Last Updated: August 30, 2019 Kamlesh Nayal
A close look at a wink
The city doesn’t just echoes with the techies clamour but also reflects the princely rays of light from the royal walls. What more can we say about Bangalore? One of the upcoming metropolitan cities in India, Bangalore, which is officially termed as Bengaluru, is a fusion of modernity, spirituality and heritage. Amidst the towering buildings, industries, luxury hotels and resorts, beating nightlife and string of flyovers, Bangalore captures the interest of leisurescapers, adventurers, nature enthusiasts and wildlife lovers.
With its own princely architectural works, quaint palaces, temples and colourful gardens, Bangalore is encircled with numerous cities and towns wherefrom one can still discover the traces of the pre – historic civilizations and explore the ancient Vijayanagara Empire and other dynasties. The city is also considered as a gateway to the hidden hues of the Western Ghats and rich ecosphere that is a home to several species of flora and fauna.
Below here is a comprehensive pick of top 25 weekend gateways around Bangalore that can steer your weekend far away from the reach of technology trumpets and highway hollers:
History, Heritage and Culture
Flanked with historical boundaries, pilgrimage sites and ecosphere, Mysore, which is approximately 180 kilometers far from Bangalore, is one of the flamboyant places in India that pulls in weekenders from Bangalore as well as tourists from different parts of the country and across the border. The city echoes with its glorious history that dates back over 700 years and reflects the diorama of the Kingdom of Mysore from its glittering royal heritage. The quaint city also boasts with bustling markets, magnificent monuments, cosmopolitan culture and a friendly populace. Further, it is also a thriving centre for the production of premium silk, sandalwood and incense. Nonetheless, the major tourist attractions in Mysore are the Mysore Palace, Lalitha Mahal, Jaganmohan Palace, Jayalakshmi Vilas Mansion, Brindavan Gardens, Chamundi Hills, St. Philomena’s Church and Mysore Zoo. Encircling the city of Mysore, Srirangapatna and Shivanasamudra Falls are two other nearby tourist destinations with heritage and nature respectively.
One of the prominent tourist destinations in India, Hampi– the ancient capital of the Vijayanagara Empire- is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that host several monuments displaying the bygone culture. It is about 370 kilometers away from Bangalore and is approximately 8 hours of drive. Although much of the architectural works within the fortification is in ruin but it still holds several temples, civil buildings and military buildings. The stone chariot at Vittala complex is one of the major attractions in Hampi. The other popular sites are the sacred pushkarani or tank located on the eastern side of Krishna temple,
The gateway to Hampi, which is about 13 kilometers away, Hospet, located on the banks of River Tungabhadra River, is one of the prominent archeological sites that reflect the medieval hues of the Vijayanagara Empire. Although Hospet today has been commercialized with development of hotels but the unique Anantashayana temple of Anantashayana Gudi is the major tourist attraction. Another popular attractions in Hospet is the Tungabhadra Dam, which is 6 kilometer away from the city.
Located in Hassan district and about 230 kilometers from Bangalore, Belur is another heritage pick that excels the architectural works of the Hoysala Empire. The major attraction in Belur is the Chennakeshava temple complex that secludes the Chennakesava Temple, which is dedicated to Lord Vishnu, as the centre piece, surrounded by the Kappe Chennigraya temple built by Shantaladevi, queen of king Vishnuvardhana. The other two shrines are still in use by devotees and there is a Pushkarni or stepped well to the right side of the main entrance.
Another quaint city that was discovered by the Hoysala Dynasty in the 11th century, Hassan is approximately 190 kilometers away from Bangalore and 50 kilometers from Belur. The city with its illustrious temples and intrinsic architectural and carven works is one of the top weekend getaways from Bangalore. Although Hassan dilates the traditional hues of Jainism but the finest temples were dedicated to Lord Shiva by the later monarchs in the dynasty. The Chennakesava Temple, which is 40 kilometers from Hassan, and Hoysaleswara Temple, 30 kilometers from Hassan, are the major attractions. Further, the statue of Gommateshvara Bahubali dating 978-993 AD, which is located at Shravanabelagola, is another nearby attraction.
Noted for its magnificent rock-cut cave temples and red sandstone cliffs, Badami, which is roughly 510 kilometers away from Bangalore, displays the brilliant architectural works of the mighty Chalukya Empire. Turning back the pages of Archeological Survey of India, the rock-cut Badami Cave Temples were carven mostly between the 6th and 8th centuries. There are four cave temples that represent the profane nature of the emperors then, with lenience and piousness following that inclines towards Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. Cave 1 is dedicated to Shiva, and Caves 2 and 3 are dedicated to Vishnu, whereas cave 4 displays reliefs of Jain Tirthankaras. Another major attraction is the Badami Fort that lies east of the Bhuthnatha temple, atop a cliff right opposite the Badami cave temples.
