5. To understand the genius polymath Shivarama Karanth, you should read his staggeringly prodigious works of fiction, biography, plays, and children’s books. Another choice is to read “Growing up Karanth,” written by his children to get an intimate portrayal of the man and his ethos.
6. Unlike Chennai which is the seat of Carnatic music or Varanasi which is one of the foremost “gharanas” of Hindusani music, Karnataka is home to both Carnatic and Hindustani music. It is truly at the cultural crossroads of India. Here, both of India’s classical music traditions thrive. All of India’s great dance forms including Odissi, Kathak and Bharatanatyam blossom in this gracious city.
7. The state’s tourism slogan: “One state, many worlds,” does not really do justice to the flora and fauna, festivals and foods that make up Karnataka. With languid rivers such as the Souparnika, Kaveri, and Nethravathi; with ancient mountain ranges that include the Sahyadris and large wildlife reserves such as Nagarhole, Dandeli and Sharavathi, we humans can engage with a staggeringly array of wildlife in Karnataka, ranging from sloth bears to civet cats, not to mention the big charismatic mammals such as tigers and elephants.
8. Karnataka’s food too is distinct and varied. It does not do fusion — or dilution — but instead holds its own proudly. Think of the ragi mudde for example. These ragi balls need to be dunked in a soppu saaru, a dal/sambhar like gravy and basically swallowed for a low-carb, slow-release nutrition-rich food. Think of the variety of brinjals that make up a killer combination in Uttara Karnataka. Stuffed with spices and paired with jowar or jolada-rotis, these are to die for.
9. Udupi is the well-spring of the beloved dosas and idlis that are now famous all over India. Go to Nagarathpete or Avenue Road in Bengaluru for small eateries that serve excellent dosas. Go to MTR for rava idlis, CTR for benne (butter) dosas, and Brahmins Coffee for well, filter coffee.
10. Go to Thindi Bheedhi or Tiffin Street to taste “only in Bengaluru” delicacies like Congress buns and a variety of fried beans like avarekai (hyacinth beans) or kadlekai (peanuts), both of which are celebrated in Bengaluru with “parishes” or melas or gatherings.
11. I grew up in Chennai and we had the beaches, which inland Bengaluru does not have. But what it has are parks that act as lungs for the city. Every Sunday, there is a birding and nature walk that is held at Lalbagh and one of the many lakes or keres in Bengaluru. You will find the details at bngbirds.com
. Cubbon Park has a devoted group of runners. Laughter clubs abound. Laugh, walk, run or spot birds through binoculars. Whatever your vibe, there is a park for you in Bengaluru.
12. Vastrabharana happens just before the holiday season in early October. It is a time when all the textile-crazy folks of Bengaluru make their way to Chitra Kala Parishad (CKP) to buy a year’s worth of sarees, stoles and all things textiles. Sisters Mala and Sonia Dhawan broaden the ambit by including all things handmade in their A Hundred Hands exhibitions that take place every year.
13. MAP or the Museum of Art and Photography is a compact museum that boasts of a fantastic online presence with classes and an encyclopedia of art. The Venkatappa Art Gallery across the street has exhibits that go back centuries. Namu Kini and her gallery Kynkyny champion seasoned and new artists. Gallery G is a great central space that puts together interesting talks and exhibits as does gallery Sumukha.
14. The best place for live talks has become the Bangalore International Centre. If you are flying into town for a day, just pop in for a taste of what the intellectuals of Bengaluru are thinking about.
15. If fun and dance is your scene, then go dancing or drinking at one of the many craft breweries that have come up all over Bengaluru. Everyone has their favourites. Mine happens to be down the road from me– the 7Rivers Brewing Company at the Taj MG Road.