Land of Sandalwood -Karnataka
Karnataka has 30 districts and is grouped into 4 administrative divisions. The picturesque mountainous landscape and pretty valleys beckon one to Karnataka. It is thus a favorite destination among the visitors. The enriching beauty of the rough and rugged mountains simply spell bounds one. It is such a place that can satisfy one’s appetite for adventure. The state of Karnataka just helps one to escape from the monotonous routine life.
The Winter season is apt to explore this splendid state. Month starting from October till April are the most pleasant months when one can pay a visit and explore the picturesque places of Karnataka as the climate is soothing. One can leisurely stroll and enjoy the scenic views. On the other hand, summers are quite unpleasant to go about touring, but the hill stations are quite cold. One should plan one’s trip according to the weather updates only. There are a number of scenic places and sites to explore like Bannerghatta National Park, Kudremukh National Park, located in Kudremukh, Dubare Elephant Camp, Kabini Wildlife Sanctuary, Brahmagiri Wildlife Sanctuary and some other beautiful national parks too. There are a number of top hill stations of Karnataka to spend vacations. Some of them are- Coorg, BR Hills, Kodachadri, Chikmagalur, Kemmangundi and some other astonishing hill stations too.
The local food available to the tourists is just out of the box because of its tastes, texture and presentation. Some of the names that can tingle one’s taste buds are- Kane Rava Fry, Udupi Sambar, Coorg Pandi Curry, KundapuraKoliSaaru, KorriGassi, NeerDosa, Raggi Mudde, Gojju, Pori Urundai, TatteIdli and some other delicacies too.
There is no other way to enjoy a place more than to take part in its local festivities. One not only gets a glimpse of the state’s culture but also learn more about festivals. Some amazing festivals of the state are- Kambala festival which is an annual buffalo race celebrated in the month of Dakshin Kannada and Udipi district. Then there is the Hampi festival also called Vijaya Utsava. It is a cultural extravaganza organized in the South Indian village of Hampi. Known artists and musicians attend this festival to showcase their marvelous talent. Other festivals that are celebrated with great enthusiasm are- Pattadakal Dance festival, Ugadi, Vairamundi festival, Karaga festival, Vara Mahalakshmi Pooja, Ganesh Chaturthi and other religious festivals
Food of Karnataka
Allugedda is the mashed masala potato dish. It is a very simple yet delicious dish. The boiled potatoes are mashed and then cooked with some regular spices, tomatoes and black Gram. It is one of the most favored dishes of Karnataka.
2. Neer Dosa
NeerDosa is one of the famous dishes of the state of Karnataka. The texture of the dosa is made thin and crispy. NeerDosa is a healthy meal here. Tourists coming to this splendid state loves this delicacy so much.
3. Mysore Masala Dosa
The Mysore Masala Dosa is one of the most preferred dishes of Karnataka. It is different from other dosas as in this cuisine dosa is layered with red spice mix on top of it. Due to the use of red spice mix, it makes it unique and presentable. This dosa goes well with Sambar and coconut chutney.
4. Chow Chow Bhath
For foodies who prefer both spicy and sweet food at the same time, this dish will surely be going to satisfy their taste buds. This dish is a combination of two dishes- KharaBhath and Kesari Bhath. KharaBhath is the spicy Upma which has veggies and peanuts in it while KesariBhath is a sweet halwa in which saffron is added to get the orange color. The whole dish is prepared with semolina. This dish is eaten at breakfast.
5. Ragi Muddle and Sopinna Saru
The dish is one of the healthiest cuisines of Karnataka. It is prepared with Ragi flour and water. The dough is rolled and shaped as balls. It is paired with Sopinna gravy prepared with green leafy veggies, lentils and is cooked with some local spices.
Things to do in Karnataka
Exploring Karnataka is in itself a thrilling experience. It is the most loved destination for most of the visitors. It is not only famed for its beaches but it is also known for trekking, White Water Rafting, Parasailing, Wildlife Safari, Rock Climbing, Kayaking, Camping, Bungee Jumping, Zorbingandother thrilling activities too. Tour to Karnataka is filled with adventure, natural scenic beauties, picturesque views, mouth-watering cuisines and many more things.
For adventure junkies, there are a lot of trekking spots. Trekkers have ample options to trek in Kemmanagundi, Mullayanagiri, Kudremukh, Bheemeshwari, Savandurga and other amazing spots. Tourists can take part in a number of adventure activities like- White water rafting. The best place for this thrilling activity in Dandeli and is located on the banks of river Kali. Another outstanding experience one can have is of Wildlife Safari. It is one of the best opportunities to get closer to wildlife. Though there are a huge number of national parks that indulge in wildlife safari Nagarhole National Park is considered apt for a wildlife safari. This safari will surely leave one spellbound and will give memories to cherish forever. Camping is another exciting activity for nature enthusiasts.
