For the work-crazed IT crowd of Bangalore, weekends are a time to run away from the maddening rush of the city and spend quality time in wide open spaces, breathing in fresh air and feeling the soothing breeze that is sadly absent in the hugely populated metropolis. Apart from the corporate lifestyle, tall buildings and luxury resorts, there is a whole other side to Bengaluru that lies on the outskirts of the city. It might be quite surprising to know that this modern, fast-paced city is surrounded by a profusion of stately architectural marvels, serene palaces, temples and colourful gardens.
Weekend getaways in Bangalore include adventure spots, quiet natural hideaways and ancient architectural marvels. There are a number of places around Bangalore that still have traces of the pre-historic civilizations and long-gone dynasties left. Leisure escapers, adventure-seekers, natural and wildlife admirers can all find their preferred places not too far away from the main city of Bangalore. Bangalore is brimming with the beautiful secrets of the Western Ghats that possess an abundance of rich flora and fauna.
The following close weekend getaways from Bangalore are sure to make you forget that you are caught in the everyday jumble of Bangalore’s technology mania and restore peace and sanity within you:
Located about 280 kilometres away from Bangalore, Chikmangalur is a very relaxing escape that is nestled amidst nature’s caring benevolence. Chikmangalur is popular for its coffee plantations and serene hillsides. It has lush valleys, gushing streams and coffee plantations that are so aromatic, you would never want to back to the all the pollution and smog back in Bangalore. You can go trekking at Karnataka’s highest peak, the Mullayanagiri Mountain.
A number of hotels are available in Chikmangalur at pretty low prices. Chikmangalur’s natural abundance is quite untouched by the many pollutants of city life. There are various other activities like plantation tours, treks to historic forts and exciting jeep safaris. Chikmangalurians are known for their warm and friendly disposition. You can go backpacking and mountain climbing at the Baba Budanagiri mountain. Other places to visit in Chikmangalur are the Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary, Kudremukh National Park, Kodandarama Temple, Hebbe Falls and the Manikyadhara Falls.
Bandipur is a wildlife conservational reserve surrounded by great natural beauty. Bandipur has had active participation towards the many Indian Tiger conservation projects undertaken by the state government. Bandipur has a special animal care centre that regularly monitors animal population and growth and provides treatment and nourishment to injured animals. The Kabini, Nugu and the Moyar rivers flow through the Bandipur Reserve.
The animals enjoy the cool refreshing waters from these rivers every day. Bandipur is a very popular tourist destination of Karnataka. Located at the foothills of the Nilgiris, it is bestowed with nature’s grace. The temperature between August and November is most ideal for a visit. Apart from the animal reserve, there are various other attractions at Bandipur and treks that you can go on. But all activities must be supervised by an accompanying guide.
Honnemardu, a small and quiet village 379 kilometres away from Bangalore is an amazing holiday destination for long weekenders. It sits along the backwaters of the Sharavathi River in Karnataka’s Shimoga district. Honnemardu has exciting water sports to make you feel fresh and relaxed when you get back home to your work and routine. A traditional bamboo boat called a coracle will take you to a quaint island that sits right in the middle of the Honnemardu reservoir.
They have camping and various water sports activities like kayaking, swimming etc. This place attracts a good number of unique bird species and butterflies. What more pleasure can be obtained than from watching these feathery creatures soaring the skies and swishing through the leaves of the nearby trees. You can camp out at night and star-gaze well until morning.
Hospet is the gateway to Hampi city which is just 13 kilometres away. Hospet is situated on the banks of the Tungabhadra river. The entire area of Hospet and Hampi are important archaeological sites. Numerous excavations have revealed precious ancient ruins from the Vijayanagar rule. Hospet is a UNESCO world heritage site and holds numerous fascinating ancient ruins, but fairly lesser than the ones at Hampi.
