Ready for your weekend break yet? Here is our pick of some of the best getaways from Bangalore:
Distance from Bangalore: 363 km
Go here for: Plenty of fascinating ruins
Ancient India has tended to fascinate travellers and rulers alike. Hampi is a laid back village that was the last capital of Vijayanagar, one of the greatest Hindu kingdoms in India’s history. Watch for some extremely captivating ruins, curiously intermingled with large boulders dotting the landscape. It has been said that Hampi, in northern Karnataka, was one of the richest and the largest cities during its time. This site was found within the ruins of Vijayanagar. Vijayanagar was an important religious centre which had 500,000 inhabitants! Also, this empire was ruled by the great emperor-warrior king Ashoka. Comprising more than 500 monuments, the ruins stretch over 25 kilometers and date back to the 14th century. The most striking monument is the Vittala Temple, dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Its main hall has 56 pillars that make musical sounds when struck. The Royal Center, towards Kamalapura in the south of Hampi, is another highlight. Vijayanagar rulers lived and governed there.
SAKLESHPUR aka Poor Man’s Ooty
Distance from Bangalore: 221 km
Go here for: Green Route Trek
Did you know Sakleshpur is truly a convenient gateway to the many wonders Karnataka has to offer? A short distance from Bangalore, and nestled among the Western Ghats, Sakleshpur derives its name from an ancient shivling found in the area. Sakleshpur also translates to a ‘place of great wealth and beauty,’ and well, it certainly lives up to its name. Traditionally famous for its super fun trekking activities, Sakleshpur offers much more to its visitors. Among all the beautiful estates that make Sakleshpur account for a third of India’s cardamom production, Sakleshpur Temple – from the time of the Hoysalas of the 11th Century – is an unmissable experience. The Green Route Trek usually begins on the railway track starting from Sakleshpur to Kukke Subramanya. The route passes through lovely forests, tunnels and waterfalls. Enjoy a wonderful drive on your way to Sakleshpur, as it is easily reached by the superb Hassan Road in less than four hours. Its amazing proximity to numerous other travel hot spots makes it an ideal base to holiday from. Surprisingly close is Madikeri, at just 98 km (2 hours) away, to the south of Sakleshpur. 60 km to the north is Chikmaglur. Head westwards and Dharmasthala is just a 90 minutes (77 km) drive, while Shravanabelagola is just 2 hours (90 km) away to the east.
Distance from Bangalore: 260 km
Go here for: World class coffee and Coorgi food
At just a 5 hour drive from the metropolis of Bangalore, Coorg is the Scotland of India! Need we say more? One of its main attractions is Abbi Falls, where several streams combine on the steep slopes of the Western Ghats before hurling into Cauvery river.
Distance from Bangalore: 200 km
Go here for: The playground of man eating giant Hidimba
Recognized as a land of valour and chivalry, Chitradurga is a massive fortress set on top of granite hills that rise up into a facade dramatically from the ground. Archaeological remains found in the area, trace its history to 3rd millennium B.C. According to Hindu epic Mahabharata, a man-eating giant named Hidimbasura lived on Chitradurga hill and liked to terrorize everyone around. A UNESCO World Heritage Site today, Chitradurga achieved eminence as a feudatory state of the Vijayanagar Empire, under the rule of the Nayakas or “Paleyars”, known for their heroic exploits. In 1779, the fort was captured by Haider Ali, who along with his son Tipu Sultan, was responsible for its expansion and strengthening. After Tipu Sultan’s defeat by the British, the fort came under the rule of the Royal Mysore family.
Distance from Bangalore: 378 km
Go here for: Frolicking in the water
Jog Falls – a proud tourist attraction of Karnataka – is the second highest plunge waterfall in India and ranked 13 in the world by the waterfall database. The river Sharavathi takes a spectacular leap at a height of 292 meters, falling in four distinct waterfalls – Raja, Rani, Rocket and Roarer – to form the fifth highest waterfall in Asia.
KABINI WILDLIFE SANCTUARY
Distance from Bangalore: 230 kms
Go here for: Varied wildlife sightings
It turns out that one of the best wildlife sanctuaries in Karnataka today was once a private hunting area for the British. Kabini is a famous wildlife destination abounding in a rich variety of flora and fauna making it a gorgeous tourist spot and a most favourite getaway from Bangalore. Today, it attracts tourists from all over. It is a must see for all nature lovers and those looking for a perfect vacation amidst lush greenery and majestic waterfalls. Kabini has in store hints of various elements of nature, be it a huge variety of plantation, abundance of wildlife ranging from carnivores and mammals to birds or the terrain where each type is a part of and a compliment to the other. Named after the River Kabini, the River Kabini Lodge beckons with the promise of elephants, gaur, deer and a rumour of tiger. Located on the southern fringes of the Nagarahole National Park (Rajiv Gandhi National Park), it has been reported that this former hunting lodge of the erstwhile Maharaja of Mysore was rated one of the Top 5 Wildlife Resorts in the World by the British Tatler’s Travel Guide. The Kabani Forest Reserve is one of the most popular wildlife destinations of Karnataka, probably because of its accessibility, lush green landscape surrounding a large lake, and sightings of herds of elephants, tigers.
Distance from Bangalore – 450 km
Go here for: sand under your feet, wind in your hair and salt on your skin.
