best weekend getaways from bangalore
A UNESCO world heritage site, Hampi spells its charm on the visitor as soon as they take their first step down. Hampi can either be reached by a bus from Bangalore or by a train, the nearest railway station is Hospet around 15 km from Hampi. The modern day town of Hampi bustles around the remains of Vijayanagara Empire which once ruled the area. The old ruins of temples, palaces and bazaars, the big boulders stacked up high on the hills, and the patches of green palm trees swinging in the occasional wind are as mesmerizing as they are mysterious.
While in humpy immerse yourself in the surrounding and indulge in the following activities:
Go explore the nearby village of Anegundi which features in the Hindu epic Ramayana.
Get a selfie clicked against the backdrop of the famous Stone chariot located in the Vithala Temple.
In the evening take a walk along the river from the Hampi Bazaar to the Vithala Temple.
Offer prayers in the Virupaksha temple while saying Namaste to the temple elephant.
Climb up the Hanuman temple on the other side of the river to get magnificent, unobstructed 360 degree views of the entire area. You’ll see big boulders for miles and miles of Hampi.
Get on to the other side of the Hampi by crossing the river in the shaky rice boat.
Fort Kochi is an island located close to town of Kochin. Fort Kochi can be reached both by bus as well as by a ferry. From Bangalore you can arrive at Ernakulum by train or directly at Kochi by the night bus. It takes around 8-9 to reach Kochi from Bangalore by bus.
Things to do in Fort Kochi:
Take a walk in the lovely, history princess street. Immerse yourself in the art studios before heading out to dinner in a fine dine European style restaurant.
Grab an ice-cream or a coconut and sit relaxed at the beach listening to the crashing waves.
Check out the Chinese fishing net on the beach which were originally provided by the Chinese sailors in the 14th century.
Go see the famous St. Francis Church, the rustic building, where once Vasco De Gama was buried.
An erstwhile French colony which still boasts its strong French Connection (get it ;)) and you can still see the French influence on the architecture as well as the culture of the city of Pondicherry. The distance between Pondicherry and Bangalore is around 450 km and the best to travel is by Garibh Rath which runs in the night and takes around 10 hours to complete the journey.
What to do in Pondicherry:
Check out the beaches – Rocky Beach, Auro Beach and Promenade beach. Rent a moped and roam around on the beach road.
Head to Auroville, the beautiful golden globe styled ashram of Sri Aurobindo, for some peaceful meditation time.
The town of Chikmagalur is famous as a coffee growing region, and once you have the local filter coffee you’d agree that it lives upto the hype. You don’t need to go to exquisite tasting session, just have a regular coffee at the Chikmagalur bus stand and you’d know what I am talking about. Chikmagalur is located around 250 km from Bangalore and the journey takes around 6-7 hours by bus.
Stay at a homestay, preferably near the coffee plantations.
If you have time take a public bus to the hilltop – Bababudangiri or B.B. Hills in short – which offers excellent views of the surrounding valley. It gets particularly scenic in rainy season.
If you are up for adventure, there are several treks around Chikmagalur that you can undertake – such as Mullayanagiri (Karnataka’s highest peak) and Kumara parvatha (considered the toughest of all treks in Karnataka)
As soon as you step down in the Mysuru railways station you’d realize the crown of one of India’s cleanest city rightfully belongs to Mysuru. Mysore now the second biggest city of Karnataka was once a capital of Wodeyar dynasty. Mysore has lot to offer to tourists to see and do, some of the top items on the lists are:
The numero uno tourist attraction to see in Mysore is the famous Mysore Palace which is also the site for the world famous Mysore Dusherra festivities. During Dusherra the whole palace comes live as it is visited by throngs of tourists, live events take place every other hour and is beautifully lit up with hundreds of thousands of electric bulbs.
Established in 19th century the Mysore Zoo is well maintained and houses several species of animals including the big cats, hippos and the Giraffe. Seriously, if you have not seen Giraffe in your life you should head there immediately.
Chamundi Hills – The hill has a temple dedicated to Goddess Chamundeshwari, getting inside the temple could be a bit of challenge as queues can get long. A giant statue of Mahishasura is located nearby; he was the asura killed by Chamundi Devi. You can reach the Chamundi hills temple using public bus which run quite frequently from the city bus stand.
Brindavan Gardens – one place you should avoid at any cost. Very poorly maintained, flooded with crowd which makes it very difficult to find a public bus on the way back, the supposedly great musical fountain doesn’t really work, and the place is full of pick-pockets. Perhaps I am little biased because my expensive smartphone was stolen here which I was trying to get into a crowded bus. And to top it off the police was anything but helpful. If you are still not convinced, go and check it yourself but don’t comeback crying, you have been warned!
First things first, Wayanad isn’t a city or a town but is a district comprising of several small towns and villages. Due to the hilly terrain there are no trains in Wayanad and the best way to reach Wayanad is by road from Bangalore via Mysore. The distance between Bangalore to Sultanbathery (the gateway town of Wayanad) is around 270 kms and several overnight buses run between the two cities every day.
The most popular of Wayanad towns where tourists head are:
Sultan Bathery, Kalpetta, Meppadi
All the three towns are in close proximity to each other can be reached easily by the public bus.
Take a speed boat ride in Banasura Sagar Dam, the whole dam and catchment area is very picturesque and there are several resorts located nearby.
For the fit ones hike up the Edakkal Caves famous for prehistoric cave arts. Also, from the top you get some decent views (just decent not great) of the town as well. – near to Sultan Bathery.
Animal lovers can spend quality time in the national park with wild elephants in Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary. – Muthanga, Sultan Bathery.
If you are feeling spiritual head to the century old temple Thirunelli Temple. Though getting here and back using public bus could be little tricky, hence plan your day carefully around the bus schedules.