The beautiful hill station, Coorg offers its visitors a good option to admire the beauty of the place and enjoy tranquillity through camping. There are a number of camps in this area. There are other hill stations too where one can camp and enjoy nature at its best. Bungee jumping and Zorbing is yet another exciting activity for adventure lovers. Bengaluru the state of Karnataka’s capital will surely fascinate one with the aforesaid activities.
There are some heart-throbbing national parks to explore like - Nagarhole National Park- located in Mysore. It is home to a number of animals like- Panther, Gaur, Mongoose, Civet Cat and a lot more other animals. Then there is Bandipur National Park, which is home to a number of endangered species. Some other beautiful national parks are- Bannerghatta National Park, Kudremukh National Park, located in Kudremukh, Dubare Elephant Camp, Kabini Wildlife Sanctuary, Brahmagiri Wildlife Sanctuary and some other beautiful national parks too. Kayaking is another astonishing activity in Bheemeshwari. One can witness and absorb the beauty of the place while Kayaking.
No trip is complete without shopping. Karnataka is surely a center of attraction for shopaholics. It is known for Mysore Silk sarees. The special thing about this saree is that pure silk and pure gold zari- a kind of thread is used for weaving. It is also known for Sandalwood products like soap, sandalwood oil, incense sticks and showpieces. Brigade Road in Bengaluru offers a plethora of options for shopping. One can find a number of brand showrooms to shop. Book lovers can find a number of bookstores in Brigade road. Some famous Malls of Bengaluru are- Phoenix Marketcity, Mantri Square Mall, and Garuda Mall to shop from. Coorg is also famous for its markets.
One can explore Friday Market at Coorg where one can get the best quality of spices. This market is known for selling varieties of quality spices. The flea market is yet another famous market in Coorg. It is known for selling spices, antiques, precious stones and artificial Jewellery. One may find a number of coffee stores in Coorg. There are a good number of other markets too in the whole of Karnataka.
Places to visit in Karnataka feature a number of most fascinating attractions ranging from beautiful beaches, temples to rugged mountains to dense forests with rich biodiversity and ancient cities. Some of them include- Kappu Beach in Udupi, Paradise Beach in Gokarna, Tannirbhavi beach in Mangalore, KollurMookambika temple, Udupi Srikrishna temple, Dharmasthala Manjunath temple, Murudeshwar temple, Kukke Subramanya temple and other fascinating places too.
Tourist Places to visit in Karnataka
1. Durga Temple
The Durga temple is one of the known temples of Aihole. The place Aihole has around 125 temples. This temple was constructed in 7th century AD. The temple has elegant rock-cut architecture and is constructed in an apsidal and oblong shape. One coming to Karnataka should witness this beauty as it is worth visiting.
2. Keshava Temple
The Keshava temple is situated at Somnathpur. It was constructed in 1268 AD. This temple is considered to be the most popular temple in Somnathpur. One coming to this temple can find the three-star-shaped sanctuaries designed with intricate sculpture which in itself unique. This temple is about 40 kms from Mysore airport.
3. Murudeshwar Shiva Temple
The Shiva temple is situated in Murudeshwar town in Bhatkal district. The statue of Lord Shiva is famed as the world’s second-largest statue. One coming to this beautiful temple can enjoy the picturesque view of the Arabian Sea. Tourists can board a train that travels on the Mangalore-Mumbai-Konkan rail route or can board a bus to Murudeshwar temple from Bengaluru.
4. Nagarhole National Park
The Nagarhole National Park is in the district of Mysore. This national park is best known for its rich wildlife including flora and fauna. One can find countless species of animals like- Jackal, Elephant, Panther, Gaur, Sambar, Mangoose, Hyena, Sloth bear and other varieties of animals too. For bird watchers, this park is apt as there are around 250 varieties of birds. This park is a paradise for photographers such is a scenic beauty.
5. Pushpagiri Wildlife Sanctuary
Pushpagiri Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the popular 21 wildlife sanctuaries in Karnataka. This sanctuary is located at Coorg. It is the home to a number of rare and endangered species of birds. The Mandalpatti Peak and Mallalli Falls, here in this sanctuary are the prime attraction and thus leave an ever-lasting imprint on one’s mind and soul. This beautiful sanctuary is the most visited in Coorg.
