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    A guide to business travel in tech capital Bengaluru
    Work your way around India’s tech capital like a pro
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    Once tagged as a “pensioner’s paradise” by Indian media, Bengaluru in the southern state of Karnataka has been transformed from a laid-back city for retirees into India’s buzzing IT capital. With more than 10,000 tech start-ups and US$10.8 billion received in start-up funding in 2022, the city is where you can make things happen with the touch of a screen. Need groceries delivered to your doorstep in minutes? Want to rent an electric scooter? There’s an app for everything.

    Man looking at artwork. Courtesy image

    Of course, there’s more to Bengaluru than business. Interspersed between steel-and-glass offices are tranquil lakes and green spaces, while vast old rain trees line streets populated by bars, restaurants and cafés. Follow our guide to this magnetic city and turn your next business trip into a journey of discovery.

    Stairs in a bookstore. Courtesy image
    Sports stores on a street at night. Courtesy image
    Coffee in a cup. Courtesy image

    Where to start 

    While expansive tech parks that house offices, hotels and commercial establishments are found across the city, most are concentrated in the north and centre. Central Bengaluru is considered the main business district; its wide, leafy boulevards are lined with colonial-style buildings, as well as modern offices, swanky shopping centres and trendy restaurants. To plant yourself in the heart of the action, head to lively high streets like Mahatma Gandhi (or “MH”) Road and Brigade Road. 

    Start the day with a leisurely stroll in Sri Chamarajendra Park, aka Cubbon Park . The city’s 80-hectare green lung is filled with heritage buildings and is the perfect backdrop for morning meetings. Nearby, the newly opened Museum of Art & Photography is an edgy, tech-forward space showcasing contemporary South Asian art. Culture enthusiasts can also visit the 16th-century Bull Temple , known for its large stone idol of the Nandi bull. 

    Cubbon Park from above. Courtesy image
    Interior of Windmills Craftworks restaurant. Courtesy image
    Wooden structure at a brewery. Courtesy image

    Where to take clients 

    Bengaluru’s vibrant dining and drinking culture often blurs the lines between work and play. Deals are struck over cups of single-origin coffee at bright, chic cafés which double up as workspaces for the tech-savvy crowd. A popular choice is Araku Coffee , whose arabica beans are sourced from the Araku Valley in the neighbouring state of Andhra Pradesh. 

    Bengaluru’s traditional dining culture and street food are best experienced at old-world darshinis like the iconic MTR (Mavalli Tiffin Room) , a quick-service breakfast spot serving dosas (rice batter crêpes), idlis (rice-and-lentil batter cakes) and filter coffee from as early as 6.30am.  

    For dinner and drinks with colleagues, celebrated chef Manu Chandra’s newest venture Lupa is a sleek space where the highlights are the eclectic, spice-infused cocktails and a salumeria offering that is unmatched in the city.  

    Finally, as the birthplace of India’s microbrewery movement, Bengaluru’s craft beer scene is unrivalled. There are hundreds of brewpubs to choose from for a post-work pint, including the supersized Ironhill spread over an area of 130,000sq ft. For a more private gathering, cosy Windmills is a great choice for live jazz music and a refreshing hefeweizen.

    Exterior of Conrad Bengaluru at nighttime. Courtesy image
    The Oberoi at Bengaluru. Courtesy image
    ITC Gardenia, Bengaluru. Courtesy image

    Where to stay

    The Conrad offers smart rooms and diverse dining options in the heart of the CBD. The standout feature is the view of Ulsoor Lake, guaranteed from each of the hotel’s 285 rooms. Rooftop restaurant Tiamo is a relaxed poolside spot for post-work sundowners with colleagues.  

    Also in the business district, The Oberoi is a calm green oasis with hundred-year-old trees and balconies overlooking a lush garden. Its Thai restaurant Rim Naam is among the finest in the city and is a quiet spot for a business dinner. 

    With garden pavilions, multiple restaurants and many private spaces for meetings or working lunches, the ITC Gardenia is another luxurious hotel located in Bengaluru’s commercial centre.

    Dosa on a plate. Courtesy image

    What to say 

    Looking for icebreakers? Ask local colleagues about the best dosa in Bengaluru, and you’ll instantly be drawn into an entertaining debate on which darshini does it best. To really seem in the know about this start-up city, bring up a “peak Bengaluru” scene you might have witnessed – someone working on their laptop while seated pillion on a bike taxi, for example.   

    What to know 

    In India, it’s common for colleagues to invite you for a home-cooked meal. If you’re visiting someone’s home in Bengaluru, it is customary to take off your shoes and leave them outside the door. 

    Tuk-tuk on the street. Courtesy image
    Market from above. Courtesy image

    What to do in your free time 

    To make the most of a free afternoon, sign up for a customised tour that showcases Bengaluru’s culture, history and cuisine. Unventured runs a Pete market tour that takes you through the city’s old quarters, including technicolour flower bazaars and traditional silk-weaving centres. On a tuk-tuk tour, zip about city streets in a three-wheeled auto rickshaw and hop off to explore grand architecture and temples.  

    Got a whole day to spare? Nearby Nagarahole National Park , better known as Kabini after the river that runs through it, was the former hunting ground of the maharajas of Mysore. Today, the dense protected forest offers jeep and boat safaris on which you can spot elephants, bison, tigers, a variety of birds and even the elusive black panther. The drive from Bengaluru takes about five hours, and there are luxurious forest lodges if you choose to stay the night. 

    Silks and cottons at a textile shop. Courtesy image

    What to buy as souvenirs 

    If you’re looking for a keepsake, try something in sandalwood – Karnataka is famed for it. At Cauvery , Bengaluru’s state handicraft emporium, you’ll find elaborately carved sandalwood figurines and sandalwood soaps. Luxurious South Indian silks and breezy block-print cottons, found at textile shops like Nalli and FabIndia , also make great gifts and souvenirs.   

    More inspiration

    Bengaluru travel information