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Bangalore is a city of technology, cosmopolitan culture and couture but it is also a city of traffic and pollution, at times one can genuinely feel the overcrowded nature of the city in both its best and worst ways. The city can be hectic and exhausting, some may even say it is daunting.
There is always a need to unwind but going to one of the city’s many pubs and bars can become monotonous and dull. Most of the city’s young’uns choose to hop on a bus or train and head home, the city is after all populated majorly by migrants who are yet to own a permanent residence or a vehicle in the city.
A few of the city’s more adventurous crowd, however, have begun a trend of their own – road trips. It all begins with leasing out a Self drive cars in Bangalore, this ensures that they aren’t tied down to the scheduling nightmare of trains and buses and gives them the flexibility to enjoy these getaways.
Once one has a self drive car then comes getting a bunch of his or her closest friends together, the camaraderie on these road trips are an indescribable experience on their own.
This leads us to our final step and it’s a tricky one – figuring out a destination. Bangalore is located bang in the heart of South India. This means travellers are spoilt for choice when it comes to deciding on a destination. Which is why we have complied a list of the nine most kick-ass weekend getaways during the coming winter to help one recharge, re-energize and reboot.
Originally known for its gigantic statue of Lord Shiva, this coastal pilgrimage town in North Karnataka is home to some of the most scenic views in the country. The calm waters during the winters are complimented by the outstanding breezy weather and wanderlust worthy beaches. Less crowded than the popular destinations like Udupi, Gokarna and Goa which are all close by, Murdeshwar is a hidden gem that is sure to become a tourist hub in the coming years. As wonderful as Murdeshwar is, the drive to this quaint costal town is also a magnificent experience. Depending on the route you choose to take, you could make numerous jaw dropping pit stops between Bangalore and Murdeshwar like Jog Falls or the Sharavati Valley Wildlife Sanctuary. The distance using this route is 512 km and is known to take about 8 hours.
Known for its weather and rolling coffee estates, Chikamagaluru is a day’s drive away at 245 km from Bangalore. It is home to Karnataka’s tallest peak – Mullayanagiri – making it a hotspot for treks of varying toughness. The best season to enjoy this town is the monsoon when the greenery comes alive with freshness and vitality. Other attractions in this area include Kudremukha, Hebbe Falls, and Kodandarama temple. The drive to Chikamagaluru is through the scenic Western Ghats that is rich in flora and fauna. The Malenadu cuisine is something one must try which includes koiitge kadabu and akki roti.
This town boasts of one of the best Hoysala architecture in the Chanakeshwara temple. Located in the Hassan district, Belur is 220km from Bangalore and takes approximately four hours to reach. Chanakeshwara temple has many guides available and we suggest that the temple be explored with one of these guides to explain the architectural and historical stories connected with the temple. The temple was commissioned in the 12th century and took a hundred years over three generations to be built. The temple is decorated with sculptures depicting the secular life of the times as well as parts from the Ramayana and Mahabharata.
Located 370km from Bangalore on the western coast in Kerala, Kasargod is best known for the Chandragiri and Bekkal forts. The town is renowned for its coir and handloom industries and is located on the banks of the Payaswini River.
Badami was the capital of the Badami Chalukyas from 540 to 757 AD. It is visited by tourists for its rock cut structural temples. It is located at the foot of a red sandstone stone formation that surrounds Agastya Lake. It is 510 km from Bangalore and has many hotels to stay and explore the surrounding regions.
A region of Coorg, this area is not just famous for its coffee estates, but is also home to Bylkuppe, a Tibetan settlement. The jewel of the settlement is the Tibetan temple which is adjoined by a complex that sells art crafts made by Tibetan settlers. One can also eat at the many restaurants run by settlers. These restaurants and cafes offer authentic Tibetan fare that will keep you warm in the cold weather of Coorg.
Bandipur is a wildlife sanctuary on the border of Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu. In fact, the Tamil Nadu portion of the sanctuary is called Mudumalai National Park and the Kerala portion is the Waynad Wildlife Sanctuary. Together, they form the Nilgiri Biosphere reserve. Rich in flora and fauna, one can see wildlife of various sizes from snakes to bison to elephants. There is a government run guest house in Bandipur that make for an interesting stay. Bandipur is 240km from Bangalore.
One of the best examples of Vijayanagara architecture, Hampi was the seat of power for the Vijayanagara Empire. Hampi is a well preserved historical site with many of the important structures of the empire still existing. Best visited during monsoon and winter, Hampi comes alive with nature at her best offset by the stone architecture of the region. Hampi is located 350km from Bangalore and has many stay options. Do check my old travelogue of Hampi.
Goa needs no introduction but it needs to be realized that a road trip to from Bangalore to Goa can be a delightful experience compared to a quick and boring flight. The drive is 600km and can be done in ten hours. In fact, I would suggest that apart from the winter, you also do it in the monsoon, when the entire Konkan cost becomes deliriously beautiful but the beaches remain less crowded due to rains.
There are many places to travel to from Bangalore to enjoy the winter of South India. All one needs to do is ensure that the sure your self-drive car is in good condition and the best possible routes have been mapped.