Bangalore

                                                            Practical information

Below, a concise list of practical information is included. Our Inside Guide offers more elaborate information on living in Bangalore. Please contact us to receive a copy by e-mail (for Shell employees and their families only!).

Alcohol - is available in specialty liquor shops. Wines from the state of Karnataka have a lower price tag compared to other regions and imported wine.

Appliances - the choice of electrical appliances is more limited in Bangalore than in Europe. However locally bought appliances have the advantage that, when main power electricity goes off which can be several times a day, locally bought appliances such as washing machines turn themselves back on. European dishwasher and washing machines often don’t and you need to use a surge protector.  

Attractions in Bangalore - Bangalore has quite a few attractions; the list written below is far from complete. Also see: Travel .

Gardens, Parks and Lakes

Lalbagh - is a well known botanical garden.  The garden surrounds one of the towers erected by the founder of Bangalore, Kempe Gowda I.

Cubbon Park - it is another famous centrally located park of the City known for its toy train.

Bannerghata NP - Bannerghatta National Park is situated at a distance of approximately 21 km from the Bangalore city of India. Situated amidst picturesque environs, the national park is well renowned for its lion and tiger safari. The other attractions of Bannerghatta National Park include its crocodile and snake farm. Nearby you can also find the Butterfly Park.

Nandi Hills - serves as the perfect weekend getaway for the Bangaloreans. Situated at a distance of approximately 65 km from the Bangalore city, this hill station was once the summer retreat of Tipu Sultan, the Emperor of Mysore, and later, the British. In fact, it was under the British rule only that Nandi Hills was developed as a popular hill station.

Shopping

Brigade Road - is one of the busiest commercial centers of Bangalore.

Commercial Street - another busy commercial centre of Bangalore.

MG Road (Mahatma Gandhi Road) - also called "South Parade" is the most important landmark of Bangalore

Buildings

Vidhana Soudha - is the seat of the state legislature of Karnataka. It is an imposing building, constructed in a style, sometimes described as 'Neo-Dravidian', incorporates elements of Indo-Saracenic, Rajasthani Jharokha and Dravidian styles.

Attara Kacheri (Karnataka High Court) - overlooking Vidhana Sabha is this red brick and stone building in the Greco-Roman style of architecture. It houses the High Court for the state of Karnataka.

Bangalore Palace - (1862) is a palace located in the city of Bangalore, India and is built to look like a smaller replica of the Windsor Castle in England.

Tipu Sultan's Summer Palace - built in 1791, this beautiful two-storeyed ornate wooden structure with exquisitely carved pillars, arches and balconies was one of Tipu's favourite summer retreats. It now houses a museum that contains artefacts relating to the Hyder-Tipu regime.

Museum

Visvesvaraya Industrial and Technological Museum - the museum was instituted as part of the centenary celebrations of the engineer-statesman Sir M. Visvesvaraya (1861–1962).

HAL Aeronautical Museum museum of aircraft - aerospace, navigation and communication equipment, maintained by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).

Karnataka Folk Museum - is situated at a distance of approximately 53 kms from the Bangalore city of India. Spread over an area of 15 acres, it lies on the Kumara Park West, Sheshadripuram. Managed by Karnataka Janapada Trust, this folk museum was set up to promote the diverse folk life of Karnataka. One of the major attractions of Karnataka Folk Museum is the rich collection of Karnataka folk music and videotapes of folk dances. Other items displayed in the museum comprise of unique masks, colorful artifacts, costumes, etc.
Nrityagram Dance Village is situated at a distance of approximately 30 km from the city of Bangalore. Founded by Protima Guari, one of the finest Odissi dancers of India, the village lies at Hessarghatta, the rural district of Bangalore. Now under the management of Ms. Lynne Fernandez, Nrityagram Dance Village was designed by the Goan architect, Gerard Da Cunha. One of the unique features of the village is its traditional gurukula style of teaching.

Temples, Mosques and churches

ISKCON Temple - (International Society for Krishna Consciousness) built in an ornate architectural style, the Krishna Temple is a blend of modern technology and spiritual harmony. The seven acre temple is situated on west of chord road, Rajajinagar and finest fusion of modern and traditional elements of architecture.

