Bangalore offers a host of sporting options including golf, tennis, hockey, cricket, badminton, aquatic sports and horse-riding. It is home to some of the most well-known sportspersons in India, who have started training academies in their various fields. However, the availability and accessibility of these facilities vary greatly depending on your chosen sport. Often the best place to get a clutch of options at the same time is a member’s club, which will often have a pool, tennis courts, badminton and squash courts.
Bangalore Club (http://www.bangaloreclub.com) on Residency Road in the heart of the city, is an old and exclusive colonial institution that counts Winston Churchill as a former member. They offer tennis, squash, badminton, swimming, billiards, a bridge room, restaurants and bars etc. Memberships are generally not offered any longer (the waiting list is several years), however, your company may have access via an institutional membership.
Bowring Institute (http://www.bowringinstitute.com) is another old Bangalore institution that is on St. Mark’s Road in the centre of the city and offers a swimming pool, squash, tennis, badminton and basketball courts, billiards and a health club.
Century Club (http://www.centuryclub.in/) in Cubbon Park, central Bangalore, has similar facilities to the clubs mentioned above.
In all these cases, foreign visitors are sometimes allowed temporary memberships, or many large companies have corporate memberships which would allow you to access the facilities.
In addition to these, there are clubs that offer more specific sports facilities:
Bangalore Golf Club (Tel: 2226 6713 / 2228 1876 / 2228 7980) is in the heart of the city and qualifies as Bangalore’s oldest and most central golfing venue. Classes with pros are another facility on offer. You need to contact the club for membership possibilities, although again, it is likely that major companies will have corporate memberships.
The Karnataka Golf Association (http://www.kga.in), fairly centrally located near the old airport, has an 18-hole course that often hosts championships and tournaments. In addition, it also has a pool, driving range, health spa and restaurants. Foreigners can get an associate membership of 6 months at a time, which currently costs Rs.50,000 (entrance fee), plus Rs.6,000.
Eagleton Golf Village (http://www.eagletonindia.com ) is 30 kilometres outside the city, but hosts one of India’s top 5 golf courses, and a host of other sports options besides. It has a hotel with well-appointed rooms, offered at discounts to members, making it a good weekend getaway. Membership currently costs Rs. 75,000 for a year.
By far the most popular sport in India, and therefore Bangalore, is cricket. Various cricket clubs and academies can help you join a team, or get acquainted with the sport:
Bangalore City Cricket Club (Tel: 25291122, 25555684) organizes matches and training sessions.
KSCA Cricket Academy (http://www.cricketkarnataka.com/ ), located in central Bangalore in the 50,000 seater Chinnaswamy Stadium (which often hosts world cup matches), is a government-run academy that conducts coaching classes and organizes matches.
Apart from the clubs mentioned in the introductory section, tennis courts are also available at:
Karnataka State Lawn Tennis Association (Tel:22869797) hosts Davis cup matches and other tournaments. Professional coaches, and four floodlit courts make this centrally located (Cubbon Park) facility an easy option.
Tennis Advantage (http://www.tennisadvantage.in ) is a coaching academy that has courts in the upmarket residential areas of Indiranagar, Koramangala and Palace Grounds. Kids classes are on offer as well, and members can use the courts.
There are no amateur clubs in Bangalore to promote football, most clubs are for semi-professional or professional players. Impromptu games by amateurs tend to happen on Sundays in the following places:
- Austin Town Football Ground
- St. Joesph’s High School Grounds
- Bishop Cotton’s High School Grounds
The best way to get a game is to go to the grounds and ask to join in! The other option is the Pase Sports Academy mentioned in the introductory section.
While there are public courts in many neighbourhoods, these are often used by young people for training or impromptu games. The best place to get an organised game of basketball is at one of the members’ clubs listed in the introduction.
