National Gallery of Modern Art
Since Bangalore has moved rapidly away from its position as the ‘Garden City’ of India, there is very little of old Bangalore visible anymore. However, there are pockets that still continue to exist and one of the most glorious is the National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA). Situated in the old Manikyavelu Mansion with extensions tastefully added, the grounds with huge trees bring to mind a gentler and greener time.
We love the sudden change of pace from the chaotically hectic Cunningham Road to the lawns and graceful porticos of the gallery. The sylvan surroundings immediately put one in a contemplative mood and a leisurely stroll through the various rooms of the mansion further compounds the state of mind. Like all galleries, it is not a place to be hurried through. Funnily enough, most people are not even aware of the gallery’s existence. Modern day city life precludes visits to Art galleries unless they are the ones selling art for investment and have high profile, society sponsors. Places like NGMA are apparently not ‘cool enough’ but that makes it more peaceful so we can’t really grumble.
Aside from the paintings, including the unexpected one by Sir Lawrence Alma Tadema, the NGMA has a courtyard coffee shop which compels one to spend more time. The massive tree at the centre of the courtyard provides a green and dappled shade and makes you want to slow down, take life easier, pull out a book or jot down musings. It is one of the most gorgeous places to do bookish things in Bangalore.