with its capital at Bangalore, is home to a fascinating
legacy of richly carved temples and imposing mosques. The
state's long and colourful history and the many forts,
temples, mosques and churches make it a great place to
explore. Colourful art forms, indigenous crafts and a rich
cultural legacy add further sheen to Karnatakaís diverse
tourism potential. Mysore, the capital of the erstwhile
princely state has a profusion of palaces and museums. Hampi
in Karnataka is the most fascinating historical site.
Srirangapatnam is linked to the memory of one of the old
stateís best known rulers - Tipu Sultan. Alongside heritage,
culture, and natural splendors, Karnataka also boasts of
Bangalore - Indiaís Silicon Valley, and a rapidly growing
metropolis. The state is also fast emerging as a sought
after MICE destination. For adventure lovers, Karnataka
offers white-water rafting possibilities.
The state of Karnataka is part of two well-defined regions
of India, namely the Deccan Plateau and the Coastal Plains
and Islands, the majority of the state lies on the Deccan
Plateau. Karnatakaís 320km of unspoilt coastline has good
beaches. It has several breathtaking hill stations that are
ideal for ecotourism projects. It also boasts a diverse
flora and fauna, which make it a nature tourist's paradise.
During the British rule, Karnataka was a part of the Madras
Presidency and it became a new state only in 1956. It was
name of Mysore and added some districts from the former
Bombay Presidency and the state was renamed as Karnataka in
in southern Karnataka is a great city with loads of charm.
It offers a lot for tourists including the Mysore Palace and
Chamundi Hill. The markets offer excellent shopping for
sandalwood carvings, incense, silk etc; There are also many
interesting places that can be visited from Mysore including
Somnathpur with its famous temple, Srirangapatnam with its
ancient ruins and Sravanabelagola with its huge statue of
Mysore city was the capital of the old royal Mysore
province. The word Mysore expands to "Mahishasurana Ooru"
which means the town of Mahishasura. The story goes that the
demon Mahishasura was killed by goddess Chamundeshwari atop
the Chamundi hill near Mysore. Ever since, the Mysore royal
family has worshipped Chamundeshwari as the palace deity.
Hills dedicated to her stand at the eastern end of Mysore
The Wodeyar family ruled Mysore since 14th century except
for a short period of 40 years in later 18th century when
Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan were the rulers. Mysore still
retains much of its carefully built character of a
Maharaja's capital. Beyond Mysore's architectural heritage,
the city's long-held tradition of music and dance, art and
literature, scholarship and time-honored crafts were
nurtured under their patronage.
On the outskirts of Mysore, Srirangapatnam still harbours
architectural gems from the days of the great Indian hero,
Tipu Sultan, and the magnificent Hoysala temple of
Somnathpur lies little more than an hour's drive away.
Mysore Palace: Built in around 897 AD in Saracenic
style, the Mysore palace is a fusion of Hindu and Muslim
architectural styles. Designed by an English architect, it
was built in place of an earlier palace burnt down in 1897
and was completed in 1912. The main palace building is made
of massive gray granite with a tower covered by a gilded
dome. There is a temple within the royal courtyard, from
where the Dussehra procession starts in the month of
October. The museum of the palace houses a collection of
musical instruments, children's toys, many paintings,
costumes and weapons belonging to the Maharaja's family.
Chamundi Hills: Chamundi Hills is the temple
dedicated to the Goddess Chamundeshwari, the royal family's
patron deity. One may reach the temple either through a
13-km drive or climb the 1,000 stone steps. Near the temple
is the huge statue of Mahishasura, the demon that had been
killed by the Goddess. Halfway up along the stone steps, is
the 300-year old 4.8-metre monolithic statue of Nandi Bull,
chosen mount of Lord Shiva. Its main attraction is the size
and the meticulous craftsmanship of its ornaments.
St. Philomena's Church: It is one of the oldest
churches in Mysore. Built in Gothic style, the church is
among the largest in India. Stained glass windows and lofty
towers give this cathedral an imposing look.
Mysore Zoo: Mysore zoo is one of the best kept zoos
in India. Situated amidst lush green surroundings, the zoo
houses some rare and exotic birds and animals. The zoo has
acquired fame for breeding some rare animals in captivity.
Srirangapatnam: Located 15 kms north of Mysore on the
road to Banglore, Srirangapatnam has many interesting places
including the summer palace of Tipu Sultan, which was built
in 1784 in the Indo-Saracenic style. It also houses a small
museum exhibiting Tipu's trivia such as a gold-embroidered
tunic, old paintings and a coin collection. The Gumbaz, the
mausoleum of Tipu Sultan and his father Hyder Ali is another
attraction of Srirangapatnam.
Capital of Karnataka State, Bangalore is famous as the city
of gardens. It is one of the most attractive cities in India
with its beautiful parks avenues and impressive buildings.
Apart from the numerous gardens, it also has some historical
sites and other places of interest.
