While Bangalore hides under umbrellas this season, it’s time to head out for a quick getaway and most of the destinations are just an overnight drive or a quick airplane prance away. We are looking at places that offer more than just the regular touristy list of things to do, it’s time for a little more character and soul and our list of beach destinations clearly fit the bill!

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Paperboat Dreams!

Let’s take a look at some of the most idyllic destinations for a quick weekend getaway:

1:Gandikota – India’s Grand Canyon
Aptly termed as India’s Grand Canyon, Gandikota is an isolated gem that has for many many years been the private treasured spots of offbeat travelers for obvious reasons.

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Deep Gorges by the Penna

Built as a fort by the Nayaka dynasty, this majestic gorge provides a jaw-dropping backdrop with fort walls , 20 feet high gate and the Penna River that flows gently by at the bottom of this 300 feet high gorge. An absolute delight for trekkers, Gandikota will amaze you, so will its history and the 101 fortresses which are still intact and the village that will provide you a glimpse of the local culture.

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Clear Skies in Gandikota

Travel Time/ Distance:5 h 30 min (280.9 km) via NH7
How To Reach:There are direct buses that run from Bangalore to Jammalamadugu . From Jammalamadagu there are APSRTC buses are available to Gandikota.
Those driving/ riding on their own can use the handy tips from Team-BHP: http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travelogues/154289-wanderlust-traveller-gandikota-belum-road-less-travelled.html

2: Valparai : Land of Hairpin Bends and more….
It’s green, it’s misty, it’s still untouched and majestic. Located in the picturesque Annamalai Mountain Range, Valparai stands proud and unpolluted at an elevation of 3500 feet. This is where the wildlife co-exists harmoniously with the man made coffee and tea plantations.

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Storm Approaches

The adventure begins way before one reaches Valparai, as the road leading to Valparai from Azhiyar consists of 40 hair pin bends through a wildlife reserve which is on the bucket list of many a biker enthusiasts down South.
There is no man-made attractions in Valparai, the waterfalls, the deep rainforests and various endangered species of bird and animals are what draws most travelers to this place.

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The best shade of green

Travel Time/ Distance:8 h 23 min (457.4 km) via NH7 and Salem – Coimbatore Hwy/Salem – Kochi – Kanyakumari Hwy
How To Reach: There are direct buses that go from Bangalore to Pollachi, the place closest to Valparai in the plains, and is some 65 kilometers away from it. From Pollachi one can rent a taxi or buses are available from 2.30 am to 10.30 pm with an interval of 25 minutes. Private taxis are available near Railway station and Bus stand.
From Coimbatore:. You can also take a bus from Bangalore to Coimbatore which is around 100 km away from Valparai and takes a taxi.Valparai buses start at Ukkadam bus stand Coimbatore.

3:Madikeri: Scotland of South India
The quite land of the mountains, Madikeri has been blessed with a noticeably great climate and natural surroundings. We are not just talking about green fields, forests and verdant hills, Madikeri embraces the fresh aroma of coffee and Cardamon and offers the vibrancy of an idyllic countryside getaway.

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Misty Morning 

Dotted with beautiful wooded slopes , rugged terrains, and colorful homes, Madikeri has an irreplaceable charm that keeps drawing travelers weekend after every weekend.Nomadic types will love the long walks across the coffee plantations and charming homes that are full of character and give Madikeri that charismatic vibe.

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Soulshine by the Paddy Field

Travel Time/ Distance:5 h 24 min (248.6 km) via NH275
How To Reach : There is a direct bus between Bangalore and Madikeri. You can take State Transport Bus from Bangalore to Madikeri

4:Chembra Peak : Land of the Heart-Shaped Lake
Though Wayanad is not necessarily off the beaten path, there are places within Wayanad that definitely deserve a mention in our list. One of the tallest peak in Wayanad, Chembra Peak which is around a few kilometres from Kalpetta is ideal for anyone that loves a little adventure and trekking.

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The Hike Begins!

The trek to the top of the peak can take anywhere between 3-4 hours but it is worth the effort! The sight of a heart shaped lake called the ‘hridhayathadakam’ is definitely one to behold. It definitely serves as the ideal base for a great photo op and even camp base but camping is off limits as there are animal sightings around the area after dark.
To get to the peak one has to first take permits from the VSS Office. Once you are at the top, you can enjoy a birds eye view of Wayanad.
Organized treks in this area which is highly advisable cost anywhere between Rs 500-Rs 1000 for 10 members.

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The Heart of Chembra

Travel Time/ Distance :5 h 58 min (282.1 km) via NH275 and NH212
From Kalpetta: One can hire the local taxi to Meppady, from Meppady you can take the estate road to Chembra.

5:Masinagudi, Mudumalai: Land of Ancient Old Hills
One of India’s first wildlife sanctuaries, Mudumalai should be on every avid traveler and wild life enthusiasts list not only because it ranks on top of country’s most preserved wildlife parks but also because of everything else that it has to offer. Summer marks itself with the most stunning shade of green and floral garb and boy is it Instagram worthy!

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The Nilgiri Calling

If you are a bird lover than Mudumalai is the perfect place to get some great shots as the place alone has recorded over 300 species of birds ranging from the Malabar Grey Hornbill, the White-bellied Woodpecker, White-bellied Drongo and the Grey Drongo among a host of other birds.

Private vehicles are not allowed inside the sanctuary, but the Park has its own jeep and buses that follow a pre- planned course. Expect to see a lot of elephants which can be found near the river in summer. Among the carnivores keep your look out for Leopards which are more predominant in the area and jackals as well.

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Swan Diaries

The entire wildlife experience is only enhanced if you opt to stay at one of the many unique homes that are scattered around the region. One such special place is Safari Land Resort which is supported on Machans and saltlicks overlooking waterholes are great spots to view wildlife unobserved.

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A rustic, luxury option, this quaint beautiful tree house is set approximately 35 feet above the stream, that flows all through monsoon and dries up in summer. Made entirely from eco-friendly materials, the tree house has tasteful interiors and offers hypnotizing views of Nilgiris.

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View from the Bedroom

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Travel Time/ Distance: 4 h 47 min (229.0 km) via NH275
By Bus: Board a bus to Ooty with a ticket to Theppakadu and hop off at Mudumalai Wildlife Reception Centre One in Theppakadu you can hire a Jeep
Private Car: Bangalore to Masinagudi can be covered via 3 different routes. The shortest one is through NH209 , the second one through NH 275 and the longest one through

What better way to spend a weekend than with an adventure packed holiday. If you have discovered some more offbeat places on your own, leave us a reply and we will be happy to feature it on our list.

By : Richa Devi