Bengaluru (or Bangalore) is one of India’s most thriving metropolitan cities. Its vibrant local culture and flourishing IT industry draw tourists, students, and professionals from across the country and the world. Bangalore has many titles, known both as the ‘Silicon Valley of India,’ and as its ‘Garden City,’ the city has much to offer. While it may be known for its pubs or its restaurants, there are many major tourist hotspots in and few km from Bangalore. Cubbon Park, Bangalore Palace, Lalbagh, MG Road, and Bull Temple are all well-known attractions. Many other places near Bangalore like Nandi Hills and Horseley Hills are a short drive away for day or weekend trips. However, there are plenty of other lesser-known and unique places to visit in Bangalore well worth exploring. Here is a list of 11 of the more unusual places to go and offbeat things to do in Bangalore:
Offbeat And Unique Places To Visit In Bangalore
1. Devanahalli Fort: 500 Years Of History
While most people know about Bangalore Fort, very few make the trip outside Bangalore to visit the spectacular Devanahalli Fort. Unlike Bangalore Fort, most of it still remains, covering a vast area of 20 acres. One of the historical places near Bangalore, it was originally built in 1501 by the Saluva Dynasty but was taken over by Hyder Ali. The fort was also where his famous son, Tipu Sultan was born. Among some of the best forts of Bangalore, Devanhalli Fort is situated about 37 kms from Bangalore. Along with a history of 500 years, the fort’s architecture makes it one of the best places to visit in the city.
Also Read: 8 stunning forts to visit in India
2. Nrityagram: An Amalgamation Of Culture And Nature
Opened by Odissi dancer Protima Gauri in 1990, this modern gurukul is more a community than a school. One of the interesting and hidden places to visit in Bangalore, Nrityagram is situated near Hesaraghatta Lake, about 30 kms from Bangalore, it is the perfect place to escape the city and immerse yourself in both culture and nature. Among the best places to relax and to visit near Bangalore, it boasts both beautifully maintained gardens, as well as temples.
3. Big Banyan Tree: Ancient And Beautiful
Known locally as the Dodda Alada Mara, this 400-year-old tree is located in the outskirts in the village of Kethohalli, about 30-40 kms from Bangalore city. Several thousand aerial roots hang down from an amalgamation of small and large trees covering over 250 metres. Among the unique places to visit near Bangalore, explore the labyrinths formed by the enormous roots, filled with pathways and brightly painted seats. The tree is one of the ideal places for a picnic.
4. Jakkur Aerodrome: Adventures In The Sky
One of the best places near Bangalore for adventure enthusiasts, the Jakkur Aerodrome is located 16 km from Bangalore city centre and offers for a wide range of exciting and engaging activities. One of the unique places to visit in Bangalore, here you can take a ride in an aircraft to watch the city sparkling from below you, or go micro light flying over the city. Jakkur Aerodrome also offers one day packages that includes concepts like the theory of flying, rules and regulations in the air, flight communication and more. Flying for the public is open from 6:30 AM to 9:30 AM on Saturday and Sunday. Jakkur Aerodrome is one of the places where adventure junkies can also go parasailing, and much more.
5. Gardi Ustad Pehlwan Kale Bhai: Wrestling Pit
This 110-year-old akhara (wrestling pit) smack in the middle of Shivajinagar is one of the few remaining spaces where kushti (traditional Persian wrestling) is practised in the city. However, in the afternoons, this gardi turns into a restaurant, serving delicious biryani and kebabs that you can gorge on.
6. Mayo Hall: An Ornate Government Building
Amidst the high-rises and modern buildings of Brigade Road, sits the colonial Mayo Hall. It was built in the 1800s to honour the memory of Lord Mayo, the 4th Viceroy of India. This relic of a bygone era, one of the best places to visit in Bangalore, staunchly escaped the rush to modernity that surrounds it. Full of beautiful ornate furniture, chandeliers, stone arches, and Tuscan columns, it houses both government offices and the Kempegowda Museum.
7. Blossom Book House: For All The Bibliophiles
One of the most beloved bookstores in Bangalore, Blossom may not be the most unusual destination on this list. Opened in 2001 and located on Church Street, Blossom is the largest second-hand bookstore in India and is a must for any book-lover. One of the most visited places by avid readers, you can easily get lost in the stacks and stacks of books piled in every nook and cranny of the store. This place is thriving and recently expanded to a second location nearby.
