• Karnataka Tourist Attractions
Overview

Karnataka, the eighth largest state in India has been ranked as the fifth most popular state in the country for tourism.It is home to 507 of the 3600 centrally protected monuments in India, the largest number after Uttar Pradesh.The State Directorate of Archaeology and Museums protects an additional 752 monuments and another 25,000 monuments are yet to receive protection.Tourism centres around the ancient sculptured temples, modern cities, the hill ranges, forests and beaches. Broadly, tourism in Karnataka can be divided into four geographical regions: North Karnataka, the Hill Stations, Coastal Karnataka and South Karnataka.

A land blessed with many fascinating worlds. Discover ageless monuments, world heritage sites, lush green forests, amazing wildlife, spectacular waterfalls, romantic hill stations, timeless temples, pristine beaches, exhilarating adventure sports and vibrant art & culture. And, as you traverse through the length and breadth of Karnataka, be spellbound by every facet of this amazing land.

Come embark upon a journey through Karnataka. And discover the best of all worlds.

 

Destinations To Visit In Karnataka
Visit Places on Interest during the tour: 

Badami : The capital of the Early Chalukyas, Badami is picturesquely situated at the mouth of a ravine between two rocky hills, Badami is famous for its cave temples - all hewn out of sand stone on the precipice of a hill.

The largest and most ornamental is the third cave temple dedicated to Vishnu. Overlooking the cave temples is a reservoir dotted with temples dedicated to Vishnu and Shiva.

Also a must are the Bhutanath temples that lend their name to the lake beneath the cave temples.

Bangalore : Bangalore, the capital city of Karnataka is also famous as the Neon City of India and Garden city of India. This famous metro of India has been rechristened as 'Bengaluru' of recent. Located at 1000 mts above sea level, Bangalore is rightly called the gateway to South India. This city is situated halfway between the coasts of Southern India. This fifth largest city of India is famous for its education centre and students from all over the world aspire to be a part of these prestigious institutes.

This is the most important place to visit in Karnataka as highlighted by the Karnataka tourism. Famous for its various monuments, palaces and forts, along with a hearting shopping experience, Bangalore has all that a tourists can dream of experience in a single visit.

Belur : Travel to Southern Banaras Belur, the temple town is located 34 kms from Hassan. Famous for its exquisite temple, Belur is known as the Dakshina Varanasi or Southern Banaras. The serenity of Belur is attributed to the celebrated Chennakesava Temple built by the Hoysala King Vishnuvardhana in 1117 A.D to commemorate his conversion from Jainism to Vaishnavism.

The main structure of the temple, which is star-shaped, is a homogenous architectural unit on a raised platform. Inside, even in the darkness, you can see the hand-lathe turned shining pillars, each unique in its own splendour.

Bidar : In the northern-most part of Karnataka lies Bidar - a tiny district steeped in history. As you enter the town, the Bidar Fort welcomes you with five darwazas (gates) that lead into a little town nestling within the ramparts. Enter from the Gumbaz Darwaza and steps lead you to the Rangin Mahal.

The royal residence has elaborately carved wooden pillars, Persian couplets engraved in encaustic tiles and exquisite mother - of - pearl in lay work. The Solah Khamba Masjid is the oldest Muslim building in Bidar and one of the largest in India. Not to be missed are the Gagan Mahal, the Diwan-E-Am where the fabulous turquoise throne once rested, the Takht Mahal, the Royal Pavilions, the Hazar Kothari, the Nubat Khana and the Bahamani Tombs at Asthur.

Hampi : The Vijayanagar Empire came to be celebrated for its might and wealth and as a show piece of imperial magnificence. Vijayanagara is such that the pupil of the eye has never seen a place like it... " So eulogized Abdul Razaq, a Muslim envoy who visited Hampi. The city was sacked pillaged and burnt in 1565 AD, after the combined attack of armies of Muslim Sultanates of the Deccan defeated the Vijayanagar Military Commander and the King fled the Capital. Rocky hills and the mighty Tungabhadra River, which flows through this rugged landscape, dominate the terrain. One can still glimpse the splendour of Vijayanagara - one of the largest empires in the history of India - in its ruins. The Vijayanagar Kings were great patrons of Art & Architecture as evident by the vast ruins of Hampi. In an effort to resurrect this abandoned capital, the government has been involved in the restoration, excavation and protection of the ruins, which are spread over an area of 26 sq kms.

