The Garden City has everything going for it – a whole lot of greenery, a lively economy, hundreds of lakes (literally), so many parks and gardens (duh) and traffic that any true Bangalorean is proud of. Beautiful colonial and post-colonial architecture, pleasantest of weathers and so many software parks that you might as well speak Java and C++.
If there were a cosmopolitan city in India, it is Bangalore. People from all over the country – and the world, come to stay in the bustling city. This makes the city more hip and modern too, giving the day – and night life of Bangalore a vibrant edge. No wonder it is so popular amongst immigrants and tourists alike!
Bangalore has everything a city has to offer in India – and more! However, one aspect of the megacity often goes overlooked. Bangalore is nestled in a sweet spot in the Deccan Plateau; surrounded by hills and nature in all directions. This gives Bangalore a striking advantage when it comes to tourism around the city.
Here are the Best Weekend Getaways near Bangalore.
Short Weekend Trips in Bangalore
A weekend is always a welcome break from hectic work life. While a full-blown vacay may not be possible during this short time, there are places aplenty that are waiting to be discovered by you in proximity to Bangalore. So let us find out about some of the best locations!
1. Hogenakkal Falls
Hogenakkal Waterfalls, you are my wonderwall!
Hogenakkal Falls is one of the most popular weekend trip destinations from Bangalore, and for good reason. Located in the Dharmapuri district of Tamil Nadu, these falls will make you realise the beauty of South India.
The sight of the holy Cauvery cascading down the rocky carbonite formations is a spectacle by itself. Outings to Hogenakkal are especially enjoyable with family; be it picnics, or taking a dip in the Cauvery (which can be as fun as a beach) or eating the tasty local fish dishes. This all sounds awesome, right?
However, the cream of the crop is the coracle (round traditional boats) rides that will take you as close to the actual waterfalls as possible. You may even get drenched by the fine misty spray of the waterfall. Man, that sounds so fun! On top of that, the less crowded places of the falls are accessible only by coracles.
Make sure a trip to The Niagara Falls of India is one of the first things on your list!
Distance: Hogenakkal Falls has situated 130 km from Bangalore and is a 3-hour drive.
How much time it will Take: If you intend to just go to the Falls, it will be a full day trip. But if you want to explore the nearby Mettur Dam and Melagiri Hills, then a minimum of two days is recommended.
2. Bheemeshwari Jungle Lodges
If you are from Bangalore, you must remember the ads for these Jungle Lodges in the cinemas from a few years ago. To be completely honest with you, I don’t think they even needed to advertise them. The mesmerising beauty of the jungles speaks for itself.
Also known as Bheemeshwari Fishing Camp, it is known as a utopia for angling (fishing). These forests, located by the banks of the Cauvery River, are also known for their wildlife. You can get glimpses of crocodiles, leopards, bears, elephants, snakes and hundreds of birds too!
Be it taking a coracle ride across the Cauvery River, or gazing at the starry skies in a bonfire night, or taking a morning walk when the jungle is at its lively peak, is it really a wonder that Bheemeshwari is such a common escapade for all adventure lovers of the surrounding areas?
Rafting, camping, trekking and wildlife safaris are some of the other exhilarating activities available in the forest. Be it fishing, nature or adventure, Bheemeshwari Jungle Lodges will not let you down.
Distance: It is located 100km from Bangalore and is a two and half hour drive.
How much time it will Take: A visit to Bheemeshwari won’t be completed without an overnight stay in the midst of nature, so a two-day tour is suggested.
3. Ramanagara – Sholay Hills
“Kitne Aadmi The?”
Possibly the most iconic dialogue from Hindi Cinema. The place that was blessed to be the shooting location for the famous movie Sholay is the Ramagiri Hills, in Ramanagara District.
Now popularly branded Sholay Hills, the region is full of rocky terrain. It is also home to the endangered Long-Billed and Egyptian Vultures. Fortunately, the government has taken measures to protect these creatures by making the Ramadevara Betta Vulture Sanctuary.
Inside the sanctuary, the trek to the top of the hill is easy but fun. From the top, the views of the surrounding hills and towns are just magnificent. No wonder Gabbar Singh made it his base of operations. However, the vultures are harder to spot.
