“Scooter”-ing along the Konkan coast, The Mumbai to Bangalore edition;A 2466 km journey on an Activa
If you live in a hot part of the country, Bangalore's good weather will immediately put you into a good mood. While the centre of the city has remained as it was during the British Raj, the area encircling it is on a constant boom with a vibrant student culture, popular pubs and a major electronic and industrial lifestyle. As a tourist, you can go see the Bangalore Castle. Modelled on the lines of the Windsor Castle, the one on Bangalore is a great example of the Tudor architectural style. It has beautiful gardens and the wooden carvings. The glass house at Lal Bagh and its botanical garden is a good place to relax while taking a walk. Cubbon park is one of the primary reasons why Bangalore was formerly nicknamed as the Garden City. The picturesque greenery in the middle of the city is stupefying. You can visit the Peninsular Gneiss to witness the oldest granite formations and also the look at the city from an elevated land. For a perfect end to the day, grab a beer at Toit or Peco’s. Follow it up with a grand meal at Koshy’s or Ebony, or the hundreds of other quirky restaurants in the city.
About 100kms west of Mysore, the hilly hamlet of Kodagu (formerly known as Coorg) is located in the evergreen highlands of the Western Ghats. This charming district beckons tourists with its spice gardens, cardamom forests and a sea of coffee plantations. Travel to Coorg for the wide array of adventure activities. Raft through the white rapids of the Barapole river, trek across the grasslands of the Kopatty-Kalugundi trail or quad biking through the Chevalara falls. For those seeking a more relaxed experience, fishing at the Valnoor and Bheemeshwari fishing camps or simply wandering through coffee plantations are some of the most sought after things to do in Coorg. The 17th century Madikeri Fort where the revered Tipu Sultan once held court, and the Omkareshwar temple are among the most famous attractions of the district’s headquarters in Madikeri. While you are here, also visit Namdroling Monastery in Bylakuppe, the largest Tibetan settlement of south India. Go here for a pleasant evening intermittent with monastic hymns, prayer bells and a motley of Tibetan handicrafts.
This is the capital of the state of Goa and is probably the smallest state capital. Panaji is also the headquarters of the North Goa District and is situated on the banks of the Mandovi River Estuary is the Tiswada Region. The more popular name is Panaji but Panjim is also a commonly used term. This was the name by which the Portuguese used to address this city. When the whole of India got independence, Goa was still under the colonial rule of the Portuguese who freed it a number of years later. The Portuguese effect is what you will get in each and every thing of Goa and Panjim too. The attractions here are the lovely white church, the food that you will get here and of course the different types of building lined on the sides of the narrow streets. These houses are the remains of the various clans who have ruled here including the Latins and the Portuguese. The houses look beautiful and brightly coloured and many of them have simple yet pretty wrought iron balconies too. Many of these are now either resorts for budget concious travellers or restaurants for the ones who love to taste Portuguese and Goan cuisine.
Once the seat of the Maharajas of Mysore for six centuries, Mysore is now the third most populous state of Karnataka. But not much as changed in terms of its cultural ambiance and heritage, hence deeming it as the cultural capital of Karnataka. This city is popular for its year-round pleasant climate, silk, sandalwood and many majestic palaces, such as Lalitha Mohan Palace, Jaganmohan Palace and the most visited and grand one being the Mysore Palace. To get an exclusive insight into Mysore's culture, Folklore Museum would be the best place, where a plethora of carved wooden figures, ceremonial headdresses, vibrant masks can be seen along with puppet shows depicting Hindu mythological stories. Mysore Zoo is perfect for animal and nature lovers while the Regional Museum of Natural History serves those interested in ecological history. For those looking for unwinding strolls or simple relaxation, Karanji Lake and Kukkarahalli Lake are the best to visit, preferably early in the morning or evenings. More attractions include Brindavan Gardens, Railway Museum and St. Philomena's Church. Cauvery Arts and Crafts emporium is renowned for an array of silk sarees, carved sandalwood, wooden toys and inlay work, whereas Devaraja market is ideal for a more local shopping experience. Restaurants such as Hotel RRR Restaurant, Malgudi Cafe, Vinayaka Mylari, Sapphire and Anu's Bamboo Hut cater to popular local and international cuisines. Mysore comes alive during the 10-day festival of Dussehra, celebrated in October, when one can witness the entire city bedecked with lights, colours and music, making Mysore a memorable visit.
