Okay, let’s admit it. The fact that Bengaluru sits amidst gems when it comes to travel destinations is no news to either Bangaloreans or outsiders. If you’re living in Bengaluru, you can have no excuses to not explore its hills, lakes, forts, waterfalls and wildlife. By Shubhanjana Das

1. Mekedatu

One of the best road trips within 100 kms from Bangalore, Mekedatu is not your run-of-the-mill weekend destination. Here, the simplest joys of life come out magnified because of the sheer aura of the place. The gentle Cauvery can be crossed barefoot if the water level is low after you drive up to Cauvery Akravati Sangama and then cross the river in a coracle (or, circular boats). If that already sounds fun to you, wait till you explore Mekedatu.

2. Sakleshpur

Hills. Check. Coffee plantataions. Check. Perfect ‘filmy’ weather. Check. Feels. Double Check! Sakleshpur, 260 km from Bangalore, is all heart. Why do we say that? Beacuse Sakleshpur is a chilled out, laid-back traveller’s treat! Take your car, put on your favourite mood music, and see the stress melting off of yourself!

3. Shivanasamudra

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Located in the Chamarajanagar district of Karnataka, a drive to Shivanasamudram seems like the only sane weekend road trip plan we would want to make. At the banks of the river Kaveri and on the site of a hydro-electric power station set-up way back in 1902 is the Shivanasamudram Falls. It has a plunge of 300 ft. Shivanasamudra is the island town which divides the river Kaveri into two gorgeous falls, cascading down the hills after traversing through rocks and ravines of the Deccan Plateau. The drive takes about three hours to cover a distance of 132.7 km.

4. Skandgiri

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Popular among those who know just how breathtaking treks in the Deccan Plateau get, Skandgiri is one helluva night trek. By the time you have charted through the tiring trail and reached the top at 1450 m, you will be rewarded with a sunrise that will pay back every penny of struggle. If that’s not enough, let us tell you that the site also has fort ruins of Tipu Sultan, which definitely adds a rather eerie but exciting appeal to the trek. The trek takes about five hours, depending on your pace, and hey, monsoons are considered one of the best seasons to visit Skandgiri. The cherry on the cake is the meagre 70 km distance you have to travel to reach the starting point of this trek, which is Kalawara village.

5. Savandurga

Drive 60 km to the west of Bengaluru and you will reach Savanadurga, a 1226 m hill, which is considered one of the largest monoliths in Asia. Known amongst pilgrims for the Savandi Veerabhadreshwara Swamy and Narasimha Swamy Temple situated at its foothills, Savanadurga is also the haunt of rock climbers, cave explorers and adventurers in general. If you’re lucky, you may witness the endangered yellow throated bulbuls, an endangered species. Sloth bears and leopards also inhabit the place.

Related: Travel Trend Alert: Top Things To Do In Bengaluru This Season!