Karnataka can be particularly hot and humid during the Indian summer. Anyone would want to escape the heat, at least for a little while. And now that school is also out for summer vacations, the kids would also want to go somewhere cool. Luckily, you don’t have to travel all the way to the Himalayas or the hills of Ooty or Kodaikanal for a summer break. Karnataka has a fair share of cool places to offer. And while they may not be as cold as hill stations of Himachal Pradesh or Uttarakhand, these destinations can still offer a welcome drop in temperature and change in weather. Here is a look at 10 of the coolest places in Karnataka to visit during the summer. ALSO READ: 11 Places to visit in Karnataka
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Coorg is synonymous with Karnataka tourism, and is probably the best known travel destination for anyone outside the state. The hill station is popular, of course, for its tea, coffee and spice plantations that give its air a rare, enticing aroma. Depending on what time of the year you visit, you can whiff a different kind of scent around Coorg, which is also called Kodagu locally. The picturesque little hill station offers stunning views of the valleys and hills around it, and is often called the ‘Scotland of India’ for its lush green terrain. Madikeri at its center is a popular spot for tourists, and the entire town is a great place to chill and enjoy the view and coffee or tea. More than that, Coorg also offers the Barapole River and its white water rapids that are perfect to quench the thirst of the adventurer in you. You can go rafting up to the limits of the nearby Brahmagiri Wildlife Sanctuary, another great place to visit. Also Read - Over 19 People Killed in Massive Forest Fire in China’s Sichuan Province
Elephant at Nagarhole National Park
The Nagarhole national park is among the more popular wildlife zones in the country, thanks to its formidable elephant population. Here, you get to relax amidst unspoiled nature, complete with fresh streams and a tranquil lake. The park also has a palace often frequented by wild elephants. Safaris along the park are offered via jeep, boat or elephant back, and all of them offer unique and incredible experiences. If you prefer, you can also go trekking and exploring on your own. Named after the winding river that runs through it (the name literally translates to Cobra in Kannada), Nagarhole covers around 250 square kilometers and lies near Mysore and within the larger Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, which also includes the Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary and Bandipur National Park (which makes its own entry later in this list). During the summers, Nagarhole offers a generally pleasant climate and the highest chances of spotting its vivid wildlife, including the famed tiger. Also Read - BWF Freezes Rankings Amid Coronavirus Outbreak, Standings Backdated to March 17 to be Basis For Entry in Future Events
The city of Belgaum offers a pleasant climate throughout the year, which is why it is so popular. Winters can see the temperature drop to single digits, and the city regularly records the lowest temperatures in Karnataka. This makes Belgaum, in many ways, the coldest place of Karnataka and a perfect getaway from the heat. The city is actually the fifth largest in the state and lies around 760 meters above sea level. You can find a lot of interesting places to visit in and around Belgaum, including historical monuments and ruins and beautiful natural vistas. Anshi National Park, for instance, is a popular haunt among nature lovers. For history buffs, there is the massive Belgaum Fort, built in 1519 at the heart of the city. The Bhimgad Wildlife Sanctuary offers a window into nature and a wonderful range of animals, birds and plants. There is also Jamboti, famed for its evergreen hill forests, the ancient Kamala Basti Fort, and Jain Temple lying in its premises.
The beautiful hill station of Kemmanagundi lies in the Chikmagalur district, and offers fresh streams, intricate gardens and majestic views of the Baba Budan Giri hills that surround it. Kemmanagundi is also called the Sri Krishnarajendra hill station because of its history. The Raj Bhavan at the hill station was known to be a favorite summer retreat home for Maharaja Krishnaraja Wadiyar IV, a ruler of the princely state of Mysore from 1894 to 1940. Situated on a slope along the Baba Budan Giri hills, the hill station is around 1,400 meters above sea level. Temperatures remain cool throughout the year, and even during the summers the mercury remains pretty low when compared to the hot and humid plains. The hill station offers plenty of sights and activities, like the Rose Garden, Hebbe Falls, the Baba Budan Giri peak and Z Point.
