Blissful Karnataka

March 24, 2018
Beach, Travel, Wildlife

Ranked the 4th most popular tourist state in the country, Karnataka has a bouquet of attractions to offer you. Expanded from Belgaum in the North to Bangalore in the south which is also its capital, it has all the features of a great tourist destination. Beautiful beaches adorn the coastal line to the midst of the state with lush mountains, valleys and landscapes of farmlands.

Karnataka, true to its tagline, is one state that accumulates many worlds in itself. The Malayalis, the Tamils, Konkanis, Kanada, even the Muslims and Christians have made Karnataka their home with their culture beautifully merging with that of the state. It has the second highest number of protected monuments in India, Hampi being one which houses the maximum of them, was the capital of Vijayanagar- 14th-century empire and now has the ruins of numerous palaces, forts, caves and monuments.

Apart from history, Karnataka is also rich in nature’s bounty and wildlife. It has 5 National Parks and over 25 wildlife sanctuaries of which Bandipur and Nagarhole NationalParkss are most famous. The world’s largest monolith structure is in Karnataka in Sharavanbelagola, the statue of Lord Gomteshwar sees tens of thousands of pilgrims during Mahamastakabhisheka festival. Karnataka has also been emerging as a healthcare tourism spot because of many approved health systems and therapy centers being opened in the states.

  1. Bangaluru

At a distance of 139 km from Mysore, 261 km from Tirupati, 347 km from Chennai, 348 km from Mangalore, 573 km from Hyderabad, 514 km from Kochi and 595 km from Goa, Bangalore (also known as Bengaluru) is the capital city of the Indian state of Karnataka. Bangalore is third most populous city and 5th largest City in India. It is also known as the Garden City of India. Bangalore is often referred as Silicon Valley of India due to large number of technology companies established in the city.

Bengaluru derives its name from the Kannada words ‘Benda Kalluru’, which means the land of boiled beans. According to legend, once the Hoysala king Veera Ballara was lost his way during a hunting expedition. He met an old lady and she offered a humble meal of boiled beans to him. In order to show his gratitude, he named the place as Benda Kalluru.

The modern city of Bangalore was founded over 400 years ago by Kempe Gowda, the Vijayanagara Chieftain of Yelahanka. 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.

It is one of the fastest growing industrial and commercial centers in India in the areas of aerospace, electronics, defense and mainly software services. Bangalore is one of the ideal places for those planning to visit southern India with many attractions nearby and perfect for excursions and day trips. There are a number of places in Bangalore that are worth visiting, including palaces, gardens, museums, temples, etc. Lalbagh Garden, Cubbon Park, Tipu Sultan’s Palace, Bangalore Palace, Nandi Hills, Bannerghatta National Park, Vidhana Soudha, Vishveswaraiah Museum, HAL Aerospace Museum, Bull Temple and ISKCON Temple are the some of the important Bangalore tourist places.

2. Bandipur National Park

At a distance of 80 km from Mysore, 70 km from Ooty & 215 km from Bangalore, Bandipur National Park is one of the well preserved National Parks in India. It is located in Chamarajanagar district on the border of Karnataka – Tamil Nadu between Mysore & Ooty. Nagarhole and Bandipur National Park are separated by Kabini reservoir.

Spread across 874 Sq.Kms, the altitude of the park varies between 780-1455 meters. It is part of the famous Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve along with Nagarhole National Park, Mudumalai National Park (12 Kms towards Ooty) and Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary. Bandipur forests used to be the private game reserve of the Maharajas of Mysore. This Sanctuary is one of the 15 sanctuaries belonging to the Project Tiger Scheme. Bandipur was declared a National Park under the Wildlife Protection Act in 1974.

It is home to around 70 tigers and over 3000 Asian elephants, as well as other animals like leopards, dhole, gaur, sloth bears, and a variety of birdlife. Gopalaswami Betta is the highest peak in the Bandipur range.

Jeep Safari (1 Hour), Mini Bus Safari (45 Min) & Elephant Safari (20 Min) are arranged by the forest department. The cost and timings keep changing and sometimes they cancel the safari without any prior notice.

The entry point & interpretation center of the park is located in Bandipur village on Highway after Melkamanahalli Village. Private vehicles are NOT allowed inside the park. Private Jeep Safaris are arranged by Jungle Lodge (in Melkamanahalli just outside the park) & Tuskar Trails (4 Kms from park in Mangla Village – towards Mysore). The best time to visit Bandipur National Park is from June to October.

