India will be celebrate its 69th Republic Day on January 26th; the moment when India was born as a sovereign democratic republic. And for those looking for a break less than a month into the new year, it marks the first proper long weekend, not counting the one that fell on New Year’s Eve. A lot of you might want to stick to Bangalore and head out for some food, music and drinks. But for those of you who want to get out of the city itself, these three days are the perfect opportunity to pack your bags and head out. Here’s are five great destinations near Bangalore that should give you some ideas for the long weekend. ALSO READ: Republic Day 2018: Best Places to Visit in India this Republic Day Long Weekend Also Read - Best Places to Celebrate New Year in India
Ooty in Tamil Nadu
The term ‘Queen of the Hills’ is thrown around quite a lot for hill stations in India, but Ooty deserves its spot. The hill station in Tamil Nadu is around 270km from Bangalore, and January is as good a time as any other to head here. Ooty will be enjoying a lovely cool winter, complete with mist gently floating along its tea estates and forested hills. This is a destination perfect for family holidays, solo travelers and couples. Also Read - Bengaluru is India’s Top-Ranked City in New Global Prosperity Index, Delhi and Mumbai Also Feature in the List
Kodaikanal comes second in the rankings of hill stations in Tamil Nadu, and gets its own tag of ‘Princess of the Hills’, which is admittedly not thrown around as often as the title of queen. Titles and tags aside, Kodaikanal is a beautiful getaway just around 460km from Bangalore, a welcome reprieve from the weather of the plains. The town has its share of attractions, like Berijam Lake, Bryant Park and Coaker’s Walk. Also Read - Weekend Getaways From Bangalore in November
Tamil Nadu is not the only state with its share of stunning hill stations. Kerala has Munnar, located around 480km from Bangalore’s Kempegowda Bus Stand and well-connected by road and rail. Located in the midst of misty hills, Munnar is a perfect spot for romantic couples, families, friends and solo travelers alike. The protected reserves around the hill station are teeming with wildlife and you can visit them so long as you have the permits.
If hill stations are not your thing (it should be, given that it is the perfect weather), you can also head to Pondicherry, more affectionately called Pondy. The union territory is around 320km from Bangalore and boasts of splendid beaches, a French colonial culture well-preserved for centuries, churches and temples and a planned layout you don’t see in most of India. Spend your time at Auroville or the Promenade beach, or at the Rock Beach.
Goa is going to be jam-packed, so skip the usual beach haunt and head to Gokarna instead. It is closer than Goa at around 500km, and its beaches are more secluded than the ones in Goa. Gokarna has picked up in popularity in the past years, but it still has several quiet spots where you can enjoy your getaway without the crowds. The beaches are still unspoiled and pristine, and there are a few major temples for pilgrims to visit. NOW READ: Republic Day 2018 Long Weekend: Best Holiday Destinations near Delhi for a Getaway
Finally, we have the ancient capital city of Hampi, around 350km from Bangalore. The city is home to the ruins of the Vijayanagara Empire’s once sprawling capital, now a World Heritage Site. You can spend a day or two just exploring the ruins and ancient monuments that stand as a reminder of the culture and achievements and architecture of this once grand empire. Hampi Bazaar offers some shopping options too.