St Patrick's church - built in 1844 this is one of the oldest churches in Bangalore and is situated on Residency Road.

Bull Temple - it has a huge granite monolith of Nandi. This landmark is situated at bull temple road, Basavangudi.

Whitefield Ashram - Whitefield is a suburb of Bangalore, situated at a distance of approximately 24 km from the heart of the city. The place is known for housing the Brindavan Ashram of Sri Sathya Sai Baba. Inaugurated by Sai Baba on 25th June 1960, the ashram lies near the Whitefield Railway Station. Every year, in summers, Sri Sathya Sai Baba stays at the Whitefield Ashram near Bangalore for nearly three months.

Auto Rickshaws - the main mode of local transport in Bangalore comprises of the auto rickshaws. Always insist on going by the meter and do not pay even a rupee extra than the amount being displayed in the meter. In case the meter is not working, fix the fare in advance.

Baby care - different brands of nappies and other supplies are available. Western design furniture is also available, if you would like to use a specific brand, take it with you.

Banking - ensure you have access to sufficient funds to get you through your first 8 weeks in India. If possible bring an international credit card and ATM card with you.

Buses - Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) runs bus services for traveling within the city. A number of private operators also ply buses in the city.

Car - see driving and drivers

Cell phones - are widely available; once you have your Foreign Registration Document it should be no problem to buy a (registered) Sim card.

Clothing - please refer to Homepage  to see which type of weather might be applicable and what are suitable clothes to bring during that time. Linen and cotton are the best type of fabrics to wear in the hot season, however, they are not always easy to find locally especially in larger Western sizes. There are dressmakers and tailors if you would prefer things custom made. In the colder season long sleeved shirts are a good option. Bangalore is a cosmopolitan city, with no dress codes as such. For cultural reference look at Cultural Information . Salwar-kameez (Indian dress) is worn with as much élan as any western wear. The main determinant of 'what to wear' in Bangalore is the temperature. When it is hot you will find people in cut sleeves and skirts. During winters, woolens are the norm.

Domestic Help - it is possible to hire a fulltime, half time, or live in maid. The Overseas Womens Club (see: Links ) has a Domestic Helpers List, which has been recommended from families who have already left. Another way is to ask around. It is adviced to ask for reference letters. Depending on the type of work (cleaning, cooking, taking care of children), the experience the maid has and if she speaks English well a salary has to be agreed upon. It is also possible to hire a gardener, ask around if anyone can recommend a good gardener and agree upon a salary before hiring. For drivers see the next session.

Driving and drivers - in Bangalore it is advisable to hire a driver to take you around, as the traffic can be very hectic in Bangalore. Outpost can help you find a driver as a recommendation is often the best option. The Overseas Womens Club (see Links ) also offers a Register of Domestic Staff (DSR) for drivers (and maids) looking for a new employer. Depending on the years of experience a salary has to be agreed upon. One of the major frustrations for expatriates and locals is, Bangalores traffic jams. It can take 1½  hours to get to Whitefield (the area where many Shell expats live) into town, a distance of only 17 kilometers. Journies have to be planned to avoid peak traffic periods.

Electricity - in India, sockets are made for only two types of plugs, either those with two round pins or those with three round pins, arranged in a triangle. Plugs, adaptors and transformers are readily available. It is adviced to buy UPS for sensitive equipment (computers, TV) as the currency flow is not always constant and power cuts happen frequently. Basically, three types of voltage converters are used here, resistor-network converters, transformers and combination converters. The voltage centers around 240 Volts, alternating at 50 cycles per second.

Employment of spouses - at the present time spouses are issued with an accompanying visa which may be stamped 'Not allowed to work'. To gain an employment visa you need to have a job lined up before you enter India as it is your future employer that sponsors your visa for entry. Any enquiries about working in India should be directed to your nearest Indian Embassy who will be able to help and give advice. Depending on what your occupation is, Bangalore is a very vibrant city and attracts graduates and professionals from all over India and so the competition is very fierce. A useful website for information about work in India can also be: www.PermitsFoundation.com. There are however many voluntary opportunities for spouses to get involved in. The Overseas Women's Club (see: Links ) is always looking for people to help with charities and organizations.

