Is Bangalore The Best City to Live in India For Expats?

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best place to live in India

Talk to any Indian about Bangalore, and they will almost certainly (in my experience) inform you that it has the best climate in India. Talk to pretty much any expatriate who has been to more than one place in India and they will tell you that Bangalore has the best climate in India. And having lived here for just about two months now, I have to say it is pretty tremendous!

I believe it’s to do with the elevation of the city, upon the Deccan Plain, but there is a distinct lack of humidity about the place – well, certainly in comparison to the muggy-pits of Mumbai and Chennai! I can head out and enjoy the beautiful sunshine for hours without dripping as I’ve just walked out of the ocean (think Daniel Craig…). In Mumbai, in my experience, it takes barely a minute to have a sheen of humidity on one’s brow.

Is it the best city to live in India for expats?

This very morning, the morning after a significant thunder, lightning and rain storm hit the city center, I was able to sit out on the balcony until well after 0930 and feel pleasantly cool (admittedly in the shade). Once the sun hit my brow, I moved indoors to save myself a burning (as opposed to a sweltering).

My experience so far is that Bangalore has a reasonably wide temperature range, certainly in my experience, compared to Mumbai, though nowhere near as wide as Delhi. My phone is telling me it’s about a 12-degree range today from minimum to maximum (Mumbai will be 7 degrees) – while for the year, from the depths of December until the peak of summer, it’s nearly 19 degrees (Delhi has spread of over 30 degrees).

And that does make it a pleasant experience. It does get hot here and the summer rains / pre-monsoon rains I’ve been fortunate to see in the last eight weeks do cool the place down tremendously. My wife loves the smell of the place after a good downpour starts to evaporate in the warm climate.

But where does it go from here? Monsoon is just around the corner. My colleagues tell me that my commute will become a nightmare, flooding will be commonplace and that generally the place will grind to a halt. I’m a little surprised by that, to be honest, but I guess it’s good to expect the worst.

My Mumbai experience was of a low lying city, most of it seemingly on reclaimed land. There was nowhere for the rains to go as a lot of the city is inches above sea level. So yes it did flood – in places significantly. I once saw a man walking ankle deep in water, only for it to become waste deep as he accidentally stepped on a drain where the cover had disappeared.

So it’ll be interesting to see if Bangalore, with its thousands of feet of elevation above the oceans allows for better drainage away from the roads, and if the travel chaos is as bad as I’ve been warned. The upside I guess will be the regular cooling of the earth and perpetuation of the best climate in India!

Is it the best city to live in India for expats? I guess time will tell!

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