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Karnataka is a land of fragrance – fragrance of enchanting perfume of sandal and agarbathis, the aroma of fresh roasted coffee beans, the heady fragrance of the Mysore Mallige and thousands of roses blossoming. Ancient sculptured temples, magnificent palaces, ornate buildings and colorful festivals blend beautifully with the evergreen forests, golden beaches, orange groves and garden cities to form this exquisite land.
Area : 1,91,791 Sq.km; Capital: Bangalore; Language: Kannada.
Airports : Bangalore, Mangalore, Hubli and Belgaum.
Hill Resorts : Kemmanagudi, Madikeri and Nandi Hills.
Popular Places : Bangalor, Hassan, Shravanbelgola, Belur, Halebid, Mysore,
Madikeri, Chikmanglur, Shimoga, Mangalore, Karwar, Hospet, Hampi, Chitradurga, Bijapur, Aihole, Pattadakal, Badami and Belgaum.
Bangalore, the ‘Garden City of India’ and capital of the State (1000 m above sea level) was founded in 1537 AD by a Vijaynagar chieftain Kempe Gowda.Today it is the fifth largest city of India and country’s main industrial city which includes industries like aircraft, telephones, electronics.
Places of Interest
(1) Bull Temple (2) Cubbon Park (3) Gangadhareswara Cave Temple (4) Jumma Masjid (5) St.Mary’s Cathedral (6) The Fort (7) Vidhana Soudha (8) Venkataramanswamy Temple.
Nandi Hills: (60 km from Bangalore) It is a popular hill resort with delightful climate.
Hassan 194 km from Bangalore and well connected by road and rail to Bangalore, Mysore and Mangalore this calm and peaceful town is a convenient base to visit Shravanbelgola, Belur and Halebid.Hasanamba temple has a presiding deity of the town.
Shravanbelgola 51 km southeast of Hassan and 160 km from Bangalore, this is the most important Jain pilgrimage center. The colossal statue of Gomateswara (17M high) situated on the summit of Indragiri hill is one of the two giant sculptures in the world after the colossus of Ramses II in Egypt.
Belur Belur is 38 km from Hassan and 222 km from Bangalore.It is styled as Dakshina Varanasi or Southern Benaras.The sanctity of the town due to Channakeshava temple, one of the finest examples of the Hoyasala architecture. The Veeranarayana temple and the small shrines are well worth a visit.
Halebid 27 km north west of Hassan and 17 km east of Belur is Halebid.This old city was the site of the ancient capital of Dwaraasamudra of the wealthy Hoyasalas.The splendour of the city is attested by its architectural monuments which still rank among the masterpieces of the Hindu art. The Hoysaleswara temple dating back to the 12 th century is outstanding for its wealth of sculptural details. The walls of the Hoysaleawara temple are covered with an endless variety of goddesses, animals, birds and dancing girls.
Mysore, the ‘Sandalwood City’, once the residence and capital of the Wodeyars is located at 770 m above sea level and 140 km from Balgalore.This charming and easy going city with beautiful parks and shady avenues has always been a favorite with travelers. It enjoys an equable climate and is renowned for its silk, sandalwood and incense industries. Mysore is Karnataka’s second largest city.
Places of Interest
(1) The Mysore Palace (2) Jaganmohan Palace & Art Gallery (3) St.Philomena’s Cathedral (4) Mysore Zoo (5) Railway Museum (6) Lalitha Mahal Palace (7) Chamundi Hill (8) Brindavan Garden (9) Srirangapatnam (10) Somnathpur (11) Bandipur National Park.
Mysore lies within striking distance of three major wildlife sanctuaries – Bandipur, Nagarhole and Mudumalai, across the border in Tamil Nadu – all of which are part of the vast Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, one of the India’s most extensive tracts of protected forest
Bandipur National Park: Situated among the broken foothills of the Western Ghats mountains, Bandipur National Park, 80 km south of Maysore, cover 880 sq.km of dry deciduous forest, south of River Kabini.On the plus side, Bandipur is one of the few reserves in India where you stand a good chance of sighting wild elephants.
Nagarhole: Bandipur’s northern neighbour, Nagarhole National Park extends 640-sq.km norths from River Kabini dammed to form a picturesque artificial lake. During the dry season, this perennial water source attracts large number of animals, making it a potentially prime spot for sighting wildlife.
Mercara – Madikeri 252 km from Bangalore and 120 km west of Mysore lies Mercara, the district headquarters of Coorg known as “The Scotland of India”. Mercara has enchanted the visitors with its misty hills, lush forests, coffee plantations, undulating streets and breath taking views. It is also a trekker’s delight with lovely mountain trails. Coorg district is in the south west of Karnataka bordering with Kerala.
Places of Interest (1) The Fort (2) Raja’s Seat (3) Sri Omkareshwara Temple (4) Abbey Falls (5) Bhagamandala (6) Talacauvery.
