Last year while I embarked on an ambitious 70 days backpack across the Karnataka state, I also used this time to explore Bengaluru in its full capacity including the weekend destinations. This was my third visit to the tech city and the only time that I could take out time to travel around Bengaluru, all by myself. It wasn’t only adventurous but eye opening as well.
So here I am sharing my best bet for your weekend plans and the good thing is they can be covered in a day
Nandi Hills: Also known as Nandidurg, Nandi hills is located at a distance of 60 Kms from Bengaluru. Legends has it that the origin of the name Nandi Hills came from the ancient Dravidian temple dedicated to Nandi Bull, the statue of which is located at the hilltop of this ruined fort. During the period of Chola dynasty, Nandi hill was famous as Ananda Giri which means ‘Hill of Happiness’. Another story is believed to be of Yoga Nandeshwara who performed penance here. A temple can be seen located at the hilltop around which this fort is believed to be built by the chieftains of Chikkaballapur, which was later strengthened by Tipu Sultan. Nandi Hills is situated in the Chikkaballapur district of Karnataka
Shravanabelagola: Rich in historic prevalence, Shravanabelagola is situated at a distance of 150 Kms from Bengaluru. The town has been a prominent center for Jainism, preserving its art and culture for over 2 millenniums. Shravanabelagola mounts a 58 feet tall statue of Gommateshvara Bahubali, which is scout to be 1000’s years old. It is considered to be one of the most important pilgrimages in Jainism. Bahubali was the son of Lord Adinatha- the first teerthankara of Jainism. The statue is carved out of a single rock and believed to be one of the largest monolithic statues in the world. It is interesting to note that despite being centuries old, this beautifully carved statue remains intact without any damage over the years. ASI embarked a unique project in 2006 in order to preserve and recover the ancient writings of Jain monks at Shravanabelagola
Krishnagiri Village: A drive of 120 Kms from Bengaluru will take you to Krishnagiri village in the state of Tamil Nadu. The main attraction of this village is a Jain temple which is dedicated to Goddess Padmavati. The main shrine displays an exquisite mirror work. The interesting thing about this temple is a large snake pit from where the statue of the goddess was recovered. It is said that during the early 90’s, a Jain saint got signals in his dreams about a statue buried here, which was hidden at this place for protection during a war. It is mandatory to visit the pit first before entering the main shrine. Once a wish is fulfilled, the worshipper needs to tie a coconut wrapped in red cloth at this pit only. Another attraction at Krishnagiri is KRP dam which is situated between Dharmapuri and Krishnagiri.
Lepakshi: Lepakshi temple which is famous as Veerbhadra temple is located in a small village of Anantpur, which preserves the amazing artefacts of 16th century. The place is situated at a distance of 120 Km from Bengaluru. The name ‘Lepakshi’ is believed to be originated the bird Jatayu from Ramayana. It is said that it is at this place that Jatayu fell down wounded while rescuing Sita and hence the name Le pakshi, which in the local language means Rise Bird. This legend can also be supported for a giant foot mark at the temple which is believed to be of the bird itself. Built in the typical style of Vijayanagara architecture, the temple features many beautifully designed carvings on each pillar which comprises of god, goddesses and dancers. This temple is known for another engineering wonder. Among the 70 stoned pillars, there is one pillar that hangs from the ceiling and barely touches the ground. Known as the hanging pillar, any thin object like newspaper or cloth can be passed through its base. As you will enter the village you will spot a giant Nandi, the mount of Lord Shiva facing the front gate of the main temple. This huge statue of Nandi is carved out of a single stone which is the largest in the world
Halebidu: Halebidu or Halebid is another weekend gem from Bengaluru which has magnificently carved temples in the form of Hoysalesvara and Shantalesvara. Halebid means the old city and Bidu stands for a layout or a place of human habitat. In the ancient times, Halebid was known as Dwarasamudra, which means the gateway to the seas in Hassan district. Halebid which is 27 kms away from Hassan flourished as the capital of Hoysala Empire for 150 years. It was taken over by the army of Malik Kafur in the early 14th century, only to be left in ruins. The temples at Halebid have rich history engraved on the walls. Temple complex depict stories from Mahabharata Ramayana and Puranas which makes it popular among the tourists.
Belur: Another gem representing the grandeur of erstwhile era,
Belur is about 223 kms from Bengaluru and 16 Kms from Halebid. Located on the banks of river Yagachi, it is also known as Dakshina Varanasi or South Banaras for its exquisitely carved temples. The very famous Chennakesava Temple which means handsome Vishnu is said to represent the victorious glory of the Cholas in the great battle of Talakadu. According to the texts, it is believed that this ancient masterpiece received its name from then Hoysala ruler, King Vishnuvardhana Hoysaleswara which was built in the 12th century. An interesting thing to note is its exquisitely carved figures on the pillars which are known as Madanikas or different dancing postures, which is believed to showcase the culture of medieval times. . It took nearly 103 years to build Chennakesava. The main structure inside the temple is star shaped on a raised platform with prolific work of sculpture art. Small shrines of Kappe Chenningaraya, Soumyanayaki, Andal, surround the temple.
Bannerghatta National Park: Bannerghatta National park is another pristine jewel incepted within the city which is distinct for its rich bio diversity. 22 kms from Bengaluru, Bannerghatta is said to be one of the few attractions in the world where wildlife is preserved very close to a metropolitan city, yet giving the animals the essence of its natural habitat. The park homes innumerable species both in flora and fauna. Leopards, Golden Jackal, Wild boar are few of the in-captive species at the Bannerghatta. Safari, zoo, butterfly park are some of the options to explore here and enjoy in the lap of nature. September and January are the best time to visit this national park
Hogenakkal Falls: Hogenakkal Falls is famous as the ‘Niagara Fall of India’. It is located at a distance of 180 Km from Bengaluru in the Dharmapuri district, Tamil Nadu. The name Hogenakkal is derived from two Kannada words hoge (smoke) and kal (rock) which means smoke rock as the water appears white smoky while it flows down the rock. The falls are located on the river Kaveri. Swimming is allowed in the lower region of the fall. The other attractions here are a zoo and crocodile park which is maintained by the forest department. You can also opt for coracle riding during dry season
Shivanasamundra Falls: Scout as the second largest fall in India and sixteenth largest in the world, Shivasamudram is at a distance of 130 km from Bengaluru. Formerly famous as the Kaveri falls, these majestic waterfalls are surrounded by deep forests of the Kaveri Wildlife Sanctuary. River Kaveri forms two branches while flowing down the hill which forms Barachukki and Gaganachukki Waterfalls. Together they form the Shivasamudram Waterfalls. Both the Falls are located at a distance of 5 kms from each other. There are coracles that take you right under the waterfalls
Resorts in Bengaluru: All said and done, in case your mood in just to lay back and immerse yourself in the comfort of nature, there are many good resorts in Bengaluru where you can be sure of your time, away from the city bustle. After all, not every travel experience means a destination 🙂
How to Reach Bengaluru from Delhi:
Air: Bengaluru is extremely well-connected by regular flights like Go Air. A taxi from the airport would take about 45 minutes to reach the city.
Rail: Bengaluru has two important railway stations – Bengaluru City Railway Station and Yeswantpur Junction. Both railway stations have regular trains running from Delhi
Join me on my Social Media Channels and explore the World with me. Like me on:
Reproducing Content & photographs from this website is prohibited without Author’s approval and liable for strict action