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Karnataka is one of the most prosperous states in India. With a mixture of natural beauty as well as man-made wonders, the region is replete with stunning places. And many of these places can be traveled a little bit away from the capital Bengaluru. You will never run out of places to visit the city on weekends - here are ten of the best gateways.

Vidurashwatha – Lepakshi – Puttaparthi: ↔ 341km (212 mi.)

Vidurshwath is a small village that got its name from a legend in the Mahabharata. According to the myth, Emperor Dhritarashtra's brother Vidur planted Ashwattha - the sacred fig tree here. The ancient tree fell in 2001. This place is also known as Jallianwala Bagh in the south.

Lepakshi is a village on the Karnataka-Andhra Pradesh border, north of Bengaluru. The Virbhadra temple complex located here is a testimony to the architectural prowess displayed by the Vijayanagara dynasty. The huge temple complex is known for hanging pillars, murals, intricate sculptures and monasteries of Nandi and Nagling.

The Nandi bull statue adjoining the Virbhadra temple at Lepakshi is the second largest Nandi structure in the world. © Opposite 5 / Wikimedia Commons

Puttaparthi in Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh is a religious site known worldwide as the birthplace of Sri Sathya Sai Baba and the ashram established by him here is called Prasanthi Nilayam - the abode of supreme peace. If not for religious reasons, the ashram should be visited to experience its architectural beauty.

The Chaitanya Jyoti Museum at Prasanthi Nilayam records the life and works of Sri Sathya Sai Baba. It has won several international awards for design © Mefodiyz / Wikimedia Commons

Kundura Betta – BR Hills – Shivanasamudra Falls: ↔ 370km (230 mi.)

Kundura Betta is an almost unexplored rocky mountain with thick bush. The place is untouched and has the option of trekking from the Rashisadeshwara temple located at the bottom of the Mallikarjuna temple in the middle of the hill. The Rock Streak Trail is not marked and is actually ending, but the view from above is absolutely worth the restroom.

Time lapse video from kundura betta | © Akash Kalgude / YouTube

The BR hill range forms the southeastern border of Karnataka and is known for the Biligiri Ranganathaswamy Temple Wildlife Sanctuary or BRT Wildlife Sanctuary. Another major attraction of the place is the BR Temple.

The magnificent Shivanasamudra Falls is on the Kaveri River as the river is passing through rocky ravines of the Deccan plateau. It is a perennial waterfall and the highest volcanic flow can be seen after the monsoon season. Other nearby sightseeing places are Dargah view-point, Barachuki Falls, you can ride Gir.

Shivanasamudra Falls © Ashwin06k / Wikimedia Commons

Talakadu – Somanathapura – Srirangapatnam: ↔ 327km (203 mi.)

Talakadu in southern Karnataka is a historic landmark, full of architectural wonders, buried in sand. The Archaeological Survey of India is digging to locate these buried miracles. Vaidyanatheshwara Temple along with four others - Arkeshwar Temple, Pathleshwar Temple, Marleswara Temple and Mallikarjuna Temple, are believed to represent the five faces of Lord Shiva. Other important places are Tirumkudal Narsipur, Keerthi-Narayan Temple and Kaveri River-Front.

The outer walls of the Vaidyeshwar temple at Talakadu. © Dineshakkanambadi / Wikimedia Commons

The Chennakeswa Temple is located 25 km from Talakadu on the banks of the Kaveri River in Somanthapura, Karnataka. The ornate temple is a model depiction of the famous Hoysala architecture and is an enchanting site.

1258 AD by Somnath Dandanayaka, the commander of the Hoysala king Narasimha III. The temple was patronized. © Jean-Pierre Dalbera / Flickr

Srirangapatna was a magnificent metropolis 200 years ago and a stronghold of the Mysore Empire for many decades. Today it seems baseless and pointless. The final battle, the 'Siege of Srirangapatnam', of the fourth war between the British East India Company and the Kingdom of Mysore of Tipu Sultan, where Tipu Sultan was killed. The main places of attraction are Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple, Dari Daulat Bagh, Tipu Sultan Gumbaj, Karighatta Temple, Bailey's Dungeon, and Srirangapatnam Fort

Tomb of Tipu Sultan and his father Hyder Ali. © Ariane Zweigers / Flickr

Mysore: ↔ 300km (186 mi.)

Mysore aka Mysuru is the third largest city in Karnataka. The cultural milieu of Mysore gave it the name of the cultural capital of Karnataka. Mysore is famous for its palaces and heritage monuments. It served as the capital of the Kingdom of Mysore for nearly six centuries from 139 to 1958. Prominent places are Jaganmohan Palace, Chamundeshwari Temple, Mysore Sand Sculpture Museum, St. Philomena Cathedral, among others.

