Places to Visit

Chennai and Bangalore

This is not a tourist guide about either of the places. This is just a generic comparison of the two places to live in, and my personal impressions as I have lived in both the places. I was born and brought up in Chennai and am living in Bangalore for the last 1 year and 9 months.

Bangalore is cosmopolitan and multi-lingual. At a glance, you can see people from all over India. You can easily communicate in any one of the five languages – Hindi, English, Tamil, Telugu or Kannada. Chennai is metropolitan and bi-lingual – Tamil and Tamil (Ok, English 🙂 ) and even though a sizeable population of Telugu and North Indians live in Chennai, every one speaks fluent Tamil.

People of Bangalore love plants, greenery and gardens. They have one park every 500 meters. The public parks are maintained very well and they are so green. And a lot of people love to walk in the parks in the early morning (except me, of course). There is a flower show in Lalbagh at least twice a year.  Most of the houses have nice gardens or at least some small plants in pots. In short, they are garden conscious. People of Chennai love music. And of course, movies. The music part is ingrained in the culture and the genes. And the people are good rasikas – they appreciate quality music. Carnatic music has flourished here like no where and the whole month of December is reserved for music festivals in various musical sabhas. If the traditional music has flourished in closed confines, the popular mass music (normally in the form of movie songs), is even better. This city has time and again produced some of the best music directors and songs.

Bangalore, probably has the best climate that you could ask for in a city. Coming from Chennai, initially I didn’t switch on the fan even during summers! The lazy cold mornings of Bangalore are the best – especially when you go late to the office and your boss comes half an hour later than you! December can get too cold, but its just one month. Chennai, is blazing hot for at least 9 months in a year. And due to its proximity to the sea, the humidity factor is also high and hence even the nights are warm. People in Chennai may not realize this but the heat is a blessing in disguise. Especially the practices followed to beat the heat – right from the food, to the recreational activities, clothing, habits, games and almost everything else. The culture of a place is influenced partly by the climate, and in the case of Chennai, it is a boon which they cannot see from within.

Talk about the one-ways of Bangalore! It is quite difficult to learn the directions of this city and most of the roads take a curvy path. You cannot have a sense of direction (NSEW), which is quite easy to associate in the case of Chennai where the roads intersect at 90 degerees, mostly. The auto drivers, bus drivers and the traffic police are much more polite in Bangalore. You cannot see an auto driver charging over the meter very often (it does happen, though). Chennai has a busy and very useful electric train network and MRTS train network which cover a couple of important routes. Partly due to this, the traffic management on the road is better, but both the cities are hopeless when it comes to peak hour traffic. And the planned Metro rail network would be very useful in both the cities, if the work is implemented faster.

The work culture is better in Bangalore, perhaps due to the influence of the MNC IT companies. The timing is not strictly followed (as long as the work is done) and the bosses are not too bossy. Chennai has a more traditional type of work culture. But this may vary in particular industries. If all the major IT companies have their presence in the software industry of Bangalore, most of the major automobile and mobile manufacturing companies have created a good hardware eco-system in and around Chennai. IT/ITES companies are present too, but not the variety that Bangalore sports. Entertainment in Bangalore is restricted to the malls and pubs. Chennai has two beaches and a whole ECR (East Coast Road) with a variety of theme parks for entertainment. The movie releases of major actors like Rajnikanth are celebrated like festivals!

The cost of living is slightly higher in Bangalore. The cost of food/ house rent is quite high, when compared to Chennai. But it depends more on which part of the cities you stay in. North Indian dishes are better in Bagalore but South Indian dishes are better in Chennai. I miss all that puliodharai with medhu vadai, lemon rice with sambar, masal vadai with Tea etc. But once you are used to the cusines of a particular place, it is generally harder to adjust to new ones – it seems! So, I am trying to cook more now. I have been trying it for the last one year, actually 😛

My verdict: To hell with the bigger Tier-I cities 🙂 I am planning to move to CBE – Coimbatore as soon as possible (as soon as I get a job there, that is). Will keep you people updated.


Destination Infinity

You could visit the ‘People Places and Culture’ section of this blog to read more such articles.


  • Indian Homemaker

    I enjoyed reading this!!! I agree about cultures being affected by climate! Also agree with how we get used to a kind of food, and find it difficult to change our food habits!

    You know we should tag everybody to compare any two cities they know well enough… fun and informative both!!

    Thanks IHM, I am right now quite occupied with that songs tag I started as I am yet to listen to a lot of them, why don't you do the tag on your blog? I think your first post might be Pune vs Delhi 🙂

  • sakhi

    Wah, what a comparison 🙂 I haven't stayed for long in either city. Chennai i have visited only once for a friend's marriage and bangalore i visit very often but can't call it like i resided there for long at a stretch 🙂 I like bangalore climate the most. Compare to ahmedabad its like going to a hill station 🙂 🙂

    IF you go to coimbtore, will enjoy the details from there too! 🙂

    Kya 'if'? I decide which place I want to stay in and the job follows me. I try my best to keep it this way, and not the other way around

  • allthecrap

    men….nothing abt gals??…. :p

    If you have noticed, I didn't comment much on the finer details of either of the cities! including this topic. But if Bangalore is green, its green in every sense 🙂 And wisdom teaches people not to judge a book by its cover 😛

  • Rakesh Vanamali

    I absolutely love Bangalore for it being such a youthful and cosmopiltan city! Am striving hard to move there! But given an opportunity, CBE is the place that I will go to, considering its proximity to my home – Ooty! 🙂

    Good luck DI

    I have anyway decided to move there, so some employer better give me a job! Hey, you can work in Ooty itself no?

