Most people would know Bengaluru and that it is the primary information technology (IT) hub in the country. However, the state of Karnataka has a lot more to offer and its full potential as a top tourist destination is just starting to get realized. When planning to explore the wonders of Karnataka, it’s advisable that you start your journey from Bengaluru. There are direct flights to Bengaluru from various cities in India and several global locations as well.
In Bengaluru, you will have access to the best hotels such as Shangri-La Hotel, which is a 5-star deluxe hotel located near to the airport. It provides splendid views of the city and offers various services and amenities such as 24/7 front desk, express check-in and check-out, spa, outdoor pool, dedicated health club, gym, etc.
You can also book your stay at Taj Hotels, which is widely popular worldwide and is considered the epitome of luxury. Here, you can take a refreshing break before you embark on your tour of Karnataka. Another benefit of starting your journey in Bengaluru is that you can contact a plethora of tour operators and get the best deals for holiday packages.
To give you a glimpse of the various marvels that await you in Karnataka, let’s take a look at the top 10 destinations most frequented by tourists in the state.
Mysore Palace: This majestic structure was designed by Henry Irwin, who was a British consultant architect of Madras State. The Mysore Palace holds a rich cultural legacy and is a delight for art lovers. It reflects the influence of the Wadiyar dynasty that ruled the Kingdom of Mysore from 1399 to 1950. Visitors are hugely impressed by its Indo-Saracenic style of design that is characterized by various arches, colonnades, turrets and domes. Also not to be missed are the massive chandeliers, domed ceilings, cast-iron pillars and Belgian stained glass.
Hampi: This is the ancient capital city of Vijayanagara, which has been frequented by travellers from all across the globe, ever since it was built. In the earlier era, it was frequented by the Orientals, Arabs, Persians and Portuguese. In ancient times, Hampi was the hub for cultural and commercial exchanges. Its religious significance is that it is considered the place where Hindu god Shiva married Parvati.
Bijapur: This is among the top heritage destinations in Karnataka. It was once the nerve center of the Bijapur kingdom, which was ruled by Mohammed Adil Shah in the 1600s. Bijapur was later ruled by the descendants of Adil Shah. The area is dotted with various structures of historical and architectural importance. Visitors come to Bijapur for its various palaces, mosques, fortifications, mausoleums, and gateways. The huge Gol Gumbaz is the most prominent structure and it dominates the landscape.
Kolar: This was once the ancient capital of the Ganga kingdom and is popular for its magnificent temples. The structures were developed by the Gangas and later improvements were made during the Chola Empire. When in Kolar, visit the Someshwara Temple and the famous Makbara that is the grave of relatives of Haidar Ali, the sultan of Mysore. Kolar is famous for its country made blankets called ‘Kambli’.
Gokarna: This is one of the most popular beach destinations in Karnataka. It is popular for its spectacular beaches, pristine coves, rocky cliffs, and old-world temples. The cliffs surrounding the beaches in Gokarna offer panoramic views of the Arabian Sea. Apart from just lazing in the sun, you can try other stuff too such as jet-skiing, fishing, spotting dolphins, etc.
Murudeshwar: This is where you should go if you are looking for solitude. The beaches here are surrounded by various hillocks and you can climb one of these and just watch the waves move in and out relentlessly like forever. Murudeshwar is another name of Hindu god Shiva. It is home to the tallest statue of Shiva in entire India. The famous Murudeshwar temple is also worth exploring.
Jog Falls: This is where the Sharavati River decides to take a deep plunge, creating one of the most spectacular sights for people to view. The river cascades down around 253 meters, which provides for breathtaking views of this natural wonder. Jog Falls are best viewed during the monsoon season when the waters are in great abundance.
Coorg: This is as close you can get to a humanly imaginable paradise. Coorg is popular for its myriad of scenic views, coffee plantations, old-world charms, vibrant culture, and delicious cuisine. This was where the ancient kings came to relax and the legacy continues even today. Coorg has been able to maintain it pristine landscapes, much to the delight of nature lovers.
Kudremukh National Park: Also referred to as the Horse Face Range, this area derives its name from a mountain that is shaped like the face of a horse. The scenic hills provide spectacular views of the Arabian Sea. The area is one of the most favorite destinations for trekkers. Gushing rivers, lush green forests, captivating waterfalls, wild orchids, and grassy slopes are some of the attractions in the area.
Udupi: Most popular for its tasty cuisine, Udupi is also a famous pilgrimage center in Karnataka. One of the most visited spots in Udupi is the Krishna Temple. The vibrant Paryaya Festival is also held in Udupi every alternate year and it is frequented by thousands of devotees.
Karnataka has plenty of other interesting places to visit. There’s so much to explore in its various cities such as Mysore, Hubli, Mangalore, and Bengaluru and top destinations that include a wide variety of heritage sites, pristine beaches, nature & wildlife, adventure destinations and spiritual centers. It is a melting pot of various cultures, cuisines, art forms, and festivals, which make it a traveller’s delight.