Hassan : The picturesque town of Hassan is located in the heart of Malnad. Having a very pleasant climate throughout the year, Hassan 194 kms from Bangalore is the entry point for Belur, Halebid and Sravanabelagola. Sravanabelagola is a famous Jain pilgrimage with a 17 m high monolith of lord Bahubali standing tall. Belur was once the capital of the Hoysala kings. The Chennakeshava temple took 103 years to complete and is filled with intricate carvings and sculptures. No space is left blank in this finest example of Hoysala architecture. In Belur Veeranarayana temple is also worth visiting. Halebid, like Belur is also a mute testimony to the rich cultural heritage of Karnataka.

Mangalore : 357 kms west of Bangalore is the district headquarters of Dakshina Kannada - Mangalore. With an important port, this coastal town is a major commercial centre. Mangalore could be your entry point to Beach Country - with its virgin and unexplored beaches. It has several famous pilgrim centres. It is a cosmopolitan city, leader in more than one way in banking, private entrepreneurship and in general awareness amongst people. While in Mangalore try and see a Yakshagana performance - an elaborate dance form unique to Karnataka. The Kambala (buffalo race) is another exciting event. A trip to Mangalore would be incomplete without a visit to the 10th century Manjunatha Temple, St. Aloysius Chapel, Mangala Devi Temple, Tipu's Battery and the Jumma Masjid. The Ullal Beach with Casuarina groves is another attraction that draws tourists all through the year.

Mysore - The Fragrant Sandalwood City : Located 770m above sea level and 140 Kms from Bangalore, Mysore, the imperial city, was the erstwhile capital of the Wodeyars. Also known as the city of Palaces, Mysore has never failed to mesmerise the tourists with its quaint charm, rich heritage, magnificent palaces, beautifully laid-out gardens, imposing buildings, broad shady avenues and sacred temples.

Mysore is the erstwhile capital of Wodeyars, the rulers of Mysore State. The Wodeyar family ruled Mysore since 14th century except for a short period of 40 years when Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan were the rulers. Today Mysore is one of the major cities of Karnataka. Mysore has emerged as a thriving market for exotic sandalwood & incense, the Mysore silk sarees and stone-carved sculptures.

Mysore is certainly a charming, old-fashioned and undaunting town dominated by the spectacular Maharaja's Palace, around which the boulevards of the city radiate. Nearby is the city centre with the colourful and frenetic Devaraja Market is inviting a stroll. On the outskirts of Mysore, Srirangapatnam still harbours architectural gems from the days of the great Indian hero, Tipu Sultan, and the magnificent Hoysala temple of Somnathpur lies little more than an hour's drive away.

MONUMENTAL HERITAGE

Badami Caves : The erstwhile capital of the Chalukyas is now confined to a small heritage town of Badami in Karnataka. The rock cut caves that were built in the sixth century has several temple attractions. Located at a distance of 163 kms from Bijapur and 128 kms from Hubli. This is a world famous rock cut cave temple of India. A tour to Badami is important for all those who want to excavate deeper into the history of Karnataka.

Badami caves attractions are perhaps the most famous attractions of Karnataka that are highlighted by the Karnataka tourism. These rock cut temple caves are 4 in number out of which 3 belong to the category of Brahmanical temples while the fourth is a Jain temple. The caves have been numbered numerically in their chronological order. The first caves has a magnificent sculpture of the 18-armed Lord Nataraja (Dancing Shiva), resplendent in 81 different Mudras or hand movements. The hollowed in the control back wall which is a square shaped sanctum also enshrines the Shiva-linga. Cave 2 of Badami caves is dedicated to lord Vishnu who has been depicted in various incarnation like Varaha (boar) and Vamana (dwarf). Notice the walls and ceilings of the caves that showcase carvings of Vishnu in eternal sleep, Shiva, Brahma and the 8 Dikpals, the presiding deities of the 8 directions.

Mysore Palace : The Mysore Palace, built is Indo-Saracenic style with domes turrets, arches and colonnades, the palace is a treasure house of exquisite carvings and works of art from all over the world. The tastefully decorated and inticrately carved doors open into luxuriously decorated rooms.

The palace has now been converted into a museum, which treasures the souvenirs, paintings, jewellery, royal costumes and other items, which were once possessed by the Wodeyars. It is said that the palace displays the largest collection of gold items, quantity wise. The Durbar hall of the palace has an ornate ceiling and many sculpture pillars which are said to have been painted with gold. The walls of the palace are painted with pictures of the Dassera processions and these paintings are painted in such a manner that from any angle you can see the procession coming towards you. The royal throne of the Wodeyars is displayed during the Dassera festival. The palace was originally built of wood, which got burnt down in 1897 AD and was rebuilt in 1912 AD.