Maravanthe is a town that houses a beautiful, idyllic beach in the South Canara district of Karnataka, near Kundapura. With the Arabian Sea to its right and Suparnika River on the left, Maravanthe, as a beach, is often referred to as ‘Virgin Beach’ for its miles and miles of unspoiled white sand. Outlook Traveller magazine has it listed as one of Karnataka’s most beautiful beaches. It is about 55 km from Udupi. The Suparnika, which almost touches Arabian Sea here, makes a U-turn and goes westward to join the sea after a journey of more than 10 km. National Highway 17 can be found at a distance of about 100 meters from the shore – sure to make your commute easier. Together with the soothing sea by the side and the palm trees around the region, the beach promises to be surefire getaway among travelers.
Distance from Bangalore – 250 km
Go here for: a serene sojourn with a touch of traditional
Chikmagalur or the Coffee Land of Karnataka is one of the most popular hill stations in Karnataka, at a short distance from the pulsating metropolitan city of Bangalore. It is largely believed that coffee was first cultivated in India in Chikmagalur. Most of the resorts here, in fact, are nestled amid the numerous coffee plantations at this beatific district in the West of Karnataka. Take a break from the maddening hustle and bustle of the big city and board the train for a charming ride to Chikmagalur – a mere 250 kilometers from Bangalore. Chikmagalur is loved by Bangaloreans because of the loads of hot spots within its space and right around, from pilgrim places and coffee plantations to wildlife tourism spots and adventure sports locations. Hill stations, well-known temples, beautiful waterfalls and national Parks – Chikmagalur has them all! There are various peaks along the Baba Budan Giri range, that you can hike for a panoramic view from the top that will just take your breath away. The Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the highlights of Chikmagalur, with over 1200 species of birds making the beautiful forests their home. You can even go mountain-biking, island camping, sailing and kayaking – while in Chikmagalur.
Distance from Bangalore: 61 km
Go here for: Scenic beauty, Calm and quiet
At the shortest distance from the town of Bangalore, Nandi Hills is probably the most favorite among Bangaloreans. Nandi Hills or Nandidurg or Nandi Betta is an ancient hill fortress situated in the Chikkaballapur district of Karnataka. This is a group of hills that lies at an average elevation of about 1,478 meters (4,851 feet) above sea level, at a distance of about 61 km from Bangalore. Nandi Hills has been a favourite picnic spot for young enthusiasts on a weekend. The pleasant climate appeals to the old and the young alike. Lovers and honeymooners in search of a quiet, beautiful place, and families on an economized budget, tend to prefer Nandi Hills. They say that historians can find a wealth of information and the spiritual minded, peace and tranquility. The breathtaking scenic beauty and excellent climate are a pleasant surprise here. Nandi is also commonly called Nandidurga (Fort) because of the fort build here by the ruler Tippu Sultan. It is also perhaps called Nandi Hills because the hill resembles a sleeping bull (Nandi). The monsoons are the most spectacular time of year in Nandi, as the hills are all defined by an exquisite veil of mist.
Distance from Bangalore: 516 km
Go here for: Unsullied beaches
Gokarna is a restful coastal town and one of the seven most important pilgrimage centres in India – found cozily tucked in between rivers Gangavali and Agnashini along the Karwar coast by the Arabian Sea. It is 200 km north from the college towns of Suratkal and Manipal in Karnataka, south of the country. Its dual status as a (non-commercialized) beachy getaway and sacred Hindu pilgrim town is a most fascinating allure for most kinds of tourists. The destination boasts a string of pristine, unsullied beaches and waterfalls. And, most tourist accommodation is likely to be found along its several stretches of blissful coast in precious thatched bamboo huts. While Om beach, Kudle beach and Anshi National Park are where nature buffs are happiest, those with more pious leanings would do well to check out Murudeshwara Temple and the famous Mahabaleshwar Temple. This temple houses what is believed to be original image of Lord Shiva’s lingam (Atmalinga). There are many other temples all over this small town.
Distance from Bangalore: 180 kms
Go here for: Coracle rides and a rejuvenating healthy oil massage by the river
Hogenakkal, a series of majestic waterfalls, is often called Cauvery by the populace of Krishnagiri and Dharmapuri districts that share a border with the South Indian states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, where it is situated. Whenever travellers imagine the bliss of getting a healthy oil massage near a river bed, Hogenakkal is likely to be the location that lingers in their minds. Hogenakkal is endearingly called the Niagara of India’. The way to Hogenekkal falls is naturally endowed with beauteous mulberry fields, titanic-sized Protector Deities (Aiyanars) made of terracotta, and the gushing sound of river Cauvery together with bounteous vegetation. Experiences like coracle rides (round wickerwork boats called parisals by the locals) and medicinal baths make Hogenakkal Falls literally a much more immersive experience than other large waterfalls in the country. Leading up to the falls the Cauvery river flows through a forest known for naturally growing herbs which many believe gives the water curative properties. It is said that it is quite stupendous to see tender-aged boys showcasing their diving skills here at the falls. They are known to exhibit their diving skills for a mere Rs 5 from the spectators. The courageous young children dive from tall altitudes and leave spectators feeling only awe. Hogenakkal Falls is now a very popular tourist attraction in the south of India.