3. Chikmagalur

At a distance of 40 km from Kadur, 62 km from Hassan, 148 km from Mangalore, 178 km from Mysore and 240 km from Bangalore, Chikmagalur (also known as Chikkamagaluru) is a hill town located in the Chikmagalur district of Karnataka. Situated at an altitude of 3,400 feet at the foothills of Mulliyangiri range, Chikmagalur is one of the best hill stations near Bangalore and also among the most famous tourist places near Bangalore.

Situated in the Deccan plateau, Chikmagalur city belongs to the Malnad region of Karnataka and is one of the top hill stations in Karnataka. The Western Ghats start from this area. The Yagachi River is originated from the surrounding hills. Chikmagalur is famous for its serene environment, lush green forests and tall mountains. Baba Budangiri, Mulliyangiri and Kemmanagundi are among the must include places in your Chikmagalur Tour Packages.

Chikmagalur literally means The Land of the Younger Daughter. It is said to have been given as a dowry to the youngest daughter of Rukmangada, the legendary chief of Sakrepatna and there is also a place called Hiremagalur, Land of the Elder Daughter which is a part of the Chikmagalur town now. Some old inscriptions reveal that these two places were known as Kiriya-muguli and Piriya-muguli.

Chikkamagaluru is also famous for coffee and is known as the coffee land of Karnataka. It is the place where coffee was cultivated for the first time in India. It was Baba Budan, a Muslim saint who brought coffee seeds from Yemen in 1670. Later, when the Europeans came to India, they took over the plantations and started trading of coffee and tea.

Chikmagalur is a wonderful destination to visit with many tourist spots, from pilgrimage sites to coffee plantation and wildlife tourism destinations to adventure sports destinations. Hirekolale Lake, Baba Budangiri, Mulliyangiri, Ayyanakere Lake, Belavadi, Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary, Manikyadhara Falls, Amruthapura, Horanadu and Kemmanagundi are the important tourist places in Chikmagalur.

4. Coorg (Madikeri)

At a distance of 265 km from Bangalore, 117 km from Mysore, 132 km from Mangalore, 322 km from Coimbatore & 362 km from Kochi, Coorg or Kodagu is a district in Karnataka and Madikeri is the district headquarters. At an altitude of 1525 meters on Western Ghats, it is also known as the Scotland of India. Coorg is the most famous hill stations in Karnataka and among the best hill stations near Bangalore. It is also one of the top destinations of Karnataka Tourism.

According to Puranas, Kodava is the redefined name of Krodhadesa meaning Land of Anger, said to have been inhabited by the Kodava tribe. Some historians believe that it is named after the River Cauvery. Coorg was under the Gangas rule during 9th and 10th centuries and Cholas in the 11th century followed by Hoysalas. Later Coorg was relatively independent under Haleri Rajas until British occupied the region in 1834. Coorg was a separate state before its merger with Karnataka in the year 1956. Abbey Falls, Talacauvery and Dubare are some of the best places to include in Coorg Packages.

Coorg is the largest producer of Coffee in India. Also, it is one of the places with highest rainfall in India. The Kodagu district comprises different communities like Kodava, Tulu, Gowda and Moplah out of which the largest is the Kodava community, both economically and politically. The economy depends on agriculture, coffee plantations, forestry and tourism.

Misty hills, lush forest, tea and coffee plantation, orange groves, undulating streets and breathtaking views have made Coorg an unforgettable holiday destination. Madikeri is the heartland of Coorg region and was the seat of ruling dynasty. Places like Raja’s seat, Abbey Falls, Iruppu Falls, Omkareshwara Temple, Bylakuppe, Talacauvery and Dubare are the major attractions. The famous Cauvery River is originated in the hills of Coorg at Talacauvery.

Being a part of the Western Ghats, Coorg is rich in flora and fauna. It has three wildlife sanctuaries – the Talacauvery, Pushpagiri and Brahmagiri Sanctuaries, and one national park, the Nagarhole National Park. Some of the animal species found in these wildlife parks include the Asiatic elephant, tigers, leopards and wild boars.

5. Hampi

At a distance of 13 km from Hospet, 64 km from Bellary, 104 km from Gadag, 160 km from Hubli, 340 km from Bangalore & 377 km from Hyderabad, Hampi is an ancient village situated on the banks of Tungabhadra River in northern Karnataka. Hampi is a renowned UNESCO World Heritage Site. The village stands within the ruins of the city of Vijayanagara, the former capital of the Vijayanagara Empire. It is one of the top destinations of Karnataka Tourism and also one of the best heritage sites in India.