6. Daroji Bear Sanctuary
The Daroji Bear Sanctuary was converted from dense forest to a lush green area in 1994. It is home to Sloth Bear and other animals too. This is the only sanctuary where one can find bears in captivity. Other animals like Jackals, Leopards, and Wild Boars are also found here. It is located in Hampi. Around 120 sloth bears can be seen in this sanctuary. It is spread over 80 sq kms and is an important sanctuary for the conservation of these sloth bears.
7. Kaup Beach
Kaup Beach is in the Udupi district. It is one of the most crowded beaches in Karnataka. The key highlights of this beach are 100-feet high lighthouse and a ruined fort which surely leaves one awestruck. Beholden to the picturesque view one is spellbound by the bountiful beauty. The nearest airport to this place is almost 50 kms away in Mangalore.
8. Netrani Beach
Netrani beach is also known as Pigeon Island. It is one of the small islands in the Arabian sea. Adventure junkies can enjoy Scuba diving here. It is indeed a scuba diving destination in India. This beach is located at about 10 kms away from the Murudeshwar town in Karnataka. It is famous for its rich corals, snorkeling and scuba diving.
9. Ullal Beach
The Ullal beach is located in the oldest town Ullal. The main attraction of this beach is that it is one of the famous fishing spots in Karnataka. This beach offers a tranquil atmosphere and is considered to be the best for photography. It is 12 kms away from Mangalore city. The other major attraction of Ullal town is St. Sebastian Church and Somnatheshwar temple.
Agumbe is the hill station in the Shimoga district of Karnataka. It is one of the beautiful hill stations of the state. This picturesque hill station is known for its incessant rainfall and thus is labeled as Cherrapunji of the South. The rich flora and fauna, scenic landscapes, waterfalls along myriad medicinal plants attract the tourists and leaves them spellbound. When coming to this hill station just pay a visit to some popular destinations like- Kundadri hills that is famous for an ancient Jain Temple constructed in 17th century. Then there is KoodluTheertha Falls, Sunset Point, Agumbe Rainforest Research Station and Barkana Falls and other splendid places too.
11. BR Hills
Biligiriranga or BR Hills is one of the outstanding hill stations of Karnataka. It is a treat for nature lovers and wildlife explorers. It is also perfect for trekking, river rafting and angling. The peaceful atmosphere, the rich flora and fauna, lush green hills make it a must-visit destination of Karnataka. One coming to this station can visit the BR Wildlife Sanctuary, BiligiriRangaswamy temple-devoted to Lord Ranganatha is situated at the top of the highest peak of BR Hills, DoddaSampige Mara meaning the Big Champak tree which is more than 2000 years old. There are other places too that are worth visiting.
Kemmangundi hill station is situated in the Chikamagalur district of Karnataka. It is a perfect station for all nature lovers. Far from all the hustle and bustle of city life, this station is rich in lush green vegetation, cascading waterfalls and mountain streams. It is a treat for trekkers also. Tourists can visit the famous spots here such as Hebbe Falls which is not only known for its natural beauty but also believed to cure skin diseases. Kallathi Falls is another known waterfall in Kemmangundi. There are Mullayanagiri Peak, Rose and Rock garden which is home to numerous flower species.
The hill station Coorg is located in the Kodagu district. One coming here can witness the lush green slopes, hills and dense forests. Coorg is truly a paradise for photographers. One can capture the astounding scenic views for a lifetime. Visitors can explore the waterfalls, national parks, temples and sprawling coffee plantations.
14. Bangalore Palace
The Bangalore Palace was constructed in 1887 by King Chamaraja Wadiyar. The Palace is witnessed with beautiful wooden interiors and is surrounded by gardens. Paintings from the 19th, 20th century and paintings by Raja Ravi Varma- one of India’s most famous painters, can be seen here. Tourists coming here can find a good collection of photographs that chronicle the different generations of the Wadiyar dynasty. One can pay a visit to this lavish and elegant splendor of one of South India’s enduring dynasties.
15. Mysore Palace
Mysore Palace is one of the great examples of the Indo-Saracenic style of architecture. This Palace is located in Mysore. The other name of this splendid Palace is Amba Vilas Palace. It was constructed in 1912 for the 24th Ruler of the Wodeyar Dynasty. Chamundi Hills towards its eastern side gives it a picturesque view. It is the second most visited historical monument after the Taj Mahal. The Mysore Palace is located inside the old Fort and is famed for its light and sound show and for vibrant Dussehra celebrations.
