DAILY PHOTO: Vidhana Soudha

Taken September 14, 2013 in Bangalore

Taken September 14, 2013 in Bangalore

Bangalore hasn’t learned to do tourism. Perhaps this shouldn’t be a surprise as the city’s population has doubled from five million to almost ten million in the last dozen years. So, Bangalore’s government has a lot on its plate. However, because of this deficiency, the city is largely seen as a jumping off point for people wanting to go to places like Mysore, Hampi, or Kerala that are not so well-endowed of international flights but which are vastly more scenic.

I mention this because some of the most impressive sights in Bangalore are not very photogenic. First and foremost among these is the palatial Vidhana Soudha, which is the seat of the Karnataka State Legislature. It’s perfectly reasonable that it be closed to the public as serious work is done there, but it’s a little surprising not to be able to get a decent picture of it because of the ugly chainlink fence that surrounds much of it and dense clusters of trees that surround other parts of it. They are doing some work on the High Court side, so maybe they aim to throw tourists the bone of a little more picturesque view.

This isn’t the only bit of tourism unfriendliness. At Bangalore Fort we had a security guard attempt to extort money from us–and I’ve experienced similar things at smaller city parks with random cops. At least I think that’s what the guard was doing; there was neither signage to indicate we needed to pay a fee nor a ticket office. It may have just been that they didn’t put up the right signage. At any rate, we left without any pictures but without paying, and so one way or another this was just bad tourism. Many people probably don’t even know about the little section of fort that remains, but it is easily combined with a trip to the Tipu Sultan’s Palace and the City Market.

While Bangalore doesn’t have a lot of sights for a city of its size (because it hasn’t been a city on this scale for long–compared to places like Delhi, Mumbai, or Kolkata), it could do a lot better to build its tourism revenue, and doesn’t have the history. It’s not quite like Belize City, where the general advice is, “Yeah, you have to fly in there, but get the hell out as soon as you can.” However, it’s not a pleasant place to sight-see either.