1 - SPLASH THE CASH
As a booming centre for IT, education and business, Bangalore offers a wealth of cosmopolitan districts for splashing the cash. Even if you aren’t looking specifically for textiles, souvenirs, clothes or jewellery, Commercial Street is one of the best places to take in the buzz of modern India. And if you want to venture into the dazzling world of Bollywood cinema, keep an eye out for DVD chain store Planet M (9 Curzon Complex, Brigade Road on the first floor), where friendly English-speaking staff will help you pick out cheap movies to take home. (Most are between Rs50/US$1 and Rs200/US$4.) Just make sure you avoid the VCDs as, while less expensive than DVDs, they tend not to have subtitles and may not play on all machines.
2 - SHOP FOR ART
Bangalore is not renowned for its galleries and museums, but there is one contemporary Indian art venue which is not to be missed, especially if you are looking to buy. Gallery Sumukha was established in 1996 as a centre for exhibiting and promoting modern art, and is one of the most important in southern India. While it appears humble from the outside and may be hard to locate (walk up the drive past the clinic), it has storage space for up to 2,000 works and shows which change every three weeks. Entry is free and original works can be purchased from Rs5,000 (US$100) to Rs7,500,000 (US$151,200). sumukha.com
3 - STOP FOR A CUPPA
One of the best ways to take stock of your surroundings, and redress your blood-sugar levels, is to stop for a cup of street-side chai (Indian tea). Chai stalls are everywhere; little makeshift stoves with a gas flame and a smiling gentleman ready to make up a brew. Served espresso-style in a small cup, chai is made with two-thirds milk, one-third water, dried loose tea leaf, ginger and spices, plus about twice the amount of sugar you would think possible. It’s then left to boil up and infuse.
If you need to rest your feet, go straight to Café Coffee Day in The Bombay Store on MG Road. It’s the perfect place to sip a long drink while watching the world go by. cafecoffeday.com
4 - STROLL IN THE GARDENS
Lalbagh Gardens are a peaceful haven from all the traffic, just a short auto-rickshaw ride from MG Road (remember to insist the driver puts it on the metre). The 97ha of lush green lawns, not unusual in temperate Bangalore, provide plenty of space for a stroll and there is no shortage of young couples mooning around. Sultan Haider Ali started the Mughal-style gardens in 1760 and today more than 1,800 species of plants and flowers can be found there. Lalbagh Main Gate, KH Road Basavanagudi. Open 0800-2000 (last entry 1800).