After continuously travelling in India and abroad for the past two years, if there’s one thing I have learned it is that no other country, in the entire world, is as diverse and distinct as India. Every state in here represents a tiny country on its own. And Karnataka, lying in the southern part of India, is a beautiful example of this. Here, one can lose themselves in the bustling city of Bengaluru, cosy-up in the rainforests of Coorg, or experience royalty in the princely state of Mysore.
From glittering palaces to rare national parks to ancient ruins, from beaches to yoga retreats to evocative temple ruins, in Karnataka, there is something for everyone. And if you’re planning to spend a weekend with your family and friends, be rest assured that Karnataka is going to keep you entertained.
For weekend-getawayers and family-holidayers, here are my top 5 destinations in Karnataka:
The City of Bengaluru
Among all the Indian cities, if there’s one name I had to choose as the best Indian-city to travel Bengaluru would be my first choice. Blessed with a benevolent climate and a burgeoning drinking, dining and shopping scene, Bangalore offers the finest city-like experience in India.
The city can moreover be visited anytime throughout the year and is well connected by road, railways, and air. This is what makes it ideal for family vacations. And if you’re wondering what to see and do in the city, here are some quick tips:
- Soaking in the architecture of the Attara Kacheri (High Court)
- Enjoying the beauty of the Bangalore Palace
- Strolling around the lush Lalbaugh Gardens
- Being mesmerized by the colorful Indira Gandhi Musical Fountain
- Marvelling at India’s inventions at the Visveswaraya Industrial & Technological Museum and feel proud.
The Jungles of Coorg
Coorg, also known as Kodagu, is a gorgeous hill station located 256km from Bangalore. I visited Coorg about 3 years ago, and since then, it’s my favorite place in Southern Indian, if the idea is to relax and unwind youself. Visit the postcard-like town of Virajpet, the Tibetan settlement of Bylakuppe (home to South India’s largest monastery) and of course, the district headquarters of Madikeri.
Coorg can be visited anytime of the year with each season having its own joy and delights. Other than Bangaluru, Coorg is well connected by road to all other major cities including Mangalore, Belgaum and Mysore. The closest airport is in Mangalore (136km) and the nearest railway station is in Hassan (118km). Some of the highlights in Coorg include:
- Going back in time at Madikeri Fort
- Watching the majestic Abbey Falls
- Saying a prayer at the monastery in Little Tibet
- Embarking on a coffee plantation tour in Coorg (visit the coffee plantations in Kabbinakad)
- Heading out for a wildlife safari at the Rajiv Gandhi National Park
Read More: Tourist places to visit in Madikeri with your family.
Mysore is another city of Karnataka worth travelling and appreciating. Located at only a few hours from Bangalore, Mysore unravels itself as a city rich in history, and of stories about being ruled by the Wadiyars, Tipu Sultan, and the British.
Visiting Mysore with family and kids is moreover a good idea as it will give them a chance to learn about India’s proud history. Just like Bengaluru, even Mysuru has its own railway station and an airport and is connected by road to major cities in Karnataka. Some quick activities to try in Mysore include:
- Marvelling at the stunning beauty of the Mysore Palace
- Visiting the popular (and India’s only) Wax Museum
- Studying the architecture of the St. Philomena’s Church
- Spotting your favorite bird at the Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary
- Paying you tribute at the Chamundeshwari Temple
Beaches In Gokarna
If the idea is to breaking away from the busy city life and experiencing the tranquil beaches, then there can’t be a better place than Gokarna. Located at a distance of 514 km from Bangalore, the town of Gokarna reveals itself as a popular pilgrimage centre. And if you’re only looking forward to relaxing on beaches, be known that Gokarna is home to some of the cleanes beaches in India.
The Om Beach, Kudle Beach, Gokarna Beach, Half Moon Beach and the Paradise Beach are the five main beaches here. Gokarna Beach is the town’s main beach and pilgrims gather here when they visit the Mahabaleshwar Temple. The Kudle Beach is the largest of the five beaches and it is crowded during the peak season November to February. Sone of the popular things to do in Gokarna include:
- Beach Trekking
- Visiting the temples
- Experiencing water sports
- Soaking up the town and night markets
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