Looking back at 2020, we see a whole year consumed by a deadly pandemic, a year where travel plans were mercilessly crushed. But looking ahead to a New Year there is hope – a decline in cases and the promise of vaccines to look forward to. There is an unexplainable joy in seeing the most hated and cursed year coming to an end. But more so because of the two long weekends it gifts us as if to compensate for all that is lost.
2021 – A new year but old precautions to continue
With a strain of new viruses coming in and to further curb the risk of higher transmission during the peak holiday season, the government of Karnataka has advised people to celebrate keeping in mind the COVID precautions.
This of course means that our new year’s celebrations will be very different this year. No wild parties or clubbing scenes for sure, and I think it is only for the best. This will allow us to open up to other equally fun and meaningful experiences. So folks in Bangalore, if you do not wish to have a boring NYE in your city, here’s something really fun you can do instead to welcome the New Year 2021 –
1. Enjoying the backwaters of Honnemaradu and Bhadra reservoir
Several years ago, travelers headed to Honnemaradu might have wondered what they would do here, but not anymore. Only a 8-hour drive from Bengaluru, this small village is situated on the backwaters of the river Sharavathi. A hidden paradise, Honnemaradu is mostly frequented by adventure enthusiasts who love testing the waters here for kayaking. But it is not just the kayaking that makes this our number one recommendation. It’s the raw, untouched beauty of the Western Ghats, it is spotting exotic birds in the wild and breathing the cleanest air that makes this place pretty darn good. Now if safety is your only concern, then be rest assured over-crowding is never a problem in this slow laid back town. Interestingly, the island in the middle of the lake also serves as a camping destination, so don’t leave those tents behind. Since all your crazy parties are put on hold this year, how about replacing it with an adventure you wouldn’t actually forget the next day!
Distance: 399 km from Bengaluru, 343 km from Mysore
Time taken: 8 hours from Bengaluru, 8 hours from Mysore
Do not miss: Kayaking, birdwatching, camping
2. Bijapur’s historical trail
Believed to have been ruled by five different dynasties, Bijapur is a flawless time capsule to the past. The rich history of Bijapur is reflected through many crumbling monuments singing tales from the forgotten era. The Gol Gumbaz tops our list of must-see tourist attractions in Bijapur. The mausoleum of King Muhammad Adil Shah is the town’s icon, followed by Ibrahim Roza. Gagan Hall, the erstwhile royal residence and durbar hall, Elavia House which is over 100 years old, Jod Gumbaz, Saat Manzil, and Jal Manzil are other landmarks you can visit in this heritage town. Owing to the countless monuments dotting Bijapur, the town has earned the title, ‘Agra of South India’.
Distance: 525 km from Bengaluru, 608 km from Mysore
Time taken: 9 hours from Bengaluru, 10 hours from Mysore
Do not miss: Heritage tours
3. A dip in the pristine beaches of Marvanthe, Malpe and Kundapu
Back in the day when new years was all about partying and clubbing, Goa was a major crowd puller. Then the pandemic happened! Nevertheless, if a beach holiday is a non-negotiable deal for you on new years, then Karnataka has some really beautiful beaches that you could head to during the 2 long weekends. They perfectly replace the overcrowded beaches and wild parties in Goa with a sense of serenity and calm. If that’s what you are looking at, then head to the beaches in Maravanthe, Malpe, and Kundapu for a simple Sejour. Relax, take it slow and easy, do absolutely nothing, read a fine book on the beach or simply just watch the waves crashing. Maravanthe is often rated as the most beautiful beach in Karnataka by India’s top travel magazines.
Distance: 422 km from Bengaluru, 357 km from Mysore
Time taken: 8 hours from Bengaluru, 7 hours from Mysore
Do not miss: Scuba diving, coracle ride, boating, Kodachadri
4. River rafting in Dandeli
Dandeli is a scenic weekend getaway from Bengaluru. One of the major crowd pullers is the river rafting experience offered here. Kali River offers a rafting stretch of up to 12 km and the white waters are infested with friendly crocodiles. Ironical? Well, it’s true that the waters are crocodile infested, but they are not man-eaters and often shy away from coming anywhere close. And of course, the trained instructors make river rafting as safe as it can get. Thus if the slow inactivity of the pandemic life has gotten to you, then Dandeli is just the perfect choice to try something thrilling to welcome the new year with.
Distance: 458 km from Bengaluru, 487 km from Mysore
Time taken: 9 hours from Bengaluru, 10 hours from Mysore
Do not miss: River rafting, Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary, Kavala Caves, Shiroli Peak
5. Catching gorgeous sunsets and panoramas in Agumbe
“There’s never one sunrise the same or one sunset the same”, says Carlos Santana. Agumbe or fictional Malgudi is quite a name for sunsets, king cobras and rain. Lots of rain! As soon as you enter this tiny village, you will immediately be transported to the 1960s. It’s like visiting a place that is stuck in time, a place that does not check calendars to see which year we are in and that’s exactly what makes Agumbe so special. It offers the perfect detox from the overwhelming city life and lets you enjoy the glory of the good ol days for as long as you choose to stay – so much so that there’s no cell reception to connect you to the modernities of city life. One of the most recommended things to try in Agumbe is to head to the sunset point and watch some of the most gorgeous sunsets along with drinking in the panoramic views of the valley below. If you are wishing for a detox, then Agumbe is where your solace will be.
Distance: 347 km from Bengaluru, 275 km from Mysore
Time taken: 7 hours from Bengaluru, 6 hours from Mysore
Do not miss: Sunset Point, Barkana Falls, Jogi Gundi Falls
With muted new year celebrations this year, there’s very little you can do in your home cities! So go out on these adventures with your gang to make the most of the long weekends with Savaari as your trusted travel partner.