Located in southern India on the Deccan Plateau, Bengaluru (Bangalore) is the capital of the state of Karnataka.
Often described as Asia’s Silicon Valley because of its thriving information technology industry, Bengaluru (Bangalore) is India’s fifth-largest and fastest growing city. Until its high-tech boom began in the late 1980’s, it was known as the Garden City, with greenery flourishing in its pleasant, temperate climate. Today, with a growing population of young professionals, it has acquired a vibrant, cosmopolitan air.
Bengaluru (Bangalore) was founded in the 16th century by a local chieftain, Kempe Gowda, but derives its name from the Kannada word benda kaluru, or “boiled beans”, which an old woman gave a 10th century Hoysala king when he turned up hungry at her doorstep. The British arrived in 1809 and made it their regional administrative base in 1831, renaming it Bangalore. The city’s name was changed back to Bengaluru in November 2006, though few care to use it in practice.
Its buoyant economy has cost the so-called ‘Garden City’ and ‘Pensioner’s Paradise’ its famously cool climate and sedate pace, while its wealthy retirees are long gone. In their place are streets throttled with gridlocked traffic, a cosmopolitan café culture, a lively music scene and dynamic, liberal-minded people, which combine to make the city a vibrant and relaxed metropolis, one whose view of the world is as much attuned to San Francisco as to the red baked earth of the surrounding state of Karnataka.
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