Eco – Tourist Destinations – National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries
Bandipur National Park
One seeking for an exotic weekend escape from the Bangalore city dust and techie clamour may steer his wheels to Bandipur National Park, which is about 220 kilometers from Bangalore, 80 kilometers from Mysore and 70 kilometers from Ooty. Bandipur National Park, spanning an area of 874 square kilometers, is a part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve and is a home to several species of birds, animals and plants. The major attractions are tigers, leopards, Indian giant squirrels, gaurs and sloth bears among the animal species and honey buzzards, red-headed vultures, Indian vultures, flowerpeckers and different species of eagles among the bird species. The commonly seen animals and birds are elephants, chital and gray langurs and peafowl, grey junglefowl, crows and drongos. Nonetheless, Bandipur National Park is also popular for hosting elephant safaris and jeep safaris. The morning safari starts from 6 that whizzes to 9 and the afternoon safari starts from 4 and continues till 6. There are plenty of options available where you can accommodate yourself and experience the tranquil ambiance broken by the whirring and whispering sounds from the woods.
Nagarhole National Park
Another rejuvenating and refreshing getaway from Bangalore that winds the route off several wildlife and natural enthusiasts is the Nagarhole National Park. It is approximately 220 kilometers from Banagalore, 80 kilometers from Mysore and 120 kilometers from Bandipur. The park covers an area of 643 square kilometers and is a part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. The park having a rich forest blanket, small streams, hills, valleys and waterfalls and wildlife is under consideration by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee for selection as a World Heritage Site. Having a healthy tiger-predator ratio, the Nagarhole National Park is a home to several endangered species of birds and animals. The commonly sighted animals are different species of deer and cats, wild boars, gaurs, mongoose and more whereas the major attractions are tigers, leopards and wild elephants. Among the bird species different species of vultures and eagles remain the major attraction. The morning safari at Nagarhole National Park starts from 6 and continues till 8, whereas the afternoon safari starts from 3.30 and wheels till 5:30.
Bannerghatta National Park
Spread across a sprawling area of over 104.27 square kilometers, the Bannerghatta National Park, which is roughly 22 kilometers from Banaglore, is one of the exhilarating weekend getaways from Banaglore. The park is home to one of the richest natural zoological reserves that shelter various animals, including tigers, lions and other mammals. It also maintains a Zoo, biological reserve and Butterfly Park.
Kabini Wildlife Sanctuary
Located about 205 kilometers away from Bangalore, the Kabini Wildlife Sanctuary with its vast green foliage is a niche weekend getaway from Bangalore that pulls in several weekenders. The popular attractions are leopard, panther, sambhar, spotted deer, cheetal, panther and several species of birds.
Tapping the minds of several love birds, families and weekenders after the hustle and bustle of a long week, Ooty at 2,240 meters, which is approximately 270 kilometers from Bangalore, brings forth a quixotic escape. With a sheer spectrum of greenery blanketed over the gentle rolling hills and sprawling forest of pine trees, Ooty simply gives an opportunity to suspire fresh air throughout the year. Furthermore, Ooty also boasts with several lakes surrounded by lush greenery that often allows the weekenders to wheel and whizz for a picc. Along with its rejuvenating environment, Ooty also represents a vast colonial history reflecting from the quaint buildings that attracts several tourists from all over the world. Some of the popular tourist attractions in and around Ooty are Doddabetta Peak at 2,653 meters, sacred Pykara River, Wenlock Downs, Kamaraj Sagar Dam, Mudumalai National Park, Mukurthi National Park, Emerald Lake, and Avalanche Lake. The Toy Train ride from Ooty to Coonoor is another major tourist attraction.
At an elevation of 1,850 meters and about 290 kilometers from Bangalore, Coonoor is an ideal base for several trekking expeditions that leads deep into the Nilgiri blues. It is approximately 20 kilometers from Ooty and hence it is often visited by tourists from different corners of India. The major attractions in Coonoor are Sim’s Park, Dolphin’s Nose Viewpoint, Lamb’s Rock, Droog Fort and Law’s Falls. Moreover, the Nilgiri Mountain Railway that connects Coimbatore and Ooty is another attraction in Coonoor.
A drive of about 270 kilometers from Bangalore, keeping onto the Bangalore – Mysore Highway and thereafter National Highway 212, takes you to the potpourri of nature deep into ‘God’s Own Country’, Wayanad in Kerala. With the mystic mountain solemnity, lush greenery dotted with paddy fields, tea and spice gardens and lakes, makes Wayanad one of the most exotic weekend getaways from Bangalore. Nonetheless, Wayanad is also a home to several tribes that represents an indigenous culture that attracts several weekend explorers as well as foreign tourists.
B R Hills
The Biligiriranga Hills, often dubbed as BR Hills, is a cascade of lush green rolling hills that acts as an ecological span connecting the Western Ghats and Eastern Ghats. The BR Hills are located approximately 190 kilometers away from Bangalore and is yet another ideal weekend getaway. The region is an abode of more than 800 species of plants from various families and shows a close affinity to the Western Ghats. Further, it also pulls in and catches the eye of several wildlife enthusiasts. The vicinity also boast with several species of animals and birds and the most conspicuous mammals are the herds of wild elephants. The other mammals include sambhar, chital, the shy barking deer which are quite common here and the rare four-horned antelope.
