Kaleidoscopic Karnataka is a state brimming with endless possibilities. For the nature lover, it is abundant in buoyant beaches, whispering waterfalls, and heavenly hills. For the history nerd, it is bountiful in pristine palaces, tucked- away temples, and celebrated caves. For the connoisseur of food, its basket is neatly packed with local delicacies and twists of modern fusion. A little something, for everybody. And if you’re in the mood for some adrenaline pumping safaris, it’s got that too! Dive into Kinglike Karnataka, for an experience like no other.
|Karnataka: A Quick View of the state|
|Dial Code||080 (Bangalore)|
|Population||69,371,567 million (as of 2018)|
|Currency||Indian Rupee (INR)|
|Time Zone||UTC+05:30 (IST)|
|Area||191,791 square km|
Virupaksha Temple (dedicated to Lord Shiva), in Hampi Bazaar, towers proudly amidst a sea of rusk coloured ruins. The only working temple in the city, it consists of a sacred sanctum, chambers, and pillared halls. Its exterior is bound by a pillared cloister, courtyards and little shrines. Don’t miss Laxmi, an elephant, who will shower you with blessings when you enter. Deemed as Hampi’s most glorious temple, Vittala Temple is a testament of the excellent craftsmanship of Vijayanagara artisans. Its Dravidian architecture exemplifies quintessential South Indian features. Appreciate the beguiling stone chariot that resembles a beautifully carved biscuit. Badavi Linga Temple houses Hampi’s largest Shiva Linga, fashioned out of a single stone. Situated in a little stone chamber, the Shiva Linga is circular in shape and submerged in a bed of water. Visit this shrine during the day, and watch the idol illuminate as liquid rays of sunshine cascade over it, through the open ceiling.
Mysore Palace (seat of the Wodeyar Maharajas), within the Old Fort, is an exquisite three storey stone structure in a striking dusty rose shade. Its impressive façade consists of marble domes, expansive arches, a 145-foot story tower, and a series of gardens, courtyards and buildings. Its mosaic floors, embellished wooden doors, and magnificent paintings will leave you starry eyed. Cheluvamba Mansion, to the naked eye, looks like an elegant tiered ivory-cream cake with a sprinkling of red cherries. This stunning palace was built in honour of the third princess of Mysore – Cheluvajammanni and is a fine example of Wodeyar architecture. Upon first glance, you will see a sparkling fountain enclosed by an enchanting garden of greens, reds, and yellows.
Picturesque Chikmagalur lies in the foothills of the Mullayanagiri range, which is the highest peak in Karnataka. Here, you can visit rich coffee estates, wander through historic villages, and marvel at a waterfall named Buttermilk Falls. Another renowned hill station in the western Ghats, is Coorg. Visit Dubare Elephant Camp and observe nature’s mightiest or meditate at a peaceful little Tibetan monastery – Golden Temple. Raja’s seat is a delightful garden filled with flowers and musical fountains. Don’t miss the opportunity to view the spectacular sceneries, during sunrise and sunset.
For solitude, Half-moon beach in Gokarna, is the perfect spot. One can reach it by trekking or taking a motor boat. A scenic haven for hippies, you will discover clusters of people enjoying their privacy. Karwar beach inspired Rabindranath Tagore’s first play, a special memory from his visit as a boy. More than just a brilliant blue coastline, it is home to an aquarium and a lovely play park. Spot the musical fountain, and toy train! St Mary’s island, in Udupi, is fringed with beautiful coconut trees and endowed with turquoise-jade waters. One of its four islands’ houses a basaltic rock formation in a hexagonal shape.
Bandipur National Park, a sprawling 874 km reserve, is sandwiched between the Kabini river, and Moyar river. Here, you can spot the tawny tiger, graceful leopard, Indian elephant, sloth bear, among other species of wild mammals. Nagarhole National Park, in the Kodagu district, is yet another exciting Tiger reserve. You will discover several fascinating species, such as the black-naped hare, striped necked mongoose, white-bellied treepie, and blue-winged parakeet.
Karnataka is a medley of distinct cultures. It is an assemblage of Kannadiga, Tuluva, Kodava, Konkani, and Buddhist influences. Behind every religion, language, and cuisine, is a unique story and rich history. During your travels, listen to some soulful Carnatic music that beautifully blends sruti, swara, raga, and tala (pitch, sound, mode, rhythm). If you get the opportunity to, don’t miss a Yakshagana performance. It is a classical dance drama, famous in the coastal regions. Immerse yourself in Karnataka’s finger licking cuisine. It is a delectable blend of vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes, drawing influence from Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala foods. We recommend some of the classics – Jolada rotti, badane kaayi (aubergine), peanut/seasame chutney, kosambari (south indian salad) and papadum.