It is one of the most popular tourist destinations in South India. Hampi, also known as Pampa-kshetra, Kishkindha-kshetra or Bhaskara-kshetra, is derived from Pampa, which is the old name of the Tungabhadra River. Virupaksha Temple, Vittala Temple and Hampi Bazaar are among the must include places in your Hampi tour packages.

Hampi is an extremely significant place in terms of history and architecture. The first settlement in Hampi dates back to 1st century AD and a number of Buddhist sites belonging to that time have been found nearby. The seat of the Vijayanagara Empire was established by Saint Vidyaranya in 1336 AD with the help of two of his disciples, Hakka Raya and Bukka Raya. The kingdom flourished under the rule of Emperor Krishnadevaraya and stretched over the states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra.

Hampi was the capital of the Vijayanagara Empire and was an extremely important part of the Empire from 1343 to 1565. It maintained a huge army to protect it from other kingdoms. As a capital of the Vijayanagar Empire, Hampi grew as a trade center for cotton, spices, and gem stones. It was one of the richest and largest cities in the world during 15th and 16th centuries. After the death of Krishnadevaraya, the invading Deccan Sultanate forces destroyed Hampi and the rampage was continued for one year.

The ruins of Vijayanagara Empire in and around the village of Hampi are spread over an area of more than 26 Sq.km. The place is a significant religious center of the Vijayanagara Empire due to the presence of the historic Virupaksha Temple along with many other monuments of the old city. The main tourist spots in Hampi can be divided into two broad areas; the Hampi Bazaar area and the Royal center near Kamalapur. Hemakuta Hill, south of the main Hampi temple, contains early ruins, Jain temples and a monolithic sculpture of Lord Narasimha. The famous Vittala Temple is located 2 km east of the Hampi Bazaar.

Hubli Airport is the nearest airport at a distance of 166 km from Hampi, India. Hospet Railway Station, 13 km from Hampi is the nearest railhead. Hospet is well connected to Bangalore, Hyderabad, Hubli, Chennai, Vijayawada, Tirupati, Panjim, Kolkata, Mysore, Ajmer, Jodhpur, Kolhapur and Shiridi. Hampi is well connected by road through KSRTC bus services. It has regular bus from Bangalore, Hubli, Goa and Karwar. The best way to explore Hampi is by foot or on a bike.

Hampi Festival, held for 3 days in November is the most important festival celebrated here. It is organized by the Government of Karnataka with dance, music, drama and processions.

6. Mysore

At a distance of 139 km from Bangalore, 476 km from Chennai, 247 km from Mangalore, 203 km from Coimbatore & 128 km from Ooty, Mysore is the 2nd biggest City in Karnataka. It is the erstwhile capital of the Mysore Maharajas, who ruled the Mysore State between 1399 & 1947. Mysore still retains its old world charm with its palaces, heritage buildings, traditions and temples. At an altitude of 763 meters surrounded by hill ranges from north to south, it is known as the City of Palaces. Mysore is one of the top destinations of Karnataka Tourism and Mysore Palace is among the best heritage places to visit in Mysore.

According to this story in the mythological Devi Purana, Mysore was ruled by the demon-king Mahishasura. He was called Mahishasura, because he was a buffalo-headed monster. Hearing to the prayers of Gods and Goddess to save them from the monster, Goddess Parvathi took birth as Chamundeswari and killed the monster. Hence, this place came to be known as Mahishuru, later became Maisuru & Mysore. Mysore Palace, Chamundi Hill Temple and Mysore Zoo are among the must include places in your Mysore Tour Packages.

The Mysore Kingdom, ruled by the Wodeyar family was initially served as a vassal state of the Vijayanagara Empire. After the decline of Vijayanagara Empire, Mysore became independent and the region was ruled from Srirangapatna. The power of Mysore moved into the hands of Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan between 1761 and 1799. After the death of Tipu Sultan in fourth Anglo-Mysore war, the power was handed over back to Wodeyar family.

Mysore has several tourist attractions including palaces, museums, temples, gardens, etc. Mysore Palace, Chamundi Hill Temple, Mysore Zoo are the most famous places to visit in Mysore. Srirangapatna and Brindavan Gardens are major attractions close to Mysore.

Bangalore Airport is the nearest airport which is about 184 km from Mysore. It has regular flights from Kolkata, Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Goa, Kochi, Mangalore, Pune and Thiruvananthapuram.

