Here is Part 2 of the story. Don’t forget to read the first part of this story here.
JULY: July 31 (Friday, Bakri-Id); August 1 (Saturday); August 2 (Sunday); August 3 (Monday, Rakshabandhan, optional)
Shimoga (302 km from Bangalore) is a city set amidst swaying palms and paddy fields. The rivers Kumudavath, Sharavathi,Tungabhadra and Varada run through the city that is a gateway to the famed Jog Falls. The Dabbe Falls is another offbeat waterfall that you can see that is as stunning too. A trek up the Kodachadri Hills will reward you with the evergreen forests of Maravanthe. If you can make a trip to the nearby Agumbe forest, it will bring you up close with some amazing animals and reptiles. The Mandagadde Bird Sanctuary and Gajanur Dam are some other places to see.
AUGUST: August 8 (Saturday); August 9 (Sunday); August 10 (Monday; take off); August 11 (Tuesday, Janamashtami, optional).
Belur and Halebid (210 km from Bangalore) are two sets of temples that are an ode to the finesse and intricate design style of the Hoysala kingdom. The architecture in stone is characterized by minute detailing where each panel has a story to tell. The Hoysaleshvara Temple at Halebidu dedicated to Lord Shiva has several wall inscriptions of gods, animal’s music and dance. At Belur’s Chennakesava-temple you can also see ornate carvings on the walls that have scenes from the Ramayana and Mahabharta as well as rows of elephants, horses, dancers and more. What makes these carvings interesting is that no two of them are the same.
August 29 (Saturday); August 30 (Sunday, Muharram); August 31 (Monday, Onam, optional)
Mysore (145 km from Bangalore) is the city of palaces courtesy the fact that it was the erstwhile princely state of the Wodeyar dynasty. A must visit is the majestic Amba Villas Palace or the Mysore palace which has ornate work on the ceiling, floor and walls and is guaranteed to take your breath away. A visit to the oldest markets in Asia, the Devaraja Market is a must for the fragrance of the famed Mysore jasmine as well as a visit to Guru Sweets a store that makes Mysore Pak for the royal family. A visit to the Chamundi Hills the presiding deity of the region and also worshipped by the royal family is a must. Do make pit stops at the Rail Museum, Jayalakshmi Vilas Mansion Museum Complex and Jaganmohan Palace when you are here.
OCTOBER: October 2 (Friday, Gandhi Jayanti); October 3 (Saturday); October 4 (Sunday)
The princess of hill stations Kodaikanal (465 km from Bangalore) is located 7000 feet above sea level and is set amidst rolling meadows, grasslands and eucalyptus trees and shola forests. Set in the middle of the hill town is the Kodaikanal Lake that has a small shopping arcade all along as well as bicycles on rent. The Kodaikanal Boat Club allows you to hire row boats and speed boats here for a ride on the lake too. The Bryant Park and Coaker’s Walk are places that nature lovers must not miss. And if you like the history, the Shembaganur Museum of Natural History has a large taxidermy collection of over 500 species of animals, birds and insects. Trekking is the best way to enjoy the natural vistas of the town.
October 24 (Saturday); October 25 (Sunday); October 26 (Monday, Vijayadashami)
Madurai (435 km from Bangalore) a temple town known for the famed Meenakshi Amman temple is rooted in culture and spirituality. The temple is the nerve center of the city that has a large market set all around it. Do check the Gandhi Memorial Museum, Tirumalai Nayak Palace and Temple Art Museum when you are here. The Koodal Alagar Temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu and Thiruparankundram a temple for Lord Karthikeya are other old temples of the region. Don’t forget to sample the famed Jigarthanda a local dessert when you are in Madurai.
October 29 (Thursday, Milad un Nabi); October 30 (Friday, take off); November 1; (Saturday); November 2 (Sunday)
The coastal town of Mangalore (350 km from Bangalore) is a favoured beach destination with some stunning beaches like the Tannirbavi Beach, Panambur Beac, Kapu Beach, Malpe Beach and Someshwar Beach. A center of religious confluences, some of the famed temples here include the Sri Gokarnatheswara temple, Mangaladevi Temple, Kadri Manjunatha temple and the Kudroli Sri Gokarnatheswara Kshetra is dedicated to Lord Shiva. A stop at the 130 year old St Aloysius Chapel, the Rosario Cathedral and Milagres Church a beautiful Roman Catholic Church in Hampankatta and the Dargah of Hazrat Shareef ul Madni at Ullal and the Zeenath Baksh Jumma Masjid in Bunder are also recommended.
NOVEMBER: November 14 (Saturday, Diwali; November 15 (Sunday); November 16 (Monday; Bhai Dooj, optional)
Bandipur (220 km from Bangalore) is a great way to usher in the festival of lights with a jungle holiday. The national park has several upscale staying options that will help you make the most of the wild. Take the safari trips into the jungle in the morning and evening to come up close with animals like deer, bear, elephants, leopards and tigers and more. Make sure to observe the several species of birs including the state bird – the Indian Roller that is found here in abundance.
November 28 (Saturday); November 29 (Sunday); November 30 (Monday, Guru Nanak Jayanti)
Coonoor (293 km from Bangalore) is a quiet hill town of the Nilgiris that is located a mere 20 km from the bustling town of Ooty. Covered with tea plantations, Coonoor is a delightful hill station that has stunning views of the majestic blue mountains. A must try is the toy train ride on the Nilgiri Mountain Railway that will take you from Coonoor to Ooty and give you some spectacular views of the mountains and surrounding tea plantations. Sim’s Park, Lamb’s Rock and Dolphin’s Nose are other places to see here.
DECEMBER: December 25 (Friday, Christmas); December 26 (Saturday); December 27 (Sunday)
Gokarna (486 km from Bangalore) may be a quiet temple town that is known for the Mahabaleshwar temple but it is also a coastal paradise. Go beach hopping as you visit the Gokarna beach, Kudle beach, OM beach, Half Moon beach and Paradise beach here. You can also try water sports like banana boat and parasailing here. This place is ideal to explore the neighbouring region like Yana, Mirjan Fort, Murudeshwar and Karwar.
December 31 (Thursday, New Year’s Eve, optional); January 1 (Friday, take off); January 2 (Saturday); January 3 (Sunday)
The French Quarter of Pondicherry (310 km from Bangalore), is a great city to welcome the New Year. At the White Town close to the beach front a visit to the Aurobindo Ashram will give you a sense of calm like no other. And to see what community living is all about while tasting some of the best of local food a visit to Auroville is a must. The best way to enjoy the local sights and sounds head to the Promenade Beach which is dotted with some hip cafes and boutique stores. The Gandhi memorial here is a great place to watch the sunset too.
This story first appeared in Bangalore Mirror dated 7 Jan, 2020 here: