna at Residency Road, Salt at VR Bengaluru, and Al-Bek at Malleshwaram. MTR, established in 1924, interestingly stands for Mavalli Tiffin Room, and is one of the oldest and most well known restaurants in Bangalore. Although I could not cover some of the other highly recommended restaurants in Bangalore, you may definitely give them a try when you are here: Salt Mango Tree, Brahmin’s Coffee Bar, Toscano, Green Pepper, Truffles and Jalsa Gold. If you prefer luxury dining experience, you may consider, Rim Naam at The Oberoi, Karavalli at the Taj Gateway. For street food lovers, Food Street at V.V. Puram is a heaven.

Local cuisine you must try in Bangalore: Mysore Pak, Dharvad Peda, Chiroti, Obbattu (or Holige), Maddur Vada, Neer Dosa, Mysore Masala Dosa, Bisi Bele Bath, Mysore Bonda

For the Love of Wine

If you are a connoisseur of wine, then Bangalore is home to some of the finest wineries and vineyards. A guided winery tour to some of the popular vineyards located outside the city can give you a real sense of how their signature wines are made. You can also join their wine tasting session to understand and appreciate the subtle nuances of taste. Some of the most popular ones are: Big Banyan, Nandi Valley, Sula Vineyard and Grover Zampa.

Living in the City

If you are an IT professional, data analyst, or entrepreneur running a start-up, Bangalore may be just the right place for you. However, if you are in a legal profession, you would probably find much better career opportunities in Mumbai and Delhi. Bangalore can also be a dream city for aspirants eyeing to study in India’s best national law school, NLSIU, and second best business school, IIM. City commute by wading through creeping and halting traffic may be a major pain point of living in Bangalore, given its limited public transport infrastructure. Being a north Indian, you might also find few local auto rickshaw walas and vendors a bit unwelcoming and rude. Nonetheless, this is the only cosmopolitan city where you can get the mixed flavour of all the neighbouring states (Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh) at one place. If you are planning to settle here, you may find the property prices and rentals a bit higher than in Kolkata or Hyderabad for the comparable locality, but still much affordable as compared to Mumbai.

Dil, Dosti, etc.

Bangalore was also the city which turned me into a small-time poet, not for its beauty or cool climate, but someone I unwittingly developed a crush on. The initial love (read, one-sided) turned into mutual discomfort when it did not find a highway to proceed. However, we eventually became friends for lifetime in a way that we had never thought of. While in Bangalore, we could luckily manage two road trips together, along with another colleague of mine, to Sakleshpur and Cooonoor. These trips were probably the best memories of our friendship that I still cherish in my heart.

The Bangalore Chapter ended at an emotionally poignant note, when I decided to move to Mumbai for a better career opportunity with an investment banking company. In the last few days, I could feel nothing but something inside me breaking, without any hope to relive beautiful moments spent here. Having to say goodbye to Bangalore was by far the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.

My Best Seven
Best place to visit away from cityNandi Hills
Best weekend getawayChikmagalur (240 Km)
Best Biryani on the offeringParadise at Indiranagar
Best things to buy Mysore Silk Sarees/ Sandalwood artefact
Best place to shopCommercial Street
Best place to liveIndiranagar
Best time to visitLalbagh Flower Show (15 August & 26 January)

If you think, I have missed out any interesting place, food joint or a unique experience in and around Bangalore, please let me know in the comment box below. Thanks for reading my post till the end! 🙂

Post updated as of 20 March, 2021.

Published by Vivek Kumar Verma

Investment Banking Lawyer | Photographer & Blogger | Connoisseur of Food | Poet

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