Special Interest Tours
Localized, topic-specific tours are fast catching up in Karnataka – whether it has to do with history, heritage, cuisine, custom or nature.
Bangalore and Mysore, especially, have locally organized food tour groups that take you through key areas like spice and ingredients markets – Mysore’s 125-year old Devaraj Market with its 700 stalls is a good example– and traditional strongholds of food culture where you get to taste the local food at specialized eateries that only the locals would know of. Some tours even take you through a typical middle class home and its kitchen where you can watch and even participate in the preparation of a traditional meal which you then get to eat!
Bicycle tours are fun, more intimate with your group and also with the terrain you’re passing through and can spring more than an unexpected surprise or two! They are fast catching on in Karnataka, with knowledgeable and friendly guides who often keep your interests. A typical bicycle tour could include bit of history not found in the textbooks or guidebooks, allow you to gawk at, say, the biggest tree in South India, peek into a village home, eat a local meal off a large green banana leaf in some out-of-the-way tucked away eatery, chat (mostly in sign language) with a couple of the locals, find yourself miraculously out in the country side– and who knows what else?
Heritage Walks in Karnataka allows you a closer look at historic, religious or even natural pockets of a city or place with the aid of an experienced guide should you wish to get to beneath its surace. Both the government (like the Archeological Department) and private sector operate these tours. Tours spanning anything from five to fifteen days allow you to cover a larger area of the state, usually by coach.
If you’re the adventurous outdoor type you’ve come to the right state. An increasing number of private companies are offering a variety of adventure sports in Karnataka – whether it is scuba diving at coastal Murdeshwara near Udupi, skydiving at Mysore, Microlite flying at Bangalore, Mysore or Coorg, white water rafting on the turbulent Kaveri and Sita rivers, rock climbing at Ramanagara near Bangalore, para diving at Murdeshwara or Malpe and, trekking, camping and angling in the Western Ghats and elsewhere. Thanks to the largely young IT populace in the state, there’s even water zorbing, high rope traversing, off road driving and such other zany stuff!