Karnataka has something for every kind of traveler. You have the white sandy beaches of Gokarna, the coffee plantations of Coorg, the magnificent ruins of Hampi and the tigers of Nagarahole National Park. But these are just the popular destinations. For those who prefer to take the off-beat road, Karnataka has even more gems hidden amongst its forests, hills and towns. Here is a look at some of the offbeat vacation spots in Karnataka. ALSO READ: 15 breathtaking photos of Hampi and Badami in Karnataka!
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Jayamangali Black Buck Conservation reserve
Located in the Tumkur district beside the village of Maidenahalli, the Jayamangali Black Buck Conservation reserve covers around 798 acres and has the largest blackbuck population in the state aside from the popular Ranibennur Blackbuck Sanctuary. The star of this reserve is, of course, the famed blackbuck. But you can find a wide variety of flora and fauna here, with 67 types of mammals and butterflies. There is the Indian gray mongoose, Indian wolf, and 14 types of snakes. There are also 125 species of birds here. Also Read - Coronavirus in Gujarat: 14-month-old Toddler Dies of COVID-19 in Jamnagar
Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary
Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary
One of the largest wildlife sanctuaries in the state, Dandeli covers around 834 square kilometers and makes for a great spot to relax in the middle of nature. With the River Kali flowing through it, the Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary is home to several wild animals, including tigers, antelopes, leopards, crocodiles and snakes. You can trek through the forests or go on safaris around the sanctuary. You can also take part in rafting and kayaking activities on the Kali River. There has been a steady increase in tourists in the area since the past few years, but Dandeli remains a relatively off-beat destination nevertheless. Also Read - New York Leads Coronavirus Death Toll With 731 Fatalties in 24 Hours
St. Mary’s Islands
St. Mary’s Islands
The four St. Mary’s Islands lie off the coast of Malpe port in Udupi. They are also known by the names Thonsepar and Coconut Island, and are one of the few places in the world where you can find columnar basaltic lava, a rare type of geological formation that makes it look like hexagonal columns of rock are rising up from the ground. Despite the rare sight and the islands being declared an important geological tourism site by the state, the beaches of St. Mary’s Islands remain relatively unexplored and untouched by mainstream tourists. The waters remain clear and pristine, and there are no shops or buildings here.
The hill station of Karighatta lies around 2,697 feet above sea level and around 25 km from the city of Mysore, once the seat of the royal kingdom and a short train ride away from Bangalore. Karighatta is perfect for nature enthusiasts. Trekkers can explore the trails around the hill station, and bird watchers can observe the various species that fly around the region. The hills and tranquil Lokapavanir River at Karighatta also make for a good setting for relaxed getaway. There is also the Karigirivasa Temple that you can visit. Karighatta also lies close to Srirangapatnam and is popular among locals.
For those who want a more wild adventure, Yana Rocks is a great destination. Yana is a small rocky hill station surrounded by the Sahyadri Mountains. During the monsoons, clouds roll through the hill station, drenching it in unspoiled beauty. The hill station lies in the Uttar-Kannada district, around 20 km from the town of Kumta. You can reach the town itself by train or bus. From Yana, you can reach the Bhairaveshwara and Mohini limestone peaks, trekking through the dense forests nearby, or visit the Shiva temple.
Home to the incredible Sri Kollur Mookambika Temple, Kollur lies in the Udupi district on the foot of the Kodachadri hill. The temple itself makes this town worth the visit, but there are other things to do here too. For instance, you can visit the Kashi Theertha, a picturesque spot by the river. You can also trek through the forest that lies around a kilometer away from the temple. Kodachadri, the tenth highest peak in the state, is more than just a stunning backdrop. You can trek up the hill, starting from Kumble Village and reaching the top in three hours. From the peak, you get to see the hills and plains around you.
For a short day trip from Bangalore, Manyapura makes for a good off-beat spot. The small town of Manyapura, also called Manne, lies near Nelamangala and was once the capital of the Western Ganga kingdom that began in 350 CE. Today, you can still find ruins of Someshwara and Kapileshwara temples across the town. The beauty of the rock-cut sculptures that adorn these ruins can still be seen. The ruins are not well marked and lie scattered within the town, but you can ask the friendly locals about where to go to find them. Or you could just drive around and spot them yourself. The best way to reach this town is by road, along NH4 towards T Begur. You can also catch a train to Muddalinganahalli, which lies around 3 km from Manne. ALSO READ: Coolest places in Karnataka in summer
Another small village, Honne Mardu is a destination suited for adventure lovers. The coastal village hosts several water sports activities. You can also explore the areas around the village or visit the nearby attractions: Jog Falls and Talaguppa. Honne Mardu lies in the Shivamogga region, with Shimoga railway station around 80 km from it. The village lies just around 380 km from Bangalore. Road or rail would be the best ways to visit this place, which offers kayaking and rafting activites along the Sharavathi River backwaters too, along with windsurfing.
At the northern end of Karnataka lies Karwar, an off-beat destination close to the beach. Here, you can enjoy the water sports or just lounge at the beach. Blessed with cool climate for most of the year, Karwar brings in visitors from across the nearby regions. The port town can be reached by train; you can get down at Madgaon in Goa or Shirwad, which lies 6 km away. Karwar and Devbaugh are the two principle beaches here, but you also have the Devbaugh Lighthouse, Venkatrama Temple and Sadashivgad Fort for history buffs. ALSO READ: Here are the 10 best hill stations in Karnataka
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