The eyes are a window to the soul. At Nrityagram, dancers seem to emote from every pore of their being. The fierce Gods and cunning demons come to life in each performance staged. Perfectionists at the core, they welcome you to the fray, inviting you to experience their interpretative narrations of mythos with their trademark gestures and facial expressions.
Mysore’s Dussera Parade is akin to Carnavale, just shy of the sensual samba dancers. From the majestic elephant that leads at the fore to the daredevils of the Indian Army who display their prowess on rustic Royal Enfields, from the role playing paraders to the flame throwers marching in sync, the festivities will enthral! Grab your front row seats to the only parade of its kind in India!
Nothing like a good cardio session as you weave your way through the intricately carved temples dotting the hills and valleys. The musical pillared pavilion at the Vittala Temple captures passers-by with distinct, resounding notes emanating from each pillar as they are struck. With over a thousand shrines in the area, you’ll be hard pressed to see them all in a day. But come sunset, the view from the Tungabhadra Dam enraptures.
Adventure culminates in Badami; chockfull of bouldering routes through almond-coloured hills. The paths are many but the goal is inevitable. The sky above and the rugged rock face beneath your feet, sweaty palms and tough belays that save you from slipping – the ride to the top is just as ‘breath-taking’ as the actual view. The skies turn golden and pink before the evening sun dips beneath the homes in the distance. What can we say? This is worth it.
Explore the many paths that lead deep into the heart of the Kudremukh National Park. Whether you choose to camp overnight or just make a pit stop for a spot of lunch in the wilderness, Nature welcomes you to a front row seat in the Nilgiris. You can catch animals in action and scour the rugged terrain; heed the call of the wild.
Over 15 centuries ago, the Chalukyas who then ruled over most of India, initiated a movement that lingers to this day. In the north of Karnataka, at Aihole, the journey of South Indian temple architecture was set afoot. Visiting one of the first temples ever built in the characteristic style is a gratifying experience. Far removed from the colours and overt carving that deluges contemporary shrines, Aihole emphasizes the essence of temple architecture mirroring the human pinnacle of minimalism.
Let your inner child come bounding out as colourful lacquer is sprayed on wooden toys that fit in the palm of your hand! The artisans who have followed their traditional craft for over two centuries are developing contemporary designs that are increasingly relevant today. From pen stands to coasters, there’s bound to be a simple home solution that you will want to replace once you see these cute wares.
Kowtow to the elephants as Mowgli once did, in reverence to these mighty, yet gentle beings that roam the jungles. They’ll walk the pachyderm corridor come time to migrate, to get from the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve to the Nilgiris North and we bet you won’t want to miss this!
Who doesn’t like to start their mornings with a freshly brewed cuppa Joe? The idyllic plantations of coffee, neatly lain out in rows upon rows, and the morning croons of the cuckoo ringing clear through the air is as good a breakfast call as it gets. While hiking to the top of nearby Mullayanagiri and exploring the ancient temples of Belur and Halebid are great activities at Chikmagalur, Coorg entices with nearby Bylakuppe (second largest Tibetan settlement outside Tibet).
The epic transformation of gentle giants to bulldozers that razed the forests in the past, comes to life in the tales the naturalist whispers in your ears, as the mahouts rehash early commands that get the elephants to mimic logging activities. After the riveting re-enactment, you can climb onto an elephant’s back and head into the jungle for a quick safari.
Wicker weaves float silently on the still waters of Kabini – the best way to get close to the birds without scattering them. Hop onto a typical fisherman’s coracle, and sail the vast expanse of the reservoir with the sun setting in the background. The spellbinding vista is second to none, but is best experienced after a gruelling day of wildlife safaris in the nearby forest recesses.
Having to croon and click your tongue at your vehicle is an odd thing to do for most of us. The clippety-clop of feet and rickety wheels are also things we are unaccustomed to. Bullock carts are a lifeline for many agrarians, but the closest we ever get is a ride on one of them. However, if you’re curious to know if you’d be any good at driving a bullock cart, here’s your shot at earning a shiny, bullock cart driving license!
We don’t condone drinking and driving but hey, whizzing down the undulating roads of Bangalore City when you’re a little tipsy is quite fun! Hop on a bicycle and weave your way through the night scene to popular pubs in the locale and gorge on the lip-smacking food, keeping pleasant company in the quirky settings. The mismatched elements and winding roads will keep the spirits flowing and high (if you catch our drift *wink*)!
To be waited on hand and foot in one of the oldest modes of mass transport in India, is a uniquely satisfying experience. An upgraded suspension has rendered the purple locomotive a brisk and smooth ride through the enchanting South. The luxurious voyage of discovery will take you through the cradle of Stone Architecture from Belur and Halebed to Badami and Aihole, only to end in Goa – the ultimate relaxing getaway. Roll up in style or not at all; the Golden Chariot awaits.
Incense sticks smoulder at the altar of the purusha (Divine Self) enveloping you in a sense of calm as you meditate in a silence so loud, you could literally hear a pin drop. The world class instructors of yoga at Shreyas and Swasara guide you in oases far removed from civilization, while gently insisting you surrender your thoughts and way of being. After a healthy dose of yoga, you can quench your curiosity with a bespoke tour into the origins of these ways.
Click for a quick taste of the region!
The coastal town of Mangaluru has just enough to keep things interesting but still feels like an offbeat adventure destination. It’s famed for its spicy seafood, so feel free to indulge!
This lowkey, party-free sibling of Goa offers long stretches of blissful coastlines that you can enjoy from your beachside cottage.
At the precipice between Karnataka and Kerala, the quiet Kabini River is a haven for animals and birds of stunning variety. A quick boat ride will open your world to the wilderness.
The rapid decline of a Vijayanagara stronghold is surprising, yet the ruins of decaying rock-cut temples are just as awe-inspiring as they must have been in their heyday. The Tungabhadra Dam and Hippie Island are especially interesting getaways nearby.
The emerald landscapes of Coorg captivate with endless walking trails in the Deccan. The geneaology of the locals are as enticing as the aromas of coffee and spices that overwhelm the senses. The ideal Coorgi experience is deeper into the plantations, far from the watchful eyes of vacationing Bangaloreans.
A trinity of exquisitely carved temples (Halebidu, Sravanabelagola, Belur), lies radially from the quaint town of Hassan making it an ideal stop along your journey.
The legacy of the Rulers of Mysore rings clear to this day in the parks and palace that they left behind. A walk through the many bylanes of the city to the flower market or the countless archaic structures offers a peek into the cultural prowess of the region.
This is an historic site marking the fall of Mysore Royalty at the hands of the British East India company. However, the town is best known for the extravagant Stone Temple built on the river island.
A cultural bombshell overshadowed by the booming IT hub makes for excellent companions and warm or loud welcomes, depending where you go. You’ll encounter hipsters chatting while drinking craft beer and riding around in ’80s metal band T-shirts with their hair billowing in the cool Bangalore breeze.
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