What to Expect When Visiting Bangalore’s Famous Lal Bagh
The Mughal-inspired botanical garden is located in the midst of a bustling city. Thousands of local and foreign tourists visit Lal Bagh each year. But is it worth visiting? In this post we’ll tell you what to expect when visiting Bangalore’s famous Lal Bagh.
We were recently in Bangalore for a couple of days. So many folks suggested we visit Lal Bagh, and so we went to see the famous garden for ourselves. I hope this post helps you plan your visit to Lal Bagh, specially if it’s your first time.
Lal Bagh means the Red Garden. Mysore’s ruler, Hyder Ali, commissioned its creation in 1760. His son, Tipu Sultan, brought in plants and saplings from Cape Town, Mauritius, Turkey, Tenerife, Persia, Kabul and other parts of the world, thus completing the garden. Lal Bagh was named after a collection of red roses that bloomed all through the year in this garden. Lal Bagh was known as Rose and Cypress Garden till 1856.
Expect to go in for free between 6-9 in the morning.
I love this initiative! A lot of people go to Lal Bagh in the morning to jog and exercise. I believe it’s the best time of the day to visit the park.
Have you ever heard of the Laughter Yoga? Locals find Lal Bagh an ideal place for this.
Expect to pay a separate fee for your camera.
The usual entrance fee is ₹20 per adult. However, expect to pay ₹50 more for your digital camera. When we bought our tickets at the gate the lady behind the counter didn’t bother asking us whether we had a digital camera with us or not. But honesty is the best policy, right? We paid.
Do you have one of those smart phones that take good pictures? On a nice, bright day, that’s all you need.
Expect guides offering you a tour of the park. Beware!
There are so many places where tour guides are unnecessary. Lal Bagh is one of them!
You will encounter these seemingly friendly, over-enthusiastic guides outside the park gates. They’ll show you their ID, claim the tour is free, and insist they only expect a tip should you enjoy their service.
And this is what really happens: the guide gives you a quick tour of the garden, takes countless pictures of you using your phone, and then sells you some overpriced seeds. Did I mention they’ll charge you by the hour?
A lady traveling solo shared her experience about the park guide who assured her the tour was free. He insisted he showed her around and then later asked her to pay 2500 rupees.
Guys, you do not need a guided tour of Lal Bagh. While the park is spread on 240 acres of land, it is 0.03% of Yosemite Park’s 747,956 acres — where we booked a tour because we only had a day and the park was massive! You can do it on your own.
Masood tells me it is unfair to compare Lal Bagh to Yosemite Park. I just wanted to give you an idea of when a guided tour comes in handy to save your time. Plus this was the only park where we ever booked a guided tour for, so it is the only example I have.
Expect flower shows on Republic Day and Independence Day.
To foreigners, those dates are January 26 and August 15 respectively. We visited in February, and I don’t remember being awed by any of the floral displays then. There was a fenced-off, modest area for roses.
The floral arrangements on those two special days, however, are pretty elaborate and beautiful. Visit during one of those two days and prepare to be impressed!
Speaking of roses, have you heard about the Centenary Rose Garden in Ooty?
Expect that commercial photo shoot is prohibited.
The reason? Some professional photographers apparently have no care and respect for the plants. Others use elaborate props like burning sticks that emit colored smoke while others bring portable swings and tie them up carelessly on branches.
Some say there are joggers who complain that having photographers around make them feel awkward.
You may, however, take as many non-commercial photos of yourself and the park as you like.
Expect quiet, peaceful moments in the midst of a busy city.
Pack a good book and some sandwiches or fruit. Head over to Lal Bagh to momentarily escape the noise and chaos of the city. Whether you read a book under the tree or take a quiet stroll, Lal Bagh is a good place to relax the mind and body.
Exception: weekends and public holidays.
Expect that electric carts are available for those who can’t or don’t want to walk.
For ₹100 per person you can ride in one of the battery-operated carts in the park. The driver doubles up as a guide and shows you around the place.
The ride takes you to the key features of the park with stops in between to allow time for a few photographs.
Expect that Lal Bagh needs a little TLC.
Actually make that a lot of TLC.
So many areas are broken. The Glass House (one of the key features of this park) is empty and boring. Most parts of the garden are tired. The lake needs cleaning.
Expect numerous native and exotic flora.
Lal Bagh is home to nearly 673 genera and 1,854 species of plants today.
Lal Bagh is also an important center of dissemination of knowledge of plants having ornamental, environmental and economic value. The Department of Horticulture offer regular training courses on fruit and vegetable processing, mushroom cultivation and ornamental gardening to the public.
Have you ever been to Lal Bagh? What do you think about the place?
Burning sticks and portable swings? I feel old.
I know, right! Apparently those days are gone when all a photographer needs is good lighting.
Love seeing the world through your eyes Nadia. As my dad says, there is no free specially when it comes to desis! Such a shame these “tour guides” take advantage of unsuspecting tourists!
Glad you enjoyed and showed us the good and bad of Laal Bagh.
Your father is a wise man! It is such a shame. It also gives such a negative impression on tourists who are otherwise enjoying India’s rich history and culture.
Thank you, Humaira!