8. Malleswaram And Basavanagudi: The Real “Malgudi”
Whether you read the short stories or watched the TV series, you might be familiar with RK Narayan’s ‘Malgudi Days’. If you are interested in the writer and the book then this is the place to be. While the town may be fictional, Narayan has said that the name is a combination of two of his favourite areas in Bangalore — Malleswaram, and Basavanagudi. These neighbourhoods still retain much of their old-world charm, with tree-lined streets and gorgeous traditional heritage homes.
9. Freedom Park: A Park With A Unique Theme
Located in what was once Bangalore’s central jail, Freedom Park is said to have been inspired by Hyde Park in London. One of the interesting locations in Bangalore that symbolises India’s freedom and a stage for public meetings. It also has the remains of the barracks and a watchtower, along with a Jail Museum.
10. Pyramid Valley: For Some Peace
If you are looking for an unwinding experience then Pyramid is one of the best places to visit. Located just outside Bangalore, in Kebbedoddi, this international meditation centre houses the world’s largest meditational pyramid. The Maitreya-Buddha Pyramid is 102 feet tall and can house over 5000 people. Nestled in a lush green valley, it also has streams and hills that make it an ideal place to relax and meditate. One of the interesting places to visit in in Bangalore for a tranquil experience. The campus is spread over 28 acres and energy spots for meditation.
11. Turahalli Forest: A Forest Within The City
The Turahalli Forest Area is the last surviving forest in Bangalore city. Located off the Kanakapura Road, near Banashankari, this area is full of narrow trails, small hillocks, and dense vegetation. Vehicles have been banned inside this reserve forest, but it is a popular spot for cyclists. If you want to plan a day trip, the place also offers numerous activities for the outdoor enthusiast, such as hiking and rock-climbing. It is one of the best, most unique places in Bangalore that provides a sense of peace.
Also read: 10 Best Cycling Trails In Bangalore
See Bangalore Differently
Many of these unique places to visit in Bangalore will not fail to surprise you. While places like Nandi Hills along with several other options are popular to visit when in Bangalore, there are many unique things to see within the city as well. Be sure to tell us if you know of more such places to add to the list and plan a trip.
Situated 20 kilometres from Bangalore, the Turahalli Forest area is one of the most unique places to visit in Bangalore. The area offers stunning sights and biodiversity to explore. The Turahalli Forest area is a delight for cyclists and rock climbers. The place allows for peace and calm away from the busy of Bangalore. The flora and fauna are also rich with lush eucalyptus trees and mynahs, babblers, peafowls, and more birds sighted. One of the best ways to enjoy the forest area is to prepare a picnic and set off early morning and watch the beautiful sunrise. The location is also close to attractions like Pyramid Valley International, Gavi Gangadhareshwara Temple, Big Banyan Tree, Basavanagudi, and more.
Gudibanda is situated in the Chikkaballapur district and located 92 kilometres away from Bangalore. The Gudibanda fort has a legacy of 400 years and was built by Byre Gowdas in the 17th century. The fort also offers trekking opportunities and stunning sceneries as it is sculpted out of a hill. Situated on a hill, the Gudibanda Fort also has a lake and a shrine of Lord Shiva. The fort also has beautiful gateways, and views. The trek to the summit takes about an hour and a low difficulty level. One of the unique features of the fort is the interconnected pathways across the seven levels that the soldiers used as escape routes. It is also believed that Gudibanda is one of the 108 Jyotirlingas, so it is a major religious attraction. Jyotirlinga is a representation of Hindu God Shiva. You can further explore the nearby villages called Chinnahalli, Nicchanabandahalli, and Bramharahalli. It is perfect for a one-day trip and can be reached by car.
Gandikota Fort is another offbeat place to visit. Located 280 kilometres from Bangalore and is called the Indian Grand Canyon. Situated next to the Penna river, the fort was built in the 13th century and made of red stone. The fort was home to powerful kingdoms like Chalukyas, Pemmasani Nayakas, the Khiljis, Vijayanagara, Kakatiyas, and Qutub Shahis dynasties. It also has a lake called the Rayalacheruvu lake was established by king Sri Krishnadevaraya of the Vijayanagara dynasty. The fort is also situated next to a spectacular gorge that runs through the Erramala Hills in Andhra Pradesh. When you visit Gandikota, make sure to catch the beautiful sunrise and sunsets. Other tourist attractions near Gandikota include Madhavaraya Swamy, Raghunatha Swamy temples and Jamia Masjid. A good spot for adventure enthusiasts you can try rock climbing, trekking, and rappelling. It takes around six hours to reach Gandikota from Bangalore by car.