Honeymoon in Karnataka, India

Karnataka Travel PackagesKarnataka Beach Holidays
About Karnataka

The enchanting perfume of sandal and agarbathis; the aroma of fresh, roasted coffee beans, the heady fragrance of the "Mysore Mallige" and a thousand roses blossoming... Yes, Karnataka is a land of fragrance. A land that has all the ingredients of a great holiday. A relaxed length of the Arabian Sea coastline, the majestic rocks of the Deccan, thick, lush tropical forests, an unimaginable variety of trees, plants, flowers, animals and birds. And a sense of history and culture that is all pervasive. You can take an elephant ride, hike across an excitingly rugged terrain, swim and surf in the green blue sea, or wander through the forts and ruins, visit important pilgrim centers or Watch the monsoon rains transform the land. Yes, Karnataka is a state of charming contrasts, the modern blending harmoniously with the old. The hustle bustle of industries nestling comfortably with the easygoing, relaxed pace of life. It also has some of the most magnificent monuments, temples, palaces and beaches in the country. You can shop for sandalwood, silk and spices. You can take home enchanting handicrafts, beautifully designed ethnic jewelry in gold and silver, eat food you've never tasted before, meet people for whom hospitality is a lifestyle. Warm and friendly, the people of Karnataka know just how to put the tourist at ease. Ask them for directions and chances are they'll take you to your destination. They are proud of their heritage - (who wouldn't with such a glorious, rich and varied history?) - and willing to share it with those not fortunate enough to live in their state. A holiday in Karnataka is culturally enriching. The colorful folk dances and art forms, the age-old traditions and rituals, the literature and the music. Yes, there's so much to see - and feel - and experience in Karnataka. Come, you'll be pleasantly surprised.

HISTORY

Karnataka, called as Karunadu (elevated land) in ancient times. The course of Karnataka's history and culture takes us back to pre-historic times. The earliest find of the stone age period in India was a hand axe at Lingasugur in Raichur district. The Ashoka's rock edicts found in the state indicate that major parts of Northern Karnataka were under the Mauryas. Chandragupta Maurya, the great Indian emperor abdicated the throne and embraced Jainism at Shravanabelagola. Adding new dimensions to the cultural and spiritual ethos of the land, many great dynasties left their imprint upon the aesthetic development of Karnataka's art forms. Prominent among them were the Chalukyas, the Hoysalas and the mighty Vijayanagara Empire. The Chalukyan's built some of the very early Hindu temples in India. Aihole turned up as an experimental base for the dynamic creations of architects. The Hoysala's who ruled from the 11th to the 13th century chiseled their way into the pages of glory by building more than 150 temples, each one is a master piece in its own way. The amazing dexterity and fluidity of expressions at Somnathpur, Halebid and Belur open themselves to the wide eyed wonder in one's eyes. Vijayanagara, the greatest of all medieval Hindu empires and one of the greatest the world over, fostered the development of intellectual pursuits and fine arts. "The eye of the pupil has never seen a place like it and the ear of intelligence has never been informed that there existed anything to equal it in the world" is what Abdur Razaaq the Persian ambassador had to say about Krishnadevaraya's time.

The Vijayanagara empire with its capital at Hampi fell a victim to the marauding army of the Deccan Sultan in 1565 A.D. As a consequence of this, Bijapur became the most important city of the region. This city is a land of monuments and perhaps no other city except Delhi has as many monuments as Bijapur. The Bahmani Shahis and the Adilshahis of Bijapur have played a notable part in the history of Karnataka by their contribution to the field of art and architecture and also by their propagation of Islam in the state.

Hyder Ali and his valiant son Tipu Sultan are notable figures in the history of the land. They expanded the Mysore kingdom on an unprecedented scale and by their resistance against the British, became personages of world fame. Tipu was a great scholar and lover of literature. His artistic pursuits were also many and he made rich gifts to the Hindu temples. Tipu Sultan "Tiger of Karnataka" was killed in 1799 A.D., and the Mysore throne was handed over to the Wodeyar's. The whole of Karnataka came under the control of the British in the beginning of the 19th century. The new state was named as new Mysore and the Maharaja of Mysore was appointed Governor by Independent India. This unified state was renamed as Karnataka on November 1, 1973.

