There are several excellent weekend getaways that are accessible from Bangalore. From rock climbing, nature treks or historical sites, there is something to cater to everyone's tastes. We have covered five such weekend getaways in this article, their highpoints, distance from Bangalore and the best way to get there.
The hill station of Yercaud provides a peaceful getaway from the traffic, noise and the hustle and bustle of Bangalore. In addition to the beautiful viewpoints, Yercaud also offers some beautiful coffee plantation tours, nature treks, boat rides and spice plantation tours.
The nearby Killiyur Falls offers a great experience to trekkers. You have to climb down a steep series of steps to reach the falls, but the experience is worth the effort. The falls are at their full flow after the monsoons and reduces a lot in volume during the peak of summer. For those of you who prefer less strenuous activities, Yercaud lake offers a beautiful boat ride to sit back and relax. Coffee and spice plantation tours are another major highlight of Yercaud and most local hotels can organise these for you.
2. The City of Mysore
If Bangalore is the political capital of the state of Karnataka, Mysore is its cultural capital. Mysore offers great options for anybody who wishes to explore the rich history of this state. First, there is the magnificent Mysore Palace that belonged to the erstwhile Maharajas of Mysore. During the festival of Dasara in the month of October, the entire palace is lit up and is a sight to behold. You can also visit the Jaganmohan Palace which is now a very famous art gallery and houses some really rare and beautiful artwork.
If art and history do not interest you, you can visit the Mysore Zoo which is well known for being one of the best maintained zoos in India with a large collection of animals from all over the world. The bird sanctuary at Ranganathittu is a must see for bird watchers as it attracts a wide variety of migratory birds from all over the world.
Ramanagara at a one and a half hour’s drive from Bangalore is one of the closest weekend getaways from Bangalore. Ramanagara is a village on the Bangalore-Mysore highway which is nestled among giant granite boulders which are a treat for rock climbing enthusiasts.
Ramanagara is also famous for its wine tasting tours, which cover the wine making process and also include tasting sessions. The wine tours also include lunch which is served at the end of the wine tour.
Bheemeshwari is a great weekend option for those who are looking for adventure activities like white water rafting, zip lining, camping and wildlife spotting. At about 100 km from Bangalore, Bheemeshwari can be reached in about 2 hrs by car.
While in Bheemeshwari, you can indulge in white water rafting in the beautiful Kaveri river rapids. Or you can go for a jungle adventure by camping overnight in the jungle and spot some local wildlife like elephants, jackals and deer. There are also activities like zip lining, rappelling and Burma bridge crossing offered by many local adventure companies. You can also go for a coracle ride in the Kaveri river.
5. Nagarhole Forest Reserve
Nagarhole is a great option for all the wildlife buffs out there. Nagarhole Forest is a wildlife reserve which offers a chance to spot some fantastic wildlife of the Western Indian Ghats. You can spot elephants, gaur (Indian bison), Indian leopards and deer. If you're really lucky, you can spot the black panther which is known locally as the "ghost of the jungle". But the real star of Nagarhole is the royal bengal tiger. Nagarhole Wildlife Sanctuary was earmarked for tiger preservation and is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The wildlife department offers safaris and guided treks in Nagarhole and at 260 kms from Bangalore, it is the perfect weekend getaway for all nature lovers.
While you can drive all the way to Nagarhole, a cheaper and more convenient way is to take a train to Mysore and then take a car from there. This will also cut down your travel time by an hour.
Tips for Weekend Travellers
The best time to visit these places is after the monsoons. It will not be as hot as the peak of summer and the greenery would be really enhanced due to the rain. So, the months of October-February are usually a good time to visit.
Please be sure to check out beforehand with the forest department before going on treks to any nature preserves. Some of the treks can be undertaken only if you are accompanied by a guide from the local forest department. Also, some trekking routes are closed during peak monsoons and mating seasons of certain animals. Please be sure to check these out before planning any jungle adventures. The Festival of Dasara is really big in Mysore and the hotels get booked two to three months in advance. So if you are planning to visit Mysore during Dasara - in October - please make your hotel bookings at least three months in advance.