Have you ever thought of a boat ride right through the heart of the forest at Kabini, famous for wild elephants and antelopes…? Well for Bangalore, there’s so much more to this cosmopolitan than just the IT capital of the country.
Bangalore, now called as Bengaluru, is the capital of Karnataka. Popularly known as Garden City, the place has numerous gardens/parks for people to start their day in a refreshing way. Bengaluru is a true melting pot where people from different cities and countries come to add to the city’s vibrant scene. And, you will get to know this once you explore areas like Brigade Road, Koramangla, Indira Nagar etc. When it comes to food, nothing can beat the delectable spread at MTR/CTR/ Vidyarthi Bhavan. Do try the dosa which can surely be called the best in the world, along with an amazing cup of coffee or filter kaapi. For breakfast too, the city has numerous cafes, among which “Hole in the Wall” is legendary. The attitude of Bengaluru crowd is "work hard and party harder", so the city has obviously a large number of pubs.
Get ready to explore the extension of cosmopolitan Bengaluru…
1. Nandi Hills (60 km.)
Situated in Chikkaballapur district in Karnataka, Nandi Hills, at the height of 4851 feet above sea level is a favourite among youth enthusiasts, lovers and honeymooners. Start your weekend with a mesmerising sunrise which should not be missed at any cost.
Bhoga Nandeeshwar temple and Tipu Sultan Fort are also worthy sightseeing options in this region.
While inhaling fresh air, one can also enjoy cycling and paragliding here.
2. Shivanasamudra Falls, on river Cauvery- 120 Kms.
It is one of the best spots for a quick weekend getaway from the city. First hydro-electric power station in Asia was also set up at Shivanasamudra in 1902. It has been ranked among the world’s top 45 waterfalls. You will find yourself in an area surrounded by forested hills and lush green valleys. Making its way through the Deccan Plateau, the river Cauvery drops downstream to form the beautiful twin waterfalls.
3. Mysore (140 km.)
Mysore, also known as the City of Palaces, has been recently renamed Mysuru. One of South India’s most famous tourist destinations, Mysuru is a perfect blend of heritage, exquisite temples, pilgrimage centres and scenic spots which attracts visitors from all over the world. Mysuru is a world heritage listed place and also the centre for the production of incense, sandalwood and silk. Main attractions are Mysore Palace (in the picture), Lalitha Mahal, Chamundi Hill, Karanji Lake, Mysore Zoo and Brindavan Gardens (18 km. from Mysore). Mysore is also famous for its royal festival, Dasara, the celebration of victory of truth over evil. Mysore Dasara is one of the most celebrated festivals in India.
4. Coorg - (255 km.)
Adventure, peace, coffee plantations and monasteries… This is what Coorg is about. Coorg is one of those places near Bengaluru that attracts hordes of travellers over every weekend. Attractions are Abbey Falls, Namdroling Monastery, Nagarhole National Park, Talacauvery, Dubare Elephant camp, Raja’s Seat and Iruppu Falls.
Nagarhole National Park, a part of Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve is an awesome place to watch animals and over 270 species of birds. Often and easily-spotted here are tigers, Indian bisons, Asian elephants, grey mongoose, four-horned antelopes, Indian porcupine, wolf snakes, vine snakes and endangered greater spotted eagle, Oriental white backed vulture and Nilgiri wood pigeon.
The best time to visit is during April to May or November to February.
Talacauvery, situated in the Brahmagiri Hill is a little pond, which is the origin of the river Cauvery.
You can also enjoy the aroma of coffee plantations, stay near Cauvery River or opt for a tree house for a memorable time in Coorg. A freshly-brewed coffee on the riverside will make for worthy memoirs in your album.
5. Kabini (225 km.)
It is a river in southern India, originating from Wayanad. It was once a private hunting area for the Britishers. While enjoying the eye-catching scenery during the boat journey down the Kabini river one can sight antelopes, crocodiles, tigers, cobras, pythons, wild elephants and leopards in the Kabini forest. Kabini is also famous as a wildlife destination with rich variety of flora and fauna. If you are a nature lover then this place is a must-visit for you.
Not to be missed is the Banasura Sagar Dam, the largest earthen dam in India. Brush up your photography skills if you want to capture precious memories at Kabini.
6. Ooty (277 km.)
Ooty, queen of hills is one of the famous hill stations in India. It has a mind blowing variety of sightseeing options, namely
• Botanical Gardens - Visitors can see orchids, roses, imported shrubs, exotic plants, variety of Eucalyptus trees, herbs and bonsai plants
• Dodabetta Peak, the highest peak in Nilgiris – At a clear day visitors can see even the distant Mysore and Coimbatore
• Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary: Set up in 1940, it was the first sanctuary in Southern India. Another popular attraction is the Theppakadu Elephant camp where people can enjoy feeding the elephants during their mealtime. Advance permission is needed from the Forest Department for trekking, jeep safari or Elephant safari. One can also spend some quiet moments with Mother Nature at Mayar waterfalls.
