Karnataka, the land of ultimate natural beauty and rich cultural heritage is situated in the Southern India, bounded by Maharashtra and Goa in the north, Andhra Pradesh on the east and Tamil Nadu and Kerala on the south. The western coast of the state is splashed by Arabian Sea, which is dotted with picturesque beaches. Karnataka is blessed with the lush green Western Ghats, roaring Jog waterfalls, densely forested Sahayadri, and the rich wildlife sanctuaries like Nagarhole and Bandipur. Apart from its awe-inspiring natural beauty, majestic architecture, and pilgrimage sties,Karnataka is also renowned for its software industry, Carnatic music, and the exciting festivals that make it one of the most celebrated states in India.
Karnataka is home to 507 of the 3600 centrally protected monuments in India. 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.
15. Bandipur National Park
Bandipur National Park is regarded as one of the most beautiful and the better-managed national parks of India. Located amidst the picturesque surroundings of the towering Western Ghat Mountains on the Mysore-Ooty highway in Karnataka, Bandipur National Park covers an area of about 874.2 sq km. Together with Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary in Tamil Nadu, Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary in Kerala and Nagarhole National Park in the North, it creates the India’s biggest biosphere reserve popularly known as the ‘Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve’. The Bandipur National Park occupies a special place in India’s efforts towards Eco-conservation.
14. Magod Falls
The mesmerising Magod Falls are located 80km from Karwar. Here, the Bedthi River takes two distinct leaps to hurtle from a height of 650ft. into a rocky ravine. The thickly wooded countryside, the roar of gushing water, and a beautiful view combine to make this spot an ideal choice for outings.
Agumbe is sometimes called “The Cherrapunji of the South”. Agumbe is associated with rainforest conservation efforts, documentation of medicinal plants, tourism (trekking and photography), power generation through hydroelectrics and promotion of cottage industry.
Karwar lies on the west coast of Southern India at the mouth of the Kali river. Its geography creates a natural harbour with protection against monsoon weather.
11. Halebeedu and Belur
Halebidu was the 12th century capital of the Hoysalas. The Hoysaleswara temple was built during this time by Ketamala and attributed to Vishnuvardhana, the Hoysala ruler. It enshrines Hoysaleswara and Shantaleswara, named after the temple builder Vishnuvardhana Hoysala and his wife, Queen Shantala. The main attraction in Belur is the Chennakeshava temple complex which contains the Chennakesava Temple (dedicated to Chennakeshava, meaning handsome Vishnu) as the centre piece, surrounded by the Kappe Chennigraya temple built by Shantaladevi, queen of king Vishnuvardhana.
10. Pattadakal and Badami
Pattadakal, place for Chalukyas Coronation, There are ten temples including a Jain sanctuary surrounded by numerous small shrines and plinths in fusion of various Indian architectural styles (Rekha, Nagara, Prasada and Dravida Vimana). Four temples were built in Chalukya Dravidian style, four in Nagara style of Northern India and the Papanatha temple in mixed style. Nine Shiva temples and one Jaina basadi, situated along the northern course of the River, which is considered as very auspicious according to Holy Scriptures.
Badami is famous for rock cut and other structural temples. It is located in a ravine at the foot of a rugged, red sandstone outcrop that surrounds Agastya lake.
This town is located in the foothills of Mullayanagiri range and is dotted with many holy spots, mountain ranges, valleys, waterfalls and wildlife sanctuaries. This is the region where coffee was first cultivated in India, and it has the highest peak, Mullayanagiri, in Karnataka.
Gokarna is known for its Mahabaleswara temple, which houses Lord Shiva worshipped in the form of a lingam. It is one of the famous Hindu pilgrimage centres in India. The place also has temples and natural beaches which attract tourists across the Globe.
This is an administrative district in Karnataka, which is also known as ‘Kodagu’ in local language. It is the top hill station in the state, known for its coffee and brave warriors, and is surrounded by misty hills, lush teakwood and sandalwood forests, and tea and coffee plantations. It is also known as ‘the Scotland of India’ and is an ideal place for trekking, river rafting, etc. Must visit places in this region include Talakaveri, Irruppu falls and Abbey falls.
6. Gol Gumbaz
Also known as the rose dome, Gol Gumbaz is an important monument of Indo-Islamic architecture. It has a huge dome, constructed by Mohammed Adil Shah, the Sultan of Bijapur, in 1656. It is the second largest dome in the world, next to St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome. The four minarets in the monument serve as the staircases that would lead you to the top dome.
Shravanabelagola is a Jain pilgrimage destination, located in Hassan district of Karnataka, and it is wedged between Vidhyagiri and Chandragiri hills. This holy place is known for its 57-feet tall magnificent Gommateshwara Bahubai (mythical Lord of Love) statue. There are also numerous ancient monuments in and around the town.
This region is the largest Tibetan settlement in Southern India, which is situated near Kodagu district in Karnataka. The region is known for its famous Tibetan monasteries Namdroling and Sera, and provides you with tranquillity and peace, and breathtaking picturesque landscapes.
3. Jog Falls
Also known as Gerosoppa fall, Jog fall is situated on the borders of Shimoga and North Kanara, and is the second highest plunge waterfall in India. It is also the tallest untiered waterfall in the country. Surrounded by lush evergreen forests, River Sharavathi plunges from a height of 829 feet in four distinct cascades known as Raja, Rani, Roarer and Rocket.
This is located at the base of Chamundi Hills and is one of the best travel destinations in the state of Karnataka that cover majestic palaces, royal buildings, museums, waterfalls and wildlife. The following are the tourist attractions in the city: Lingambudhi lake; Shivasamudra falls; Brindavan gardens; Chamundi Temple.
Known as the former capital of ancient Vijayanagara Kingdom, Hampi is a village, situated on the banks of River Thungabhadra. It is one of the UNESCO world heritage sites in India. The village is dotted with 500 monuments that include temples, aquatic structures, palaces, etc., and is known for its magnificent architecture of the 14th century. The region is also famous for the annual Vijayanagar festival called ‘Hampi Utsav’, organized by the Government of India in November.