PEOPLE AND CULTURE

The people of Karnataka have been living in intimate and mutually beneficial contact with all their immediate neighbours namely, the Marathas, the Andhras, the Tamilians and the Malayalis. Adi Shankara established one of his principal monasteries at Sringeri. Sri Ramanuja made a sojourn of several years at Melukote. He brought the families of several Srivaishnava devotees along with him. There is a group known as Sanketis, speaking a Tamil dialect. They migrated into Karnataka from Tamil Nadu from a place called Shencottah. The names of other group indicate the place of their origin. Badaga Nadu means people who came from the North.

The Okkaligas have maintained their identity for over a thousand years. They have existed as a separate class from the time of the Gangas of Talkad. The Voddas (masons) once classed as a criminal tribe, came originally from Orrisa. The Lambanis were camp followers of the invading Maratha armies in the 17th century. Hyder Ali encouraged gardeners called Tigalas to migrate from Tamil Nadu to Bangalore and thus, helped in the laying out of Lal Bagh.

A large number of Malayali families have migrated into the Mysore district. Tradesmen (Byaris), priests and plantation labourers from Kerala have always found lucrative jobs in Coorg and South Kanara. The Kannada spoken in this area is influenced considerably by the speech habits of the southern neighbours. The public sector industries established in Bangalore attract thousands of skilled workers from Kerala.

Kannada is the main language of the region. The other languages are Telugu, Urdu, Tamil, Tulu, Konkani, Coorgi, Hindi etc. The foreign languages spoken are English, Persian, and Tibetan. Kannada script is derived from the Asoka script. It is identical with that of Telugu.

FAIRS

Sri Vithappa Fair

Sri Vithappa Fair is held in honour of Vithappa deity of the village. It is observed for three days immediately after Shigi Hunnive. About 7 to 8 thousand people gather at the time. The deity is taken out in a palanquin in a procession accompanied by about 60 parties of drummers from different parts of the state. The devotees offer sheep to the deity.

Sri Shidlingappa's Fair

Sri Shidlingappa's fair is observed on Shivaratri day. On this day the deity is taken in a palanquin accompanied by drummers (Dollu and Majalu) from several neighbouring villages to the river. The deity is then worshipped.

The Godachi Fair

The Godachi fair is an important fair held in the month of Kartik. Godachi is a village in Ramdurg Taluk. This fair is held in honour of Shri Veerabhadra and it is managed by government.

Shri Yellamma Devi Fair

Shri Yellamma Devi fair at Saundatti are held about 5 times between October and February. But the biggest is the one held on the full moon day of Margasira.

Banashankari Devi Fair

Banashankari Devi fair near Badami is held annually in January on the full moon day and lasts for 10 to 12 days. Rathotsava is an important item of the fair. Agricultural implements, utensils and other articles of domestic needs are put up for sale and the villagers make many of their purchases at this fair.

FESTIVALS

Ugadi

Ugadi falls on the first day of the month of Chaitra which marks the beginning of the Chandramana New Year in March-April. This festival is not associated with many rituals. After an oil bath, people wear new clothes, worship their deities and then eat a little quantity of mixture of neem juice, jaggery etc.

Dussera

Dussera is celebrated for 10 days from September end to early October. Although it is celebrated all over India, it has special significance in Mysore, South India. It symbolizes the victory of goddess Chamundeswari (Durga) over the demon Mahishasura. i.e. the victory of the good over the evil. Mysore palace is fully illuminated for a whole month.

Kar Hunnive

This is observed on the Full moon day of Jyestha (June) by worshipping the bullocks and the agricultural implements. A special feast is prepared in the afternoon. In the evening a function called Karihariyodu is performed, in which the chief event is bullocks race.

Shravan Mondays

Every Monday in the month of Shravan is considered as a festival day in the village. People offer special worship at the temple of Shidlingappa. They carry the deity in a palanquin in a procession accompanied by music on all the Mondays in Shravana and offer special worship.

Nagarpanchami

Nagarpanchami falls on the 5th day of the bright half of the lunar month of Shravana. On this day, newly married girls visit their parents. Swings are put up in the village on which both adults and children indulge themselves without any inhabitation, irrespective of caste, creed or sex.

HILL STATIONS IN KARNATAKA

Nandi Hills

Nandi Hills, 65 Kms from Bangalore and 1,478 meters above sea level is Bangalore's own hill station. It was Tipu Sultan's summer retreat and Tipu's fort walls still stand as testimony to history. The rivers Pennar, Palar and Arkavati originate from these hills. A flight of 1.175 steps lead from the base of the hills to the top. A popular hill resort of the Bangaloreans. The Tipu's Drop, a 600 meter high cliff, where prisoners were hurled down the precipice is an awe-inspiring sight. Atop the hill is the Yoganandishwara temple.

