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Clean wide roads, just a few vehicles on the roads, huge university campuses and beautiful landscaped gardens� That was my first impression of Belgaum, early morning when I opened my eyes and peered through the window.
Located at about 2,500 feet above sea level, this quaint little town in Karnataka has a South Indian touch to it, along with a very visible Maharashtrian culture! It borders the states of Maharashtra and Goa [Images].
Something like Gorakhpur in the north, on the India-Nepal border in Uttar Pradesh, where the city is caught between cultures of two countries and yet somehow both traditions survive in their own special way.
Belgaum, nestled at the foothills of the Western Ghats, is just two hours away from the sweltering heat of Kolhapur and has no major super malls, or designer boutique. What it offers instead is an old world charm. In the area called Camp, the cantonment area, the pretty houses and other buildings built in traditional colonial style of architecture make a charming picture.
The other tourist attractions here include the old stone fort, built in 12th century AD, the Watchtower, the Sunset Point and quite a few temples and churches.
Belgaum has some amazing places to eat. Swamy's, the quaint little bakery has the most yummy cakes, cheese croissants and mouth-watering burgers.
Try Sun and Sand on college road for lunch. I would also recommend the Biryani at Niyaz. In fact it is a must visit for Biryani lovers! It started as a small joint some years back, but today Niyaz is one of the most popular eating out places in Belgaum, we are told.
When we first set out on our trip to Belgaum I was not enthusiastic at all. Little did I know I would be so impressed with its beauty, hospitality and pleasant weather that I now look forward to visiting the place again, soon.
How to get there
We took a bus from Crawford Market, Mumbai.
Belgaum is 502 km from Bangalore, 500 km from Mumbai and 125 km from Goa.
Where to stay
There are plenty of options available. For details, visit http://belgaum.nic.in/.
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Photographs: Tasnim Munim
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