If, like us, you consider yourself a digital nomad, then you'll know that there's no better time for a far-flung adventure than the month of March. Disappearing for a few weeks and securing yourself a fast-track ticket to British Summer Time? It's too tempting to resist. It turns out we've found just the place that you'll want to make tracks for, plus all the must-visit spots to put on your itinerary.
Enter, Bengaluru - the capital and largest city of India's Karnataka state. This buzzy metropolis has attracted a fresh breed of earth-conscious travellers of late, in part, thanks to the arrival of its community-first restaurant The Circus Canteen - a dynamic farm-to-fork set-up crafted from reclaimed materials. But Bengaluru also tempts with its culture-rich markets, nature-led hotels, happening cocktail bars and sprawling green spaces. Read on for our picks on where to get started.
A hazy aeiral view of Bengalaru, left, and a snapshot of a buzzy street. | Photo credit: Saransh & Andrea / Unsplash.com
Carve out time to visit the Chickpet district. One of the city's oldest neighbourhoods, it's the place to browse bold, indigenous handmade silks. While you're in the area, also check out the ornate jewellery on sale at nearby Raja Market. Elsewhere, Lalbagh Botanical Garden makes for a verdant refuge from the hustle and bustle. It's home to tropical greenery and a glasshouse built in 1889 to mimic London's Crystal Palace - be sure to pick up some fresh fruit and veggies from the farm shop, too. For a culture fix, swing by Bangalore Palace. The former residence of the royal Wodeyar family, it showcases an eclectic mix of artworks and hosts regular music events.
Where to stay?
The 25-key Soukya hotel makes for a holistic, nature-rich escape with its healing therapies, medicated oils and ancient naturopathy practices. Bedrooms come with lush private gardens and spacious verandas, while pared-back interiors feature dark woods and jewel-toned fabrics. The food is mostly vegetarian, using ingredients freshly harvested from the on-site gardens to offer balanced, low-salt-and-fat dishes.
What about food?
Don't miss The Circus Canteen. Injecting a fresh dose of community spirit into the local dining scene, this farm-to-fork restaurant in the Yeshwanthpuris neighbourhood is the result of a collaboration of pioneering creatives. The two-floor set-up, crafted from the ground up using reclaimed materials, is an eco-friendly, contemporary space. We love the puzzle-like flooring created from mosaic tiles taken as samples from nearby ceramic stores, the oil barrels that double up as tables and the spotlights fashioned from discarded drinks cans - it's hardly surprising to learn that it has received multiple award nominations for its sustainable interiors. Start by ordering a lemongrass tea, followed by the tofu and garden greens stir-fry. Then, it's all eyes on the banana walnut cake. It's worth noting that there's a co-working den on the upper level for digital nomads seeking a new hangout.
Colourful scenes at Raja Market, alongside a retro car. | Photo credit: Denis / Shutterstock.com & Aatur / Unsplash.com
And for a drink…
Come sunset, slip on your dancing shoes and twist and twirl down to Toast & Tonic. There, chipboard walls are illuminated by handcrafted pendant lights and a locally sourced menu sees pomegranate and feta-stuffed salads paired with refreshing G&Ts. If you enjoy a dash of live music with your cocktails, it's over to no-frills Sly Granny bar for DJ sets and fruit-infused concoctions. We loved the "taste of Casa Blanca" - a blend of bourbon whisky, almond syrup, spices and bitters stirred to perfection.
Who to take with you?
Your friend who is up for trying the wildest and wackiest wellness-led activities. The opportunities for them to discover some centuries-old ritual or emerging practice here? Endless.
Essentials to pack
Bengaluru in March means sticky temperatures. Keep things easy-breezy while pounding the pavements by packing a pair of these S.S. Daley Josephine high-rise linen wide-leg trousers. Skincare junkies, meanwhile, should snag the Dr. Barbara Sturm Hydrating Face Mist for a revitalising boost. It's packed with active ingredients that protect against environmental pollutants and tackle first signs of ageing - think invigorating lemon blended with aloe vera.
How to get there
British Airways flies direct from London Heathrow to Bengaluru's Kempegowda International Airport, from where it's just under an hour's drive to the vibrant city centre.
Main photo credit: Cedric Weber / Shutterstock.com