Cosmopolitan Bengaluru (formerly Bangalore) is one of India’s most progressive and developed cities, blessed with a benevolent climate and a burgeoning drinking, dining and shopping scene. Yes, its creature comforts are a godsend to the weary traveller who has done the hard yards and it’s a great city for mixing with locals in craft beer joints or quirky independent cafes. Though there are no world-class sights, you’ll find lovely parks and striking Victorian-era architecture.
Among the grandest of India’s royal buildings, this was the seat of the Wodeyar maharajas. The original palace was gutted by fire in 1897; the one you see today was completed in 1912 by English architect Henry Irwin for ₹4.5 million. The lavish Indo-Saracenic interior – a kaleidoscope of stained glass, mirrors and gaudy colours – is undoubtedly over the top. It’s further embellished by carved wooden doors, mosaic floors and a series of paintings depicting life here during the Edwardian Raj era.
Nestled amid evergreen hills that line the southernmost edge of Karnataka is the luscious Kodagu (Coorg) region, gifted with emerald landscapes and hectares of plantations. A major centre for coffee and spice production, this rural expanse is also home to the Kodava people, who are divided into 1000 clans. The uneven terrain and cool climate make it a fantastic area for trekking, birdwatching or lazily ambling down little-trodden paths winding around carpeted hills. All in all, Kodagu is rejuvenation guaranteed.