The Best Weekend Getaways from Bengaluru, India

There are lots of cultural sites to explore near Bengaluru, including the Veera Narayana Temple
There are lots of cultural sites to explore near Bengaluru, including the Veera Narayana Temple | © Maria Heyens / Alamy
Charishma Thankappan

The buzzing city once known as Bangalore has many delights. But if you get bored of the Victorian architecture and fizzing food and drink scene, there are plenty of places to explore nearby. To help, here are the best weekend getaways from Bengaluru.

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Lepakshi

Lepakshi is a village on the Karnataka-Andhra Pradesh border, to the north of Bengaluru. The Veerabhadra Temple complex here is a testament of the architectural prowess exhibited by the Vijayanagar Dynasty. The sprawling complex is known for the hanging pillar, mural paintings, intricate sculptures, and the monoliths of Nandi and Nagalinga.

Puttaparthi

Puttaparthi, in the Anantpur district of Andhra Pradesh, is a religious destination known as the birthplace of Sri Sathya Sai Baba. He founded an ashram here called Prasanthi Nilayam, the abode of highest peace. If not for religious reasons, the ashram must be visited to experience its architectural beauty.

Kundura Betta

Kundura Betta is an almost unexplored rocky mountain with thick shrubbery. Hikers are taken care of with the trek from the Rashasideswara Temple at the bottom of the hill to the Mallikarjuna Temple half-way up. The rock-strewn trail is not marked – and is exhausting – but the view from the top is worth the toil.

BR Hills

The BR (Biligirirangana) Hills, which form the southeastern border of Karnataka, is home to the Biligiri Ranganathaswamy Temple Wildlife Sanctuary – a hangout for more than 250 different bird species. Further animal-watching opportunities include a forest safari, look out for tigers, elephants, sloth bears and wild dogs. For more cultural pursuit, the highest peak is topped by the Biligiri Ranganathaswamy Temple, a 500-year-old complex dedicated to Lord Venkatesha.

Shivanasamudra Falls

The Shivanasamudra Falls is on the Kaveri River, after the waters have navigated the rocky ravines of the Deccan Plateau. It’s here year-round, but visit just after the monsoon season to see them at their roaring best. Got a bit of spare time? Visit the nearby Barachukki Falls and take a coracle (a simple, small wooden boat) to the bottom for an up-close view.

Srirangapatna

Srirangapatna was a formidable cosmopolitan 200 years ago. The final battle of the fourth war between the British East India Company and Tipu Sultan’s Mysore kingdom (known as the Siege of Srirangapatnam) was fought here. In it, Tipu Sultan was killed. Now, the main attractions are Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple, Dari Daulat Bagh, Tipu Sultan Gumbaz, Karighatta Temple, Bailey’s Dungeon, and Srirangapatnam Fort.

Mysuru

Mysuru – previously known as Mysore – is the third-largest city in Karnataka. It’s best-known for its palaces and heritage monuments. It served as the capital city of the Mysore kingdom for nearly six centuries from 1399 until 1956. The must-visit spots the are Jaganmohan Palace, Chamundeswari Temple, Mysore Sand Sculpture Museum and St Philomena’s Cathedral.

Shravanabelagola

Shravanabelagola is one of the most popular Jain pilgrimage centres in south India. The 17m (57ft) high monolithic Gommateswara Bahubali statue present on one of the two hills here was built around 983CE and is one of the tallest free-standing statues in the world. Other exciting places to visit are the Gomateswara Bahubali Temple, Chamundaraya Basadi, Kambadahalli, Badrabahu Cave, Vindhyagiri and Chandragiri.

Melukote

Melukote is a sacred place. The impressive Yoga-Narasimha Temple perched high on the Yadugiri Hills is the biggest allure here. The Cheluva-Narayana Swamy Temple is another important attraction. Also visit Thondanoor, a nearby town home to many temples.

Hogenakkal Falls

Hogenakkal Falls is on the Kaveri River in Tamil Nadu. The name Hogenakkal is derived from two Kannada words: hoge (smoke) and kal (rock). Together, Hogenakkal translates to smoking rocks. And the name won’t be a surprise when you see it. The force of the water makes it look like smoke is rising from the top of the rocks.

Kodagu

Kodagu, once known as Coorg and locally called Kodavanadu, is known for its coffee and people. It’s a hilly district on the eastern slopes of the Western Ghats – the highest peak being Tadiandamol at 1,750m (5,740ft). The main sites of appeal are Abbi Falls, Madikeri Fort, Tashi Lhunpo Monastery, Namrodoling Monastery, Dubare Elephant Camp, Nalkanad Palace and the Tadiandamol peak trek.

Chikmagalur

Chikmagalur is a paradise for trekkers and nature lovers. Some of the most picturesque treks in all South India are here. Must-do walks include the hike up the three peaks of Kudremukh, Mullayanagiri and Kemmannugundi. If you enjoy long drives, take the Devaramane-Charmadi-Chikamagalur route, which will leave you awestruck with some fantastic views. A return trip is 626km (389mi) long.

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