Karnataka’s capital – Bangalore, is urban chic, ultra-trendy and technologically advanced. With its massive brewery culture, indie music scene, hyper malls, and parks galore, it is a city with many nuances. Explore the electrifying pulse of UB city, or cycle through lush Cubbon Park! Eat your way through Indiranagar, or marvel at the innovativeness of Whitefield.
Karnataka, formerly known as Mysore, lies on the west coast of the Indian subcontinent. This vibrant state shares its border with Maharashtra in the north, Kerala in the south, Andhra Pradesh in the east, and the waves of the gorgeous Arabian sea in the west.
Karnataka’s climate varies depending on the geographical region. While the coastal regions are hot, the western Ghats experience cooler temperatures. Broadly speaking, summers in Karnataka incline towards warm and humid, monsoons arrive early, and winters are usually mild. Hill stations like Ooty and Coorg should be visited in the summer. For the rest of the state, however, winter is the most pleasant time to make a trip. Hence, November to March makes for an ideal time.
By Road – Through the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC), the state is well connected to all the major cities in India (should you choose to travel by bus, a private vehicle or taxi).
By Rail – the South Western Railway constitutes most of the railway lines in Karnataka, while Konkan Railway covers the coastal regions. Bangalore, the state’s capital, has an intricate network of interstate connections. For a little taste of luxury, you can even opt for The Golden Chariot, which covers tourists’ spots across Karnataka, Goa, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu.
By Air – Karnataka houses domestic airports in Bangalore, Mangalore, Hampi, Hubli, Belgaum, Bijapur, Kalaburagi, and Torangal. If you’re flying from overseas, Kempegowda International Airport and Mangalore International Airport are the only international airports in the state.
Karnataka’s pre-history has vestiges of the Paleolithic, Neolithic, and Megalithic periods. Scholars have also hypothesised the existence of the Indus Valley Civilisation. Evidence indicates the settlement of the following clans - Nanda Empire, Mauryan Empire, Satavahana rule, and Kadamba Dynasty. This was followed by the conquest of several powerful Kannada empires - Badami Chalukyas, Rashtrakuta Empire, and Western Chalukya Empire. Over the centuries, there were battles and establishments by several other rulers - Chola Empire, Hoysalas, Vijayanagara Empire, Bijapur Sultanate, Mughal Empire, Nizam of Hyderabad, and Maratha Empire. In 1799, post the death of Tipu Sultan, Mysore was incorporated into the British Raj. It was in 1950, however, that Mysore became an Indian state. In 1973, it was renamed Karnataka.
Now that you have gained insight into the history and rich legacy of Karnataka, take a look at some of these places.
The myriad of flavors, colors, vibrance and landscapes, the beaches, the hills, the temples, the ruins, the grasslands and the wild forests, Karnataka is all about love at first sight! No matter which part of this beautiful Indian state you land in, you will feel instantly acclimatized, connected and feel like you know the place quite too well. Such contagious is the spirit of this incredible state. From the ruins of Hampi to the beaches of Gokarna, every kilometer, every milestone and every bend of the road is part of a legacy.
If there can be such diversity in one state and yet all connected by one single unifying legacy, it has to be Karnataka. One moment, you are in this amazingly progressive city of Bengaluru, popular for its standup, music, and beer scenes and the next moment, you find yourself clasped on the laps of nature with aromatic coffee plantations estate surrounding you for as far as you can see and the next, you are amidst hippies singing and dancing away to glory around bonfire on the Om beach and when you think you’ve seen everything the state has to offer, you’re in a UNESCO World Heritage Site that speaks of history , monuments and ruins of a longstanding empire.
With raw and unbiased beauty and spirit, Karnataka is truly a gateway to South India.
Located at the southwestern region of the country, Karnataka is spread across the mighty Deccan plateau area. Karnataka is one of the most blessed states in India as it is not just abundant with lush green landscapes and fertile soil, it also houses all possible variations of topographies. It has a lengthy stretch of coastal strip on its west called Karavali, scenic lofty hills as the Western Ghats that converge to the point called the Nilgiri Hills with the Eastern Ghats and the plateau region that forms the state’s mainland.
