BENGALURU: There’s a nip in the air and a sense of thrill and adventure all around. Here’s your guide to making the best of Bengaluru’s winter days – and nights
Trekking in spots around the city during the winter brings in a different experience, thanks to the cool breeze. Spots such as Skandagiri, Nandi Hills and Avalabetta seem to be popular, with mesmerising sunrises and dense trails. While Nandi Hills is a good spot to explore lush greenery and a view above the clouds, Skandagiri is more of an adventure with rocky trails and inclined slopes which makes it an adventure to the hill top.
According to Harshith Hegde, who has been trekking for over five years now, short treks around the city are the perfect dose of adventure for the weekends. “Around Bengaluru, there are a few spots like Nandi Hills and Skandagiri which may be a short trek but are still as fun in the winter. The rocky trails of Skandagiri are beautiful paths to walk through at the edge of dawn. It’s always a fun experience to start your weekend with these small treks and return home knowing you didn’t have to travel to the Himalayas to calm your inner adventurer,” says Hegde.
When it comes to taking long treks, Pushpagiri (Kumara Parvatha) is the is the second highest peak in the Western Ghats mountain range situated in Kodagu district of Karnataka, after Tadiandamol. Compared to other treks around Bengaluru, it can be considered on the tougher side.Most of the trail is covered by lush forest area and during the winter, the misty mountains provide great views.Tejaswini K who completed the 28 km trek recommends an overnight stay and claims the waterfall is a must visit. “Kumara Parvatha took me away from the city and after an exhausting 21km trek on day one and a good dinner at Bhattaramane, I could see dark sky exploding with stars which is quite priceless,” she says.
– Muneef Khan
Cycling isn’t just a healthy, low-impact exercise but is also good for the environment. And there’s no better time than winter for an adrenalin rush from a bicycle ride. Says IT professional Suketu Sharma: “I have always had a special love for cycling. But I wait for the winter season to go on rides as the weather allows me to go long distances without having to sweat much. I love the cool breeze and the lush greenery on the outskirts of Bengaluru.”
Cycling enthusiast Praveen Shetty has a different story to tell. He says: “I love going for rides during winter because I get some bonding time with my 14-year-old son Paaras. We enjoy the father-son time we get and he loves cycling as much as I do.”
And stories that make you go ‘aww’ don’t stop there. Anvitha P, a 27-year-old copywriter met her fiance Arjun two years ago when she went cycling to Ghati Ghats with her friends. She says, “Arjun was a common friend and had joined us for the ride. We fell in love with each other and have since then been on many rides together.”Who knows, love might be around the corner for you too this winter.
– Brinda Das
If you are tired of city life, give a shot to star gazing this winter. Take note from Captain Preetham Madhukar, who has been organising star gazing camps for schools, colleges and corporates for three years now. Having served in the Indian Navy for almost 20 years, Madhukar tries to keep old techniques of identifying stars and constellations alive.
The 43-year-old says, “I want to bring awareness about the night sky and educate people on how the sailors used to navigate their route.” He adds, “My camps are simply about knowing the actual stars without relying on gadgets or technology.” These overnight camps start from `2,000 and could help you spot stars like Canopus or constellations like Gemini, Orion, Taurus and more.
If you like your stargazing with a side of music, try events like Bangalore Gig Nights. “These events are like an overnight picnic where you have music, star gazing, night trails etc,” says Ryan Dalton, the event’s organiser, adding that the cost for such events starts from `2,500 onwards.
– Monika Monalisa
Every Bengalurean has something different to like about the city. For rock climbers, it’s the weather. With winter here, rock climbers are looking forward to celebrating their wanderlust and adrenalin rush with some off-beat destination trips.
Lokesh Rajan, a 21-year-old professional rock climber, says, “Bengaluru’s winter season is not that cold and is the perfect time to explore outdoor activities. Nowadays, along with camping, climbers try to get more localised flavour of the trip. For winter rock climbing, local places like Avathi, Raogudlu,Varlakonda, Turahalli and Savandurga are some of the best options forcity dwellers.”
According to Mahanya Sreedhar, another professional rock climber and partner of Equilibrium Climbing Station, Bengaluru has some interesting close spots to indulge in exciting outdoor activities. “For example, there are a lot of small yet attractive spots in Ramanagara, which are less than 50-60 km away from Bengaluru. You can go to these places in the morning and come back by night. We have already started planning for winter sessions, we are starting with Varlakonda on December 7. This spot has around 20 established climbs on it, offering a surprising variety of terrain: the climbing mixes mantles, slopes, the odd crack or roof, and plenty of tiny crimps.”
– Lesly Joseph
Come winter and Bengaluru becomes the temporary new abode for a list of visitors that include the Northern Pintail, Green Sandpiper, Grey Wagtail, Eurasian Marsh Harrier and more such birds of a feather. The chilly season is a real treat for birdwatchers in the city, thanks to the influx of migratory birds from Central Asia and Siberia. Rashmi HN, an avid bird watcher, says pelicans and painted storks have already made an appearance in Bengaluru. “One can also expect to see Rosy starlings and Barn swallows soon,” adds Rashmi, who is also a technical architect at Wipro.
According to Ulhas Anand, who has been birdwatching for 30 years now, one can expect to see many resident and migratory birds in winter months. “The number of species almost doubles during this time,” says Anand, who is also the co-founder of EcoEdu.
Birdwatching seems to be gaining traction with many in the city. Anand recalls his initial sightings, which saw many students and professors. But today, one can see photographers, retired folks, youngsters and software professionals taking an interest as well. If you do decide to give this activity a shot, just remember to follow some basic rules. “Don’t get too close to them for photos or imitate their calls, don’t wear bright colours and definitely don’t offer them food or litter the premises with biscuit or chips packaging,” advises Rashmi, who adds that the best time to bird watch would be around sunrise or sunset since the winged creatures are most active then.
Besides being an interesting hobby, birdwatching can also be a great way to make new friends. Just ask Anand, who has met local birdwatching groups in USA and Germany. “This universal hobby is not just interesting but has a socialising aspect as well. You’re bound to find other people who share this interest everywhere you go,” he says.
– Simran Ahuja