When one thinks of Bangalore weekends, it is usually the image of a tasty craft brew in a swanky pub that comes to mind or large malls with otherworldly discounts. But the adventurers of the city choose a different path as they heed the call of the wild. Some of India’s most diverse ecosystems are in the Southern and Western mountains of India, from thick deciduous forests to temperate meadows and plateau grasslands. The rivers of Karnataka feed the verdant hillsides and to this date, biologists and botanists are discovering new species in these precious habitats.
The jungle road trip with friends is a memorable occasion. People are increasingly renting self drive cars to enjoy these weekend escapades. Even car-owners are choosing rentals since their city-specific hatchbacks or sedans are not equipped as an SUV for off-road excursions.
Bandipur National Park
The Deccan plateau meets the Western Ghats at Bandipur National park, home to species like the tiger and Asian elephants amongst many others. The terrain of the park is defined by the two major rivers that give its boundary, the Moyar and Kabini Rivers. Some of the activities one can enjoy at Bandipur National Park include a visit to the highest point of the park – the Himavad Gopalaswamy Betta which reaches a summit of above 1400 metres. There is a temple on the hilltop and the sunrise and sunset views over the expanse of the forest below are why many shutterbugs and tourists come.
Nagarhole National Park
Located in the hills of Coorg, Nagarhole National Park is a scenic 230-km drive from Bangalore. Along with tigers, the ranges of Nagarhole are home to large bison and elephant populations. The magnificent cascades of the Iruppu Falls are a favourite attraction for visitors here. On this fun road trip, one can also stop at Mysore to admire some of its landmarks and dig into the local cuisine.
Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary
A haven for bird watchers and nature enthusiasts, Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary is a pristine riverine habitat comprising of islets on the gushing Kaveri River. Some of the birds found here include a variety of stork species, streak-throated swallows, kingfishers and more. The winter months see the bird population swell as migratory flocks land from the north. The Sanctuary is also home to a large crocodile population. A boat tour is recommended.
Bannerghatta National Park
Bannerghatta National Park is close enough to the city to be a day trip option and the zoo here is home to a variety of species. Some of the highlights of the Park, located 26 kms from the city, include the tiger safari and the crocodile park.
Short getaways sometimes never materialize because of lack of convenient and affordable transport options. However with the advent of companies like Zoomcar, one can now get a car on rent in Bangalore at low prices. Easy app-based booking and 24/7 on-road assistance also make rentals a hassle-free and secure travel option. All that is left is to mark those dates and be ready for an adventure with friends and family.