16. Lalbagh Botanical Garden
Lalbagh Botanical Garden is in Bengaluru and is a nationally and internationally renowned center for botanical artwork, conservation of plants and for the scientific study of plants. This garden is home to rare plants of Persian, French and Afghani origin. One can indulge in photography as this place is a delight for photographers. It has a glasshouse where the annual flower show is held every year. One can witness the aquarium and lake here. The garden is also home to numerous birds like- Myna, Parakeets, Brahminy Kite, Pond Heron, Common Egret and Purple Moor Hen.
17. Virupaksha Temple
The Virupaksha Temple is in Hampi in the Ballari district of Karnataka. It is devoted to Lord Virupaksha- a form of Lord Shiva. It was built by LakkanDandesha- a Nayaka under the ruler Deva Raya II. The temple has three ante chambers, a pillared hall and an open pillared hall. The Virupaksha temple is situated on the South bank of the river Tungabadra. It is one of the beautiful temples in Hampi.
18. Jog Falls
Jog Falls is considered to be the most outstanding waterfalls in Karnataka. It is located in the Shimoga district of Karnataka. It is formed over the Sharavati river flowing over a very rocky bed and the water comes down in 4 distinct falls called- Raja, Rani, Rover, Rocket. These then merge to form a huge waterfall. One is amazed by the scenic views. A trip to Jog Falls is truly a worth visit.
19. Tipu Sultan’s Summer Palace
Tipu Sultan’s Summer Palace is located in Bengaluru. It is a perfect example of Indo-Islamic architecture and was once the summer residence of the Mysore ruler Tipu Sultan. Today it is maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India. The Palace was constructed by teak. It has beautiful pillars, arches and balconies. The history reveals that Tipu Sultan used to conduct his durbar from the eastern and western balconies of the upper floor. When in Bengaluru one must visit this stunning masterpiece.
20. Gokarna Beach
Gokarna Beach is one of the heart-throbbing beaches of Karnataka. It is an 8 hours drive from Bengaluru. The scenic beauty of this beach gives one immense peace. It is apt for photography. This beautiful beach offers one such scenic views that one is forced to capture it. It is a must-visit beach.
21. Tannirbhavi Beach
The Tannirbhavi beach is one of the nearest beaches to Bengaluru. This beach is in Mangalore which is about 6 to 7 hours of drive from the main city. It is less crowded and perfect for relaxing. It is one of the most beautiful beaches in Karnataka
Where to Stay in Karnataka
Karnataka is truly a beautiful place to pay a visit. It does offer some picturesque places to stay. One can get budget-friendly and luxury hotels and resorts at Hampi, Coorg, Mysore, Bengaluru, Chikmagalur, Kodachadri, Kemmangundi, Bagalkote, Raichur and other districts too.
How to Reach Karnataka
Karnataka can be easily reached by air. There are a number of airports in Karnataka state. The Kempegowda International airport in Bengaluru is considered to be the best airport in India. There are direct flights from major cities like- Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Jaipur and Kolkata. One can go for a number of domestic flights like- Spicejet, Indigo, Air India, Vistara, Air Asia. Mangalore is another International airport in Mangalore. It serves those tourists coming from the Middle East and Gulf countries. After reaching the airport one can hire a taxi to reach their destination.
The city railway station in Bengaluru is the most prominent railway terminal. Major cities within Karnataka are too connected easily by train. Tourists from Mumbai or Hyderabad find it quite easy and simple to board a train to Karnataka. After reaching the railway station one can hire a taxi or bus to reach the destination of their choice.
Karnataka state is well connected to other parts of the county by roadways. Buses are run by KSRTC which works for both interstate and intra-state destinations. There are about 15 national highways that link Karnataka with Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra. Some of the State highways are- KA SH16, KA SH 17 and KA SH 18 The other two bus services that connect Karnataka’s remote areas with other towns and cities are NEKRTC and NWKRTC.
Best time to visit Karnataka
Winter is considered to be the best season to explore Karnataka. October to April is the month when one can pay a visit and explore the beautiful places of Karnataka as the climate is soothing and pleasant. One can roam and enjoy nature comfortably. During winter months people find it pleasant to visit marvelous, beaches, temples, natural reserves etc. The state is quite humid in the summer season starting from April to June, making it very unpleasant to go about touring, but the hill stations are quite cold. Summers do provide opportunities to visit hill stations and are most frequented by the tourists. Paradise as it is, Karnataka abounds in greenery and makes one excited in many ways. It is advised to plan a trip to this beautiful state according to the weather updates only.