Mysore Junction Railway station is well connected by train from Bangalore, Bagalkot, Tirupati, Tuticorin, Hubli, Chennai, Dharwar and Arsikere. Mysore has direct bus connectivity with Chennai, Bangalore, Ooty, Coorg, Coimbatore, kochi, Mumbai, Pune, Goa and Hyderabad.

Mysore Dussera is the celebration of victory of good over evil. The month long Dussera celebrations, with its colorful processions, fireworks and the beautifully lighted palace, gives an enchanting look to the city. During the Wodeyar rule Mysore reached the peak of its glory.

Mysore has pleasant weather throughout the year, though October to March is the best season to visit. It usually takes about 2 full days to visit the important places in Mysore.

7. Shivanasamudra Falls

At a distance of 130 km from Bangalore & 81 km from Mysore, Shivanasamudra is a famous waterfall situated in Mandya District of Karnataka State. This is one of the best waterfalls near Bangalore and also among popular one day trip from Bangalore. These waterfalls are also known as Siva Samudram, literally meaning Shiva’s Sea. Shivanasamudra is a segmented waterfall with several parallel stream formed adjacent to each other.

Situated on River Kaveri, Shivanasamudra is among the popular Tourist places in Karnataka. The island of Shivanasamudra divides Kaveri River into two parts that form two waterfalls, one is Gaganachukki and the other is Bharachukki. Gaganachukki and Barachukki Falls are collectively called as Shivanasamudra Falls though Gaganachukki is most commonly represented as Shivanasamudra Falls. This place offers breathtaking sight in the peak monsoons.

Gaganachukki includes a huge horsetail shaped waterfall dropping from a height of 90 m and two large parallel streams that cascade down through a rocky bed from a height of over 320 feet. The currents here are quite strong and the gorge is quite deep. So, swimming is not permitted here. Asia’s first hydroelectric power station was set up in the downstream of the falls in the year 1905. The power generated here was initially used in Kolar Gold Fields. The power station is situated near a Dargah, from where you can have excellent views of the other side of Gaganachukki.

Bharachukki is situated at distance of approximately one km from the Gaganachukki (Dargah point). The cascading edge of Bharachukki is a little wider and more popular than that of Gaganachukki. Barachukki is a cascading fall with a height of 70 m forming several streams through the wide rocky formations establishing superb natural beauty. There are well laid plight of about 200 steps that lead down to the waterfall. The way down to the waterfall is relatively safe as it fenced with railings and there are benches to sit on and relax. An interesting way to watch the beauty of the waterfall is to take a coracle ride to the mouth of the magnificent waterfall. Barachukki also has a section of waterfall where the water flows less in volume and an ideal spot to play and enjoy a bath under the waterfall in this area.

Though geographically both the falls are adjacent, the viewpoints of these falls are about 15 km away. The Gaganachukki waterfalls are best viewed from the Shivanasamudra watch tower. There is another approach to the Gaganachukki falls from the Dargah Hazrath Mardane Gaib which provides the best view of the right branch of the falls. Reaching the bottom of the waterfall from the watch tower side is not possible as the area is fenced and no one is allowed to go near the water. There are also warnings posted near the fence that caution visitors against crossing the barrier and proceeding to the water from that side of the falls.

July to January is the best time while August to October is the peak season.

8. Belur

At a distance of 25 km from Chikmagalur, 40 km from Hassan, 165 km from Mangalore, 154 km from Mysore and 217 km from Bangalore, Belur is very famous temple town situated in Hassan District of Karnataka State. It is renowned for the grand Hoysala Temple dedicated to Lord Chennakesava, an incarnation of Vishnu. It is the best of three Hoysala temples nominated for UNESCO World Heritage Sites (other two being the temples at Halebid & Somnathpur). The Hoysala temples are known for minute & intricate carvings and sculptures with metal like polishing. It is one of the best heritage sites in Karnataka, situated on Bangalore to Chikmagalur route. Belur is one of the well known Karnataka tourist places.

Belur was the early capital of the powerful Hoysala Empire on the banks of River Yagachi. As per inscriptions found here, Belur was formerly called as Velapuri. Hoysalas were initially under the control of Chalukyas and build their own kingdom after the fall of Chalukyas. The Hoysala dynasty originally had their capital at Halebid where they ruled for over 150 years. However, it was invaded by Malik Kafur in 14th century, plundered to poverty and ruins. Thus, the Hoysalas shifted their seat of power to Belur.

