Road to thrill

Road to thrill

While Bengaluru and Ooty have a lot to offer to every traveller, there are a number of fantastic sights and exciting diversions in between, writes Shobhana Sachidanand


Are you someone who trips on road trips? Then a long trip along the Bengaluru-Ooty route offers not just heritage sights but also breathtaking waterfalls and great options for food and adventure.

The stretch between Bengaluru and Mysuru, especially, is replete with eateries that spoils one for choice. A favourite with foodies, the stretch from Bengaluru to Mysuru has scores of eateries dishing out local fare and the all-time favourites: crispy dosas, soft, fluffy idlis and crunchy vadas that are sometimes over even before closing time.
The many adventure and watersport parks are a big draw with kids making them their favourite hotspots over weekends and holidays.

Entertainment galore

The exhilarating drive from Bengaluru to Mysuru, covering a distance of 147 km by road, has interesting stopovers like Bidadi (29 km from Bengaluru) which has rocky outcrops at a distance. Innovative Film City, a multiple entertainment destination with Ripley’s Museum and Louis Tussaud’s Wax Museum are other hotspots here. Next up is Ramanagaram (47 km) which has boulder rocks with rock formations that invite you to indulge in some rock climbing and rappelling. This town is also known for its silk.

Art & culture

Next stop on the cultural trail is Janapada Loka (52 km), which is a museum showcasing the folk arts and crafts of Karnataka. Situated right beside the popular Kamat Lokaruchi, this is part of an initiative to document, showcase, uplift and preserve rural traditions and society. If you fancy brightly coloured and lacquer-coated wooden toys, then drive into the sleepy town of Channapatna (60 km). Brindavan Gardens, barely 21 km from Mysuru, is one of the most beautifully laid out terrace gardens in the world created in the KRS Dam site.

Water all the way

Located 130 km from Bengaluru, Shivanasamudra is best suited for a day trip and offers a breathtaking sight of waterfalls.


Shivanasamudra Falls
Shivanasamudra Falls


Besides rich architecture, this holy town also boasts  of great historical importance. It was once the capital of Mysore under Tipu Sultan. In addition to this, Srirangapatna gloats in astounding scenic beauty, owing to its spectacular waterfalls. The entire city has an aura of serenity and a spiritual vibe about it. So much so that the monuments on the island town have been nominated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Tipu’s Summer Palace, also known as Daria Daulat, in Srirangapatna, is again a big draw.

• Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple: Srirangapatna is named after Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple. It is one of the pancha ranga kshetrams (five Ranga temples) along the course of River Cauvery.

• Dariya Daulat Palace: A perfect example of Indo-Islamic architecture, Tipu Sultan’s Summer Palace was the summer residence of Mysorean ruler Tipu Sultan. This beautiful palace is now a museum. The serene ambience of the palace and the surrounding garden is to be seen to be believed.

• Balmuri Falls: Balmuri Waterfalls, situated 13 km from Srirangapatna, is one of the favourite Kannada film shooting locations. It is a small waterfall that is also a very popular picnic spot for tourists. It is best to visit it in October or November.

• Nimishamba Temple: Dedicated to Goddess Nimishamba (an incarnation of Goddess Parvathi), the temple is situated around 2 km from Srirangapatna.

• Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary: Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary is a paradise for bird-lovers. Located around 6 km from Srirangapatna, it is the largest bird sanctuary in the state and comprises six islets on the banks of Cauvery. Ranganathittu offers decks to observe migratory birds while one can also go boating to get up-close with crocodiles.

Srikanteshwara Temple, Nanjangud
Srikanteshwara Temple, Nanjangud

Till Ooty, the road offers many leisure stops at places like Mysuru, Nanjangud, Bandipur, Mudumalai Tiger Reserve, and Masinagudi that further enhance the trip:


Mysuru is a culturally rich town and there is a lot to see here. The best attractions of Mysuru are its temples as there are many temples dating back thousands of centuries, full of elaborate architecture made up of beautifully carved columns and domes, and walls filled with ancient designs. Somnathpur Temple and Namdroling Nyingmapa Monastery in Bylakuppe near Kushalnaga are not to be missed.

There are also grand palaces which are open to visitors in Mysuru like Jaganmohan Palace and Mysore Maharajah’s Palace. These are gorgeously decorated palaces with grand buildings with vast, beautifully landscaped lawns, and they are an integral part of Mysuru’s history.

When in Mysuru, do not forget to visit Mysuru Sand Sculpture Museum. The sand sculptures here are breathtaking, and there is also a 3D museum which is a big draw.


A spotted deer in Bandipur National Park
A spotted deer in Bandipur National Park

Nanjangud is a small town on the route from Bengaluru to Ooty, about 23 km from Mysuru. It lies on the banks of River Kapila, and is best known as a pilgrimage town. The main attraction here is Srikanteshwara Temple, a shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple is very old and has been a major centre of Shiva worship for centuries.


When travelling from Bengaluru to Ooty, one can stop for an hour or two to explore Bandipur National Park. This is a tiger reserve that was set up in 1974. A large number of endangered flora and fauna find a home in this national park. It is about 72 km from Mysuru. Prior to its conversion, it was actually a hunting reserve of the Maharaja of Mysore. It spans 874 sq km and is one of the largest and most diverse parks in South India. There are many unique species of animals to be seen in the reserve like peafowls, honey buzzards, red-headed vultures, Indian rollers, crested serpent eagles, spectacled cobras, flying lizards, and many more creatures. A delightful variety of butterflies flutter around the national park, filling it with their colour and grace. 

Mudumalai Tiger Reserve

Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (87 km from Mysuru) shares a boundary between Karnataka and Kerala and is divided into five ranges: Masinagudi, Theppakadu, Mudumalai, Kargudi and Nellakota. Despite its name, it is home to many endangered animal species, including the critically endangered Indian white-rumped vulture and long-billed vulture. The reserve is densely populated with tigers and is an important landmark in the tiger conservation project. There are approximately 570 tigers in the reserve alone.


Tamil Nadu is famous for its Nilgiri tea plantations, so you can stop for some hours in Masinagudi, which is a small hilly district in Tamil Nadu next to Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary, and is about 29 km away from Ooty. This place is perfect for a two-day trip from Bengaluru. The area is a great natural location filled with rich deciduous forests. Masinagudi is also known for its bird population.

A road trip this expansive offers a wholesome blend of all things adventurous. So what are you waiting for? Get tripping...

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