5 Of The Best Weekend Trips To Take From Bangalore During Covid
Eight months into the Covid lockdown must have left you feeling claustrophobic. You must be desperately looking for a way to break the monotony of city life in Bangalore. We can totally relate to that. You probably crave just a weekend out of the city limits to get a breath of fresh air. Yes, there are quite a lot of weekend getaway locations around Bangalore. However, with the Covid pandemic still around, we wouldn’t recommend travel just yet. But if you must set out, remember: social distancing. With that in mind, take a look at some off-beat locations around Bangalore which could be fairly safe choices at this point.
Sholay Shooting Hill Top, Ramanagara
Sholay Shooting Hill Top is as the name suggests – the iconic rocky landscape where the film Sholay was shot in. This location is a mere 90-minute drive from Bengaluru, thus making for a perfect weekend getaway location from the Indian Silicon Valley.
The Hill Top is also in proximity with another prominent adventure spot, the SRS Hills. If rock climbing is something you want to indulge in, then SRS Hills is where you want to be.
Not just for Bollywood buffs, Sholay Shooting Hill Top is a perfect spot for adventure and leisure alike. You could unwind from the hectic urban life by taking up camping and be at peace with the world by stargazing. If you’re up for thrills, activities including kayaking, canoeing, rappelling and ziplining are available too. The nocturnal weekender can set out on an exciting nighttime trek.
Distance: 47 km from Bengaluru
Nearest Railway Station: Ramanagaram
Shivanasamudra Falls, Mandya
Literally translating to ‘Shiva’s Sea’, Shivanasamudra Falls is an idyllic location for the traveler who wants to experience the might of the Kaveri River. The island of Shivanasamudra divides the river into two waterfalls – the twin Gaganachukki Falls and the fierce Bharachukki Falls. The best place to view and photograph the Bharachukki Falls would be the balconies close to it. In addition to the view, you’re also ensured safety.
Keep in mind to follow to not take any undue risk by venturing into the water. Also, it is recommended that you get your own food and water as there aren’t many food stalls in the area.
In addition to these spectacular waterfalls, Shivanasamudra is also a haven for Dravidian-style temples. Particularly prominent is the Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple. But please note that temples haven’t yet opened to the public owing to lockdown restrictions.
While the monsoons are regarded as the best time to visit Shivanasamudra Falls, the milder weather and relatively few number of visitors would be ideal for your socially-distanced weekend getaway trip.
Distance: 133 km from Bangalore
Nearest Railway Station: Mandya
Lepakshi, Andhra Pradesh
Lepakshi is a village in the Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh. For the traveler who’s passionate about medieval architectural marvels and Hindu culture, Lepakshi is the place to be. Legend has it that this was where Lord Rama helped Jatayu, fatally injured by Ravana in his attempt to save Sita from abduction, achieve salvation; which gave the place its name.
The main attractions of Lepakshi are the shrines dedicated to Lord Vishnu, Lord Shiva and particularly that of Lord Veerabhadra, a fierce form of Lord Shiva. The Veerabhadra Temple is a true testament to the architectural grandeur of the Vijayanagara Empire. Also, what you’re not going to miss is the gargantuan monolith idol of Nandi, which is the largest in Asia.
The biggest mystery surrounding the temple is its Hanging Pillar, which seemingly manages to hang from the ceiling and it’s possible to pass thin clothes and paper from underneath it.
Please note that if you’re opting for public transport, the Andhra Pradesh government mandates that you have your Aadhaar Card with you. If you’re in your private vehicle, e-passes are required or you can have one made immediately at the border.
Distance: 122 km from Bangalore
Nearest Railway Station: Hindupur
Kunti Betta, Mandya
Legend has it that the Pandavas stayed here during their exile and named the place after Kunti, their mother. Kunti Betta is surrounded by sugarcane fields and situated at a height of over 900 meters above sea level. Its steep ascents and descents make for an exciting hiking experience. If you’re a seasoned trekker or would simply like to experience the great outdoors on foot after months of being stuck at home, set out towards Kunti Betta.
The hike can be a bit challenging to the inexperienced, but hiking clubs have facilities to assist them all the way up to the summit, where you can get an unobstructed view of the landscape. You could also hike down to the Thonnur Lake and splash around in the cool water. The camping lovers can even opt for a night trek and have the boundless starry sky as a ceiling.
Many hiking clubs have opened up recently subject to Covid guidelines. Make sure that you comply with their regulations to ensure everyone’s safety. Also, the hike requires considerable effort. So if you’re physically unfit, it’s best that you avoid it.
Distance: 123 km from Bangalore
Nearest Railway Station: Pandavapura
Whether your idea of a weekend getaway is to lounge in the front porch of a house beside a coffee estate or traverse verdant forests and rocky hills, Sakleshpur has it all. It will be a four-hour drive from Bangalore, but the route through the scenic Western Ghats makes it all the more worthwhile.
The calm of the hill station makes it perfect for homestays, especially beside the tea and coffee plantations. You could take a stroll along the banks of River Hemavathi, a tributary of the Kaveri River. The ones in search of spirituality may visit the hilltop Betta Byraveshwara temple and also be rewarded with the sight of the entire valley.
For those who are forever on the lookout for new adventures, Sakleshpur has no dearth of them. From exploring the star-shaped Manjarabad Fort to hikes to Agni Gudda Hill to the exhilarating views offered by the Bisle Ghat, this certainly is a place of adventure.
Particularly unique to Sakleshpur is the Green Trek, which is walking along the railway tracks from Sakleshwar to Subramanya Road. Mind you, trekking along certain sections of this route is illegal, so take care.
Distance: 221 km from Bangalore
Nearest Railway Station: Sakleshpur
Things To Remember
While the government is easing on Covid restrictions, it doesn’t mean that the pandemic is behind us. It still remains a very real threat. So ensure that you take any Covid-related precautions seriously. Here are a few things that would help you have a safe holiday.
If you’ve developed symptoms of even a regular flu, it’s best that you cancel the trip for safe measure. You don’t want to risk the safety of yourself and those around you.
Following social distancing norms to a T: masks, sanitizers and keeping 6 feet distance from others.
Keep interactions with unfamiliar people to a bare minimum.
Prioritize cashless transactions to avoid contact and thus risk of infection.
Covid restrictions and regulations may change suddenly. So be up to speed on updates pertaining to them.
Confirm if the places you wish to visit are open – subject to Covid safety guidelines. You don’t want to reach there only to find that they aren’t yet open to the public.
Travel with the least number of people and preferably in your personal vehicle.
Look for hotels that adhere to the Covid safety guidelines.
Have the coronavirus self-declaration form and the latest version of the Aarogya Setu app installed on your phone, just to be on the safer side.
If you start developing symptoms, seek immediate help.