Entertainment - cinemas with films in English are all over the city. There is a vibrant English Theatre culture with plays and recitals held throughout the year. There are a large number of art galleries which display a number of local artists. Music Schools and Dance Schools provide lessons for adults and children in Indian dance classes, traditional and Bollywood.

Food - more and more supermarkets are opening in Bangalore. Imported and locally made products are available. Imported goods may have a higher price, compared to other countries. Fresh vegetables and fruits are widely available. Fresh or sterilized (UHT) milk, yoghurt (curd) and different types of cheese (also imported) can be found in various shops. Herbs and spices can be bought fresh (and cheap).

Foreign Registration - within two weeks upon arrival you will have to register at the FRO, with this document you’ll be able to apply for a bank account, SIM card and so on.

Furniture - see shopping

Health concerns - prior to departure make sure you receive all you vaccinations. Bring extra medication when needed and doctors’ letters if required. Most common medication is available in India, but may have a different brand name. In Bangalore you will find occasionally snakes or other tropical animals. Mostly these are harmless creatures; however it doesn’t hurt to be cautious.

Holidays - the city of Bangalore lies in the southern part of India and all the festivals that are a part of South India are celebrated here also. Bangalore holidays comprise of the both the public holidays as well as the festival days that have become a part of the Indian culture. Some of the festivals have a fixed date, while the dates for other festivals are decided on a year-to-year basis. In the following lines, we have covered the major holidays in Bangalore. National Holidays in Bangalore: Republic Day (26th January), Independence Day (15th August),Gandhi Jayanti (2nd October).Public Holidays in Bangalore: Christmas, Diwali, Dussehra, Eid, Ganesh Chaturthi, Holi, Janmasthami, Mahashivratri, New Year, Raksha Bandhan,Sankranti/ Pongal, Shivratri, Ugadi, Varamahalakshmi.

Housing - accommodation ranges from houses in gated communities to apartments. It is also possible to find an independent house.  

Inside Guide  Shell employees and families can obtain the Inside Guide Bangalore for more detailed information. Email us at: outpost.bangalore@shell.com if you would like to receive one.

Language in India - there are 29 major languages, and more than 1000 minor languages. English is widely spoken in India, especially among business circles. Most educated Indians speak good English.  The official languages of India are Hindi and English; however, the language of Bangalore and Karnataka is Kannada. You can get by in English and/or Hindi quite nicely. 

Medical Information - Dentists, orthodontists and opticians can be found in Bangalore. For an overview of some of the hospitals in Bangalore (See: Links ). Please also refer to health concerns. You should not come to Bangalore expecting a western private hospital experience. Hygiene levels are somewhat different from those you would experience in many countries. However expatriates who have had to be hospitalized often report a positive experience with the medical care they have received. Women who have delivered a baby in Bangalore feel the standards and care they received are comparable to that in their base country.

Library - different associations have libraries under their care in all parts of Bangalore. Some commercial libraries can also be found.

Newspapers / magazines - a whole range of English newspapers and magazines is available in Bangalore. Newspapers can be home delivered for a small charge. International newspapers can be bought in hotels and specialized bookshops, but come at a price.

Organic Food - is getting more and more available in Bangalore.

Pets - presently at the time of writing, there is no quarantine of domestic pets into India. Yearly vaccination against parvo, par influenza, distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis and rabies is necessary. Dogs should also be dewormed regularly whilst in India. A health certificate by a veterinarian should be obtained not more than 7 days before departure to India. Please note that pets have to go through immigration in Chennai, as Bangalore no longer facilitates this at their airport.

Places of Worship - Bangalore hosts a variety; Saint Mark's Cathedral (Anglican), Jumma Masjid (Muslim), Infant Jesus Church, Saint Mary's Basilica Please refer to other expats for up date information.

Postal services - letters, cards, telegrams, speed post, courier services, etc can be used as a means of communication in Bangalore. Post offices can be found in all areas of Bangalore.

Public transportation - (see also Driving and drivers ) The public transport in the city ranges from buses to taxis. However, the most common mode of local transportation in Bangalore comprises of the auto rickshaws.

Restaurants - there are numerous options for eating out in Bangalore. The restaurants in the city offer cuisine belonging to almost each and every part of the world. Right from great food to luxurious ambience to easy access, the restaurants in Bangalore offer the best service.

Schools - The main four international schools in Bangalore are TISB (The International School of Bangalore), Indus, Canadian and Stonehill. Travelling distances from Whitefields gated communities, where many Shell expatriates choose to live, are as follows: TISB 20 minutes, Indus 40 minutes, Stonehill 1 hour+, Canadian School 1 hour+. All schools provide a bus service. 

TISB 080-7822550 www.tisb.org
The Indus School  080-22895909 www.indusschool.com
Canadian International School  080-64514001 www.cisb.org.in
Inventure Academy 080-27802600 www.inventureacademy.com
Stonehill International School 9008307693 www.stonehillinternationalschool.org

Security - as elsewhere theft is not uncommon in Bangalore. Common sense, when out on the streets or securing your valuable items at home, is advisable. Independent housing requires you to hire a 24 hour security guard.

Shoes - see shopping

Shopping - more and more products are available in Bangalore. However, if you have specific items you are not sure if they can be bought, have a look at this list. The non food items below can be found in Bangalore

• Fabrics and dress material, linens, curtains and furnishings.
• Bicycles
• DVD’s CD’s and English books
• Light bulbs
• Cooking items, crockery
• Shampoo, soap, hand cream, conditioners (but all adapted to the Indian market)
• Tampons and sanitary napkins

Sports - music schools and dance schools provide lessons for adults and children in Indian dance classes, traditional and Bollywood, Modern dance, Salsa, Ballroom and Ballet. Cricket is the national obsession and therefore there are cricket clubs all over the city. Golfers can enjoy the course at the Bangalore Golf Club, which has the second oldest course in India, the ambient temperature means that you can play all year round. Also there is Eagleton Golf Village, an hour drive out of the city, and Karnataka Golf Association (KGA), located by the airport. Karnataka, with its great topographical diversity offers a range of adventure sports from trekking to mountain biking, rock climbing, canoeing, rafting and fishing.  For fitness there is a large variety of yoga classes, aerobics, Pilates, Tai Chi, martial arts, gymnasiums, the list is endless.

Social Clubs - there are several Social clubs in Bangalore, the OWC (Overseas Womens Club) especially caters for expatriate families. There are also national clubs (i.e. Dutch Club, Australian and New Zealand Club). For an update on useful websites, see our links .

Taxis - one can hire a taxi, they either go by the meter or fix the fare in advance.

Travel- India is great country to explore, please refer to Indian travel websites (some suggestions are given in Links ). Be it the lovely beaches, tranquil temples, big cities or majestic mountains, India has it all.

Volunteer Work - see employment (of spouses) 

Water - from the tap is not drinkable, you’ll need to install a UV/Carbon dioxide filter, or purchase big bottles of drinking water (which will be delivered) for home use.

Weather - nature has gifted Bangalore city with a very pleasant and moderate climate. The summer season lasts from April to June. The maximum temperature during the day rarely exceeds 33 deg C, making the summers quite mild. Winter season in Bangalore stretches on from December to February. The minimum temperature in winters hovers somewhere around 10 deg C, with the coldest month being January. Early morning fog can also be experienced during December and January. The monsoon season in Bangalore is from June to August. The southwestern monsoon rains drenches the city in monsoons, taking the humidity to as high as 76 percent.

What to bring - some items might be harder or impossible to find in Bangalore. If you use a specific brand for some products, bring extra!

• Your favorite toiletries (sun cream, mosquito repellent and string creams as well) and medication
• Gas for your barbeque unless you can connect it to local gas bottles
• Imported electrical items are more expensive or hard to find sometimes
• Games for electronic consoles
• Yeast for bread making, golden syrup, cereal (although Kellogs can be found everywhere)
• High quality kitchen equipment
• Swimwear (especially the SPF protective suits)
• Women’s underwear (cotton, western brands), and larger size shoes
• Holiday decorations
• Children’s shoes and cotton socks
• Baby milk powder and sterilizing equipment, liquids or tablets are best brought from home


Working - see employment (of spouses)

Outpost Bangalore

Focal point: Caroline Rulkens Overdevest
Office hours: By appointment
Languages: English, Dutch, Thai, Kannada, Hindi
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