The gateway to Koundinya Wildlife Sanctuary, Horsley is one of the lesser travelled weekend getaways from Bangalore that is about 140 kilometers away. It is located in Andhra Pradesh and the major tourist attractions here include the Mallamma temple and the Rishi Valley School. Further, the Horsley hills also offer several adventure activities like zorbing, rappelling and hiking.
Often to your surprise you come across such places on earth that let’s your body and soul free from every calamity. Coorg is one of the slices tucked in the Western Ghats that offers a sprawling ecosphere bristled with coffee and spices orchards, different species of plants and trees, gurgling streams and waterfalls and wildlife. All throughout the year Coorg receives a mild climate and hence is a frequent weekend getaway from Bangalore, which is about 260 kilometers away. The major tourist attractions in Coorg are Talakaveri, the origin of River Kaveri, Nisargadhama, Iruppu Falls, Abbey Falls, Nagarhole, Bhagamandala and Omkareshwara Temple. Coorg also dilates the colours of Tibetan settlement. Bylakuppe that hosts Buddhist Golden Temple is another major attraction in Coorg.
Perched at an elevation of 1,515 meters in the Shevaroys range of hills in the Eastern Ghats, Yercaud is another scenoramic getaway that is roughly 230 kilometers from Bangalore. It offers a luxury bed of flora and is a home to more than 3000 trees and 1800 shrubs. Further, wildlife like bison, deer, ant-eater, rabbits, hares, foxes, mongoose, squirrels, partridges, snakes, bulbuls, kites, sparrows, swallows and paradise flycatchers bustles the eyes of several wildlife enthusiasts and photographers.
Chikmagalur is a popular hill station and weekend getaway from Bangalore that is located in the foothills of Mullayanagiri range. It pulls in travellers and weekenders simply by its earthy aroma airing from several coffee orchards. Chikmagalur is approximately 280 kilometers from Bangalore.
Puttaparthi in Andhra Pradesh, which is approximately 160 kilometers from Bangalore, is a popular spiritual site that is famous for Baba’s Prasanthi Nilayam ashram. Other attractions in Puttaparthi are the Hanuman temple, a village mosque and Sathyabhama temple.
One of the major Hindu pilgrimage sites in India that pulls in several spiritual leaders and pilgrims from all over the world, Tirupati at an elevation of 850 meters is famous for Venkateswara Swamy temple, which is dedicated to Lord Venkateswara. The town is also frequented during the festive mood. Tirupati celebrates all major Hindu festivals including Deepavali, Pongal, Vaikunta Ekadasi, Rama Navami and Janmashtami with great splendor, while the Brahmotsavam celebrated every year during September is the most important festival when it receives millions of devotees over a short span of a week. Rathasapthami is another festival, celebrated during February, when Lord Venkateswara’s idol is taken in a procession around the temple chariots.
Located in Tamil Nadu and approximately 280 kilometers from Bangalore, Kanchipuram is another popular pilgrimage and weekend getaway. It boasts several temples that displays the architectural works of several erstwhile dynasties. The Kailasanathar temple, Ekambareswarar Temple, Kamakshi Amman Temple and Varadarajar Perumal Temple are the major pilgrimage attractions in Kanchipuram. Further the quaint city is also popular for its hand woven silk sarees and most of the city’s workforce is involved in the weaving industry.
Few drive for a spiritual break, few drive for a beach getaway and few to explore the quaint French colonies, Puducherry is one of the remarkable getaways from Bangalore. It is approximately 310 kilometers away. The major attractions in Pondicherry are the Promenade Beach, Paradise Beach, The Auroville Beach and Serenity Beach; Sri Aurobindo Ashram; Auroville; Children’s Park & Dupleix Statue, Gandhi statue, Nehru Statue, Le Café, French War Memorial, 19th Century Light House, Bharathi Park, Governors Palace, French War Memorial, Romain Rolland Library, Legislative Assembly, Pondicherry Museum and the French Institute of Pondicherry at Saint-Louis Street.
Bangalore to Mangalore may not be an escape from the hues and cries of life but the silent walk on the Panambur Beach overlooking the Arabian Sea breaches all your fatigue. Mangalore is approximately 350 kilometers from Bangalore. The other major attractions in Mangalore are the temple of Mangaladevi, Sultan Battery that was built in 1784 by Tipu Sultan and ruins of Mangalore Fort.
Kannur that is 315 kilometers drive from Bangalore is another tranquil beach getaway where one can enjoy the exclusive coastal waterfront and savour the spicy Malabar delicacies. Furthermore, the cultural array with cascade of Looms and Lore industries and diorama of ritualistic folk arts held in temples simply pulls in travellers from all over the world. Displaying the colonial ambiance, Kannur hosts several other tourists’ attraction. The St. Angelo Fort, Arakkal Museum, Mopla Bay and oodles of temples are some of the major tourist attractions in and around Kannur. The Meenkunnu Beach and Thottada Beach are the perfect seascape for the weekenders.
Published: 05 May, 2014