Namma Bengaluru. It’s not just a city. It’s an emotion.
It’s hundreds of emotions arising from all the corners and personalities of the city – right the amazing weather to the diverse food, culture, traditions, languages, places, history, art, music, and most importantly, the people. You will find Bengalureans the most welcoming, warmest, generous and friendliest people in the country. They make the city what it is and give it the personality it has.
Bangalore is a mix of several cultures that has been brought by people from all over the country and every one of them is embraced and celebrated by everyone. The mix of culture is a result of the IT industry booming in the city, which attracts thousands of job seekers from all over the country.
Learn all about Namma city – its culture, traditions, people, languages, music & art scenes, and more!
What is Bangalore for?
A couple of decades ago, Bangalore was known as the Garden city, owing to many parks and botanical gardens built in several places. The most popular parks are the centuries old Lal Bagh and cubbon park that predates the colonial times.
Due to its comparatively lower population density, cool weather and green landscape, Bangalore was considered as a paradise for retirement. But today it’s the polar opposite. Today, Bangalore is known as the IT hub, a startup capital, and a paradise for jobs. The city is no longer considered as the Garden city. The title is replaced with traffic.
Bangalore, is the fastest growing city and has changed exponentially in the last 5 decades.
Bangalore is also known for its pleasant weather, greenery on the sides of most roads, diverse food and culture, etc. It also houses over 800 pubs and has been known as the Pub capital of India. It provides a fun nightlife as well.
On the darker side, Bangalore is also known for poor road conditions and traffic. It’s one of the most traffic congested cities in the world. Nevertheless, it’s still one of the most beloved cities in India.
Well, if you’re visiting the city and are not from here, then learn all about the culture of Namma Bengaluru and you will surely find it fascinating.
Majority of the Bangalore population falls under Hinduism but the definition of Bangalorean permeates Islam and Christian. The city celebrates festivals of all religions with fervour and pomp. It celebrates the traditional festival Karaga Shaktyosava every year without fail; deepavali or diwali, Eid-Ul-Fitr, Sankranti, Dasara, Christmas, Halloween, Ganesh chaturthi, Ugadi, Onam, and many more.
The karaga shaktyotsava or Bengaluru Karaga is the oldest festival celebrated since the time of Mahabharata. It is the pride of Bengaluru and is celebrated without fail, every year by the Vahnikula Kshatriya of Thigala community.
The legend has it that after the war was over, there was an asura (demon) called Thimirasura whom Draupadi fought with. To defeat him, she took the form of Adi Shakti and created thousands of warriors known as Veerakumaras.
After the defeat of the asura, Draupadi returned to the heavens but made a promise to the veerakumaras that she would visit them every year during the first full moon of the first month in Hindu calendar.
The Bangalore karaga festival is dedicated to this occasion and is only celebrated by the Thigala community, who are said to be the descendants of the veerakumaras. The karaga is a tall floral pyramid which is carried by a Karaga Priest.
During the procession, the priest wears women’s cloth and dances around. The procession starts from the Dharmaraya temple making a stop at the Dargah of Tawakkal Mastan along the way, to pray for the strength to carry the karaga and that it doesn’t fall. This aspect of the festival in particular is the proof of secularity and brings people from all backgrounds together.
Yakshagana is the traditional theatre form of Karnataka. You can find plays performed at Town hall, and Ranga Shankara. Sometimes, the plays are also performed in remote villages in Mangalore. If you go to the Western and Southern sides of Karnataka, you will see Yakshagana being played in the centre of the villages.
They make elaborate planning, preparation and practices to put on a grand show.
The art form is performed from dusk till dawn, usually in the middle of nature. It starts from 10 in the night and goes on till 5 in the morning. Actors take a couple of hours to prepare themselves for the play, wearing resplendent costumes, headdress, and makeup. The play depicts scenes from Mahabharata and Ramayana epics, to propagate rich cultural and moral values in the audience.
The stories from the epics are sung with the art form’s own unique music. There’s a separate group for background music and dance & dialogue music. You can feel the energy from the music and the performance which keeps you awake all night and makes you watch the play with much enthusiasm.
The characters in the play, both male and female are mostly played by male actors but nowadays female actors are also taking part in Yakshagana to play certain characters. It’s truly an experience in itself to watch Yakshagana. So if you ever come across a show, you must not miss it!
The people of Bangalore are called Bangaloreans or Bengalureans. They call the city “Namma Bengaluru” and are quite proud to be from the city. You will see the word
Namma’, which means ‘our’, everywhere you go. ‘Namma metro, Namma ooru’, Namma city’, etc. Bangaloreans are some of the most helpful and generous people you will ever meet. You can easily make friends here.
Bengalureans are very welcoming people. The population of Bangalore constitutes about 51% of migrants. This is mainly due to job opportunities and growing tech hub. People from all over the country come and settle here, which has resulted in the city being culturally diverse.
