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iXiGOers Aug 07 2013

Which are the offbeat places to explore around Bengaluru?

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If you are looking for some offbeat places around Bengaluru, you will be glad to hear that the cosmopolitan city has some nice and interesting options which are worth exploring. Here is a whirlwind tour:

Vishwa Shanthi Ashram (24 km)

The Vishwa Shanthi Ashram, near Nelamangala, on NH4, is a retreat of a different kind. It welcomes you with a huge black granite statue of Vishwa Vijaya Vittala, an indicative landmark of the divine retreat. Snatha Keshavadas, a known harikatha exponent, started the ashram for the promotion of international understanding and peace. Today, it has grown into a 15-acre campus with temples and prayer halls. The 36-foot-high, monolithic statue of Vishwa Vijaya Vittala, in black stone, overwhelms even an atheist. The main shrine includes eight temples of Ashtalakshmi, while the complex has temples dedicated to Hanuman, Rama, Radhakrishna, Markandeshwara and Durga. Another stellar attraction is a giant sculpture depicting Krishna giving the Gitopadesha to Arjuna.

Vishwa Shanthi Ashram has a Geetha Mandir, which has inscriptions from the Mahabharata carved on black stones. Outside the hall are statues of seven goddesses representing India’s seven holy rivers. The ashram also makes for a quiet getaway and an ideal picnic spot; however you have to take great care to keep its environs clean. Though a few shops outside the ashram sell some rudimentary snacks, it is better to take food and water along.

How to go: Many private buses plying on the Tumkur route stop here. Non- AC taxi INR 10-12 per km (day trip).


Ramohalli (28 km)

We all know banyan trees are big... but this big? One of the world’s biggest banyan trees, whose branches spread over a remarkable 3 acres, has given shade to the earth for something like 400 years at Ramohalli, a village located a little after Kengeri on the Mysore Road. Pack some nice snacks and mats to take along, for the tree base provides lots of shade and a nice place to take a nap. Hyper children and the more active members of your group can swing on the long branches of the big banyan tree that hang invitingly within arm’s reach. Taxi INR 10-12 km (day trip).


Photo of the giant Banyan Tree at Ramohalli

Hesarghatta (29 km)

On the Tumkur Road when you are coming from Bengaluru, a deviation at the 10th milestone leads you to Hesarghatta. The famous Nrityagram, started by the late danseuse Protima Gauri is also situated in close proximity. Training in all forms of Indian classical dancing is given here. There’s also the vast, artificial Hesarghatta Lake spread over 100 acres. All along the banks there are popular spots for picnics. An Indo- Danish Dairy project as well as the government horticultural and dairy farms are situated here. If you want to show your kids around the dairy, you need prior permission. Taxi INR 10-12 per km (day trip).


Muthyala Maduvu (40 km)


This is the place for water babies. Muthyala Maduvu is also called the Valley of Pearls, because of its splendid waterfall that crashes down from a height of 300 ft. The valley is reachable via the Hosur Road, 6 km from Anekal. Stay here at the Tourist Bungalow. Taxi INR 10-12 per km (day trip).


Photo of Pearl Valley


Savanadurga (50 km)


This hill fort near Magadi was built by the founder of Bengaluru, Kempe Gowda. The Veerabhadraswamy Temple and Narasimha Swamy Temple are diversions, but you can spend most of your day taking in the views. Taxi INR 10-12 per km (day trip).

Shivaganga (56 km)


Pack a picnic hamper and head past the Tumkur Road to this conch shaped hill at Shivaganga. The drive up is spectacular, matched by the beautiful views of rural Bengaluru District from atop the hillock. Settle down by the Pathala Ganga stream, a pretty water body created by a freshwater spring. KSRTC runs regular buses between Bengaluru and Tumkur. Taxi INR 10-12 per km (day trip).


Photo of Shivaganga Hills

Devarayana Durga (70 km)

It wouldn’t be difficult to call Devarayana Durga a hill resort for the soothing greenery of the forest clad hill recalls lovely memories of holidays in the hills. Perfect for trekking, and bathing at a natural spring that runs by the base of the hill. Devarayana Durga is also famed for the Yoga Narasimha and Bhogha Narasimha Vaishnav temples, thronged by devotees and monkeys. You can stay at the Tourist Rest House run by the Tourism Department, Devarayana Durga. Taxi Rs 10-12 per km (day trip) Contact Skyway International Travels (Tourism House, No. 8, St Marks Road. Tel: +91-80-22111401/05, Mobile: +91-98452-23122, Website: skywaytour.com) for more details, rates and vehicle option.


Photo of Yoga Narsasimha Temple

Its time to head to all or at least one of the above places to enjoy a laid back vacation.


P.S.Thanks to Nandini Srinivasan, Amurag Mallick and Ranee Sahaney, our guest travel writers for the amazing inputs.

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