Weekend getaways, journeys of discovery, chill-out breaks. Take your pick!
Walk in the woods in Wayanad, Kerala
(277.4 km from Bangalore)
It’s a long drive to Wayanad from Bangalore, but, once you leave the city, you will be rewarded with long stretches of smooth road, going through small green towns on the Mysore-Ooty road. Once you do get to Wayanad, go trekking – you can choose from hardcore climbs, like the one to the Chembra peak or short nature walks through coffee and pepper plantations. Next, head to Pookode Lake, for a leisurely boat ride or set out on a lazy lakeside stroll and take in the gorgeous views on offer. A short drive away is the almost-too-pretty-to-be-real Soochipara Falls. The hike is down a steep, rocky path, but the views on offer make it all worth it. While natural beauty is abundant in Wayanad, it’s also home to some peculiar history. Case in point: the chain tree: a Paniya tribal was chained to the tree by a British planter so that he wouldn’t reveal the route to the spice plantations to anyone else. Or the Eddakkal Caves, which cocoon prehistoric carvings. It’s this blend of nature and history, along with the warm, friendly locals, that makes Wayanad a special place to escape to.
Go on a pub crawl in Pune, Maharashtra
(147.8 km from Mumbai)
If you take your craft beer seriously, you’ll appreciate the fruity Bavarian wheat beer on tap at the 1st Brewhouse at Doolally on Tap! – the very first brewery in Maharashtra, making it the perfect starting point of a Pune pub crawl. If it isn’t 9pm yet, head next to Swig in Koregaon Park; it’s two for one during happy hour (7pm – 9pm). The cosy little bar, known for its service and beautiful interiors, has great music as well. Shift to nearby Effingut Brewerkz next. With the warm, woody interiors and the range of fermented beverages – beers and meads from organic honey on tap, you’re assured of a great drinking spree. If all the bar-hopping has already put you in high spirits, head to the hep Viman Nagar Social. Call for one of their tall Long Island Iced Teas, and, before you know it, you’ll be dancing the night away. Next morning, head bright and early to quirky Terttulia for the perfect hangover cure: eggs Benedict or eggs Florentine. Forget, for a bit, about liver poisoning, and call for the pitcher of their Sunday sangria.
Go temple-hopping in Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu
(73.8 km from Chennai)
Kanchipuram is known as much for its ancient temples as for its silk saris. Begin your temple run with the 8 CE Kailasanatha, Kanchipuram’s oldest temple. Between the detailed carvings on the soft sandstone structures and the intricately detailed half-animal deities, you’ll find plenty of mythological stories set in stone. Next, pop into the Vaikunta Perumal Temple. This Vishnu temple has wall panels adorned with historic narratives that date back to the period of the Pallava Dynasty. Another must-see is the 100-pillared marriage hall at the Varadaraja Perumal Temple, which was added in the 16th century and features extravagant carvings. Since no trip to Kanchipuram can be deemed complete without picking up a silk sari, do indulge in some retail therapy. Heavily influenced by temple art, the saris bear images such as peacock feathers and images of gods – don’t battle your urge to splurge; pick one to take back home. You must.