Generally weekends around the corner are enough reason to put a smile on one’s face, but just imagine what a nice looong weekend could do! As for those in Bangalore… there’s a lot more to cheer, for getaways from here are simply divine…  each more breathtaking than the other, these getaways rich in flora and fauna are not just a perfect way of enjoying Mother Nature’s gifts to us, but also provide a great escape  from the hustle and bustle of daily life.

While there are plenty of getaways one can enjoy from here, presenting some of the prominent ones…

Just about 70Km from Bangalore, Nandi hills one of the most popular getaways from here once served as Tipu Sultan’s summer retreat. Situated at 1478 meters above sea level, it is known for its old colonial styled bungalows, Tipu’s Drop, a towering cliff face where it is said that prisoners sentenced to death were pushed from here. Taking you back in time is the breathtaking Chola temple; Yoga Nandishvara Temple for its marvelous metallic figures and inscription of Sambhaji, Shivaji’s son. Another must see here from the plenty of attractions around is Muddenahalli just a few km away from Nandi Hill; it is the native town of Sir M. Visvesvaraya, the architect of present day Karnataka.

Offering scenic picnic sites, Coorg or Kodagu at 196 km from here is known for  beautiful coffee estates, spectacular Abbey Falls, Nagarhole National Park which is a perfect place for wildlife lovers, the Omkareshwara Temple, which is almost 200 years old and last but not the least Raja’s Seat for its spectacular view of the town.

At 5092 feet above sea level, Biligirirangana Hills or BR Hills at 247 km from Bangalore is known for its deciduous forests and exotic wildlife which includes tigers, panthers, elephants, bears, Gaur, Chtital etc. Apart from its sanctuary, other interests here include the ruins of an ancient fort (Kanchikote) believed to have been constructed by the Ganga Raja of Shivanasamudra, and the Biligirirangaswamy Temple amongst other attractions.

With its lush hills and forests, and unending expanses of tea and coffee plantations, Madikeri has often been termed as the “Scotland” of India. Also adding to the interest here is the Madikeri Fort, a 19th century fort that houses a temple, chapel and museum. Abbey Falls and Iruppu Falls also make an interesting excursion spot. Madikeri is located 252 kilometers from Bangalore.

Want to catch up on some trekking? Then Chikmagalur is a great getaway for its exciting trekking trails; the Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary is a favorite amongst wildlife enthusiasts, Kudremukh with numerous unexplored caves and ruins and relics of ancient civilizations add to the interest of the place. Also taking one back in time is the 800-year-old temple dedicated to Amrutheswara.

Probably one of the most scenic getaways and an all time favorite destination is Ooty, India’s ‘Queen of Hills’! 252 km away from Bangalore at a height of 7500 feet above the sea level, this famous hill station can’t help but mesmerize you! Be it the stunning Botanical Gardens, or delicate roses adorning its Rose Garden, or its boat house which lets you enjoy some boating or Glen Morgan that’s covered with lush forests, everything about this hill station is simply magical!

Although a little away at 260 km, Kemmanagundi situated in the Baba Budan Hills also known as KR Hills was the summer resort of the Maharaja of Mysore, Wodeyar Monarch Krishnaraje Wodeyar IV. Of interest here are the magnificent landscaped gardens that are part of the Royal Horticultural Society of Karnataka. Its office here has exquisitely landscaped gardens and beautiful flowers. Plunging down 122 meters, the Kalahati Falls and the Hebbe Falls at 168 meters high certainly take your breath away.

However if you’re looking at catching up on some of the exotic wildlife the place has to offer, then we suggest you give the following a try! Once the hunting grounds of Maharaja Wodeyar, it has today been converted into Bandipur National Park, and is  one of the  best managed tiger reserves of India. Apart from the tiger, it is also home to the Asiatic elephant, Chital, Gaur, Golden Jackal, Sloth Bear and many more.

The Nagarhole National Park or the Rajiv Gandhi National Park as it is popularly known is another wonderful wildlife sanctuary that is connected to the Bandipur National Park in the south eastern part and is also home to some exotic wildlife. The beautiful landscape comprises of beautiful shallow valleys and mixed deciduous forest trees.  224 Km, south of Bangalore, Mudumalai is known for its lush valleys, misty hills deep ravines, dazzling falls and wild animals especially elephants.

Other wildlife destinations around here include the Cauvry Wildlife Sanctuary, Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary, Bannerghata National Park, Ashni National park & more.

For the religiously inclined there’s Tirupati with its famous temple dedicated to Lord Venkateswara. Sports lovers can try out Ramanagaram. About 50 km from the Bangalore-Mysore highway it is a rock climbers’ paradise, and is also known for river rafting and angling on the azure waters of the Cauvery River.

Hassan is another important getaway and is important for archeological reasons. This beautiful site serves as a convenient base to other architectural sites such as Belur, Halebid and Sravanabelagola. Here one can witness the wonders left behind by the Hoysala rulers between the 11th to 13th centuries.

Sravanabelagola, very near to Hassan is one of the biggest Jain pilgrimage centres of India, where one can find one of the world’s tallest monolith statues of Lord Gomateshwara or Lord Bahubali, a Jain saint.

Hassan too was once well-known to be deeply influenced by Jainism, and the same can be seen in the numerous paintings, sculptures, and literary works of the region. While Belur being the erstwhile capital of the Hoysala kings and one can find some remarkable monuments here, a special mention must be made of the Veeranarayana temple and the Chennakeshava temple here which took 103 years to construct.

Last but not the least is the imperial city of Mysore, 140 km from Bangalore. It is known for its majestic palaces, forts, landscaped gardens, beautiful temples and wonderful avenues. A visit here during Dusshera can be a rewarding experience, when the whole city is lit up and looks absolutely stunning Apart from the spectacular palaces, Mysore also has its share of museums and a visit here is incomplete without a visit to the zoo and the imposing St. Philomena’s Church, built in medieval architectural style!

With something for everyone…be it nature lovers or adventure seekers, religiously inclined or those looking forward to just getting away from the busy city life… people in Bangalore are surely lucky to be blessed with some wonderful getaways!