Every year, my wandering feet propel me to look carefully at my office holiday list to plan for offbeat weekend getaways. The possibilities are endless and it gives one something to look forward to. But this year, the pandemic has ruined all of our elaborate travel plans and confined us to our homes.
Having lived in Bengaluru for quite some time, I know that there are innumerable beautiful spots within 100 kilometres of the city that you must visit (other than Nandi hills!).
Here is a list of 10 beautiful places you can visit to recharge your mind and soul.
1. Kokkare Bellur Bird Sanctuary
If winged beauties mesmerise you then this is the place for you. Located in the Kokkarebellur village, some 87 km from Bengaluru, this bird sanctuary is perfect for a day’s trip. The interesting history behind the name of the village again has to do with the birds who nest there.
In Kannada, ‘kokkare’ means stork or ‘pelican’ while ‘bellur’ means white village. More than anything, this sanctuary is a beautiful story of living in harmony with nature where the villagers and the birds have coexisted peacefully for years.
Take ample pics of painted storks, pelicans, and Indian pond heron, among others and learn how local communities play an important role in conserving our flora and fauna.
Places to stay: Organic Mandya Farm, Keerthana Farms
2. Chhota Ladakh
Do you wish to start your day with a divine sunrise baked in colours yellows, oranges, and purples? Then, start your day early in your car or rent a two-wheeler (don’t forget the helmet) and head to Chhota Ladakh. The place is actually a quarry which fills every monsoon. The white stone and the backdrop of the lake reminds one of Ladakh’s geographical terrain – thus the name. The place is also surrounded by hills and you can even scale a few of these small hills and enjoy the view from the top.
Places to stay: Due to lack of hotels and homestays, it is best advised to plan the trip in the morning and return the same day once you have soaked in nature’s bounty.
3. Galibore Nature Camp
Do you dream of some sipping tea by the banks of a river surrounded by a green forest? Then Galibore nature camp fits the bill. The nature camp with beautiful cottages (and tents) is just the right place to detox, read some books, and let go of everything that is weighing you down. You could also fish and enjoy a coracle ride (a bowl-shaped boat made of reed, saplings and hide), all at a distance of 98 km from Bengaluru.
Places to stay: There are several camps as well as resorts for different budgets and all of it has been consolidated here. You can check what meets your requirements.
4. Sangama and Mekedatu
What’s better than a wonderful picnic spread by the bank where the Cauvery river meets the Arkavathi river. We are talking about not one but two picnic spots — Sangama and Mekedatu. Enjoy the view of the green hills while you dip your feet in the cold waters that wash away all the stress. All of this, within a distance of 93 km from the city.
Places to stay: You can find several homestays here. Make sure you check the distance first before booking.
5. Chunchi Falls
Best visited during monsoon season, these falls are located at a distance of about 80 km and located en route to Sangamma and Mekedatu. You can trek to the falls and on the way, you can also drop by a church tower that gives you a panoramic view of the beautiful surroundings. Just a word of caution, do not step into these waters as it is home to crocodiles.
Places to stay: Check out the nearby homestays here.
Did you know that the largest monolith hill in Asia is only located less than 100 km from Bengaluru? Perched at 1226 meters above the sea level, this hill is ideal for a one-day camping trip and those who love adventure can go for night trekking and kayaking. One could also climb the Kaprigudda and the Bili Gudda peaks.
Places to stay: You can check out the offbeat homestays here.
Kanakapura is untouched by the hustle and bustle of Bengaluru despite being so close to the city. This place is perfect for a weekend getaway where you can camp peacefully by the Kabbala forest. With plenty of flora and fauna, you can spot animals (from a safe distance) like elephants, leopards and bears among others.
Places you can stay: Camper’s Creek
If you love star-gazing and reflecting on the wonders of the cosmos, this is where you need to be. You can reach the place early and also check out the natural caves formed by the rocks. You could also trek in the nearby hills once you are done exploring the caves. All of this within 80 km from Bengaluru. Just ensure that you are visiting the site on a day where the skies are clear.
Are you bored of visiting Nandi Hills but still want to see fluffy clouds? Then, the ancient fortress hill of Skandagiri is bound to impress you. This fortress was built by Tipu Sultan to fight the British. However, in 1791, the fortress was dismantled upon Tipu’s defeat. The temple is what remains of the fortress now. You can trek 8 km up the hill and check out the ancient temple at the top, not to forget the amazing view.
Places to stay: The area is dotted with beautiful farm stays and you can take your pick by checking these out here.
The perfect spot for forest camping, Nachikuppan lies in the midst of the Krishnagiri hills. There are several camping sites in the area which have tent accommodation and kitchens. You can also take part in adventure activities and drop by some mango farms. Located at a distance of about 75 km from Bengaluru, this is the perfect place for some downtime while you lay in a hammock with a book in hand and ultimately drift off into an afternoon siesta.
Pack your bags and get yourself some rest and relaxation. You’ve earned it!
Featured image credits: Ashtrokes
(Edited by Saiqua Sultan)