Considering that the whole area is full of hills and lakes, there isn’t much to go wrong with a family outing to Ramanagara with picnics and rock climbing completing the trip. Also don’t forget to stopover at the Janapada Loka, a folk museum that brings to life the beautiful culture of the Kannada people.
Distance: Ramanagara town is 50km from Bangalore will take one and a half hours.
4. Nandi Hills
A hill station that has a perfect blend of history that spans back over a thousand years, and sceneries that your eyes will make a feast out of. And it’s just an hour’s drive from Bangalore. Count me in!
Nandi Hills fits all these criteria for an ideal short holiday from Bangalore. They are named after The Bhoga Nandeeshwara Temple on top of the hills. Also called Nandi Temple, it is one of the oldest temples in Bangalore dating back to the 9th century. Built-in the traditional Dravidian style, its intricate designs and stunning architecture cast an enchanting spell on the viewers. Other commonly visited historical sights are Tipu Sultan’s Summer Palace, the impregnable Tipu Sultan’s Fort and Brahmashram, which is also of religious significance.
Cycling, short treks and paragliding are some of the other activities you can indulge in Nandi Hills. However, Nandi Hills’ major claim to fame comes from its spectacular sunrise scenes. Many people actually wake up before the crack of dawn just to experience the magical sunrise. The most renowned spot for viewing sunrise is Tipu’s Drop. This cliff stands 600m over the ground and offers fabulous views of the surrounding regions like no other.
Oh, and Nandi Hills has enough monkeys to complete the Hanumans army! So thrilling, right?
Distance: Nandi Hills is 60km away from Bangalore and it takes an hour and a half by road, it is also well connected by buses.
How much time it will Take: An ideal trip would take from morning to night. Nonetheless, if you want a more relaxed holiday, consider staying for a night in one of the many cozy homestays and hotels available.
For all you history buffs and culture vultures out there, Lepakshi should be on your bucket list. But if you are really a vulture this isn’t a good place for you as according to the Ramayana, Jatayu, the vulture, was killed by Ravana in this quaint little village. When a village is so deeply embedded in mythology, you know it is going to be interesting.
Being an important centre during Vijayanagara rule, the prominent Lepakshi Veerabhadra Temple was built under their rule. This Temple is a testament to the fact that the Vijayanagara were one of the richest – culturally and wealthy – in the world. The grand Gopuram (or entrance) welcomes you into the temple. Once inside, get amazed by the various architectural marvels such as the Hanging Pillar, the massive rock-cut Nagalinga, the detailed inscriptions and carvings of the pillars, and the vivid murals on the ceilings that showcase various stories and legends. Just 200m from the Lepakshi Temple is the ever so impressive monolith rock statue of Nandi.
The Jatayu Theme Park is the other major sight to see in Lepakshi. Within it, there is a cute garden that just lets you wind down, and on top of the rocks is a Jatayu Statue that also gives the most stunning views of the village. Commonly visited with Lepakshi is the village Vidurashwatha, where Vidur is said to have planted an Ashwatha tree in the Mahabharata (Hmm, I wonder how this village got its name?).
Distance: In the Anantpur district of Andhra Pradesh, Lepakshi is 120km from Bangalore and it will take you two and a half hours to reach by car.
How much time it will Take: A sojourn to Lepakshi will take 1-2 days depending on how you pace it.
6. Kunti Betta Trek
Lush paddy fields in all four directions, the gentle morning breeze and a trek that will stimulate all your emotions and body. A trek to Kunti Betta is exactly that. What could be better than this!
The trek to Kunti Betta has been gaining some traction in the past few years. The night trek particularly is very popular. You start the hike in the middle of the night amidst the silence and peace of the night. The clear skies complete the sketch in what will be a breath-taking trek. An ancient temple acts as the base of the trek while the Kunti Pillar is the summit. There is a delightful little lake at the base of the hillocks that supplements the hike so well.
Other awesome places to see near Kunti Betta are the Thonnur Lake, where you can take a dip, cleansing all your worries away and the famed Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary, a haven for bird gazers.
So many exciting things to do for you to do!
Distance: Kunti Betta is 130km away from Bangalore in the Mandya District of Karnataka. A drive will take 3hours.
How much time it will Take: For the night trek, well …….. you have to stay for a night. But if you are planning on going in the day, one day will be enough for the trek, lake and bird sanctuary albeit hectic.