There are several public pools in Bangalore, but the maintenance and hygiene of these pools are often poor, and they can get quite crowded in the summer. The best option for swimmers is a pool in any one of the members’ clubs listed in the introductory section, or at any of the five star hotels in the city, notably the Leela Palace (http://www.theleela.com/hotel-bangalore.html) and the ITC Royal Gardenia. Another good option, albeit with a small pool, is at Zela fitness club (http://www.zelalife.com).
- Field Hockey: The Karnataka State Hockey Association (Tel: 2227 5020/ 2227 7007/ 2227 7373)
- Billiards and Snooker: Karnataka State Billiards Association, Miller Tank Bed Area, [Tel: 2251223, 2269970]
- Horse-riding: Equestrian Centre for Excellence (Tel: 9880100708, 9844012777)
Bangalore has many outdoor enthusiasts and several groups who organize activities like rafting, parasailing, hiking, kayaking and rock climbing.
- CARE (Centre for Adventure & Rejuvenation of Environment) [Phone: 41281478 / 98456-95350] www.careindia.in
- General Thimayya National Academy of Adventures [Phone: 22210454]
- Jungle Camps & Adventures [Phone: 26657961]
- Z Axis (Tel: 080-26523514) organizes outdoor activities for groups and individuals.
- Ozone (http://www.ozoneindia.com) offers hiking tours and other outdoor activities.
- Sailing/ Kayaking: Karnataka Kayaking & Canoeing Association, 104/A, Lakshmi Nilaya, Dr. Rajkumar Road, 4th Block, Rajaji Nagar, Bangalore – 560010
- Fishing: Cauvery Fishing Camp organizes regular fishing and boating camps. http://www.destinationsindia.com/adventure-tours-of-india/cauvery-travel.html
Bangalore has embraced gym culture and one can find many advanced health and fitness centres in the city. Most fitness centres are plush and air-conditioned with sophisticated music systems, well-trained personal trainers, qualified nutritionists and yoga experts. The menu is varied and can be customised to suit your needs.
- Zela (http://www.zelalife.com/) is a new topnotch gym with a small pool, fitness classes, spa and a rooftop restaurant.
- Fitness First (http://www.fitnessfirst.net.in/) is a UK-based chain with centres around India. They offer fitness classes, personal trainers and steam room.
- Gold’s Gym (http://www.goldsgymindia.com) has three areas (JP Nagar, Old Madras Road and Richmond Town).
- Talwalkars (http://www.talwalkars.net) is India’s largest chain of health centres and has six ultramodern branches in Bangalore.
Many five-star hotels also offer locals a membership to their spa and gym facilities. You can opt for a family membership if you have kids as most hotels have a room dedicated to kids where a supervisor manages kids while mom and dad work-out at the gym.
Other popular fitness centres are:
- Steve’s Gym (Domlur and Cox Town) [Phone:25353323 / 25486099]
- Chisel (Richmond Road and Koramangala) [Phone: 41288524 / 25567488]
- Figurine (Jayanagar) [Phone:26712201]
- Novice (JP Nagar) [Phone:22441235]
- Vo2max (JP Nagar) [Phone:41675230]
- Castle Gym (Richmond Road) [Phone:41511576]
- VLCC (Vasanth Nagar, Koramangala, Indiranagar, Basavanagudi) [Phone: 22350700]
If you prefer dancing, you can enrol with Lourd Vijay’s Dance Studio at http://www.lvds.in/.
Health Vision Club in Indira Nagar offers lessons in Jazz Ballet [Phone: 25279658].
Yana Lewis of Yana Lewis Dance Co (Richmond Road) is a trained International Ballet/Jazz Jazz ISTD teacher with over 25 years of experience. [Phone: 9845280164]
Yoga enthusiasts can either look for a yoga instructor at the nearby gym or contact the Yoga Institute in Jayanagar [Phone: 26341486] (http://www.yogabharati.org/bangalore/) or Yoga Yuva Kendra in Malleswaram [Phone: 23560252]