This renowned hill station once housed the Madras Presidency during the British Rule and possesses many remnants in the form of regal looking bungalows, such as the Stone House, The Ootacamund Club, Government House and Fernhill Palace. This along with the tall pine trees in the green areas almost makes you believe you are in old English country. Ooty is also home to some of the most breathtaking lakes in the country, such as the Avalanche Lake, Emerald Lake and the popular Ooty Lake. For some adventure, one can hop on the Nilgiri Toy Train and enjoy a ride through the blue mountains, winding through dense forests, dark tunnels and valleys from Ooty to Coonoor. Ooty is heaven for nature lovers and a trek through the Mukurthi National Park will be etched on your mind for years to come, offering a stunning panorama of carpet like green hills, home to the tallest peak of the Nilgiri Range, several wildflowers and beauties such as the Nilgiri Tahr, Bengal Tiger, Indian Elephant, Leopard, Bonnet Macaque, Mouse Deer, Otter, Small Indian Civet and many more. If you still want more, you can take a mesmerising walk through the charming 19th century Government Botanical Gardens. Ooty's beauty can be explored more adventurously with everything from horse riding to hand gliding and mountain biking, all arranged by various resorts. Avid readers will be overwhelmed to visit the 19th century Nilgiri Library, sheltering around 25,000 books and hosting many events to promote reading habits among all age groups. Chocoholics should place King Star on the top of their itineraries for purchasing a plethora of delicious homemade chocolates. More delicious food from vegetarian, cafe to non-vegetarian cuisines can be enjoyed at popular places such as Quality Restaurant, Earl's Secret and Willy's Coffee Pub, which also has a commendable library for one to delve into while enjoying their drink. Witness Ooty come alive in the month of May, with its vibrant boat races and flower shows, hosted across the town.
Hampi (Hampe) is a village and temple town recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, listed as the Group of Monuments at Hampi in northern Karnataka, India. It is situated within the ruins of the city of Vijayanagara, the former capital of the Vijayanagara Empire. Predating the city of Vijayanagara, Hampi continues to be an important religious centre, housing the Virupaksha Temple and several other monuments belonging to the old city. Hampi is situated on the banks of the Tungabhadra River. It is 353 km from Bangalore. The extant monuments of Vijayanagara or Hampi can be divided into Religious, Civil & Military buildings. The Jain temples on Hemakuta hill, the two Devi shrines and some other structures in the Virupaksha temple complex predate the Vijayanagara Empire. Hampi tourism has special importance for the Hanuman devotees, as mythical Kishkinda, the monkey kingdom was located here. You can see plenty of motifs and carvings of Hanuman all around the sites of which some are brilliantly colourful.
Moodabidri which is 34 km from Mangaluru city. Often referred as 'Jaina Kashi', Moodabidri was as the centre of Jain religion, culture, art and architecture in 14th and 16th century. There are 18 Jain basadis (Jain temples) in this region but Tribhuvana Tilaka Chudamani Basadi (Crest Jewel of three worlds) is the largest, finest and most ornate temple amongst them. It is also called 'Thousand Pillars Temple'. You can visit Venur Bahubali statue or Karkala Bahubali statue which is within 20 km from Moodabidri. Alternatively, you can also go to Dharmasthala, where you can visit the famous Dharmasthala Temple and Bahubali statue. 3 out of 5 Bahubali status in Karnataka are in Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts. Dharmasthala Temple is an 800 years old temple where Manjunatha (Shiva) is the main deity. It is also known for Anna dana (free food/prasad). The average flow of pilgrims is about 10,000 every day.
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