At Leave UR Mark, we are absolutely in love with the city of Bangalore. It is one of the most diverse, exciting, and welcoming cities of India. This is why we want to share our experiences with incoming volunteers and interns. With so much energy concentrated towards your work placement, it is important to go into tourist mode in the evenings and weekends and explore all that the city has to offer. When not working on LUM stuff, here is what we would be doing in our free time! *Please note, this is not a paid advertisement from any of the spots we mention–these are just some of our favorite hangouts that we want to share with our interns and volunteers.
1)Spend a Saturday afternoon having coffee & shopping at the ANTS Cafe:
ANTs is a non-profit cafe and shop that provides income generation and fair trade to communities from Northeastern India. It has a sunny and cozy cafe with a menu full of lattes, pancakes, omelettes, pastas, etc. It is the perfect place to have a weekend brunch, chat up some interesting designers, writers, and activists that often frequent it, learn about Northeast Indian culture, and support a fantastic initiative. ANTs also holds food festivals and book readings.
2)See a free dance performance or play at the Alliance Francaise:
Although the Alliance Francaise is set up to increase French culture in Bangalore, it often hosts many inter-cultural events and activities. On a Friday night, you might find there is a free classical Indian dance performance from respected artists, a Queer film festival, a workshop on photography, or local actors doing trial runs of plays. Check their calendar in advance: http://bangalore.afindia.org/events/categories/events/.
3)Grab a drink and kareoke at Opus:
This laid back bar has been a great supporter of Leave UR Mark and helped put on a charity performance for one of our partner orphanages. On any night of the week, you can see live music, go for trivia nights, view a short film screening, or kareoke with the locals.
4)Take a yoga class and shop at the farmer’s market at The Yoga House:
This multi-purpose zen-like space has something for everyone. Whether you are into yoga, meditation, chanting or simply want a good brunch with tea, the Yoga House is a laid back space to spend a Sunday morning. They also host tons of pop up events like farmer’s markets, pet adoptions, art classes, and more. The hammock is pretty neat too.
5)Take a “Bangalore Walks” Tour
Bangalore Walks has very interesting three hour tours by foot on specific talks. There is a “Green Heritage Tour” that takes you on a nature walk, a “Medieval Tour”, a “Victorian Tour”. They also do customized tours for groups of 10 or more. They normally finish off the day with a very traditional breakfast at one of the city’s iconic restaurants.
6)Visit an outdoor art gallery
The Karnataka Chitrakala Parishat is a unique art school and outdoor gallery showcasing some of India’s most traditional rural and urban art work. Whether or not you love art, you will appreciate the set up and creativity that the space provides.
7)Go shopping at the Tibetan Plaza (underneath the Dubai Plaza)
Not very well known to many people, the Tibetan Plaza off Brigade is a place for imported foreign clothes at street prices. Here you can hunt for clothes that are trendy in Hong Kong and Korea for less than $20. The clothes here have not hit Indian/American/European malls yet and have extremely unique East Asian chic designs. Perfect for shopping cute dresses, bags, and shoes when you are on a tight budget.
8)Have a picnic at Bugle Rock Garden
You may not read about Bugle Rock Garden in the guidebooks much. We at Leave UR Mark discovered it accidentally when paying a visit to the Bull Rock Temple one afternoon. This hidden, low key park doesn’t have the crowds of Cubbon and Lalbagh. It has unique features like a mini outdoor ampitheater and a mini-tower to climb up (during the British rule, it was used as a signal to alert people that the British were coming). We have often joked that we don’t tell many people about this park..otherwise the secret will get out. It is definitely one of our favorite parks in the city where you feel surrounded by history and nature.
9)Go see a Rock/Metal Concert at the Palace Grounds
Bangalore has a surprising rock/alternative/heavy metal music scene as a counter-culture to the Bollywood mainstream music. There are tons of local rock bands that have come up within the last decade. International rock bands like Metallica, Korn, and Guns and Roses have a strong cult following and put on concerts that pull in crowds of over 5,000 people. The Palace Grounds hosts many major shows, but lower key/underground rock shows can be found at smaller venues.
10)Spend all of your savings at the Sunday Soul Sante
Don’t really spend all of your savings….but reserve your shopping and souvenir cash for Bangalore’s most popular flea market. The market has some amazing crafts, bags, clothing, shoes, food, and music in this outdoor haven for shoppers. The products sold there are not what people would consider “junk” but rather hand crafted goods that are often made through small NGOs and Non-Profits that are helping to empower rural artisans. Skip the Indian malls and head here first!
Did we miss any of your favorite activities while interning in India? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to continue the conversation!