According to a legend, the city of Bangalore is named the
native translation of 'boiled beans' that an old woman
offered to a hungry and lost Hoysala ruler. The origin of
the present-day city of Bangalore can be traced to the early
16th century, when Kempegowda, a local chief, built a small
mud fort here. Bangalore gained prominence in the 18th
century, when it became an important fort city, under Hyder
Ali and Tipu Sultan of Mysore. This area witnessed the
struggle between Tipu Sultan and the British. The British
defeated Tipu Sultan and took over Bangalore city. In 1831,
the British made it the regional administrative city and
established a big cantonment here.
Though the origin of Bangalore is ancient, the present-day
city was founded in the 16th century and has since continued
to be an important administrative center. Due to the high
concentration of IT industry, it also called the Silicon
Valley of India.
Cubbon Park: This 120-hectare park is one of the most
important parks in the city. The park is highly popular with
walkers, joggers and nature lovers for its tranquility and
the natural beauty of the park complimented by the red
Gothic structures of the State Central Library and the High
Government Aquarium: This aquarium is housed in an
octagonal building, enhancing the beauty of Cubbon Park. It
exhibits the largest number of indigenous and exotic,
cultivable as well as ornamental pet fish. The Hocks stick,
the Pearl Coushmi, the India Tiger Borb, the Moon Tail, as
well as edible fish welcome the visitor.
Lalbagh Gardens: The present day Lalbagh was once a
small fruit orchard during the times of Hyder Ali. Later,
Tipu Sultan introduced exotic trees such as Cypress, Thuja,
Junipers, Grapes, Guavas, Raspberries and Strawberries and
other European flora and expanded the garden.
The Fort: Situated opposite the city market, the Fort
was originally built in mud by Kempe Gowda in 1537. The Fort
was extended and fortified by Tipu Sultan. It is noted for
the beautifully carved Islamic-style arches on the gate
walls, and for the well-preserved Ganapathi Temple, a
testament of the religious tolerance of Tipu Sultan, within
its precincts. One of the temple's outer walls carries an
exquisite carving of Sri Krishna playing his flute.
Tipu's Palace: Situated near the fort, construction
of this palace was begun by Tipu Sultan's father Haider Ali
and completed by Tippu himself in 1791. It resembles the
Daria Daulat Palace at Srirangapatna, Tipu's capital. It was
known as `Rashk-e-jannat' - the Envy of Heaven. Constructed
largely of wood, it is known for the five elaborately
decorated arches surmounted by exquisite minarets and
paintings on the walls and ceilings.
Nandi hills: Situated 38 kms north of Banglore, it
was a popular summer retreat since Tipu Sultan days. There
are also two notable Chola temples here.
Situated in the Western Ghats of Karnataka, Mangalore is
said to have been named after the famous Mangaladevi Temple.
This temple, also a tourist spot, is situated 3 km away from
main city area. This temple was built by the Ballal family
of Attavar in memory of a princess of Kerala.
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.
Mangalore has virgin and unexplored beaches. The Ullal Beach
with Casuarina groves is another attraction that draws
tourists all through the year.
Yakshagana performance - an elaborate dance is unique to
Karnataka. A nightlong event, with people adorned vibrantly
and dancing to the beat of the drums, 'Yakshagana'
performance attracts hundreds of people.
is one of the most fascinating historical sites in south
India. The superb ruins are set in a strange and beautiful
boulder strewn landscape which has an almost magical
quality. The government has taken up the restoration,
excavation and the protection work of the ruins which spread
over an area of 26 sq. kms. Hampi has become a thriving
travelerís center and most people stay at least a couple of
days to soak up the atmosphere and explore the area.
Hampi was once the glorious capital of mighty Vijayanagara
Empire (1336-1565), from the Deccan Plateau to the tip of
the Peninsula. Founded in the middle of the 14th century by
two local princes, Hukka & Bukka, the Vijayanagara Empire
came to be celebrated for its might and wealth and as a
showpiece of imperial magnificence. The emperors of this
dynasty were great patrons of art and architecture which can
still be seen in the vast ruins of Hampi. The terrain is
dominated by rocky hills and the mighty Tungabhadra river,
which flows through this rugged landscape. Hampi has been
declared a World Heritage site. The temples of Hampi, its
monolithic sculptures and monuments attract the traveler
because of their excellent workmanship.
The main tourist spots in Hampi can be divided into two
broad areas: the Hampi Bazaar area and the Royal center near
Kamalapuram. The 15th-century Virupaksha Temple is located
in the Hampi Bazaar area. It is one of the oldest monuments
of the town. The top of the temple rises about 50 m from the
ground and the main shrine is dedicated to Virupaksha, a
form of Lord Shiva. Hemakuta Hill, south of the Virupaksha
temple, contains early ruins, Jain temples and a monolithic
sculpture of Lord Narasimha, a form of Lord Vishnu. Hemakuta
Hill offers excellent view of Hampi Bazaar. Two kilometers
east of Hampi Bazaar, is the World Heritage Vittal temple,
built in the 16th century. The carvings on this temple give
an insight into the architectural splendor achieved by the
artisans of Vijaynagar Empire. The outer pillars of this
temple are said to produce music when tapped. They are also
known as the musical pillars. Between Hampi Bazaar and
Vittal temple, one can see the deserted Sule Bazaar and the
Achutraya temple. Monolithic statue of Lord Ganesh, Nandi,
the Kodandarama temple and the Krishna temple are other
places to visit in the Hampi Bazaar area.