Jaganmohan Palace aka Mysore Palace during Dussehra Festival. © Infinite BS / Flickr

Shravanabelagola – Melukote: ↔ 326km (203 mi.)

Shravanabelagola is one of the most popular Jain pilgrimage centers in South India. The 17 m (57 ft) high monolithic Gommateshwar Bahubali statue on one of the two hills here was built in 983 AD and is one of the tallest free standing statues in the world. Other exciting places are, among other places Gomateshwar Bahubali Temple, Chamundarai Basadi, Kambadahalli, Badarabahu Cave, Vindhyagiri, Chandragiri

The Gomateshwar Bahubali statue, built in 983 AD, is one of the most important tirthas (shrines) of Jainism. © pudiravi0 / Pixabay

Melukote is an important holy place in Karnataka. The impressive Yoga-Narasimha temple is built high on the Yadugiri hills. The Cheluva-Narayana Swamy temple at Melukote is another important attraction. Also visit Thondanur which is a nearby temple town and is home to many famous temples.

It is believed that Prahlad himself founded the Yog-Narasimha temple. © Philanthropist 1 / Wikimedia Commons

Hogenakkal Falls – Yercaud: ↔ 466km (290 mi.)

Hojanakkal waterfall is on the Kaveri river in Tamil Nadu. The name Hogenakkal is derived from two Kannada words: hoge - smoke and kal - rock, hence, literally a translation of 'smoking rocks'. The waterfall has been given this name because the force of the water during the fall appears as a smoke rising from the top of the rocks.

Carbonite rocks in this site are considered to be the oldest of their kind in South Asia. © Gemini Kundu / Wikimedia Commons

Yercaud is a hill station in Tamil Nadu located at an elevation of 1,515m (4,970 ft) above sea level (ASL) in the Eastern Ghats. Great trekking options are available in Yercaud and it is one of the best places to relax on weekends.

Yercaud's translation into Lake Forest in Tamil. © Mandaimar / Wikimedia Commons

Coorg: ↔ 488km (303 mi.)

Coorg aka Kodagu is known for its coffee and people. Kodagu is locally known as Kodavanu - the land of the Kodava people who are indigenous people of Kodagu. It is a hilly district situated on the eastern slope of the Western Ghats. The highest peak here is Tadiandamol, which is at an altitude of 1,750 meters (5,740 ft). The main sites of appeal are Abbi Falls, Madikeri Fort, Tashi Lunpo Monastery, Namrodoling Monastery, Dubray Elephant Camp, Nalkanad Palace, Tadiandamol Peak Trek.

There is also a Tibetan Buddhist refugee settlement around Kushalnagar in Kodagu © Vinayaraj / Wikimedia Commons

Belur – Halebeedu – Belavadi – Doddagaddavali – Korvangla – Nuggehalli: 488km (303)

The district of Hassan was the seat of the Hoysala Empire, which ruled most of its southern India from Belur and later from Halebedu. The Hoysala era was an important period in the development of art and architecture. Temple sculptures in Hoysala architecture give a splendid display of opulence. The most famous among them are the Hoylesaleswarar Temple at Halebedu and the Chennakeswa Temple at Belur. Other attractive areas are Laxmi Devi Temple in Doddagadavalli, Archaeological Museum, Basi Temple Complex and Kedareshwar Temple in Halebidu, Bucheswara Temple in Korvangala, Laxmi-Narasimha Swamy Temple in Naugagahalli and Veer-Narayan Temple in Belawadi.

Lakshmi Devi Temple in Doddagaddavalli | © Bikashrd/Wikimedia Commons

Chitradurga ↔ 407km (253 mi.)

The rock cut edition of Emperor Ashoka suggests that Chitradurga was part of the Mauryan Empire in the 3rd century BC. Local traditions belong to the era of Ramayana and Mahabharata in Chitradurga. Other panoramic places include Chitradurga Fort, Obavanna Kindi, Chandravalli archaeological site, Jogimatti peak, Oudumaleshwar, and Tupad Kola.

Chitradurga Fort aka Kallina Kote was built in parts by Palegar Nayakas, Hyder Ali, and Tipu Sultan | © sarangib/Pixabay

Chikmagalur: ↔ 488km (303 mi.)

Chikmagalur is a paradise for trekkers and nature lovers. Some of the most scenic treks of South India are in Chikmagalur district. Must-do activities in Chikmagalur are Kudremukh peak trek, Mulayanagiri peak trek and Kemmangundi peak trek. If you enjoy a long drive, take the Devaramane-Charmadi-Chikmagalur route, which will leave you unfazed with many spectacular views. This route will make the return journey 626 km (389 mi).