On a grassy expanse over a few hundred acres in the centre of Bangalore is Cubbon Park, planned and laid out in 1864 by Sir Richard Sankey, thethen Chief Engineer of Mysore. It is named after Sir Mark Cubbon, Bangalore's longest serving Commissio- ner. Lawns with vibrant flower beds, shady bowers and flowering trees, make this an ideal place for fitness freaks and the elderly to take their morning jogs or evening walks. The Park has elegant classical buildings like Attara Kacheri (the Karnataka High Court) and the Visveswaraya Industrial and Technological Museum, Government Museum, Aquarium, Venkatappa Art Gallery and Seshadri Iyer Memorial Hall, all of which are well known. Besides these, it also houses Bal Bhavan - an amusement park for children.
Cubbon Park is open to the public at all times, but is closed to traffic from 5 am to 8 am every day.
Surrounding one of the towers erected by Kempe Gowda, the founder of Bangalore, is the 240 acre landscaped Lal Bagh gardens. Haider Ali, the warrior-king of Mysore, decided to create this garden in 1740 on the lines of the Mughal Gardens that were popular during his time.
The park has some rare species of plants brought from Persia, Afghanistan and France. Hyder Ali's son, Tipu Sultan, added to the beauty of the garden by publicising his wish to receive much-sought-after species of plants from visiting dignitaries.
Cariappa Memorial Park
As a memorial to Field Marshall K.M. Cariappa of Karnataka, the Cariappa Park was laid out in 1996 in a portion of the parade grounds between M.G. Road and Cubbon Road. Spread over 22 acres, the park has six segments, an entrance plaza and a seven-feet monolithic monument of Cariappa. There is a huge man-made waterfall and a pond that attracts birds to the park. At the bandstand which is an elevated lawn, six military bands perform every fortnight. The grassy dunes around the bandstand provide comfortable seating for the public. The garden is maintained by various divisions of the Army.
A play area has been scientifically created in military style to improve physical strength and mental co-ordination of children. There are sand pits, a spiderweb, Tarzan-swing, Burma bridge, zig-zag tunnels and balance bars.
Bangalore Bal Bhavan is a beautifully planned amusement park as well as a recreation center, designed for children. There is a small toy train inside the park that runs on a track of almost 3/4th mile inside the beautiful Cubbon Park. Apart from the train, the other attractions of the Bal Bhavan include a Dolls Museum, which boats of a rich assortment of dolls and toys collected from different parts of the world. Read on further to know more about the Bal Bhawan of Bangalore, India.
A 20 million year old fossilized tree adds to the appeal of the park. The tree was gifted to the Bhawan by the Geological Survey of India. There are also facilities for boating inside the Bhavan, along with a small fair ground and a children's park. The park has swings, horse rides and tree houses to keep the children busy and occupied. Hobby classes, like painting, arts and crafts, etc, are also organized at the Bal Bhavan of Bangalore.
The Vijayaranga Theatre situated inside the park organizes children's film shows and theatre performances on a frequent basis. So, if you are going to Bangalore along with your kids, make sure to visit the Bal Bhavan.
Bannerghatta National Park
Going to a zoo can be a vastly different experience from seeing animals in the wild. Although the Bannerghatta Park is not on the scale of Jim Corbett National Park, it does give nature lovers a glimpse of wild animals in their natural habitat. Situated 25 km from the heart of the city, its main attractions are bisons, lions, bears, elephants and panthers among other wildlife. It also has a Serpentarium and a crocodile farm. Being a picnic spot it is always teeming with people.
The park officials organise a Tiger Safari, Lion Safari and a Grand Safari for those interested. You could also wander through the Zoological Garden, with its canopy of shady and sturdy trees, find a quiet resting spot beside a pond and watch waterfowl frolic. A children's corner provides an added attraction. Trekking enthusiasts will enjoy Uddigebande (3.5 kms.) a natural rock formation called Hajjamana Kallu (3 kms.) and Mirza Hill (1.5 kms.)
Another major attraction now in the park area is a Butterfly park. It houses a large variety of these colourful creatures that you feel tempted to hold them. But do not touch them and see them flying all over the place.