B.R.Hills

90 Kms from Mysore & 230 Kms from Bangalore, the Biligirirangana range of hills are picturesquely situated between the Cauvery & Kapila rivers. At a height of 5,091 feet above sea level, this hill stretches from north to south for about 16 Kms. All round are deciduous trees. And roaming amidst the long grass and tall trees are animals. Plenty of them! So if you're looking for a cool time with a little bit of wild excitement thrown in, welcome to B.R.Hills. Wake up to the chirping of birds & humming of bees. Breathe in fresh, clean air. Take a stroll through the sylvan surroundings. And let the cool breeze blow your cares away.

Kemmanagundi

215 Kms from Bangalore is Chickmagalur town. 55 Kms north from Chickmagalur town is Kemmanagundi, a scenic hill station on the Baba Budan range of hills. Kemmanagundi is also known as K.R. Hills after Wodeyar King, Krishnaraja Wodeyar who had made it his favourite summer camp. Kemmanagundi, at a height of 1,434 meters, is surrounded by thick forests and a salubrious climate the year. It has beautifully laid out ornamental gardens and panoramic view of the mountains.

Kudremukh

95 Kms from south-west of Chikmagalur town is KUDREMUKH (horse face) range, so named because of the unique shape of the KUDREMUKH peak. Overlooking the Arabian sea, the broad hills are chained to one another with deep valley & steep precipices.

Madikeri

The cool bracing wind whips the hair about your faces as you ramble along the streets that dip and rise delightfully. Breathtaking views surprise you from pretty cottages as you sniff appreciatively the heady fragrance of coffee blossoms. You are in Madikeri (previously known as Mercara). A picturesque charming town situated at an elevation of over 5,000 ft (1,525 m) above sea level.

BEACHES AND ISLANDS IN KARNATAKA

Karwar

Karwar is just one of the secluded beaches dotted along Karnataka's 320 km long coastline. It has all the makings of a perfect holiday with gentle waves, palm-laced beaches, silver sand, and calm, peaceful coves.

Ullal

Ullal is a silvery beach commanding breathtaking views of the sunset, especially, when viewed through the casuarina groves. Just 5 kms from Mangalore, Ullal is a lovely spot for those seeking holiday by the sea. With its picturesque casuarina groves, beach cottages and a swimming pool one can spend tranquil hours seeking peace in this paradise.

Mangalore

Ensconced on the coast, this maritime city makes a pleasant and convenient stop between Goa and Kerala. With its narrow, winding streets fringed with coconut palms, quaint houses with terracotta-tiled roofs, beautiful beaches, temples and churches, and the aroma of spicy coconut curries, it has preserved its old-world charm.

Suratkal

Suratkal, 15 Km from Mangalore, is an excellent beach with a wide shore to stroll on. Suratkal has a fine beach which is a favorite holiday resort. It is about 14 Kms from Mangalore. There is a temple dedicated to Sadashiva on a hill rock on the sea-shore.

Kaup

Situated 12km south of Udupi, on the coastal belt that passes through the West Coast National Highway, Kaup has a lovely beach, a ruined fort and an old 100ft. high lighthouse. The two temples of Goddess Mariamma in Kaup are famous. The Jain basadis here are in ruins, but are worth a visit.

St. Mary's Island

St. Mary's Island, another delightful get away is only a boat-ride away across Malpe Harbour. Here one can find a unique formation of volcanic rocks which have crystallized into columns and split into vertical hexagonal blocks. This is neither a swimming nor a strolling beach.

Malpe

Malpe is a natural harbour and an important fishing centre that enriches Karnataka's coastline with its' fabulous beach. The endless stretch of golden sand, graciously swaying palm trees, clear blue sky and gentle murmur of the sea, all set the perfect mood for an idyllic holiday.

Marawanthe

A drive along the West Coast Highway as it cruises alongside the Arabian Sea on one side, with the picturesque Kodachadri Hills forming a backdrop to the Sauparnika river on the other is truly spectacular.

Nethrani Island

Just off Murdeshwar, which is famous for its Shiva temple lies one of best dive sites in this part of the world. Nethrani Island.

Nethrani is a small uninhabited island that would make a perfect setting for an adventure yarn. The last thing you would expect to see here is the submarine wonderland bustling with everything from Angelfish and Turtles to Barracuda and Moray Eels.

