Before coming to Bangalore (Bengaluru), India, you may have heard that it is a bustling city, thriving in the field of Information Technology. The city definitely has its share of industrial buildings and massive shopping malls, however there are many parks, gardens, and lakes that make up the Silicon Valley of India.
Ulsoor Lake, in particular, is situated in the heart of downtown Bangalore on one of its busiest streets, M.G Road (Mahatma Gandhi Road). If you’re here for business or traveling for pleasure, this is a wonderful place you can come to in order to escape the commotion of the city, and enjoy not only the calming views of Ulsoor Lake, but also the surrounding neighborhood of Ulsoor, originally known as Halasuru. Let’s take a closer look at this serene lake.
Know the interesting legend of Ulsoor Lake
Ulsoor Lake is man-made, and was built by Kempe Gowda II in the later part of the 2nd century. It’s an extremely popular place to visit during the summer months, and also in August and September when the festival of Ganesh Chaturthi takes place (Hindu deity Ganesh’s Birthday). On the last day of this celebration, idols of Lord Ganesh, that are usually made from clay, are submerged into water to dissolve, along with our negative energy.
There’s also an interesting legend that tells the story about Kempe Gowda I (the founder of Bangalore). Before Ulsoor Lake was built, the land was full of lush greenery, and a thick forest covered most of the area. Well after a long day of hunting in the wilderness, Kempe Gowda I sat down under a tree to relax and take a nap. However, he was not aware that this very tree was where the Mandavya Rishi (a sage who was falsely accused of stealing, and son of Manu, the forefather of humanity) would come and pray to God Somesvara (another name for Lord Shiva, the Hindu god of destruction).
As Kempe Gowda I drifted into a deep slumber, he dreamt of God Somesvara, and was told about a great treasure that was hidden close by in the forest. When he woke up, he decided to seek out this treasure, and when he dug into the earth, he found the treasure that God Somesvara spoke of in his dream.
Instead of letting greed get the best of him, Kempe Gowda I decided to use the treasure to build a magnificent temple in dedication to God Somesvara during the 16th century. The Someshwara Pagoda is now among the oldest temples in the city of Bangalore. Not only is the temple a remarkable display of architecture, but it’s elaborately decorated with ancient scriptures that have been carved onto the walls.
Many activities for adults and children
You can see several picturesque islands floating on Ulsoor Lake, and during the summer months people come here specifically for the boat rides. When you enter, you’ll see an area that has paddle boats and motor boats set up for you to rent.
It costs about 40 INR (0.60 USD) for each person per boat, and you’re allowed about 20 minutes, give or take, for the ride. There are certain islands that allow you to actually relax for a moment while enjoying the view from a different perspective.
You can even choose to bring a few snacks for a picnic here as well. Just ask the staff members at the boat rental if they know which islands are open that particular day. If you happen to go on a day that the boats aren’t being rented out, there’s also a neat playground, that mimics the equipment you would find in a gym, and is a favorite area for both adults and children.
Walking trails make for good exercise
There’s also a nice walking trail around the lake, and you’ll often see people here exercising in the mornings and afternoons. Many trees and vibrant wildflowers line the walking trail, along with benches that dot the trail for you to easily sit down for a rest, or to capture scenic photos of the area.
If you own a bicycle, you’re allowed to take it on the trail, especially if you’re just looking to ride for pleasure as the main roads around the lake stay pretty busy throughout the day.
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Watch the sunset with your loved one
Many cafès and restaurants are located extremely close to Ulsoor Lake, as well as MG Mall where you can dine at many upscale restaurants that offer a multitude of cuisines. If you’d like to also visit the Someshwara Temple, it is located 1 kilometer (0.62 miles) away from the lake, and will take about 15 minutes to walk there.
The lake is open every day of the week from 6am until 8pm, and even though you’ll see gates outlining the area around the lake, it is completely free to enter. During the evening, Ulsoor Lake can be very charming, and many couples come to the area for a romantic stroll while watching the sunset stream brilliant colors across the sky that reflect against the water.
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