Insiders View on Karnataka

By Sushmita Das

Karnataka is a tapestry of colours, cultures, flavours, landscapes, timelessness and heart stopping beauty. It’s a place where vibrant worlds seamlessly meld into one another every few hundred kilometres. Sedate plains suddenly rise to dizzying mist covered hilly heights, and then plunge with careless abandon in a white-watered freefall to become languid rivers that flow past cities where time has stopped altogether. And cities where time rushes a relentless rush to keep up with the world; cities that sometimes escape into the deep quietude of thick forests and sometimes, stretches their arms wide open to embrace the sea. Host to some of India’s largest and most powerful dynasties, the state has across the centuries, carried a legacy of art and culture.

Q] One little known fact on Karnataka that everyone should know about when travelling to Karnataka.

Karnataka is blessed with sand, sun & surf; hills; it is rich in wildlife; unique cultivation of silk & coffee.

It is rich in heritage & glorious stories of ruling dynasty of Hoysala, Chalukyas, Wodeyars & Tipu Sultan.

Q]What is a must buy when in Karnataka?

 One must buy  Channapatana Wooden ToysMysore Pak which is an Indian sweet made of generous amounts of ghee, sugar, gram flour, and often cardamom also one must buy the famous Mysore sandalwood soap and perfumes infused with sandalwood fragrance. Silk in Mysore goes back to the time of Tipu Sultan according to some accounts so if you are someone who loves sarees then you must buy a  Mysore silk saree or two. Karnataka is a heaven for Coffee lovers, Mysore is by far the nearest big city to Coorg, which produces some of the best coffee in the country.

Q] One take-away after a visit to this region?

 The taste of various worlds found in within the border of single state.

Q] What is your advice to first time travellers?

You must try all the different cuisines that this region has to offer. The sandalwood products from here are the best & refined work found in India. Come to the state with immense & high expectation to experience the best at one shot. This state never disappoints its guests.

Q]One thing to definitely pack when travelling to Karnataka?

 Come to Karnataka with a empty bag because when you leave, the bag will be full.

Q] One activity anyone travelling to this region should not miss?

The Beautiful Coffee Trails Serene Beaches.

Q] Most romantic place to take a special someone to.

There are a lot of places to visit like Coorg, Chikmagalur, and Gokarna.

Q] Where should anyone, travelling to this region, definitely get their picture taken.

Do visit Mysore Palace, Hampi Monument, the hill top of Chikmagalur or the Kabini River bed, the hilltop of Jain Shrine of Bahubali at Shravanabelagola to get amazing pictures.

Q] Best place to enjoy sunset/sunrise?

Best place to experience the sunrise are Hampi, Shravanabelagola & Badami Caves for sunset.

Q] Best place to have local food?

Dig in to the authentic delicacies when in Bangalore, Mysore, Coorg, Mangalore

Q] Your favorite local dish and drink that you would recommend.

 Gowda & Mangalorean cuisine, Kodava Cuisine. Bangalore is blessed with beautiful land for wine cultivation. Local winemaking factory offers guests a visit to the winery & also gives a chance to taste a few.

Q] One place only the locals would know.

Sakleshpur which is a hill station in the Western Ghats mountain range. It’s surrounded by slopes covered with tea, coffee and spice plantations. Extremely beautiful..

Q]  The best pub and place to experience the nightlife here.

District 6, Bang – The Ritz Carlton, Church Street Social, Skyye, The Bierre Club, Arbor Brewing Company, 1522 The Pub & Toit Brewpub are some of the best places to experience the nightlife here.

Q] A local festival you feel more travelers should come and see

 Mysore Dasara which a 10-day royal festival celebrating victory of truth over evil starting with Navaratri and the last day being Vijayadashamiis. The Mysuru tradition celebrates the warriors and the state fighting for the good during this festival.

 Is there any particular month you would not recommend travel to this region and what would that reason be?

  Karnataka is blessed with good climate. The entire year the state can be visited & planned to visit. However in North Karnataka which is closer to Deccan Plateau is comparatively hotter between summer months.

Q] In one sentence, Karnataka is ?

Karnataka is One State with Many Worlds.

Sushmita Das – Branch Head Bangalore

Hailing from the land of tea gardens, famous Muga silk & world’s only home of one-horned Rhino “Assam” I have post graduated in Travel & Tourism Management & a trained professional in customized tour packages in India. Landing up in Tourism industry seems to be a planned focus in my life with a working experience of 6 years. Traveling has always been a part of my life & a passion to meet & interact with people from vivid lifestyle, cultural value, language & traditions. Have vastly travelled North & South of India with various people on various occasions trying to paint my life with all possible colours.

Top 5 Monsoon Getaways

“When the skies turn grey and clouds appear, just before the first drops of rain descend, there is an excitement which mounts in the air. The clouds mass in great billows and a Biblical darkness descends as thunder and lightning fill the skies. When the heavens open, the rain does not fall, it hammers. In minutes, the earth is swirling with so much water you feel fish might leap forth. Children dance in the streets. Strangers smile at one another in delight. The aroma released by rain on sun-baked earth is intoxicating. Overnight the landscape is transformed into a lush green vision.”

