The state of Karnataka, as we know it today, came into being on 1st November, 1956, being a part of the princely state of Mysore before that. Located in close proximity to the Arabian Sea and the Laccadive Sea, it’s famous for its serene beaches and rich culture. After all, this region has a fascinating past, embedded in history, having being under the rule of various dynasties and rulers.
From a tourist perspective, there is a lot to explore and visit. The tourist spots here range from hills, beaches, waterfalls, ruins and caves, besides so much more. Several of these tourist spots exude an old world aura, of being stuck in time. If you haven’t visited this lovely state yet, its time you did so. This blog lets you know the top 10 tourist places to visit in Karnataka, for a wonderful experience.
Bangalore is a lively city with a diverse culture, and is the IT hub of the country. It is a perfect mix of cosmopolitanism and traditionalism where centuries old monuments exists alongside glitzy shopping malls. With a beautiful weather throughout the year, its one of the best places to visit in Karnataka.
Some of the main attractions of the city are Tipu Sultan’s Summer Palace, Butterfly Park at Bannerghatta Biological Park, Lalbagh Glass Place, Bangalore Palace, Wonder La Amusement Park, Aerospace Museum and ISKCON Temple.
Mysore is perhaps most famous for its Mysore Palace, which is an embodiment of opulence and magnificence. It’s one of the foremost tourist attractions in Karnataka. Its royal past still hangs heavy over the entire city today. It plays host to Mysore Dasara, the 10 day festival, and entrances the guests through its ornate ceilings, jeweled corridors, open mandaps and stained glass windows.
The other famous palaces are Jaganmohana Palace, Rajendra Vilas, Lalitha Mahal (which is now the Lalith Mahal Palace Hotel), Crawford Hall, Devaraja Market and the Jayalakshmi Vilas. The other attractions are St. Philomena’s Church, with its neo-Gothic style of architecture. The Brindavan Gardens and Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary are other attractions.
Mangalore is a city comfortably settled on the coast, providing a convenient stop between Goa and Kerala. Once a major seaport and shipbuilding center, today it is Karnataka’s major port for export of coffee, spices and cashew.
This city is home to many temples, some of the most famous ones of which are the Someshwar Temple, Kadri Manjunatha Temple and Mangala Devi Temple, besides others. Besides these, there is St. Aloysius College Chapel with its magnificent Biblical frescoes and the Shreemanthi Bai Memorial Government Museum with its incredible collection of artefacts and precious objects. For nature enthusiasts, there is the Pilikula Nisagardhama, a sprawling 300-acre park, equipped with wildlife safari, boating facilities, science center and mini-aquariums.
Aihole is a quaint village where temples exist today as they would have thousands of years back. The former capital of Badami Chalukyas, it’s the cradle of Dravidian architecture. Here, one comes across a complex of eight temples, each of which commemorates a landmark event in the history of the Chalukyas.
Visiting the temples in the complex provides an insight into the glorious era of the Chalukyas, along with the two-storied Buddhist cave temple and the Jain Temple. About 12km from Aihole lies the town of Lakkundi, which consists of 50 temples and 29 inscriptions. One of the oldest and largest structures here is the Jain Temple, which is dedicated to Lord Mahavira.
The ruins of Hampi is one of the best places to visit in Karnataka. Its temples, bazaars, and other structures still stand in all their pride today. Once the capital of the Vijayanagar Empire, there is a story to be discovered at every corner.
One of the foremost attractions here is the Virupaksha Temple, with its regal 9-story tall gopura. There is the Vijaya Vittala Temple, with its 56 musical pillars, the Royal Enclosure, the Elephant Stables, the Hazaranama Palace and the Victory Platform. Besides catching the sunrise atop the Matanga Hill, you could explore the Hampi Bazaar.
Gulbarga is the largest district in Karnataka where the past settles comfortably with the present. A historically rich region of the Deccan, it has been a part of several kingdoms including the Rashtrakutas and Bahamanis. This place is also home to several architectural marvels.
Gulbarga Fort is one of the attractions here, showcasing a blend of Indian and Persian architectural styles. Sharan Basaveshwara Temple, built in the 12th century by Lingayat Saint Sharan Basaveshwara, is also popular among tourists. Koranti Hanuman Temple is another tourist attraction.
Srirangapatna, located just 16km away from Mysore, is an island fortress of the brave warrior king Tipu Sultan. Inside the fortress one finds Tipu’s mosque with its twin minarets, along with the renowned Ranganatha Swamy Temple.
The other attractions here are Tipu Sultan’s Summer Palace, the Wellesley Bridge and the dungeons where the British officers were imprisoned. The ornate white-domed Gumbaz is also quite impressive. Tip’s Summer Palace (known as the Daria Daulat Bagh) is located about 1km to the east of the fort.
At Shravanabelagola, you will come across Asia’s tallest monolithic statue – the 52ft statue of Bahubali. Reaching it requires one to undertake an arduous climb of 600-odd steps. At the Chennakesava Temple, the intricate carvings will draw your admiration.
Visiting this site is like embarking on a pilgrimage. On the occasion of Mahamastakabhisheka, this colossal statue is smeared with bananas, jiggery, almond, dates, milk and thousands of pots of coconut oil, besides others.
Bijapur, the one-time capital of the Adil Shahi kings, is dotted with mosques, mausoleums, palaces, fortifications and other pieces of architecture dating back to the medieval age. A prominent symbol of that era is the Gol Gumbaz, which dominates the landscape.
Another attraction is the Ibrahim Roza, a beautiful tomb built by Adil Shah II for his queen. Located in close proximity to this structure are the Sat Manzil and the Jala Manzil. An interesting piece of architecture is the Malik-e-Maidan, which is one of the largest surviving bell-metal canons in the world.
Coorg is undoubtedly one of the foremost tourist attractions in Karnataka. Clothed in greenery, it’s the kind of place where you while away your time in luxury. This lovely hill station is dotted with tourist attractions that promise a great time for the visitors.
A favorite with the tourists here is the Abbey Falls. If you love trekking, Brahmagiri Peak is where you should head to. A colossal experience awaits you at the Dubare Elephant Camp, when you can get up and close with these mammoths. For some breathtaking views, visit Raja’s Seat and Mandalpatti View Point.