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.
Located off the coast of Bay of Bengal is Tamil Nadu’s capital and India’s fourth largest city. Formerly known as Madras, the metropolis is the main transportation hub for southern India. Travel to Chennai for the unique exhibit of architecture from the British Raj, peaceful pilgrimage sites and a delectable South Indian cuisine. Tourists can start their day with a walk by the beautiful Marina Beach, teeming with fishermen and their boats, and makeshift bazaars fringing the shore. Among the other places to visit in Chennai, start with the characterful neighbourhood of Mylapore that houses the vibrant Kapaleeshwarar Temple. Then head to Rajaji Salai’s Fort in St George that once was home to the British East India Company. The Government Museum inside the imposing Pantheon complex of the colonial era is a popular attraction. The state museum is decked with bronze antiques dating back to the 7th century Pallava era. Surfing along the Covelong beach and walking through the bustling bazaars of George Town are a few of the most common things to do in Chennai. Also, don’t leave here without getting yourself an authentic South Indian thali from the illustrious Saravana Bhavan.
For a dose of south Indian culture with a side of French flavours, travel to the city of Pondicherry (also known as Puducherry), perched on India’s east coast in Tamil Nadu. Peppered with Gallic landscapes of bougainvillea draped colonial townhouses, pastel villas and leafy boulevards, Pondicherry is a haven for both – the traveller in the quest for spiritual awakening, and the leisure-seeking tourist. One of the Puducherry’s most sacred attractions, is the internationally acclaimed Sri Aurobindo Ashram located off Goubert Ave. Drawing lakhs of devotees from across the world every year, the grounds are home to the shrines of Sri Aurobindo and Mirra Alfassa (The Mother), and a meditation hall, which is one of the most peaceful places to visit in Pondicherry. Another must visit destination is the township of Auroville that was founded in 1968, located 8kms away from Pondicherry. The community, houses people of 45 nationalities. One of the lesser known things to do in Puducherry is bird watching at the Ousteri Wetlands, 10kms from the heart of the town. You could spend your mornings at city’s major beaches - Auroville, Serenity, Promenade and Paradise, and end your trip with a walk along the seafront promenade, as you chase the setting sun.
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.
Eravikulam National Park
This national park is the breathtaking home of a plethora of precious flora and fauna, and lies along the Western Ghats. Considered the magnum opus of Kerala, the park provides magnificent panoramic views of tea plantations and rolling hills blanketed in mist. The grasslands protect the endangered Nilgiri Tahr and harbour several other species of animals, birds and butterflies, including a new species of frog that was discovered recently. Eravikulam park becomes a sought after destination when the hill slopes get veiled by a carpet of blue, a miraculous phenomena caused by the flowering of Neelakurinji, which blooms only once in 12 years. Anamudi, translating to elephant's forehead and located within the park, is the highest peak of South India and its might and height of 8,842 ft can be enjoyed from a distance at Rajamala, from where the endangered Nilgiri Tahr can also be observed. The park provides a number of safaris for convenient and safe tourism around the park. The Kurinji Trail, which follows through misty tracks of protected animals and flowery grasslands, is a must for trekking lovers. Another famous but charming spot is the Lakkom Waterfalls, which provide an enchanting view along with an eco-shop cafeteria to eat at. Close to these falls is a log house, which offers comfortable accommodation with complimentary food and the much desired solitude and peace amidst the lap of nature.
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.