The monsoon magic continues – on a cool rainy evening over a cup of ‘garam chai‘,  what could be a better time to explore the lush green –  dotted with gurgling streams and waterfalls – a chance to go back to your childhood and play your heart out in the pouring rain like a little kid.

We believe that the monsoons are an invigorating and rejuvenating time –  the rains nourish not just the parched earth but also the spirit. It’s a time to savor nature, replenish good thoughts, relax, indulge, enjoy, give the body a break.

So pack your bags and head out to our recommended destinations for this monsoon to experience the sheer joy of living life the Wanderers way!

Chase the Clouds in the South: Coorg

A tucked away gorgeous hill station – the famous coffee, honey and orange plantation.

Top it with the aroma of freshly brewed coffee, the soft mist, lush green landscapes, rumbling sounds of rivers and waterfalls, cascading rivers –  all of it just working its magic on seducing you and coaxing you to head out and explore the gorgeous landscape.

There’s just so much that you can do in Coorg – explore the lush forests of rosewood and teak and a variety of butterflies, woodpeckers, crocodiles, elephants and sambars, watching the clouds go by whilst reading your favorite book, heading out to the Elephant Training camp at Dubare, rafting or simply sitting back and letting the sensual blend of vanilla and orange seduce your senses. The misty clouds and the dew drops await you…

Step back in time: Hampi

Hampi in the monsoon is a whole different  world.

Although in ruins today, this capital city once boasted riches known far beyond the shores of India. The ruins of Hampi of the 14th Century lies scattered in about 26 sq. km area, amidst giant boulders and vegetation. Protected by the tempestuous river Tungabhadra in the north and rocky granite ridges on the other three sides, the ruins silently narrate the story of grandeur splendor and fabulous wealth. The splendid remains of palaces and gateways of the broken city tells a tale of men infinite talent and power of creativity together with his capacity for senseless destruction.

Singing magic in Rajasthan during the rains 

Where Jaipur’s dusty grace takes in a subdued color during the rain, Udaipur literally comes to life during the monsoon, becoming filled with a lush green tone and a sense of perfect calm as the seven man-made lakes spill over the dams and through the canals, attracting wildlife and sightseers in equal measure.

Come monsoon – and the desert land comes alive – the colors play on the broad sky – perfectly clear but for a couple of prettily wispy clouds – spend your days catching the rainbows in the sky and watching the arid land paint itself in myriad shades of green.

There’s just something about monsoon in the gorgeous land of color that makes you want to throw away your sensitivities – you just don’t want to bother with your umbrellas or rain-wear – well there’s no point. You’re going to get wet anyway. But so what? You’ll dry off in the bright sunshine that follows. And even if you don’t, there’s something about the rain which makes you feel such a bond with the landscape that you don’t mind at all.

Head out to Rohetgarh (one of Madonna’s favorite) or indulge in the boutique experience at Mihirgarh.

Immerse yourself in the surreal beauty of Pushkar – where the white washed temples around the lake whisper hushed tales about the town surrounded by hills of green.

The land of thousand colors comes alive in Shekhawati – where on a cool evening, you could unravel the million colors that are painted ‘oh-so-gloriously’ as frescos on the walls of the havelis.

Operatic and magnificent monsoon in Goa

Goa in the monsoon is truly magical, a time of year when nature is at its best and most bountiful. The colors form backdrop to everything—the roads, the landscapes, the ubiquitous waterfalls, the stormy seas…

The glorious monsoon has the potent power to seduce the traveler to put up his/her feet and watch the stormy clouds work its magic. Sipping on a cocktail, swaying on a hammock or simply walking in the misty rain – Goa is the perfect getaway for your monsoon.

The perfect getaway: Madhya Pradesh

A step back in time or a perfect retreat for your city stressed nerves – the idyllic Madhya Pradesh is the perfect getaway for the monsoon. Lying on the banks of the Narmada, the rain washed ghats of Maheswar and the ruins of Mandu form an idyllic setting amidst a terrain which is arid most of the year has the monsoon color it with green.

A four day jaunt into the lush green tinted world’ would have you step back into  time – where the age old temples and the ruins have a mesmerizing tale to tell.

And what we love about the place: is the fact that Mandu is untouched by the ubiquitous cola stalls, self confessed guides and well fed beggars, making it possible to immerse yourself in its historical legacy. You can marvel at the Afghan architectural acumen here at Hoshang Shah`s Tomb or compare the great mosque of Damascus with the Jami Masjid, peacefully.Between Baz Bahadur`s palace courtyards to Rani Roopmati`s pavilion view of Narmada flowing through the Niram plains, there is a kaleidoscope of sight and sound living in the city.