The Chennakesava temple is one of the finest examples of Hoysala architecture. It was built by king Vishnuvardhana to celebrate his victory over the Cholas at Talakad in 1117 CE. It took 103 years to complete the temple and Vishnuvardhana’s grandson Veera Ballala II completed the task. Standing on a star-shaped platform, the temple has three doorways. There are two more shrines for Soumyanayaki and Ranganayaki, consorts of Sri Chennakesava. There is a Pushkarni or stepped well to the right side of the main entrance. The dravida style rajagopuram at the entrance was a later addition by the Vijayanagar kings.

The facade of the temple is filled with intricate sculptures and friezes with no portion left blank. There are about 48 pillars of various sizes, shapes and designs, bearing testimony to remarkable artistry. Narasimha Pillar is an example of the fine art work done by Hoysala artists. The main highlight of the temple is Darpana Sundari or The lady with the mirror. There are four well-known bracket figures on the ornate ceiling that are inspired by Shantaladevi’s well-endowed beauty. Visitors can see several carvings depicting episodes of Mahabharata, Ramayana and the Upanishads. Sculptures of birds and animals also can be seen. The beautiful sculpture of Shantaladevi is placed on the circular platform in front of the shrine. It is unique for its hollow and movable jewellery. The extensively carved doorway of the sanctum and the large life size sculptures of Lord Vishnu and other gods inside the temple exhibit wonderful workmanship.

Mangalore Airport is the nearest airport, which is 174 km from Belur. Nearest Railway Station is at Hassan, which is about 24 km from Belur. It has trains from Dharwar, Cannanore, Bangalore, Mysore, Shimoga and Arsikere. Regular buses ply from Bangalore, Chikmagalur, Halebid, Kadur, Hassan, Mangalore and Mysore to Belur.

Temple Timings: 9 AM to 6 PM.

9. Gokarna

At a distance of 58 km from Karwar, 75 km from Murudeshwar, 21 km from Ankola, 165 km from Hubli, 163 km from Panjim and 514 km from Bangalore, Gokarna is a small town in the Uttara Kannada District of Karnataka. It is a famous pilgrimage center and also one of the top destinations of Karnataka Tourism because of its beautiful beaches.

The prime attraction of the Gokarna is the Mahabaleshwar Temple which houses the Atmalinga. The Atmalinga was given to Ravana by Lord Shiva himself. Ravana was stopped here for his evening prayers while going back to Lanka. He had been instructed by Lord Shiva not to keep the Atmalinga on the ground, since it would be fixed wherever it touched ground. Atmalinga was a powerful weapon and devatas did not want Ravana to get such a powerful weapon, fearing destruction. Lord Ganesh took the avatar of a boy and offered Ravana to hold the Atmalinga during his prayer. Ganesha then kept the linga on ground before Ravana comes back from prayer. Ravana, in extreme anger, tried to pull out the Atmalinga from the ground, breaking it in the process. These pieces then resulted in the establishment of various temples in Karnataka. Besides Mahabaleshwara temple, there are other prominent temples here including Maha Ganapathi temple, Bhadrakali Temple, Varadaraja temple and Venkataramana temple.

The name of the town Gokarna is derived from two words, Go and Karna, which means cow’s ear. According to mythology, Lord Shiva appeared from a cow’s ear, after he was sent to Patal Lok by Lord Brahma. Some believe, the town is located at the confluence of two rivers Aganashini and Gangavali, and the place where the rivers converge forms a shape that is similar to the ear of a cow, hence the name Gokarna. Gokarna was under the rule of the Kadambas, Vijayanagara kings and was later conquered by the Portuguese.

Apart from being a religious town, Gokarna is also known for its beaches. There are many beautiful beaches located close by, which have small shacks serving as accommodation along with many small shops and modern eateries. The Om Beach, Kudle Beach, Gokarna Beach, Half Moon Beach and Paradise Beach are the five main beaches here. Gokarna Beach is the town’s main beach and pilgrims gather here when they visit the Mahabaleshwar Temple. The Kudle Beach is the largest of the five beaches and it is crowded during the peak season November to February. Among the beaches in Gokarna, the Om beach is extremely popular among surfers. The beach gets its name due to the natural formation of the holy Om symbol.

Gokarna is considered to be the Mukti Stala, where Hindus perform funeral rites. Devotees visit Gokarna temple on large number during Mahashivratri and Kartika Purnima festivals. The entire town is decorated during the four days of the Mahashivratri festival and the temple deity is taken out in a procession.

Best time to visit is Oct to Mar. It usually takes one full day to visit Gokarna.