The language spoken here is mainly Kannada, but you will also hear Hindi, Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu and English. A true Bengalurean will know at least 4 languages. The people of Karnataka are quite versatile when it comes to conversing in languages. We will learn and speak your language but show equal respect and love to Kannada.
So if you’re an outside coming here and the first thing you say is “Kannad gothilla” (don’t know Kannada), be prepared to for mild backlashes! You might hear them say, Swalpa adjust maadi. Just kidding, you can expect people to talk in other languages too, chill!
Bangalore English has its own twist. You will hear people ask what scenes? Which is a way of asking what plans you have for the day, or what is going to happen in a place. Here are other slangs you will hear in Bangalore –
Chumma – Not to be confused with a kiss! Here it means simply. For example, ‘chumma I came to college, no classes only”.
It seems – It’s an add on to some sentences, especially used when something doesn’t add-up. ‘He fell sick it seems’.
Something and all – Another add on in a sentence. ‘Something and all he started saying…so I came off’. Also, off is an add on as well. I came off, he went off….
Guru, macha, boss – If you don’t know how to address someone, use one of these. Suppose you’re at a shop or a hotel and need to call the owner/waiter, use guru. Macha/machi should be reserved for close friends.
Sim-Simply – We like to break this work and repeat it because it translates from the Kannada version – Sum-Sumne. ‘Sim-Simply they keep calling me for no reason’.
Yenne haakona – Yenne means oil in Kannada but is also used for alcohol.
The music scene in Bangalore is dominated by Rock/heavy metal. The music scene here is quite westernised. In the past, there have been many music shows by world famous bands and musicians like
- Michael Jackson
- Brian Adams
- Iron maiden
- Guns N Roses
- Backstreet boys, and many more.
If you’re a hardcore rock fan, you will want to visit the Hard Rock Cafe in Saint Mark’s road. They have some legendary collections on display, great food and a bar.
Bangalore has its own genre of rock and many Bangalore rock bands have emerged successfully. One of those bands is Thermal And a Quarter.
The city is also high on Bollywood and Sandalwood music. Traditional Indian Music genres like Carnatic and Hindustani are not as popular as the other kinds of music but it’s still heard. Folk music of Karnataka like Janapada is popular and is sometimes heard in local shops and auto rickshaws.
Film music of the famous late actor Rajkumar is loved by most Bengalaureans and just by the mention of his name, they may start singing one of his songs from their favourite music or just talk about how great he was. Some of the internationally acclaimed musicians who live in Bangalore today are Raghhu Dixit, Vijay Prakash, Ricky Kej, and more.
Visit the Indian musical Experience, a museum in JP nagar 7th phase to see all kinds of musical instruments and hear all kinds of sounds.
Bangalore being a multicultural city is also a hub for art. Most walls in Bangalore are painted with beautiful sceneries, nature, animals, monuments, and more. Catch the amazing murals near Majestic, KR market, Chickpete metro stations, JP nagar, and church street metro station.
There are a number of art galleries that display works of famous artists and local artists as well. Must visit the NGMA and Karnataa Chitrakala Parishat if you are an art enthusiast!
The art scene in Bangalore is mostly contemporary, and quite aware of what is happening in the art world. The city’s charm has been an inspiration to many artists like Rumale. You can visit the Rumale art Gallery in Rajajinagar.
Chitra Santhe is an annual event that happens on the first Sunday of every year. Hundreds of artists from all over the state come to Bangalore to display their works and sell them. It happens on Kumara Krupa road near Chitrakala Parishat in Sheshadripuram and is a one day event. It’s quite a rave because it provides a wonderful opportunity for artists, especially painters to have some exposure, sell their works and develop a relationship with the art lovers.
The entire road will be filled with thousands of artworks of all types and sizes, it is sure to keep your eyes fixated on them. You could decorate your space with a painting or two and support the artists as well.
Art Bengaluru is another art festival that happens in UB City. Do visit it if you get a chance.
The official movie industry of Bangalore/Karnataka is the Sandalwood. Some of the famous actors are Yash, Rajkumar, Vishnu Vardhan, Sudeep, Puneeth Rajkumar, Rakshith Shetty, Rashmika Mandanna, and many more. The works of Rajkumar are highly celebrated and appreciated! He was a legendary actor and still lives in the heart of many Bangaloreans. And Bangloreans love their legends like crazy!
They will literally worship the stars. In some old theatres, you can find larger than life cutouts of actors displayed on the outside, decorated with huge flower garlands.
Over the last few decades, the Bangalore or Kannada cinema scene has changed quite exponentially. Today, the industry produces a lot of action movies and those starring Yash are quite a rave that they’re made national headlines!