• Motor boat ride in Pykara River
• Government Museum: Ooty tribal art and culture, sculptural arts and crafts display
• Tea estates, Boat houses and shooting spots
Many natural fresh water lakes namely Pykara lake, heavenly Avalanche Lake, Upper Bhavani lake, Emerald lake and numerous waterfalls make this place a must for a .
A massive landslide in the year 1823 formed Avalanche Lake (in the picture). Waterfalls falling down from the adjoining mountains create a picture perfect ambience. Visitors can enjoy trekking, camping and fish catching in the lake. Prior permission is needed from the forest office to visit this lake as it is in Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve.
Once you have finished all the sightseeing options in Ooty, keep one day for an amazing ride in the Nilgiri Mountain Railways from a height of 1069 feet to 7228 feet. This train ride is one of the steepest in India.
Rivers, waterfalls, mountains and exquisite bless of nature, Ooty is one of the best places to visit near Bengaluru.
7. Dudhsagar (550 km.)
Dudhsagar Falls aka Sea of Milk- a beautiful tie-red waterfall located on the Mandovi River in the Indian state of Goa on Goa's border with Karnataka state is the place to be embarked in every traveller’s list. All you need is a weekend to cover this lovely place if you stay in Bangalore. Enthused by the waters, this is a very special place. If you have more than a weekend in your bucket you can cover this place and head towards GOA also which is just 100 km. away.
8. Chikmagalur (242 km.)
This place has been termed as the Coffee land of Karnataka; a beautiful hill station with lush green plantations cover, the land of Chikmagalur also has a lot of waterfalls. Throughout the year Chikmagalur consistently attracts trekkers, honeymoon couples, and nature lovers. Chikmagalur is home to many notable mountain ranges namely Kemmangundi, Mullayanagiri, Kudremukh, Baba Budangiri and many waterfalls namely Manikyadhara Falls, Kallathigiri Falls, Hanumana Gundi Falls, Kadambi Falls, Sirimane Falls. Chikmagalur is the place to many important Pilgrimage centres namely Sringeri, Horanadu, Kalasa, Shakatapuram, Amrithapura and also Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary.
Baba Budangiri was the saint who had smuggled Coffee beans from abroad and started Coffee plantations in Chikmagalur. That’s how Coffee came to India.
One can enjoy a stay near to Bhadra wild life sanctuary or a home stay amidst Coffee plantations.
9. Kodaikanal - Gift of Forest (465 km.)
Kodaikanal is full of scenic beauty. Kodaikanal is a small town with lot of staying options suitable to all budgets. Kodaikanal is a hot destination for trekkers, nature lovers and people who love camping/hiking under the blue sky. Fresh air and lush green surroundings will surely rejuvenate your inner self during your stay at Kodaikanal.
Sightseeing options include boating at Kodiakanal Lake, walk through misty woodlands to Green Valley point, 1 km. long walkway in the mountains - Coakers Walk, Bear Shola Falls, Kurunji Temple, 180 ft. high Silver Cascade Falls and Kodaikanal Solar Observatory.
The area is blessed with enchanting landscapes with ample scope of activities like trekking, cycling, boating and horse riding and exploring the mystery of the huge rocks (Pillar Rocks and Devil’s Kitchen) in the wilderness. What else you want for an amazing vacation!
Enjoy your stay in the serenity at Kodaikanal…
10. Yercaud (220 km.)
Popularly known as Jewel of the South, Yercaud is situated on the Shevaroys Hills of the Eastern Ghats in Salem district of Tamil Nadu.
Coffee plantations, Orange Groves and plantations for Bananas, Pears, Jack Fruit and spices like Pepper are in abundance in this region.
Places to cover in Yercaud - Yercaud lake (in the picture), Anna park (maintained by horticulture department), Lady's Seat (breathtaking view of the plains below and Mettur Dam on the Cauvery river), Kiliyur waterfall, Silk Farm and Rose Garden, Deer Park (for animal Lovers) and Bears Cave (Believed to be created by beers, this cave also served as once a secret hideout for Tipu Sultan).
Try to get a valley view room and enjoy the outstanding natural beauty of this place.
11. Hampi, Vijaynagara (270 km.)
The city is such that the pupil of eye has never seen a place like it and the ear of intelligence has never been informed that there existed anything to equal it in the world - wondered a traveller, Abdur Razzak from Persia who visited the Vijayanagara in 1443 AD.
Even Lord Vishnu found this place the Vittal temple too grand for his use and returned to live in his own home. That is the Vijaynagara Empire. No doubt the era of Vijayanagara Empire has been often called as the most prosperous region ever to have happened, on this earth.
Experience the taking rocks of Hampi along with Musical Pillars and mammoth temples like Vittal temple, Virupaksha temple and Stone Chariot. Hampi has been declared as a World Heritage site by UNESCO. Ruins still held their esteem and provide glimpses into the prosperity this place has seen.
When weekends have become a much sought after delicacy in our busy schedules of life, a weekend trip is the best way to shrug off the monotony of hectic work schedules. Once in Bengaluru, one will never run out of weekend destinations. Enjoy your weekends, because said by someone, All Work and NO Travel will make anyone a dull boy…