10. Jog Falls

At a distance of 400 km from Bangalore, 105 km from Shimoga, 161 km from Hubli, 87 km from Murudeswar, 150 km from Karwar, 31 km from Sagar, 60 km from Sirsi & 21 km from Siddapur, Jog falls is the one of the highest plunge waterfall in India situated in Shimoga district of Karnataka State. It is located on the Shimoga and Uttara Kannada district border. These segmented falls are a major tourist attraction. The waterfall is locally known as Geruoppe Falls, Gersoppa Falls and Jogada Gundi.

Jog Falls is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in India and one of the top destinations of Karnataka Tourism. This is formed over the Sharavathi River falling from a height of 253 m (830 ft).The Sharavathi River flowing over a very rocky bed about 250 yards wide, 253 m deep and the water comes down in four distinct falls known as Raja, Rani, Rover and Rocket. The four cascades merge to form the huge waterfall. The Raja Fall pours in one unbroken column sheer to the depth of 830 ft. Halfway down it is encountered by the Rover, another fall, which rushes violently downwards to meet the Raja. A third fall, the Rocket, shoots downwards in a series of jets; while the fourth, the Rani, is a quiet fall over the mountain side.

There is a view point near parking area which also has few shops available. A narrow path from view point leads to bottom of the falls. The walk is steep & little difficult and takes about 45 minutes one way. The view is amazing from the bottom and the showering sizzles of the falls at bottom are really worth the effort (water bottles are sold in midway of the trek path). However, the path is mostly inaccessible or dangerous during peak monsoons and it’s suggested to go down only in winter & summer seasons.

Hubli Airport is the nearest airport which is 171 km away from Jog Falls. The nearest railway station is at Shimoga at a distance of around 105 km from Jog Falls. The Shimoga Railway Station is well connected to Mysore, Bangalore, Birur and Talguppa. Jog Falls is accessible by bus from Sagar and Siddapur. Sirsi is also a good base station to visit Jog Falls & other places around.

The best time to visit Jog Falls is from August to January while the peak season is from September to December. Usually it takes half day to visit Jog Falls.

11. Nagarhole

At a distance of 10 km from Kutta, 20 km from Iruppu Falls, 62 km from Kalpetta, 88 km from Mysore, 88 km from Madikeri and 218 km from Bangalore, Nagarhole National Park is one of the best wildlife sanctuaries in South India and also one of the top places to visit in Coorg. Also known as Rajiv Gandhi National Park, it is spread across Mysore and Kodagu districts in Karnataka.

Originally the forest area was the private hunting ground for the Maharajas of Mysore. Nagarhole was converted into a sanctuary in the year 1955 covering an area of 258 sq. km and subsequently enlarged to include the adjoining areas of Mysore district and now extends over an area of 643 sq. km. Nagarhole got National Park status in 1988 and declared as 37th Project Tiger Reserve in 1999. It is part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. The Western Ghats Nilgiri sub-cluster of 6,000 Sq. km, including all of Nagarhole National Park, is under consideration by the UNESCO World Heritage for World Heritage Site status.

This national park gets its name from two Kannada words Naga means snake and Hole means stream. Many serpentine streams flow through the rich tropical forests of the park, which has now been renamed as the Rajiv Gandhi National Park, after late prime minister of India, Rajiv Gandhi. Nagarhole is situated to the north-west of Bandipur National Park which are separated by Kabini reservoir. The park has rich forest cover, small streams, hills, valleys and waterfalls. Inside the park coracle boat riding facility is available in Kabini River.

The important animals in Nagarhole National Park are tiger, leopard, wild dog, sloth bear, the hyena, spotted deer, sambar, barking deer, four-horned antelope, gaur, wild boar and elephant. Among reptiles, the marsh crocodile, monitor lizard, rock python and several other species are represented. Other mammals includes the common langur, bonnet macaque, jungle cat, slender loris, leopard-cat, civet cat, mongoose, common otter, giant flying squirrel, giant squirrel, porcupine, jackal, mouse-deer, hare and pangolin. Over 250 species of birds are found at Nagarhole National Park.

The park is usually closed for safaris during peak monsoon. Traffic movement is restricted from 6 pm to 6 am every day and the gates are closed on either sides of entry into the forest. Two wheelers, three wheelers and goods vehicles are not permitted inside the park. Safaris are organized in the forest department vans during morning and evening. Government-run 4WD safaris and boat trips are conducted from Kabini River Lodge, which are good options to explore the animals. The best time to visit Nagarhole National Park is Nov-May, especially Apr-May.