Live theatre is very much alive in Bangalore. Ranga Shankara in JP nagar is a theatre dedicated to plays in all languages. Other popular spots in the city to watch live performances are Jagriti theatre, Lahe Lahe, Town hall, and Rangasthala.
The city also holds annual film festivals at NGMA (National Gallery of Modern Art). They’re quite interesting and many national and international short movies are featured that you might not want to miss! You get to meet some great people as well here.
Since Bangalore is a culturally diverse megacity, it’s cuisine is also diverse. Bangalore is also known as foodie’s paradise because of the vast options in food. And you must not leave the city without trying dosa and idli vada.
You can find the best dosa in Bangalore at CTR in Malleshwaram, Vidyarthi Bhavan in Basavanagudi, Bangalore cafe in Jayanagar 9th Block and Janata hotel in Malleshwaram. You can not just resist the smell of the batter being toasted and doused in ghee! Bangalore makes the best dosa, so you must try at least once!
Dosa comes in varieties – set dosa, masala dosa, benne dosa, kali dosa, onion dosa, rava dosa, and more. The most popular one is the masala dosa. Pair that with a steaming cup of kaapi and you’re off to a good start of the day. Or end it well.
Other popular breakfasts you can try are the chow chow bath, idli vada, kesari bath, rava idli, bisibelebath, chitranna, pulav, etc. You can also try the north Karnataka food like Jolada rotti, which is a revelation in itself! It’s available in Kamat hotels.
Myriad of chaats are available in almost every corner of the city. If you go to VV Puram food street, Jayanagar 4th Block, Malleshwaram, Shivajinagar and Kormanagala, you will find the best street foods. From hot, lip-smacking kebabs, vada pav, chaats, 99 variety dosas, bajjis, manchurian and more, Bangalore has everything!
Must try the bajjis in Gandhi bazaar, they’re absolutely delicious. You get capsicum bajjis, onion pakodas, aloo bonda, aloo bajji, mirchi bajjis, pineapple bajjis, Mangalore bajjis (we heart this one!) and more.
Some of the popular hole-in-the-wall street food joints are Hari super sandwich, Bangarpete chats, and By2Coffee.
Restaurants & Cafes
There are so many multi cuisine and Indian cuisine restaurants & cafes in Bangalore, you could eat in each of them everyday and still not run out of new places! This is a result of many nationals and foreigners coming to the city. Also because of how successful most businesses run here. People coming from other parts of the country also bring with them their cuisine, and have contributed to the diversity of Bangalore’s food culture.
Most cafes serve typical cafe or fast food like sandwiches and burgers, shakes, pasta, and westernised coffee.
Some of the best cafes in Bangalore are Hole in the wall, The Teal door cafe, Om made cafe, Alchemy coffee roasters, and more. You can read about them here. You will find most of the best restaurants & cafes in Bangalore centered in and around Indiranagar and Koramangala.
Coming to the restaurants, you can find most cuisines in the city – from Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Middle-east, Arabian, French, Mexican, and more. Himalayan is an amazing Korean restaurant in Koramangala 5th Block.
There’s also Hae Kum Gang in MG Road, also Korean. Beijing bites is a popular chinese restaurant with many outlets. For Mexican, you can visit San Churro in Banashankari 3rd stage. For some authentic south Indian and north Indian food, with Andhra spice OSR in Rajarajeshwari nagar.
Watch out for food festivals that happen in Bangalore once a year. Grub festival and kadalekai parishe are some of them to name a few.
Social & nightlife
Bangalore has an active social and nightlife. And we love Beer! Most pubs will be open till 1 in the morning. If you’re looking for the best beer in the city, head to The Reservoire, or Toit. The growing IT sector in the city has attracted many people to open up a bar and with over 800 pubs, we are the pub capital of India!
Talking about social life, Bangalore has some of the busiest spots like Commercial street, MG road, Brigade road, Jayanagar, Koramangala, and many more. It’s always buzzing with the crowd till late in the night. Think neon lights, commotion noise, the smell of great food, cafes buzzing with people, loud music, street vendors, and other colorful sights.
If you’re looking for shows and happenings in Bangalore, you could visit Church Street on weekends. The entire stretch of the road is dedicated to artists of all sorts, bookstores keeping hoards of books on the footpath for sale, street food vendors and more.
You can find artists singing on the road with a crowd gathered around them, local artists displaying colorful art prints on the footpath for sale, and other happy scenes. However, vehicles are barred from entering here on weekends, so plan your parking nearby or take a cab.
If you don’t have a vehicle to travel around, just hop on the Namma metro or BMTC bus. If you find that they’re too crowded, you can take a rik or book a cab.
As you can see, the culture of Bangalore now is contemporary, with a mix of cosmopolitan and traditional aspects that makes it such a lovable city! It’s multicultural and quite diverse. What do you love most of the city? Do let us know in the comments and share with your friends!
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