Bengaluru’s Most Exciting Festivals

Lal Bagh Gardens

Bengaluru is known as India’s “Garden City.” With its gentle climate, abundant green spaces and wide streets, it can provide a visitor with a less crowded Indian city experience, but because it still is a city, Bengaluru offers much more than a simple garden or more rural town could. From its pubs and clubs to its local Rock and Metal scenes, Bengaluru has plenty in store for the adventurous vacationer, especially when you consider its impressive list of festivals.

Lal Bagh Gardens
Lal Bagh Gardens. Photo by Arthur Chapman

 If you’re looking to take a holiday to Bengaluru, time it so that it coincides with one of the city’s celebrations of art or science. Whether you’re into film, literature, science or art, Bengaluru has a festival that will make your experience of the city much more exciting. Here is a look at a handful of the best in Bengaluru festivities.

Bangalore Literature Festival

The Bangalore Literature Festival features Indian writers, international writers, regional publishers, international publishers and organizations that promote reading, literacy and writers. Whether you like work that was written locally or abroad, festival goers who love literature will get a truly Indian and eclectic experience of the written word. It takes place every September, and to encourage attendance, the registration is free. Designed to not only enhance a love and appreciation of Indian writers and Indian literature traditions, the BLF is also committed to fostering a love for reading among the youth of Bengaluru, as well as providing an emphasis and outlet for the work of authors writing in Indian regional languages. Some of the festival’s more notable participants include:

  • The poet Chandrashekhara Kambara
  • Professor Ganjam Venkatasubbiah, who is the father of the modern Kannada dictionary
  • The journalist and award-winning documentary filmmaker, Nupur Basu
  • Author Vikram Sampath

The Bangalore International Film Festival

 A true international film festival, the BIFFES has grown into an eight-day-long event that, in its most recent year, showcased over 150 films from 45 different countries. Held on multiple screens in four different cinemas across Bengaluru, films screen from morning until night for the full eight days so that festival goers have a chance to see as many of the festivals entries as possible. There are competitions for Asian films, Indian films and Kannadan films. Prize money is awarded to winners, and the attention given to the winning films assists filmmakers and studios in efforts of distribution and further filmmaking. If you love film, make sure you travel to Bengaluru while the BIFFES is underway.

Bangalore High Court
Bangalore High Court. Source: Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons Attribution

Edinburgh International Science Festival

One of the most unexpected festivals to take place in Bengaluru is the Edinburgh International Science Festival. For more than 25 years, the Edinburgh Science Festival has been exploring and showcasing science in order to inspire young people toward the field, and this year for the first time ever, the festival will take place in Bengaluru as an initiative of Bhartiya City, which aims to curate programs for youth in order to inspire them toward greater cultural, scientific and technological experiences. Workshops, exhibits, demonstrations and discussions related to chemistry, biology, physics, math and technology will all be center stage throughout the outdoor festival, so children, teachers, parents, grandparents and science lovers of all stripes can experience science in a new way. The festival will last 10 days and run from August 30 to September 8.

Bengaluru Contemporary Art Festival

Having just completed its fourth year, the Bengaluru Contemporary Art Festival showcases two- and three-dimensional artworks from the region, country and world. Each year’s festival explores a theme expressed through the work of the many artists participating, and as the festival has grown each year, the offerings have grown as well. This past year saw the introduction of “Beserk”, an art conference for children that encourages art-making and expression, especially in dance and body movement. The festival also offers an extensive high-end art auction at the end of the festival so that festival attendees can purchase work they saw at the festival.

  If you’re hoping to spend some time in Bengaluru, why not do it when a festival is taking place? Whether you’re traveling alone, with a companion or with your family, Bengaluru and its festivals can expand your and your loved ones’ experience of India’s Garden City and the entire world.

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