You can either go on a combined Hospet/Hampi tour or you can also go to Badami or Bijapur via Hospet. Hospet is a well commercialized little town with a number of hotels and stays to accommodate visiting tourists. Popular places of attraction are the Anantashayana Temples of the Anantashayana Gudi, the Virupaksha Temple, the Vittala Temple Complex, The ruins of Hampi, The Hazara Rama Temple Complex and the Tungabhadra dam.
Kotagiri is a popular hill station in India, just like Ooty and Coonoor. Kotagiri has vast untouched landscapes and the weather remains constant and pleasing throughout the year. It has numerous run-down bungalows of great historical importance, attractive churches and wide open tea plantations. Kotagiri’s Toda embroidered handlooms are very popular. Kotagiri can be reached via the Mysore road within 7 hours. The Catherine waterfalls at Kotagiri is a 250 feet high waterfall that falls into the Kallar river.
The Kodanand View Point overlooks the spectacular Rangaswamy Peak, Dolphin’s Nose, Catherine Falls and the Rangaswamy Pillar. Longwood Shola is a dense evergreen forest at Kotagiri. The beautiful Elk Falls located 7 kilometres away from Kotagiri has an eye-catching European style house from the Colonial era that is just as alluring as the waterfall itself and its surroundings.
Right in the middle of the Mekedatu, Gaganachukki and Barachukki waterfalls lies a very pretty little town called Bheemeshwari in the Mandya district. Just 100 kilometres away from Bangalore, Bheemeshwari is gaining wide popularity as a brilliantly beautiful weekend getaway for work-crazed Bangaloreans. Fishing is a prominent occupation here and it has a rich wildlife consisting of crocodiles, leopards, wild boars, deer and exotic species of birds. The Gaming Fish, also known as the Mahseer reside here.
You can tuck into one of the many tourist cottages available all over the town. The Cauvery Fishing camp is a worthwhile visit. You can take coracle rides across the Cauvery. Other sightseeing places at Bheemeshwari are Doddamakkali Nature Camp, Sangam, the confluence of the Cauvery and Arkavathy rivers. You can trek across some of Bheemeshwari’s beautiful valleys.
Muthyala Maduvu, literally translated into the Pearl Pool is a small yet captivating waterfall at Chandapur near Anekal. It’s just 43 kilometres away from the Bangalore City Railway Station, which is the best way to get there. You can reach in half a day and spend the remainder of your weekend there. Muthyala Maduvu makes for an ideal picnic spot. The water fall is 100 feet high and feels incredibly cool and refreshing to take a dip in. A small shrine sits atop the waterfalls dedicated to Lord Shiva.
From the parking spot, you need to take 100 steps to reach the falls. The parking has a nearby restaurant and restrooms. Muthyala Maduvu is the best offbeat weekend getaway from Bangalore. You can also go see a few other waterfalls in a narrow valley nearby.
Davangere is a major textile centre of Karnataka situated at the foothills of the Western Ghats and is just 260 kilometres away from Bangalore. Davangere has a number of delicacies to boast of like butter dosa and Kara Mandakki, which is spicy puffed rice. Interesting places to see at Davangere include the Durgambika Temple that is said to be over 200 years old, Kondajji where you can go boating in the nearby lake.
Anekonda at Davangere has historical significance because it was supposedly the place where royal elephants were tied up. Sulekere at Davangere is the largest pond in India where you can have a little picnic. Kunduyada Kere is another popular picnic spot beside another beautiful lake. The Forest College Museum is the oldest museum in India to showcase plant and animal fossils.
Nandi Hills is known to all in Bangalore and most of the weekenders have gone more than a few times to this small but beautiful hilltop at the outskirts of the city. But you could go offbeat at Nandi Hills one weekend and head over to the Grover Jampa Vineyard which is a 400-acre wine property for some wine tour and tasting experience. You can learn all about the history of wine making in India from here.
Visitors are allowed to get up close and examine the pretty grape vines here and learn the art of wine making. You can see the winery and sip on some amazing delicious wine and make your weekend a really tasty one. A guide will take you through the property at the Grover Jampa Vineyard. From the very first process of grape crushing to the final label and packaging process, you can see it all.