  • Sandhya

    I have lived in Bangalore – Bengaluru, for six years and not a visitor often. My place at present is Chennai.

    'Chennai is metropolitan and bi-lingual – Tamil and Tamil (Ok, English)' Yes, even the veg.shopwala can manage English! Did you notice…Tamilians, most of them, after living there for 20-25 years too, don't speak good Kannada!

    In Bangalore climate plants grow very fast and you need not water them everyday. is too hot and we have to give lot of attention to them. I do!

    Yes, Chennai's music season is very famous and now for the past 3-4 years the sabhas conduct Hidustani music festival also, in November! The crowd is increasing every year!

    Some years back, I thought Hindi movies and film songs were better than Tamil ones, now, Ilayaraja and Rahman and other music directors have changed the scene. Loooong back, MSV was the king.

    Chennai has got a healthier climate. Bangalore people are affected by many types of allergies, often.

    Chennai traffic management is always better!

    Most of the automobile industries are in the outskirts of Chennai, so the main city is not affected by their labour traffic. IT companies are changing the attitude of the people, slowly. People have started buying unnecessary things. No value for hard-earned money.

    I love Bangalore hotels than Chennai's – cleaner atmosphere, better service, better quality food!

    My husband is from Coimbatore! He is still dreaming of settling down there!

    Such a loooong comment, Sorry! Couldn't stop myself..interesting post, Destination Infinity!

    All the best to you!

    Almost a mini post! I think South Indians as a whole are better in English. I did notice that trait of Tamilians here. Kannada is relatively easy for me to catch as I know both Telugu and Tamil. If I had lived for another year, I would have started speaking too! Count me in the crowd of this year's music festival. Missed it last year. My opinion on people employed with IT/ITES is quite controversial and people may not like if I publish them here. But will try to do it indirectly, probably through a story

  • kanagu

    Wonderful comparison DI… but for some reason unknown I couldn't like the bangalore city as much as I liked its weather…
    its really hard to travel by bus there as the routes are mentioned only in Kannada… 🙁
    All the best for your move to CBE 🙂

    Yeah, that is true – the bus routes are mentioned only in Kannada, and the people are not very clear about which bus goes where either! Having a bike is very comfortable.

  • Solilo

    That was a good read.

    One thing I have experienced is that Tamilians are helpful lot. I have lived in a lot of places but the safety and help I found in Chennai is the best.

    I think Bangalore is also quite safe to live, but I have not been much to the remotely located IT parks though. Chennai maintains decent law and order. You can't just raise the bike, drink and drive at 1:00 AM without being stopped and checked by the cops – which is good

  • Reema

    nice comparison 🙂

    It was just an overview, not gone to the finer details for both cities because I am quite lazy and do not travel much for recreation and about certain things I am unclear myself

  • Brownphantom

    I really liked the conclusion :).
    Was once a Delhi-fan, but now, my loayalities stay with Bangalore.

    I have always wondered, with the extremities of the climate seen in Delhi, how people there like it! But as long as I was in Chennai, the hot climate did not bother me, and maybe that explains it…

  • Ashwathy

    beautiful comparison study 🙂 loved the post!!
    i love both cities… but bangalore a little more. but it was fun reading the points and understanding.

    but coimbatore of course is a class apart altogether. its a beautiful place, in a nutshell… in every way possible – people, food, climate, atmosphere, well connected transport ways, good roads, and less distance to main areas since it is a relatively small place (as compared to metros)…

    Yeah. That's why I want to go to CBE now. If I go there after 5-8 years, it might become like the bigger cities!

  • Rambler

    dude the right choice…i would love to flee from Bangalore and settle in Mysore or some other smaller town

    That was exactly the idea – going to a smaller city right now. Only if we live there for a couple of years, we will know the plus and minus points of the smaller cities. I don't buy the argument that since we get higher salary in the bigger cities, we will be more happier in them

  • An alien Earthling

    Bengaluru used to be a fabulous place some years ago, not any longer 😐 The weather is still great and there are more trees than cities of comparable size, but the place lost its charm with the all the crowds, congestion and pollution 🙁 I prefer the calm of Mysuru! 🙂

    As far as Chennai is concerned, despite its drawbacks like extremely hot and humid weather, on-off water scarcity, pollution, traffic congestion, it is the best place! It's not a one or two dimensional city, it's multi-dimensional with a variety of industries, and has something to offer everyone. Nothing can match the unique nature of this city… and yes, it's home sweet home. 🙂

    The train lines in Chennai are very useful if you live near them and completely useless if you live away from them, like me. I've travelled only a handful of times on the local trains in my whole life. The bus services are much, much more useful! And as far as I know, Chennai and Kolkata are the only cities where bus routes are written in both Tamil/Bengali and English! Bengaluru has them only in its regional language Kannada, Mumbai has not only the routes but also the bus numbers in its regional language Marathi and Delhi has them only in its regional language Hindi. Very "cosmopolitan" indeed 🙄

    A variety of cuisines are available here but I preder the Udipi cuisine/Kannada style or the hot spicy Andhra style or Chettinadu style of South Indian food, apart from Indian-Chinese and continential cuisines. Yummy! 😛

    I like only Tamil Nadu food! Mysore is an excellent place, anyone would love the place at first sight. Yeah, I have seen that useless idea of writing numbers in devanagri script in Mumbai, but in the sides of the busses, they write the number in the roman script – which is better. I like Chennai too…

  • sarathy

    I dont know much about bangalore but I do know all about Chennai. if any one wants to come Chennai dont forget to take a walk early morning in marina beach.Chennai, simply the best.

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