The Forest Department manages two rest houses at Kabini, but reservation has to be made well in advance through the Forest Department offices in Mysore or Bangalore. The Kabini River Lodge near Karapur on the Mysore-Mananthavadi highway with good accommodation facilities which also organizes safaris including elephant ride and coracle ride. Various home stays are also available near to Kutta, Srimangala and Gonikoppal.

12. Udipi

At a distance of 65 km from Mangalore, 102 km from Murudeshwar, 147 km from Shimoga, 309 km from Mysore and 403 km from Bangalore, Udupi is a famous temple town and headquarters of the Udupi District. It is also the source of Udupi cuisine which is famous across the world. It is also one of the most famous tourist places to visit in Karnataka, mainly for it’s pilgrimage importance and beautiful beaches.

The name of this city was originated from Odipu. According to local legend, the 27 stars of the Hindu astrology were married to the Moon and soon after, the Moon lost its luster. As Lord Shiva is the last resort for everyone, the Moon and the stars created a Lingam and offered puja. Udu means Lord and Pa means Stars in Sanskrit.

Udupi is the land of breathtaking beauty, located between the verdant mountains of the Western Ghats and the Arabian Sea. Udupi is famous for Sri Krishna Temple. The Udupi Krishna Math was established in the 13th century by the great philosopher, Madhavacharya. The temple attracts pilgrims from all over India and is also a center for the Dvaita philosophy. This temple has a fascinating idol of Lord Krishna that is richly adorned with jewels. Famous Hindu saints such as Chaitanya, Purandaradasa and Kanakadasa visited this temple for the darshan of Lord Krishna. Another attraction of Sri Krishna Temple is the Kanakana Kindi, a small window through which Lord Krishna is believed to have given darshan to his devotee, Kanakadasa.

There is also another temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, believed to be more than 1000 years old, located near Yellur. Udupi is also famous for the wonderful beaches including Malpe Beach, Kaup Beach & St. Mary’s Island. Being part of the Tulu Nadu, Tulu is the main language spoken in this region

Udupi is synonymous with the world-famous Udupi cuisine, which is served all over India in the efficiently-run Udupi restaurants, famous for dosas, idlis and other snacks. The tradition of this cuisine started in the great kitchens of the Krishna Temple which serve meals in the form of prasada to the thousands of devotees who come to pray at the holy shrine.

The most popular festivals include the Paryaya festival held every alternate year; the last being held in 2014. The festival is organized on January 18 and attracts large number of devotees. The roads are flooded with chariots with processions that display cultural shows such as folk dances and religious hymns. Holi, Ramanavami, Rathasaptami, Krishna Janmastami, Dusshera and Diwali are the other festivals that are celebrated with great enthusiasm.

Mangalore Airport is the nearest airport, which is 62 km from Udupi. Udupi Railway Station is well connected by trains to cities like Trivandrum, Bangalore, Mangalore, kochi, Bikaner, Madgoan, Mumbai, Tirunelveli, New Delhi and Goa. Buses regularly ply from Udupi to major cities like Bangalore, Mangalore, Goa, Shimoga, Mysore, Karwar, Pune and Mumbai.

The best time to visit Udupi is from October to March while the peak Season is from November to February. Usually it takes 2 days to visit places in and around Udupi.

13. Dandeli

At a distance of 55 km from Dharwad, 73 km from Hubli, 89 km from Belgaum, 106 km from Karwar, 130 km from Panjim, 240 km from Shimoga and 462 km from Bangalore, Dandeli is a picturesque town on the banks of the River Kali in Uttara Kannada district of Karnataka.

Dandeli is one of the top destinations of Karnataka Tourism. It is quite famous for its gorgeous natural backdrop, wildlife and adventure activities. Dandeli has a dense forest cover and is one of the best natural habitats in the world. Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary is the second largest wildlife sanctuary in Karnataka. The sanctuary is crisscrossed by River Kaneri and River Nagajhari, tributaries of River Kali. The sanctuary is the natural habitat for several wildlife species such as tigers, leopards, black panthers, elephants, gaur and languor.

Dandeli is one of the top white-water rafting destinations in India. Kayaking, canyoning, water rafting, overnight rafting or canoeing trips on the Kali River along with other adventure sports like cycling and mountain biking are some of the things one can indulge in here. Dandeli also offers crocodile spotting, nature walks, treks, boating, bird watching and angling trips.

Other popular attractions in Dandeli include the Ulavi Temple, Syntheri Rocks and Kavala Caves. Molangi, Syke’s Point, Nagajhari Viewpoint and Supa Dam are other places of interest for travellers.