Gol Gumbaz : The Gol Gumbaz In Karnataka India is an excellent example of Islamic architecture to be seen in all India in general and the Deccan region in particular. The Gol Gumbaz Karnataka is replete with the trademark elements of the traditional Islamic or Persian style of architecture. The primary and most noticeable feature of the Gumbaz is the central dome. Apart from that, different types of well-formed arches, geometric proportions and use of Islamic motifs as frescos and panel motifs are generously used all over the monument. Local influence can be identified in the highly foliated drum below the bulbous dome, and in the use of the local dark brown stone that was used for the building of most Bijapur mansions. The Gol Gumbaz Karnataka is structured like a massive cube; its four corners adorned with octagonal seven storied towers topped by small rounded domes, projecting at the corners. On each side of the cube are three arches-a large central arch, with two smaller arches on the sides.

An inscription on the entrance arch of Gol Gumbaz Karnataka states that here rests the mortal remains of Muhammad Adil Shah. In line with the sixth story of the corner towers is a projection on the tomb walls, which are supported by closely set brackets, above which is a band of small arched openings. The parapet has a decorative paneling, beyond which rises the bulbous dome with a foliated drum- a typical feature of Bijapur buildings; a pier replaces a pillar and a crescent finial surmounting the spires, to denote the ruler's Turkish origin.

Hampi Pattadakal :Hampi, the second largest world heritage site in the world, is the most celebrated name in Karnataka. Famous for its temple ruins, this heritage town of Karnataka is located at a distance of 352 kms from Bangalore. Hampi was the capital of renowned kingdom of Vijaynagar Empire of 14th century to 16th century. The city derives its name from Pampa, the old name of the Tungabhadra River on whose banks the city is built. This village is also an important pilgrim destination thehaving the Virupaksha temple along with many other holy sites. This historical town is of great importance in terms of architecture that is displayed by the larger than life sculptures. There are more than 500 temple complexes that are located in vicinity. Begin your journey from Kamalpur, which is the starting point for exploring Hampi ruins.

KARNATAKA WILDLIFE

Dandeli Kali Wildlife Sanctuary : Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary offers you the opportunity to explore the unspoilt wilderness with a captivating landscape. You will be spellbound as you make your way in the sanctuary, enjoying the undulating steep slopes of the hills, the picturesque deep ravines and the deciduous and semi evergreen forests. Spotting animals involves an element of luck even though the sanctuary abounds with panthers, tigers, gaurs, wild dogs, elephants, civet cats, bison, jackals, langurs, mouse deer, sloth bear and giant flying squirrels.

Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary is house to many avian species and reptiles. Birds like magpie robin, crested serpent eagle and golden backed woodpecker are found here. The sanctuary offers you the opportunity to enjoy a ride in a coracle down the Kali River. As you drift down the river you can revel in the sight of hornbills returning to their nests in the tall trees on the river banks, catch the darters drying their plumes and enjoy the sight of egrets flying at the backdrop of the orange sky.

Nagarhole National Park : Nagarhole National Park ,that is also known as the Rajiv Gandhi National Park, is situated at a distance of 94 kms from Mysore. This famous wildlife park is a part of Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, and has a great tiger population. Lying in the Coorg and Mysore district of Karnataka, Nagarhole sanctuary is 644 sq km in size. This park is counted as one of the best preserved national parks in India and also provides excellent trekking routes for the adventure savvy Accommodation is also provided by the Forest Department, that manages two rest houses, but reservation has to be made well in advance through the Forest Department offices in Mysore or Bangalore.

Bandipur National Park : Bandipur National Park is a beautiful forest reserve located in the southern Indian state of Karnataka. This national park occupies a special place in India’s efforts towards natural conservation. It was created in the 1930s from the local Maharaja Voodiyar’s hunting lands, and named Venugopal Wildlife Park. Bandipur National Park was expanded later in 1941 to adjoin the Nagarhole National Park, which lay towards its northern edge, and Wynad and Madumulai Sanctuaries, which lay towards its southern edge in the states of Kerala and Tamilnadu, respectively.

The entire area now constitutes the vast Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, one of India's most extensive tracts of protected forest. It has been a designated tiger reserve in 1973. Bandipur National Park lies in the Indian Deccan plateau area, thus being totally in the shadow of the Western Ghats. The region is well endowed in terms of vegetation and flora that ranges from deciduous and evergreen forest covers to open grassy woodlands. Valuable hardwoods including rosewood and teak are also found here. The lifeline of the forest is the Moyar River, which irrigates the area along with two minor rivulets. The river also acts as a boundary between the Park and the Madumulai Sanctuary. Bandipur is one of the finest and most accessible habitats of the Asiatic elephant. Its vast open spaces make it a pleasant and convenient outing for visitors to see the elephant in its natural surroundings.

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