Treks galore – Whether you are an expert, beginner, or something in between, Karnataka is sure to have the right trek for you. In Chikkamaguluru, the Mullayanagiri trek to the state’s highest peak (1930m) offers spectacular views, while the Kudremukh trek through forests and grasslands is a test of your will power and agility. Another thrilling trekking experience, more suitable for beginners, is the Tadiandamol trek that starts in dense coffee plantations and takes you to the highest peak in Kodagu.
The Karnataka Eco-Tourism Development Board and Karnataka Forest Department have launched a useful website called My Eco Trip where you can book guided ecocentric treks around Bengaluru and in Chikkamaguluru.
Also Read: Karnataka on a platter
Rafting on the Kali River at forested Dandeli is as soul-satisfying as it is gut-churning. The stretch houses Grade 2 and 3 rapids, which graduate to even more during the monsoons (best avoided at this time for safety reasons). Skilled instructors and outfits offer tours that require you to reserve a whole day, where you are transferred to a campsite, geared up, and given instructions. Then off you go down the frothy rapids for an exhilarating experience.
Surfing in Mulki
Catch a wave far from too-often-trodden waters at the Ashram Surf Retreat. Located in the bucolic village of Mulki it doubles up as a yoga getaway, with great access to the point breaks off the village. While you do have to follow precautions, the spot is largely safe with no dangerous rip currents.
Reach dizzying heights in Bengaluru
Go up, up and away and enjoy the wind & spectacular views of the city below by signing up for a microlight ride at the Jakkur Flying Club. If you prefer your views with something to munch on, then consider Fly Dining, where gourmet food meets extreme adventure. Enjoy a meal suspended 160ft off the ground on an open-air deck with 22 guests around the table, three chefs, a waiter, a safety inspector and strapped into safety harnesses. Once at the highest point, individual seats can be rotated 360 degrees for a full view.
Karnataka is a cycling paradise with a varied terrain dominated by lush emerald hills, opaque rainforests, and a striking coastline. Cyclists get to combine their test of endurance with views of tidy hedges around village homes and dramatic vistas of undulating hills, or feel the sea breezes caressing their hair as they pedal along the coastline. Curated trips, such as those offered by Unventured, wheeling out of Bengaluru to meet the countryside, and routes that include skirting the Arabian Sea, looping around Agumbe’s rainforest patches, and seeing local life at close quarters and other historical pitstops and immersive local experiences as well.
The biking culture in Karnataka, especially Bengaluru, is at full throttle, with a number of active biking groups and clubs—Bangalore Motorcycle Club, R15 Riders Club, Bikerni (for women), and Bangalore Jawa Yezdi Motorcycle Club are just some of the many popular names. Sharing camaraderie, expertise, and adventures, the groups encourage weekend rides and long tours in the state. You can even opt to hire a motorcycle and head out with a group or on your own.
Scuba diving off Murudeshwar
The northern edge of Karnataka is home to Murudeshwar, where a tall Shiva statue housed in an exquisite temple shadows the fishing village below. For adventure travellers, the spiritual bliss comes from visiting the heart-shaped Netrani Island about 20km off the shore for a tryst with the underwater creatures. The visibility is much better than most other destinations in India, so doing recreational dives with PADI-certified instructors offer a chance to spot numerous exotic creatures.
Camping at Harangi Dam backwaters
The solitude of the outdoors, crisp clean air, and the chance to wake up to the soothing sight of forest and water—these are the antidotes to city life afforded at the backwaters of the Harangi Dam, just off Kushalnagar in Kodagu. The little known 3-acre personal camping spot is part of Eco Habitat Homestay and a perfect way to get back to the basics. A coffee estate, bamboo thickets, and tranquil waters skirt the property which is well cut off from the main road.
Spot Wildlife off Kabini River Lodge at Nagarhole National Park charms with its old-world appeal and offers a range of authentic wildlife and nature experiences. Among the list of activities here is a short ride on a coracle, a round basket-like boat. Your boatman will point out resident birds of the region (and maybe a crocodile or two) as you rock and roll along with the rhythms of the river in your seemingly precarious vessel. If boating isn’t for you, take a safari into Nagarhole Forest, the erstwhile hunting grounds of the Maharaja of Mysore, where you might even spot a tiger.