Karnataka, state, southern India, bordered on the north and northeast by Maharashtra and Goa state, on the east by Andhra Pradesh State, on the south by Tamil Nadu and Kerala states, and on the west by the Arabian Sea. Karnataka (meaning "lofty land") was known until 1972 as Mysore State.
It was created in 1956 under the States Reorganization Act to bring together the Kannada-and comprises the old princely state of Mysore, plus parts of the former states of Coorg, Bombay, Hyderabad, and Madras.
Karnataka is a land of fragrance-fragrance of enchanting perfume of sandal and Agarbathis, the aroma of fresh roasted coffee beans, the heady fragrance of the Mysore, Mallige and thousands of roses blossoming. Ancient -sculptured temples, magnificent palaces, ornate buildings and colourful festivals blend beautifully with the evergreen forests, golden beaches, orange groves and garden cities to form this exquisite land.
Standing close to each other (within 13 km radius) these temple towns represent Chalukyan architecture at its best.
Badami was the capital of the Chalukyas in the 6th and 7th centuries and is noted for 4 rock caves excavated in the sand stone cliff. The important carvings at the caves are an eight armed dancing Shiva and a two handed Ganesha. The second cave has Vaishnavite influence with panel of Thrivikrama and Bhuvaraha. On the ceiling are carvings of Anantha Shayana, Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva and Ashtadikpalas. The third cave is the largest and has carvings pertaining to both Shaivite and Vaishnavite themes. Panels of Thrivikrama, Narasimha, Shankaracharya, Bhuvarna, Anantha Shayana and Harihara are engraved in vigorous style. In the fourth cave of Jains there is a image of Mahavira. The place is also known for the earliest group of Chalukyan structural temples. Badami Fort, on top of a hill, encloses large granaries, a treasury and a watch tower. The famed Malegitti Shivalaya temple set on the summit is built with stones joined together with mortar.
Bandipur National Park
Situated on the Mysore – Ooty Road, This wildlife sanctuary adjoins the Madumalai sanctuary of Tamil Nadu and the Wayanad sanctuary in Kerala. One can see several wild animals such as bison, elephants, tigers, panthers from watchtowers. Bandipur as consider as on e of the best wildlife sanctuaries in India.
Best time to visit: The best time to visit here is during the months of October to March, the weather is cool and pleasant. The best ideal time for viewing the wildlife, is during May and June.
Bangalore, the 'GARDEN CITY OF INDIA' and capital of the State (1000 m above sea level) was founded in) 537 AD by a Vijaynagar chief tan Kempe Gowda. The legend goes that the King Veera Ballala of Vijaynagara once lost his way while hunting in a forest. Hungry arid tired, he came upon a lone hut in the thick of forest where he met an old woman. When he asked for food she gave him some baked beans (Benda Kalu in Kannada). To the King this humble meal tasted better than those served in his palace. To commemorate the incident, he called the place 'BENDA KALU OORU' (place of baked beans) and this in time transformed into Bangalore. In the 18th century it was the stronghold of Haider Ali and Tipu Sultan. Today it is the fifth largest city of India and country's main industrial city which includes industries like aircraft, telephones, electronics etc.
It is 502 kms from bangalore. Belgaum, the headquarters of this district, is an ancient town of considerable historical interest. During the 13th century, Belgaum flourished as the capital of the Ratta Kings. Today, it is a modern cantonment town. Once Mahatma Gandhi was licked up here. Belgaum's watch tower gives a nice panorama of the countryside. Today of is a modern cantonment town.
Belur is 38 km from Hasan and 222 km from Bangalore. It is a styled Dakshina Varanasi of Southern Benares. The sanctity of the town is due to Channakeshwa temple, one of the finest example of Hoysala architecture. Built by the Hoysala King Vishnuvardhana in 117 AD to commemorate his conversion from Jain faith to Vaishnava, it took 103 years to complete. The facade of the temple is filled with intricate sculptures and frizzes-with no portion left blank. Elephants, episodes from the epics, sensuous dancers-they are all there-awe-inspiring in their intricate workmanship. Inside are hand-lathe-turned filigreed pillars. The Veeranarayana temple and the smaller shrines are well worth a visit.
27 km north-west of Hassan and 17 km east of Belur is Halebid. This old city was the site of the ancient capital city of Dwarasamudra of the wealthy Hoysalas. The splendour of the city is attested by its architectural monuments which still rank among the masterpieces of the Hindu art. The Hoysaleswara temple dating back to the 12th century is outstanding for its wealth of sculptural details. The walls of the Hoysaleswara temple are covered with an endless variety of goddesses, animals, birds and dancing girls. Yet no two facets of the temple are same. Temple-guarded by the sacred Nandi Bull - was never completed despite 86 years of labour.
Bijapur, a medieval Muslim walled city, 530 km north-west of Bangalore, is characterised by domes and minarets. Its founder called it Vijayapura or Bijapur, the city of victory. Bijapur capital of the Adil Shahi kings, experienced a great deal of architectural activity under the Adil Shahi dynasty between 10th and 11 th centuries. The Adil Shahis encouraged building activities to such an extent that Bijapur itself has over 50 mosques, more than 20 tombs and a number of palaces.
