Summer vacation is here and children are eagerly waiting for a family vacation, isn't it? You have been planning a holiday but filing tax and settling accounts have slightly dampened your spirits. But the children are banking on you for a summer surprise. Fret not! We have got a destination that not only the kids but you too will love to visit - a toy town!
We are talking about Channapatna, which is also known as the toy town of Karnataka. Located around 70 km from Bangalore, Channapatna has more or less similar weather as Bangalore. Accessible in under 2 hours drive, it is a perfect getaway from the city. So fill up the fuel tank of your car and prepare for an exciting day trip with your little ones!
PC: Pratheep P S
Popularly known as 'Gombegala ooru' meaning 'town of dolls' or a toy town in generic terms, this little town produces wooden toys that are unique and showcase excellent craftsmanship of the talented toy makers. The art and skill involved in the making of these toys are centuries old and are passed on through the generations.
Get on the Mysore road, if you are starting from the heart of the Banglore city. Drive on the Banglore-Mysore expressway on the NICE road. It's a comfortable and smooth drive. Exit the NICE road to take the NH275 and reach Channapatna.
On The Way
Grab a quick bite and start early. There are plenty of restaurants, cafes and food joints where you can stop on the way. The 24-hour cafes on Mysore road attract quite a crowd on weekends. While on your way to Channapatna, you can visit the following places, starting from right within the city, unless of course, anyone in the team disagrees.
Also known as Tipu Sultan's Fort, this historical structure was the summer house of the famous Mughal ruler. It is located near one of the Bangalore's busiest market - the KR market. The gate opens for visitors at 8.30 AM and there's nominal entry fee. Inside the stone fort, there's a summer palace made of teak wood.
PC: Indrajit Roy
The palace showcases a fine work of Indo-Islamic architecture. There's a small museum on the ground floor that can be glanced through. The entire building complex and its premise can be covered in about half an hour. With a short visit to the fort, the kids can gain a little out-of-textbooks history knowledge.
As you exit the NICE road and take the NH275, you will drive past numerous restaurants. Driving up for a few kilometers on the Mysore road you will reach at a Go-Karting and Bowling arena. The arena opens at 10.30 AM and allows everyone above the age of 5 to race. It's a fun and bonding activity for kids and parents.
Bidadi is around 30 km from Bangalore and you can take a pit stop here to have breakfast. The place is famous for 'Thatte idli' - a variant of the traditional idli, and you can enjoy the authentic dish at the place of its origin. A popular amusement park Wonderla and Innovative Film City are the nearby famous attractions, but each of the spots require an entirely dedicated day to visit.
Driving for around 20 km more on the national highway, you will reach Ramanagara. Apart from being famous for its sericulture, Ramanagara is well-known among the adventure enthusiast community. It is a hot spot for rock climbers and trekkers. The Bollywood blockbuster Sholay was shot here. Take a walk around the towering boulders and click some snaps to capture memories of the trip.
PC: L. Shyamal
Drive for a couple of kilometers more to reach the Kamat Lokaruchi restaurant and break for lunch. Right next to it is the Janapada Loka 'folk village'. This beautiful folk museum displays thousands of artifacts showcasing the exclusive folk, art and culture of Karnataka. It has many interesting displays including tribal musical instruments and puppets that are as old as 500 years!
Arriving At Channapatna
You will see streets filled with shops displaying numerous colourful toys that will instantly make you realise you have arrived at the famous toy town of Karnataka. Unlike any other trending toys, the toys here are made of wood and vegetable dye, and none of the toys have sharp or rough edges making them completely child-safe.
PC: Pratheep P S
While the toy industries here manufacture all kinds of toys for children of various age groups, not all the toys are for merely play and entertainment purpose. You will be surprised to see the amazing educational toys made out of simple wood. There are numerous mathematical puzzles, abacus, jigsaws, building blocks, etc., to help kids have fun as well as learn.
Visit the toy shops and toy factories. The kids will be thrilled to see the toy making process. Shop for the unique toys that catch your attention, before starting back for Banglore.
PC: Rajesh dangi