Long Weekend Trip in Bangalore
We all love long weekends. They are a blessing that comes once in a blue moon. No work, just play for the whole time. So why don’t we utilise these weekends to their full effect by taking a holiday to some amazing destinations all around Bangalore? Let’s jump right into it!
Want to witness stereotypical India; with Elephants, Maharajas and Palaces? Visit Mysore. Want to see people living by the adage ‘Cleanliness is Godliness? Visit Mysore. It is ranked in the top 5 cleanest cities in India. Want to experience the culture of
Karnataka at its finest? Visit Mysore, the cultural hub of the state. You get the drill by now.
There is just SO much to do in Mysore. But the first and foremost thing you must do once you get to Mysore indulges in the glamour and grandeur of the Mysore Palace. The opulence of Mysore Palace stands out as one of a kind. It offers a drop-dead gorgeous viewing in the night when the whole Palace lights up. The Gumbaz e Shahi, Tipu’s Grave, is another important historic sight in Mysore.
The Mysore Zoo is another widely visited place in Mysore, known for its wide array of animals ranging from Giraffes to Tigers to Anacondas. The Brindavan Gardens is a beautiful garden near Mysore that has a striking display of dancing water in the Musical Water Fountain Show. Karanji Lake and the nature that surround it are perfect for recreational boating and a peaceful stroll in nature.
If you are a shopaholic, you have yet another reason to love Mysore. Mysore is a burgeoning centre for the production of incense, sandalwood and silk. In fact, Mysore Silk and Sandalwood soaps are famous all around the world.
Distance: Mysore is 150km from Bangalore and the journey will take between 3-4 hours depending on traffic.
How much time it will Take: The trip will take between 2-3 days.
Coffee, rainforests and mountains. That is Coorg for you.
This hill station in the Western Ghats is also called The Scotland of India for its scenic beauty and greenery. Coorg gives out an evergreen and misty vibe that refreshes you immediately. Trekking and hiking will be an incredible experience in the wet tropical forests of Coorg. The Thadiyandamol trek is one of the best, but at the same time is moderately easy. The Cauvery River also originates from Coorg in Talacauvery (Head of Cauvery). A visit here will also involve a hike up to the top of a hillock with glorious views. There are also a plethora of silvery waterfalls in Coorg with Abbey Falls, Iruppu Falls and Burude Falls naming a few. Being the Coffee Capital of India, there are also many tours of coffee estates and how coffee is processed.
The local tribe of Coorg, the Kodavas, are known for their warm hospitality and bravery. They are descendants of Greek and Arab settlers who mixed with the local population and are in fact the only group in India allowed to carry firearms without a licence. But don’t worry guys, this isn’t America so there won’t be any shootings. Madikeri is the centre of activity in Coorg and is the vintage town that you should visit with its Fort and the quirky Government Museum.
On the way to Coorg are the two best travel spots in the area. Dubare and Bylakuppe. Dubare is an elephant camp on the banks of the Cauvery where you get to feed, bathe and play with elephants. You also get to splash around in the water. Sounds so fun, right!
To experience a completely different culture, lead yourself to Bylakuppe. It is the largest Tibetan settlement in South India and offers a proper contrast to anything else that can be done in the vicinity. So pamper yourself to momos and the tranquil chanting of the monks.
Just writing about Coorg makes us want to go back!
Distance: Madikeri is 250km from Bangalore and warrants a five and half hour drive.
How much time it will Take: 3-4 days would be the ideal vacation length.
“I’m on top of the world”
This is the name of an Imagine Dragons song but it also what every traveller says once they get to Ooty. Settled in the Nilgiri Mountains, this is South India’s own ‘Queen of the Hills’. The hill station forms part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, renowned for its fragile and exquisite ecosystem. This is an ecological hotspot and is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Just trekking and wandering around these forested hills is a humbling moment as you feel one with nature. As you go through the dense pine forests, bamboo forests and see the lush green all around, you will feel like you are in God’s Country.
Along with the forests, Ooty is dotted with tea plantations in all directions; giving the appearance of a sea of all shades of green. The co-existence of colonial architecture, plantations and forests is the perfect example of how man and nature can have a symbiotic existence.
