When one thinks of a tourist destination, their mind first goes to some exotic location, be it abroad or in our country. However, while we’re out vacationing at these locations, we forget the experiences a simple city can offer us.
One of my favorite places to visit is the city of Belgaum, or Belgavi, as it’s officially called, located at the northern tip of Karnataka, along the Western Ghats. It is in an ideal location, close in proximity to Maharashtra, and Goa – which allow for fun weekend getaways to a new place every time. And the best part is, it’s only a couple of hours away from Bangalore, as it is roughly 500 km away.
However, my absolute favorite way to travel to Belgaum is through a train as it provides beautiful views and makes you appreciate the journey all the more.
Its history is also one to be remembered – it was, and still is a major military center. The city served as a major military installation for the British Raj, primarily due to its proximity to Goa, which was then a Portuguese territory. Once the British left India, the Indian government continued and still continues to have armed forces installations in Belgaum. In 1961, the Indian government, under Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, used forces from Belgaum to end the Portuguese rule of Goa.
Now, the city is well on its way to becoming a Smart City, under the SmartCities Mission. It has an airport, connecting to major cities, well-built roads, and good facilities.
But don’t worry – as modern as the city seems – it still retains its old charm, especially with its two forts – The Belgaum Fort, and the Rajhansagad Yellur Fort.
The Rajhansgad Yellur Fort is a definite stop if you love scenic views. It is located on a hill, 3310 ft above sea level, which provides a beautiful view and a perfect backdrop for pictures. There isn’t much else to do, other than visiting the temple in the middle of the fort, but the view makes it worth it.
Another place to visit is the Belgaum Fort, which is well known in history – mainly for it being a place to hold Mahatma Gandhi during the freedom struggle. The fort is majestic and holds temples (Jain and Hindu) and two mosques. All these structures are beautifully designed and have deep roots in history.
Belgaum also offers hillocks dotting the outskirts of the city, with vehicle access, which provides scenic views and peaceful surroundings. On every trip, we would visit one or the other hillock, and enjoy the calm, away from the city.
A spot for adventure enthusiasts is Vaccine Depot – started as a Vaccine Institute for manufacturing Small Pox vaccine in 1904. It is now an area, rich in flora and fauna – perfect for a walk. It is now rundown, but the scenery and sturdy trees to climb are a wonderful way to spend your day.
And finally, one of my absolute favorite things to do every time. I wish is to go to either Goa or Dandeli, a district near Belgaum, known for its water sports on the river Kali, such as white water rafting, boating, etc. It offers several resorts, perfect for a day trip or a weekend stay.
So, the next time you want to take a small trip anywhere, consider Belgaum as your destination, and fall I love with it, just as I did!
By Seja Heda, Ekya ITPL, 10 B