The district takes its name from the headquarter town of Chikmanglur which literally means youngest daughter’s town. The Chikmanglur district is full of scenic surprises – hills, valleys, streams and snow –white coffee blossoms. It is also trekker’s territory.
Places of Interest
(1) Ishwara Temple (2) Lodandarama Temple (3) Kemmangudi (54 Km).
The town Shimoga, on the banks of the Tunga River, lies about 274 km south west of Bangalore was the stronghold of the Keladi Nayakas during 16 th century AD
Places of Interest
(1) Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (2) The Government Museum (3) The Shimoga Fort (4) Tavarekoppa (10 Km) (5) Bhadravati (18 km) (6) Agumbe (70 Km) (7) Jog Falls (88 Km) (8) Mandagadde Bird Sanctuary (9) Gajanur
357 km from Balgalore, this town is located near the backwaters formed by converging the Netravathi and Gurpur rivers. Mangalore city derives its name from the presiding deity Mangaladevi the goddess of fortune. The city has acquired importance due to completion of the new port. Main places of interest are the 10 th century Mangala Devi temple, Kadri temple, St.Aloysious College Chapel, Mangalore Harbour, Light House and the Government Museum.
520 kms north west of Bangalore Karwar has one of the most beautiful beaches in the country, which is said to have inspired Tagore to pen his first drama. The drive of 160 km from Hubli takes one through hills and valleys covered with dense tropical jungle and plenty of wildlife.
330 km from Bangalore lies Hospet.Its tourist importance lies in its proximity to Hampi, the site of the medieval Vijaynagara empire situated about 13 km from Hampi.Tungabhadra Dam here harnesses the sweet waters of Tungabhadra river.
Hampi Vijaynagara-was once the capital of the largest Hindu empires in the Indian history. Founded by the Telugu princes Harihara and Bukka in 1336, it reached the height of its glory under Krishnadevaraya (1509-29) when it controlled the whole of peninsula, except for a string of commercial principalities along the Malbar coast. Hampi had trade connections with international markets. Hindu, Muslim and Jain religions were practiced. The Brahmins were a privileged class. Sati (burning of the wife on husband’s pyre) and Devdasi system (temple prostitution) were common and widely practiced. Brahmini inscriptions discovered on the site date the first settlement here back to the 1″ century AD and suggest that there was a Buddhist center nearby. The empire came to a sudden end after the battle of Talikota when the city was ransacked by the confederacy of the Deccan Sultans.
A world heritage centre, Hampi is the most beautiful and evocative of all ruins in Karnataka. The erstwhile capital of the Vijayanagara kingdom, Hampi is full of delightful surprises like the King’s Balance where Kings were weighed against grain, gold or money which was then distributed amongst the poor, the Queen’s bath with its arched corridors projecting balconies and lotus-shaped fountains that once sprouted perfumed water, the two storied Lotus Mahal with recessed archways, the huge Elephant Stables, the Splendid Vithala temple with its ‘Musical pillars’ and the stone chariot, the Vrupaksha Temple, still used for worship, Ugra Narasimha, the 6.7 m tall monolith and the Pushkarini the Mahanavami Dibba.Once-powerful Vijaynagara empire was compared to Rome by the Portuguese traveler Paes.98]lgfq
Chitradurga is situated on an umbrella shaped lofty hill and in the valley of the Vedavati river,with the Tungabhadra flowing in the north west. Many ancient temples can be found inside the fort Harihar, a town located 78 km has the temple of Harihareshwara built in the Hoysala style.
Bijapur,a medieval Muslim walled city,530 km north west of Bangalore,is characterized by domes and minarets.Bajapur itself has over 50 mosques, more than 20 tombs and a number of palaces.
Places of Interest
(1) Gol Gumbaz (2) Gagan Mahal (3) Asar Mahal (4) The Fort (5) Jumma Masjid (6) Ibrahim Roza
Known as Ayyavvole in inscriptions, it was the earliest capital of the ChalukyasThe cradle of Indian temple architecture has 125 temples-intricate carved, rich in details. The Meguti temple is built of 630 small stone blocks. The Arvanaphadi cave has some beautiful carvings.
Located on the banks of the Malaprabha, 29 km from Badami, Pattadakal functioned as a royal commemorative site and a place for coronation ceremonies. Padmanatha temple in the northern style has impressive carvings on pillars and on the ceiling. Archaeological Survey of India maintains a gallery in the temple.
Badami, Aihole and Pattadakal are standing close to each other (within 13 km radius) these temple towns represent Chalukyan architecture at its best. Badami was the capital of the Chalukyas in the 6 th and 7 th centuries and is noted for 4 rock caves excavated in the sand stone cliff. The place is also known for the earliest group of Chalukyan structural temples. Badami Fort, on the top of a hill, encloses large granaries, a treasury and a watchtower.
This was once the capital of Rattas, chieftains of Soundatti in the 12 th and 13 th centuries. Today it is a modern cantonment town. The ancient fort, oval shaped stone structure enclosed an area about 40 hectare and has two gates. Mahatama Gandhi was once imprisoned here.