With depths ranging from 6 to 40 meters and visibility from 15 to 30 meters, divers from every level can experience the wonder of life beneath the waves.

Murudeshwar

Bounded by the shimmering sea and rolling hills, Murudeshwar is the sort of place which makes you contemplate about life and what it means to you. The sea is an intrinsic part of the temple scape at Murudeshwar.

Gokarna

With its narrow streets, traditional houses, and temples, the nondescript town of Gokarna has become the favourite haunt of Hindu pilgrims, Sanskrit scholars, and beach buffs. Locals believe that Gokarna derives its name from a legend in which Lord Shiva emerged from the ear of a cow.

Devbagh

Dev Bagh could have been a designer beach: designed for effortless unwinding. A gentle, secluded island totally cut off from the world. From the Karwar coast, speedboat across an estuary to a casuarina-whispering island.

SHOPPING IN KARNATAKA

With its shimmering silks, sandalwood and rosewood carvings, and exquisite handicrafts, Karnataka is a shopper?s paradise. You can buy sandalwood sculptures, agarbattis (incense sticks,) perfumes, sandalwood oil, and other small gifts like pens, letter openers, metal lamps, wood carvings, and inlay work. Karnataka?s rich cultural heritage is evident in every product made by skilled, dedicated artisans who are devoted to keeping their art alive.

Rosewood Carvings

An ancient craft of Mysore that has found rich expression on the doors and ceilings of temples and monuments built under the patronage of various ruling dynasties.

Metalware

Metalware has evolved into a unique art form, both in the shape of metal casting as well as the embossing of designs on sheet metal. The temple town of Udupi is famous for its small images and ritual objects, while Karkala, an ancient Jain centre, is well known for its Jain icons.

Mysore Silks

Bangalore and Mysore are reputed for their shimmering silks. Woven in a unique assortment of rich colours, produced in a multitude of varieties, and interwoven with delicate gold threads, Karnataka?s legendary silk sarees have become an integral part of the Kannada culture and tradition.

Wood Carvings and Sandalwood Carvings

For hundreds of years, Karnataka has been the home of sandalwood. The range of products and designs is varied. The Gudigar families of Shimoga, Uttara Kannada, and Mysore districts specialise in this craft. Shoppers can carry home beads, pendants, carved tables, screens, dinner gongs, boxes, caskets, mythological figures, a host of stationery items, trays, decorative panels with intricate scenes carved on them, and even tiny bookmarks crafted from this delicately scented wood. Inlaid furniture, and sandalwood carvings are a favourite with affluent tourists.

Mysore Paintings

Traditional Mysore paintings with their bright vegetable-dye colours and lustrous gold leaves are a connoisseur?s delight.

Bijapur Sarees, Jewellery and Handllooms

Handlooms from Guledgudda (Khancholi,) handwoven Ilkal sarees, clay toys, Kinnala Paintings, and Lambani jewellery are specialities of North Karnataka.

Gokak Toys

Bright, colourful replicas of vegetables and fruits, images of deities, cradles, toys, masks, and palanquins are available at Gokak in Belgaum District. Exquisite pottery, and gold and silver jewellery are also available.

Bidar Bidarware

Bidar in North Karnataka is a famous centre for Bidriware, a well-developed craft that involves the use of metal plate on an alloy made of zinc, copper, tin, and lead. Finely crafted hookahs, goblets, paan boxes, bowls, plates, pen holders, letter openers, and bangles exquisitely embellished with interwoven vines and floral patterns are a treat to the eye.

Embroidery

Kasuti, a form of embroidery practised especially in Dharwad and Hubli districts, is known for its intricate and stunning workmanship. Four kinds of stitches are commonly used in Kasuti, and the designs are many and intricate.

Pottery

Ramanagaram, near Bangalore and Belgaum district, is Karnataka?s traditional centre for terracotta,specialising primarily in the production of utility objects with a strong artistic touch. Pots of different sizes and shapes, wall panels, folk images of gods and goddesses, and animal motifs are very popular with visitors.

North Karnataka Crafts

Cushion covers, bedspreads, quilts, dinner mats, and bags; accessories such as spectacle cases, pouches and purses; traditional garments; ornaments made from dyed and block printed fabric; mirrors, beads, and traditional jewellery; and Lambani crafts can be found in Bijapur, Sandur, and Gulbarga in North Karnataka.

