Today, Bengaluru may be better known as the ‘Silicon Valley of India’, but it has also been described as the ‘Garden City of India’. Not surprisingly, it is home to numerous parks and public spaces that are perfect for early morning walks, jogging, and running. With an increasingly health-conscious population, running tracks, walking paths, and other open spaces are among the most popular destinations for Bangaloreans. Many of the city’s walking trails and parks are scenic and well-planned, making them a delight for runners in the city. Here are 10 such breath-taking stretches that will make your heart soar.
Cubbon Park is one of the most enchanting natural getaways that you can ever find within a big city. It not only serves as the ‘green lungs’ of the city, it also serves as its top health and fitness destination. Spread out over a whopping 300 acres, visitors to the park will soon forget that they are in the city. Although there are plenty of walking trails and paths that cut through the park, it also has a dedicated running track that stretches for 2.2 kilometers. With dense vegetation and trees providing shade throughout, the path is scenic and inviting at any time of the day.
Lalbagh Botanical Gardens is another huge green space in the city, almost as large as Cubbon Park. Having been planned and established by Hyder Ali, the ruler of Mysore in the late 18th century, it is renowned for its aesthetic value, spectacular glass house, and bird life. The park is also home to a beautiful lake and it has a well-maintained track that is frequented by runners and joggers. The feeling of running through a lovely tree-lined path, overlooking a glimmering lake is indescribable and if you are one of those weight-watchers, who has been struggling not to fall of the fitness bandwagon, this is the place to run, jog, or walk.
As is the case in most of the country’s cities, there are few open spaces with tracks and paths designed specifically for professional athletes and runners. While running on tarred and concretized tracks will help you stay fit, it does subject your knees to quite a bit of stress. This makes Sree Kanteerava Stadium a Mecca for athletes, runners, and sports-enthusiasts, who engage in grueling fitness routines. The stadium, which is spread across seven acres, draws joggers and walkers from the city, but its 8-lane 400m synthetic athletic track is what makes it especially enticing to those who really want to run. It’s one of the few places where you can actually get your spiked shoes out and run to your heart’s content.
Nandi Hills is a popular natural getaway for most Bangaloreans, but it’s not just a great place for picnics. With its rugged, hilly terrain and the beautiful Amrita Sarovar Lake, the landscape is a delight for walkers, joggers, and runners, who often frequent the spot early in the mornings. This stretch is especially popular with runners who are preparing for marathons and other sporting events as it is quite strenuous. The run to the top is a little over 7 kilometers, with most of it being at a gradual incline, while the last 2 kilometers is steep.
GKVK Botanical Garden is a garden within the sprawling campus of Bengaluru’s University of Agricultural Sciences. A delight for botanists, it is also one of the less known spots for runners and walkers, but those who do frequent it insist that it is one of the best places for running. With its scenic trails and pollution-free atmosphere, the sprawling garden has well-laid walking tracks that lead through different sections of the botanical garden, divided carefully to showcase various plant families. This well-maintained garden is perfect for running any distance, depending on your ability and preferences.
Ulsoor Lake was once a symbol of the ill-effects of rapid urbanization – polluted and smelly. After enduring years of neglect, authorities and local residents stepped in to clean up the area and restore the lake. A semi-circular path that leads half way around the lake makes it the perfect destination for runners. The path stretches out for 2 kilometers and you can enjoy pleasant views of clear water, birds, and other health-conscious runners and joggers, as you do your run. The Sri Guru Singh Sabha Gurudwara, which is along the shores of the lake, only adds to the charm of the place.
Turahalli Forest is another popular area for runners, who are looking for a more strenuous, off-road, rugged terrain experience. The area is popular, not just for running, but also for trail-cycling, off-road biking, trekking, rock climbing, photography, and bird-watching. This should come as no surprise, as it is one of Bengaluru’s last surviving natural forests. A region of pristine beauty, it covers an area of around 1200 acres, all of it endowed with lush greenery. While, some parts of the park are closed to the public, a large section is open and you would need to keep returning to explore it all. As the region is quite deserted, it can be unsafe, so avoid running alone here; instead get your friends to run with you or join a community of runners and explore the forest with them.
A litter-free park, with well-maintained walkways, and plenty of greenery – what more could one ask for? Apparently, at Karanji Lake, you can expect lots more, as it is home to the beautiful Karanji Lake, a variety of migratory and resident birds, an aviary, a butterfly park, and boating activities. Running here is a joy, as you are surrounded by greenery and will also enjoy spectacular views of the lake, sometimes even catching a glimpse of peacocks! Karanji Lake is truly enchanting, so the next time you decide to come here for a run, carry a picnic basket and spend a day relaxing here.
Bugle Rock Park may not be as large as many of Bengaluru’s other parks, but it is no less enchanting. The park is well-maintained, with a good walking track, and it also houses gym facilities and a small amphitheatre. The authorities have also invested in landscaping, with a number of fountains and waterfalls adding to the beauty of the place. This is one of the best stretches for runners, who are simply looking for a small track to enjoy activity in the midst of nature and to stay fit.
Lumbini Gardens may not be very popular with most Bangaloreans, with many vowing to never return to the place! This is because it is also an amusement park, with rides and attractions for children, including dashing cars and artificial waves, most of which are not very well-maintained. While it may fail as an amusement park, Lumbini Gardens is a great place for walking, with its scant crowds, well-laid out tracks that are lined with flower pots, and the views of Nagavara Lake. The garden itself is well-maintained and is adorned with sculptures and fountains, making it a pleasant place for an early morning run.
With so many places to choose between, runners in Bengaluru really are spoiled for choice. If you are in the city and plan to start running and get in shape, try visiting one of these spots and there’s a good chance you won’t fall of the bandwagon this time.