To take in some more nature, make your way to the Botanical Garden, home to over 650 species of plants, trees, and flowers and other flora and fauna. For a closer look at tribal culture, check out the Toda huts of the indigenous tribes. Hike to the top of the Doddabetta peak for a panoramic view of the surrounding regions. Fishing, camping and rafting are popular in the clear waters of Avalanche Lake and the Catherine Waterfalls will soothe your soul with the sound of gushing water and natural beauty.
Also, it is criminal to leave Ooty without getting some of the legendary Ooty Homemade Chocolate for yourself. So gorge yourself on a feast here. On top of that, you can also shop for tea, honey, antiques, handicrafts and aromatic oils.
Ooty is one of the best places in the Western Ghats; particularly for couples and romantic getaways.
Distance: 270km is what separate Bangalore and Ooty, with the drive taking about 6 hours.
How much time it will Take: Similar to Coorg, keep 3-4 days to truly enjoy Udhagamandalam (Ooty).
4. Bandipur National Park
“Forests teach humans to understand the world’s beauty.” Looks like Bandipur is a forest then.
A visit to Bandipur is like a rendezvous with nature. The whole environment is surrounded by foliage and plush greenery. In the reserve, you can take a Wildlife Safari where you witness elephants grazing, mongoose, deers, leopards, monitor lizards and most popularly, the tiger. Other than the Safari, you can also take an elephant ride and nature walks.
Along with Nagarhole and Muthanga Forests, Bandipur forms part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. In fact, the only thing separating the Nagarhole and Bandipur Forests is the Kabini River. Considering that it is at the foothills of the Nilgiris, trekking, camping and mountaineering are other activities to be enjoyed in Bandipur. The Bandipur National Park is surely a stairway to heaven for wildlife enthusiasts.
Distance: Bandipur is just 220km and four and a half hours away from Bangalore.
How much time it will Take: 2-3 days will be good for a trip to Bandipur.
Welcome to Gandikota – India’s own Grand Canyon!
Gandikota is a dainty little village on the banks of the Penna River. This village is popular for the mighty gorges formed by the river running through the Eramalla hills. The steep valley and the river running through it will leave you spellbound. Adventure activities are never far away from any natural wonders; Gandikota too has its fair share of adventure activities like kayaking, rock climbing, trekking and paragliding.
Gandikota also has many sights of historical significance such as the Gandikota Fort. This ancient fort was built in the 12th century by the Kakatiyas and has been passed on to many different dynasties since then. Within the fort, the complex is the Madhavaraya and Raghunathaswamy temples. Built-in the typical Vijayanagara fashion in red granite, due to the many conquests of the fort, they lie in ruins. However, the fascinating carvings and sculptures of the temples make for intriguing exploration. In fact, the Madhavaraya temple dominates the skyline of Gandikota and can be seen from any corner of town. Another place of worship in the fort is the Jamia Masjid with its elegant architecture. The temples and mosque being built side by side is a testimony to India’s unity in diversity.
An hour’s drive from Gandikota is the longest and largest cave open to the public in South Asia; the Belum Caves. The cave is open to the public up till the 1.5km mark and goes 50m below the ground. And this cave also has a deep history (pun intended). Archaeological remains from over 4500BC were found here and it was an adobe of meditation for Buddhist and Jain monks. Who knows, you may also find some antiques from a time long gone by!
The Yaganti Temple is another gorgeous temple near Gandikota. Built-in the 15th century according to Vaishnavite traditions, it is a site of fervent celebrations during Shivaratri. Within the Yaganti Temple are the Agastya Cave where Sage Agastya is said to have meditated and Venkateswara Cave which contains the damaged idol of Lord Venkateshwara.
All in all, a weekend trip to Gandikota is very fulfilling and the stunning nature will energise you completely. The Gods and Goddess of the myriad temples will fill you with tranquillity.
Distance: The distance between Gandikota and Bangalore is 280km and the drive will take approximately 6hours.
How much time it will Take: Keep aside at least 3 days for the trip.
As you can see, Bangalore is a focal point when it comes to vacationing. With uncountable options for holiday destinations, if you are in Bangalore, you should be travelling. So take a break, pack your bags and hit the road. Or as any Bangalorean will tell you, “Just Chill Maadi.”
Have a blast and do tell us where you went how your experience was. Enjoy!
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