Channapatna Lacquerware

Channapatna, a small hamlet 46km from Bangalore on the Mysore highway, excels in lacquerware, a craft practised today by over 3000 local craftspersons. Lacquerware products include brightly coloured wooden toys, door curtains, powder boxes, and napkin rings, besides a range of distinctive jewellery.

Madikery Honey

Karnataka?s finest honey comes from Bhagamandala, 30km from Madikeri, where some of Kodagu?s best apiaries are located. Virajpet is also known for its honey.

CUISINE IN KARNATAKA

Karnataka is blessed with a rich culinary heritage. Regional food habits differ vastly depending on locally available ingredients; the result is a richly varied spread. Karnataka?s cuisine is characterised by distinct textures, flavours, and tastes. The state?s vast culinary repertoire encompasses the earthy flavours of North Karnataka, the traditional fare of South Karnataka, the spicy dishes of the coastal region, and the distinctive Kodava cuisine.

WILDLIFE IN KARNATAKA

Nesting in the foothills of the Nilgiris, the Bandipur National Park was formed by extending the Venugopal Wildlife Park, set up in 1931 by the Mysore Maharajas. It is one of the tiger reserves in the country.

Kabini, a scenic delight was once the hunting lodge of the erstwhile Mysore Maharajahs. The steep valleys with rich forests, spectacular pools and rapids provide an ideal opportunity to revive your adventurous spirits.

Bheemeshwari in Mandya district is an ideal place for viewing wildlife and a relaxing holiday. The lush forest sheltered by steep valleys and scattered by little streams, invites large groups of animals.

Nagarahole is situated in the picturesque districts of Kodagu and Mysore in southern Karnataka.The Nagarahole National Park was first set up in 1955. In 1975 its area was increased to include a greater expanse of forest reserve.

The Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary in the Chikmagalur & Shimoga Districts, is one of the most fascinating sanctuaries. Sheltering some exquisite flora & fauna. The great Indian Gaur, Barking Deer, Flying Fox, Mongoose, Elephant, Panther, Macaque, Babbler, Barbet, Bluejay, Kingfisher, Robin, Weaver Bird, Drongo?.have all made their home here.

Ranganathittu Wildlife Sanctuary is a paradise for wildlife enthusiasts. It is indeed a visual height. Birds would come from Siberia, Australia and even North America can be spotted here. Just glance around and you'll find a host of surprises. Crocodiles basking under the sun, otters running free, flocks of birds gathered on tiny islands.

The Biligirirangana range of hills are picturesquely situated between the Cauvery & the Kapila rivers. At a height of 5,091 feet above sea level, this hill stretches from north to south for about 16 Kms.

General Information of Karnataka

LOCATION

Karnataka is the eighth largest state in India. Located in the southern part of the country, it is surrounded by other states like Maharashtra and Goa in the north, Tamil Nadu and Kerala in the south, Andhra Pradesh in the east and the Arabian Sea in the west. The state of Karnataka is situated approximately between the latitudes 11.5? and 18.5? North and the longitudes 74? and 78.5? East.

How to Reach

By Air

The Indian Airlines and some private domestic airlines connect Bangalore to all the major metropolitan and other cities of India like Thiruvananthpuram, Hyderabad, Goa, Kochi, Ahmedabad and Mangalore. International flights link Bangalore directly to Singapore, Dubai, London, Oman, Hong Kong and Saudi Arabia.

By Rail

A good rail network connects Bangalore to various parts of India. The major Indian cities connected with Bangalore through regular trains are Chennai, Mysore, New Delhi, Calcutta, and Mumbai.

By Road

There are national highways and a number of other roadways leading to the major cities and important towns. There are regular bus services to and from Bangalore for the nearby cities and towns.

BEST TIME TO VISIT

The variation in the geographical features affects the climate of the region. Coastal Karnataka experiences a hot, rainy tropical monsoon climate. In the southern inland places the climate is hot and dry and the interior northern areas are semi arid and hot.

Places in Karnataka

Bangalore
Bangalore Tours Karnataka

Located 1000 m above sea level, this bustling capital city of Karnataka, has a perpetual holiday atmosphere, thanks mainly to its picnic weather. Founded in 1537 by a local chieftain Kempe Gowda, Bangalore has seen much and imbibed even more. Rapid industrial growth has not taken away Bangalore's old-world charm. And a trip here can be truly delightful. Known as the Garden City and Silicon Valley of India, Bangalore offers you more than a day or two of sightseeing. There's always something going on here - music and dance concerts (both western and Indian), dramas, exhibitions, carnivals... you could go disco-hopping or pub-crawling. To the restaurants or to the movies or window-shopping. Or even for a round of golf.