Elephant at Bandipur National Park
The Bandipur National Park is surrounded by the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary in Kerala, Mudumalai National Park in Tamil Nadu and the Nagarahole National Park mentioned earlier in this list. Set up by the ruler of Mysore in 1931, Bandipur lies around 80 km from Mysuru city on the foothills of the Nilgiris, south of the Kabini River. The national park covers dense forests that lie 680 to 1,450 meters above sea level, with more than 1,000 elephants and 70 tigers calling the place their home. You can also find sloth bears, massive Gaur, dholes and leopards roaming the jungle here. Summers usually mark a dry season for the Bandipur reserve, but April to May marks the arrival of pre-monsoon rains here, offering a very welcome break from the sweltering heat. This makes it a great time to visit the Bandipur reserve.
Kudremukh, a relatively off-beat destination, is a haven for trekkers especially during the summers. Kudremukh during the summers is relatively hotter than others in this list, but the weather is still pleasant for most parts of the day. The season is also perfect for trekking; trails get clearer and so does the weather, and you get to spot more animals along the way. Kudremukh is named after a peak in its area that resembles a horse face (it’s name literally translates to that in Kannada). Obviously, the peak itself is a huge draw, but Kudremukh offers incredible landscapes and more treks and trails to explore. Animal and bird spotting is a popular activity here, and many spend their time here exploring the forests around the area. Summers see the usually dense forest cover thin out, making it easier to spot animals. ALSO READ: Bangalore to Kudremukh: How to reach Kudremukh from Bangalore by road
The incredibly beautiful district of Chikmagalur is famous for its usually pleasant climate and expansive coffee estates. Home to the famed Baba Budan Giri hill range, Chikmagalur has several popular haunts and off-beat destinations worth exploring over the course of the summer. During this season, temperatures rise but stay within a comfortable range, and the nights remain very cool. From here, you can explore places like the Mullayanagiri peak, which is the tallest peak in the state at 1,930 meters. On the way, you can see the Sitalayanagiri with its famed Shiva temple. The second-highest peak in the state, Baba Budan Giri also lies nearby. Its name is derived from Baba Budan, a Muslim saint who called the peak his home over 150 years ago. The name Chikmagalur itself translates to the Land of the younger daughter.
Sunset over the Kabini River
The Kabini Wildlife Sanctuary or Kabini National Park is a popular destination in Karnataka for wildlife lovers. During the British Raj, the area was a famous hunting ground. Today, however, Kabini forms part of the larger Nagarhole national park and is a protected area. It is home to all kinds of animals and birds, bringing in tourists who explore the jungles on hatchbacks, sedans and SUVs. Located by the Kabini River (which it derives its name from), the wildlife sanctuary also offers beautiful views of the forest, lush greenery and, depending on the season, majestic waterfalls. Summers are an ideal time to visit Kabini, when you have a better chance of spotting the wildlife that call it home, including Cheetals, leopards, panthers, spotted deer and Sambhar. The place is paradise for bird watchers, who can spot up to 250 species of birds here.
Waterfall at Kakkabe
The village of Kakkabe lies around 35 km from Madikeri in Coorg, and is known for being the largest producer of honey in Southeast Asia. Among travelers and tourists, it is more famous for its view of the majestic Western Ghats and its tranquil atmosphere. Perfect for couples and families alike, Kakkabe and the Kodava community that calls this place home is a welcoming summer destination for a weekend. The village itself is beautiful and worth exploring, and you also have the Padi Igguthappa temple for the religious folk and the Nalknad Palace for history buffs. The Chelavara Falls and Kabbe Pass are also popular places to visit here. Apart from the treks, Kakkabe is also famous for its flora and fauna and dense rainforests. You can find several kinds of birds, flying squirrels and barking deer here.
Tadiandamol or Thadiyandamol literally translates to large mountain, so you know what to expect with this place. Located in Coorg, Thadiyandamol is actually the highest mountain range in the district and the fifth highest in the state, rising to an elevation of 1,748 meters above sea level. The trail up to the peak is not as popular as others in Karnataka, but promises a memorable experience. Although not entirely easy, the Thadiyandamol trek is incredibly rewarding and exhilarating. The place lies around 280 km from Bangalore and 140 km from Mysuru, and the trail takes you through the largely untouched Shola forests, bringing you closer to nature. Along the way, you see dense woodlands and pristine water streams snaking their way through the Ghats. The entire trek makes for a great weekend getaway for solo travelers, couples and families. ALSO READ: 15 breathtaking photos of Hampi and Badami in Karnataka!
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