The royal center is located between the Hampi Bazaar area
and Kamalapuram. One can take a 2-km walk down to this area
from the Hampi Bazaar. There are a number of tourist
attractions, within the walled area of the royal center.
Apart from the Hampi Bazaar and the Royal center, Anegondi
is another area to be visited by the tourist. It is a
fortified area north of Hampi Bazaar across Tungabhadra
River. It has a number of temples in and around it.
is an active religional centre with none of Hampiís
atmosphere. The significance of Hospet lies in its
propinquity to the World Heritage Site of Hampi. Being just
thirteen kilometers away from Hampi, Hospet acts as a base
for the tourists to the Vijayanagar ruins in Hampi.
The Tungabhadra Dam near Hospet boasts of the Japanese
gardens at its base and the sweet waters of the river. The
terrific dam across the Tungabhadra River is 590 meters in
length, 49 meters in height with an enormous storage
The charming town of Chitradurga is a must visit for the
tourists to Hospet. The hill and fort town of Chitradurga is
often referred to as Kallina Kote or the Place of Stones.
The bold rocky hills and picturesque valleys with huge
towering boulders offer nature at its best at Chitradurga.
The Palegars, Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan built the famous
fort of Chitradurga. The fort lies enclosed in series of
seven walls and is known for its military architecture.
There are as many as nineteen gateways to the fort. There
are several ancient temples inside the fort.
Badami was once the capital of the Chalukya kings and the
place is famous for many Hindu and Jain rock-cut cave
shrines. Badami is well known for its rich history and
ancient architecture. It was the ancient capital of the
early Chalukya kingdom. A number of richly carved monuments
and caves belonging to Chalukyas, dating back to the 6th and
7th centuries can be found here. The Chalukyas laid the
foundation of a unique style of architecture, which is a
fine blend of North Indian Nagara style and the South Indian
Dravidian style of architecture. The architecture and
sculptures created in Badami during the time of the
Chalukyas inspired later-day architectural and sculpting
traditions. A number of places of historical importance are
situated near Badami.
Bandipur National Park is a beautiful forest reserve located
in the southern Indian state of Karnataka. The Moyer River
forms a natural boundary between the Mudumalain Wildlife
Sanctuary in Tamilnadu and the Bandipur National Park in
Karnataka. Nestling at the foothills of the Nilgiris, the
Bandipur National Park was formed by extending the Venugopal
Wildlife Park which was set up in 1931 by the Mysore
A popular game resort of the rulers of Mysore, the flora in
the forest comprises of teak, rosewood, honne, mathi,
bamboo, sandal trees. The important animals in the park are
the tiger, elephant, gaur, leopard, chital, samber, etc.
Birds like the pea fowl, partrige, quail, hornbill, Ibis,
etc., are alsofound here.
The Bandipur National Park is one of the 15 sanctuaries
selected across India for Project Tiger, a scheme launched
in 1973, by the World Wildlife Fund for Nature in
conjunction with the Indian Government. The project is
designed to save the tiger and its natural habitat from
Bijapur is known for its medieval monuments, which are a
unique form of Islamic architecture.
The magnificent Gol Gumbaz is the main attraction of this
city. Built by Mohammad Adil Shah in 1659, this structure is
unsupported by pillars. It is the largest dome in India and
the second largest in the world. From the turrets of the Gol
Gumbaz, one can have a panoramic view of the city. Tourists
are attracted to this city by the various monuments built by
the Adil Shahi rulers, who ruled Bijapur between 15th and
17th century. Other monuments include Ibrahim Roza built in
1626, Taj Baoli, Assa Mahal,
Gaggan Mahal, Bara Khamba, and All Saints Church.
The origin of Bijapur goes back to the early medieval
period. The Chalukyan rulers of south India, between the
10th and 11th centuries laid the foundation of Bijapur. At
that time, it was called as Vijayapura (the City of
Victory). The local Yadavas rulers ruled it for about a
century. Ala-ud-din Khilji, the Sultan of Delhi, captured it
and made it a part of his empire at the end of the 13th
century. Khilji could not hold on to Bijapur for long and it
became the part of the Bahamani Empire in 1347. The golden
period of Bijapur started with the decline of the Bahamani
rulers, when, in 1489, Yusuf Adil Shah, one of the nobles
under the Bahamani rulers, laid the foundation of the Adil
Shahi dynasty and made Bijapur the capital of his kingdom.
The Adil Shahis ruled Bijapur until 1686, when the last
great Mughal ruler Aurangzeb defeated them.