Hassan

194 kms from Bangalore is the District Headquarters of Hassan. This quiet and peaceful town is a convenient base to visit Shravanabelagola, Belur and Halebid. Hassan offers a wide variety of accommodations. It is well-connected by road and rail to Bangalore, Mysore and Mangalore.

Madikeri

252 kms from Bangalore and 1525 m above sea level lies Madikeri, the district headquarters of Kodagu. Dubbed as the Scotland of India, this town has a lot to offer. Misty hills, lush forests, acres and acres of tea and coffee plantations, undulating streets and breathtaking views are what' make Madikeri an unforgettable holiday destination.

Mysore

Mysore Travels and Tours Karnataka770 m above sea level and 140 kms from Bangalore, this imperial city was the erstwhile capital of the Wodeyars. Also known as the City of Palaces, Mysore retains a quaint charm that never fails to enchant.

Chikmagalur

Nestled in the Baba Budan hills, Chikmagalur is a calm, serene town full of scenic surprises .hills, valleys, streams and snow-white coffee blossoms. Situated 251 kms from Bangalore, Chikmagalur is a trekker's delight, with its rugged mountain trails.

Shimoga

273 kms southwest of Bangalore is Shimoga, once a stronghold of the Keladi Nayakas. Worth seeing here is the Fort, the Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Government Museum.

Mangalore

Mangalore Vacations Karnataka357 kms west of Bangalore is the district headquarters of Dakshina Kannada - Mangalore. With an important port, this coastal town is a major commercial center. Mangalore could be your entry point to Beach Country- with its virgin and unexplored beaches. 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.

Karwar

519 kms north-west of Bangalore is Karwar. The district headquarters of Uttara Kannada, this is an ideal place to relax. Karwar has sacred pilgrim centers, historical towns and some of the most beautiful beaches in the country. It is said to have inspired Tagore to pen his first drama. The Devbagh Beach, is a must for beach lovers.

Hospet

340 kms from Bangalore lies Hospet. Its tourist importance lies in its proximity to Hampi, the site of the medieval Vijayanagar Empire, situated about 13 kms away. The Tungabhadra Dam here harnesses the sweet waters of the Tungabhadra River. At the base of the dam is a garden styled along Japanese lines.

Bijapur

Bijapur Holidays Karnataka530 kms to the northwest of Bangalore is the ancient town of Bijapur, the capital of the Adil Shahi dynasty. Bijapur is close to Belgaum - the gateway to Karnataka from Goa and Mumbai. Bijapur has many places of historical, cultural and architectural interest.

Gulbarga

613 kms north of Bangalore is the district headquarters of Gulbarga. A unique synthesis of two rich cultures, Gulbarga still retains its historic charm.

Bidar

669 kms from Bangalore, is the tiny district of Bidar, steeped in history. The capital of the Bahamani kingdom and later the Barid Shahi dynasty, Bidar has many places of architectural and historical interest.

Hampi

Hampi Travels KarnatakaHampi, the land of surprises was founded in the middle of 14th Century by two local princes, Hakka & Bukka. 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.

Dharwar

428 kms from Bangalore, is Dharwar, known for its scenic beauty and pleasant weather. Dharwar is also a famous educational center. Dotting this town are magnificent monuments. The All Saints Church, Basel Mission Church and the Roman Catholic Church are some of the important places of interest. The temples dedicated to Hanuman, Dattatreya, Durgadevi and Panduranga are a must-see. Dharwar is famous for its mouthwatering Peda's.

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.

Coorg

Coorg Tours KarnatakaEasily one of the most attractive regions in India, Coorg or Kodagu is an enchanting expanse of natural tourist spot that nestles amid the hills and valleys of the picturesque Western Ghats. The Kodagu people have always stood apart handsome, brave and hospitable. A distinguished martial tradition has given the Indian Army several Generals and Brigadiers.

Known by their special variants of wearing the saree, the Kodagu women are graceful and beautiful. Kodagu district has several tourist spots of historic, epic and natural importance. Kodagu has three taluks- Madikeri, Virajpet and Somwarpet. Steep hills, valleys and gorges with countless streams that gurgle through them, beckon intrepid trekkers and rock climbers.

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.

Raichur

409 kms from Bangalore, is the historical town of Raichur with a rich cultural legacy. Flanked by the Tungabhadra River, Raichur is famous for its imposing Fort.

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