Hubli Airport is the nearest airport, which is about 66 km from Dandeli. The nearest railway station is Alnawar, which is 33 km from Dandeli. It has trains from Bangalore, Vasco Da Gama, Hubli, Delhi, Pune, Tirupati, Pondicherry, Hyderabad, Mysore, Mumbai, Mangalore and Tirunelveli. Dandeli is also well connected by bus with Bangalore, Hubli, Karwar, Davanagere and Udipi.

Dandeli has hotels for all budgets ranges from resorts, guest houses to lodges, camps and tents. Dandeli Jungle Inn, Kulgi Nature Camp, Pansoli Guest House, Hornbill River Resort, Vacation on White Water Resort, Old Magazine House, Bison Resort and Kali River Resort are the few accommodation options.

14. Murudeshwar

At a distance of 162 km from Mangalore, 188 km from Shimoga, 113 km from Karwar, 76 km from Gokarna, 219 km from Hubli, 214 km from Panjim & 497 km from Bangalore, Murudeshwar is a well known pilgrimage and beach destination located in the Bhatkal Taluk of Uttara Kannada district in Karnataka. Murudeshwar is a picturesque place situated between Honnavar and Bhatkal. It is bounded by the Arabian Sea and Western Ghats. Murudeshwar is one of the most famous tourist places to visit in Karnataka, for it’s pilgrimage importance apart from being a popular beach resort.

The Murudeswar town was earlier known as ‘Mrideshwara’. It was later renamed as Murudeshwar after the construction of the temple. Murudeshwara is famous abode of Lord Shiva and a popular pilgrimage center in South India. According to the legend, Ravana brought the Atma Lingam from Mount Kailash. Lord Ganesha using his trick fooled Ravana on his way to Lanka and put down the Linga on the ground at Gokarna. Angered by this, Ravana tried to uproot and destroy the Linga. The broken pieces of the lingam were cast away. The covering cloth of the lingam fell at Kanduka Giri and the Murudeshwar temple was built at the site.

Murudeshwar is famous for the world’s second tallest Shiva statue (123 ft) & tallest temple tower (249 ft) of Murudeshwar Temple. The sea on three sides surrounds the temple towering on the small hill called Kanduka Giri. This is a great place to watch the sunset. Murudeshwar is also known for the Murudeshwar Fort and wonderful beaches. Nearby Netrani Island is also a very popular spot for tourists as it offers excellent boating, snorkeling and scuba diving opportunities. Sirsi, Karwar, Gokarna, Kollur, Udupi, Mangalore, Dharmasthala and Subramanya are the nearby attractions here.

Mangalore International Airport is the nearest airport which is 160 km away from Murudeshwar. Murudeshwar is situated on Mangalore – Mumbai route and well connected by buses & trains. MurudeshwarRailway Station lies on the Konkan Railway. It has trains from Mangalore, Trivandrum, Madagoan, Bangalore, Karwar and Mumbai. Murudeshwar is well connected by bus from Bangalore, Mangalore, Karwar, Shimoga, Hubli, Pune and Mumbai.

Maha Shivaratri during February is the important festival celebrated here with much devotion and religious rituals.

The best time to visit Murudeshwar is from November to February. Usually it takes 1-2 days to explore the important places in and around Murudeshwar.

15. Pattadakal

At a distance of 439 Kms from Bangalore, 122 Kms from Hubli, 45 Kms from Bagalkot, 21 Kms from Badami & 13.5 Kms from Aihole, Pattadakal is a famous heritage site in Bagalkot District of Karnataka situated on the banks of Malaprabha River. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site along with Badami & Aihole known as Chalukyan Group of Monuments. Pattadakal is the place where coronation of Chalukyan kings took place. Pattadakal is among the popular Tourist places in Karnataka.

Pattadakal, along with Aihole, is considered as the cradle for South Indian Temple architecture. The main complex has about 10 temples and there are few more temples around the village of Pattadakal. The monuments were constructed between 6th and 9th centuries. The temples at Pattadakal are larger and grandeur with extensive art work compared to the early stage temples of Aihole.

It seems the Chalukyas enhanced their temple construction skills with the experiments they performed at Aihole and built larger temples at Pattadakal. The temples are built in different architectural styles representing Dravidian, Nagara, Phamsana and Gajaprastha models. The best structures are located inside a secured complex with large compound and open area adjacent to Pattadakal village.The main monuments in Pattadakal are Virupaksha Temple, Sangameshwara Temple, Mallikarjuna Temple, Kashivisvanatha Temple & Galganatha Temple.

Team

Korners of India

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll Up