Karnataka has the Arabian Sea on its west and is surrounded by neighboring states like Goa in the north, Kerala in the south, Telangana and Andhra in the east and Tamil Nadu towards its southeast. Karnataka is home to several rivers with some of them being perennial like the river Cauvery, which originates from the Thalakaveri region in Coorg. Some of the other important rivers include Krishna, Godhavari, Palar, Pennar and more.
Besides, the state is also rich in resources and minerals, where there are abundance traces of gold, iron ore, limestone, quartz, silica sand, bauxite and more.
The lofty mountains are not just ideal hill stations perfect for weekend getaways but home to a range of plantations including tea, coffee and rubber. In Chikkamagaluru lies the state’s highest peak, standing tall at an altitude of 1,929 meters above the sea level. It is called Mullayanagiri hill.
If you look at Karnataka’s timeline, it goes all the way back to the Paleolithic age, where evidences of axes and cleavers were discovered. Besides, strong evidences of megalithic and Neolithic cultures have also been found in various regions and one fascinating piece of information is that Gold which was discovered in the Harrapan civilization was traced back to being imported from Karnatakan mines. Thanks to this, a lot of hypotheses on possible contacts between the two diverse civilizations have been prompted.
Post 3rd century BCE, most of the regions in Karnataka came under the Nanda dynasty followed by Mauryan dynasty. After being ruled by Satavahana for over four centuries, the empire fell into the hands of several native kingdoms that went on to use Kannada as their primary language for administrative purposes. Fast forward several centuries, Karnataka came under the rule of the Hoysalas, during which time literature and architecture flourished. Before the Great Indian Rebellion of 1857, precisely 3 decades before the battle, princely states throughout Karnataka rebelled against the Doctrine of Lapse under the leadership of Sangolli Rayana, Kittur Chennama and more. The rebellions converged with the rebellion of 1857 and several prominent freedom fighters from the region stood up against British colonization.
Mysore, in 1950, became a state in India and after several civil movements, regions that spoke Kodagu and Kannada from neighboring cities of Hyderabad and Madras were incorporated into one and under the 1956 Act of State Reorganization, Karnataka was formed.
With a population density that numbers to around 319 per square kilometer, Karnataka ranks ninth in the list of most populated cities in India. There are 973 females for every 1000 males and has a literacy rate of 75.4%. Bengaluru, the most happening city in Karnataka is also the most populated city with a density of population of 4,381 per square kilometer. The entire population of Karnataka with approximately 49.1% and 50.9% female and male population respectively, forms 5.5% of the country’s total population.
Karnataka is as secular as it gets. The state is significant for most religions like Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Islam. Karnataka has 83% of its population following Hinduism, followed by 12.2% following Islam and 3.1% following Christianity. Besides, the state also has 0.8%, 0.7%, and 0.1% of the population as Jains, Buddhists and Sikhs respectively.
Kannada is the official language of Karnataka. However, thanks to the rapid development of Information Technology in India, especially around Bengaluru and Mysore, English can be considered as a link language for the floating population of the state. Besides, people mostly understand and can converse in basic Hindi and are familiar with Tamil and Telugu.
Indian Rupee is used for all types of transactions in Karnataka. The available denominations for the coins include Rs.1, 2, 5 and 10 and for currency notes, it is Rs. 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 2000.
Karnataka is buzzing with tourists for most part of the year. Thanks to this, you can find different classes of accommodation in diverse regions of the state. You can find luxurious star hotels and resorts, service apartments, budget hotels, guest houses and backpacker hostels. Approximately, accommodation in Karnataka can range from as low as Rs. 499 to Rs. 49,000. Almost all the places accept debit and credit cards and even Paytm. Transactions should never be a problem in Karnataka and you can tip your waiters if service charge is not levied on your bills.
Thomas Cook took us on the most beautiful road trip starting from Mangalore and covering places like Udupi, Gokarna, Murudeshwar and Karwar. The requirement of an offbeat trip was very well understood by their team and the reason why this trip became possible. While other travel companies are still stuck in Goa and Manali, Thomas Cook are outdoing themselves.
We planned a trip to Coorg on our 5th anniversary and wanted to make it a pampering and rejuvenating experience. Keeping this in mind, Thomas Cook arranged our stay right next to a river. The camping experience in the wilderness was the best thing we could wish for. The lovely weather and serenity was outstanding from any of the previous trip that we have been to in the past.
Scuba diving experience near Mududeshwar is something out of the world. The hotel selected by them in Gokarna had views of Dolphins jumping in the Arabian Sea. Two of the most amazing things that happened in this trip are the reasons why I would recommend Thomas Cook over and over again.