The district takes its name from the headquarters town of Chikmagalur, which literally means younger daughter's town. The town is situated in a fertile valley, south of the Baba-Budan range and is surrounded by lush coffee growing hills. A centre of education, trade and commerce, the town enjoys a salubrious climate and has venerated monuments of all religions.
Chitradurga is situated on an umbrella-shaped lofty hill and in the valley of the Vedavati river, with the Tungbhadra flowing in the north-west. History dates back to the period of epic Ramayana and Mahabharata. The district, was part of the Satyahanas, the Kadambas, Rashtrakutas, Hoysalas, Vijaynagar and later Hayder Ali. The fort built in parts, by the Palegars, Hayder Ali and Tipu Sultan has seven series of enclosure walls. Many ancient temples can also be found inside the fort Harihar, a a town located 78 kms has the temple of Harihareshwara built in the Hoysala style. Hosdurga town (63 km) has the remnants of a hill, which was erected by Chikkanna Nayaka, a Palegar of Chitradurga. Molakalmuru was a fortified town of the Kadambas. Situated nearby is a temple, a large reservoir and a rock which produces a chain of echoes. The town is also known for its silk weaving industry.
Gulbarga, the district headquarters. was formerly known as Kalburgi. The town rose into prominence during the early Bahmani period when the founder of this dynasty shifted his capital from Daulatabad. Gulbarga continued to be the capital of this kingdom till about 1424 AD.
A world heritage centre, Hampi is the most beautiful and evocative of all ruins in Karnataka. The erstwhile capital of the Vijayanagara kingdom, Hampi is full of delightful surprises like the King's Balance where Kings were weighed against grain, gold or money which was then distributed amongst the poor, the Queen's bath with its arched corridors projecting balconies and lotus-shaped fountains that once sprouted perfumed water, the two storied Lotus Mahal with recessed archways, the huge Elephant Stables, the Splendid Vithala temple with its 'Musical pillars' and the stone chariot, the Vrupaksha Temple, still used for worship, Ugra Narasimha, the 6.7 m tall monolith and the Pushkarini the Mahanavami Dibba .
194 km from Bangalore and well-connected by road and rail to Bangalore, Mysore and Mangalore this calm and peaceful town is a convenient base to visit Shravanbelgola, Belur and Halebid. Hasanamb temple has a presiding deity of the town.
330 km from Bangalore lies Hospet. Its tourist importance lies in its proximity to Hampi, the site of the medieval Vijaynagara empire situated about 13 km from Hampi. Tungabahadra Dam here hamesses the sweet waters of Tungbhadra river.
The capital of Kodagu District, Madikeri is an attractive small town in a beautiful hilly setting surrounded by the forested slopes of the Western Ghats. With the annexation territory by the British, the old palaces and other apartments were converted into district offices.
357 km from Bangalore, this town is located near the back waters formed by converging the Netravathi and the Gurpur rivers. Mangalore city derives its name from the presiding deity Mangaladevi the goddess of fortune. The city has acquired importance due to completion of the new port. Main places of interest are the 10th century Mangala Devi temple, Kadri temple, St. Aloysious College Chapel, Mangalore Harbour, Light House and the Government museum.
Mysore, the 'SANDALWOOD CITY', once the residence and capital of the Wodeyars is located at 770 m above sea level and 140 km from Bangalore. The Mahabharata refers to this city as 'Mahisamati' in connection with an expedition of the Pandava Prince Sahadeva. The great king Ashoka sent a missionary in the 3rd century BC to preach the religion of Buddha. Raja Raja Deva, a Chola Prince ruled over Mysore in the'9th century AD. Gangas were ruling this territory between 1003 and 1022 AD. The Cholas, Hoysalas, Vijaynagara and Mysore kings ruled over it in succession.
Nagarhole National Park
Nagarhole National park derives its name from the combination of two Kannada words. 'Nagar,' meaning snake, and 'hole,' meaning streams. True to its name, quite a few serpentine streams fork through the rich tropical forests of the park.
Nagarhole Park was set up in 1955. In 1975, its area was increased to include a greater expanse of forest reserve. The original forest was once an exclusive hunting ground for the erstwhile Maharajas of Mysore. The park has been renamed as Rajiv Gandhi National Park after the late Prime Minister of India.
This enchanting 247 sq mile park in Karnataka has an astonishing abundance of wildlife including large mammals such as tiger, leopard, wild elephant, dhole (Indian wild dog), and gaur (Indian bison). Other species present are chital spotted deer, muntjac (barking deer), mouse deer, four-horned antelope, wild boar, sloth bear, hyena, mongoose, civet, otter, and more. The change in terrain throughout the park in refreshing and the river system provides a unique wildlife viewing experience.
Somnathpur temples in Karnataka are the windows to the rich historical past of Karnataka. As soon as you lay eyes on these temples you will notice that there is an exceptional kind of stillness in these temples making them eternal. Somnathpur is one of the most ancient villages of Karnataka thus earning it a name of heritage destination. At a distance of 40 kms from Mysore and 180 kms from Bangalore, the rural town is famous for its splendid and grand Keshava temple that has been built in the Hoyasala style.