Home to mighty kings like Tipu Sultan in earlier years, Karnataka today is a state of diverse delights.Read on as we highlight a list of must-do’s in this state!
The cosmopolitan vibe of Bengaluru, rolling expanses of coffee and spice plantations, spectacular waterfalls, forested areas, destinations for adventure sports, and historic landmarks are just some of the attractions to choose from while planning a holiday to Karnataka. Since that can be overwhelming, here is a list of 10 must-see places to add to your bucket list:
To start with Karnataka’s most cosmopolitan city, Bangalore is characterised by its IT industry and pleasant climate. A sought-after urban destination, the city got its name from ‘Benda Kalluru’, which in Kannada means ‘the land of boiled beans’. Legend has it that a king once named this place in gratitude of being offered the humble meal.
Heritage structures, corporate complexes, shopping options, and a fun nightlife come together to keep Bangalore bustling and lend it the unique identity that it is famous for. Places to see here include Cubbon Park, ISKCON Temple, and the Bangalore Palace.
Best known for the grand Mysore Palace, the ‘City of Palaces’ still retains its regal nature in spite of all the modern developments. Mysore, a capital during the rule of the Mysore Maharajas, also used to be an important trade centre for Southern India, and it continues to be a bustling commercial hub for sandalwood, silk, and other items.
Dussehra is an excellent time to visit Mysore and see the grand palace decked up in all its glory for the 10-day celebrations. Brindavan Gardens, Mysore Zoo, and St. Philomena’s Church are some other great attractions.
#3 Bandipur National Park
Located about 80 kilometres away from Mysore, Bandipur National Park is a haven for those who find it therapeutic to spend time driving amid lush greenery and watching wild animals in their natural habitat. It was established in 1974 as a tiger reserve and was India’s first Biosphere Reserve. Take a safari ride into the park to get a close look at wild elephants, tigers, bears, jackals, and several bird species.
River rafting is a popular adventure activity in Dandeli. White water rafting, kayaking, mountain biking, nature walks, angling, crocodile spotting, and bird watching are just a few of the things that one can do here. At the same time, the remarkable natural beauty and serenity of the place draws travellers who wish to unwind amid nature. Being a wildlife sanctuary, Dandeli is also home to many wildlife species. Some other top attractions in the region are Kavala caves, Shiroli Park, Supa Dam, Syntheri Rocks, and Ulavi Temple.
If the name ‘Udupi’ immediately conjures up images of south-Indian meals and eateries, you are not wrong. Udupi is where the famous cuisine of the same name originated. But this town is also known as a Vaishnavite pilgrimage site and for its many temples. The Sri Krishna Temple is the most famous, with the biennial Paryaya Festival being a top draw. Udupi’s pristine beaches are another attraction among travellers to this breath-taking temple town located between the Arabian Sea and the stunning Western Ghats.
A scenic hill station known for its verdant beauty, misty views, and coffee cultivation, Chikmagalur serves as the perfect hilly retreat while in Karnataka. It was the first place in India where coffee was cultivated when a Muslim saint brought coffee seeds in 1670 from Yemen.
Located about 150kms from Mangalore, Chikmagalur has a lot in store for visitors – adventure sports, the Manikyadhara Falls, lakes, and wildlife destinations are just a few of those.
#7 Nandi Hills
Located east of Bangalore, Nandi Hills is a popular weekend retreat complete with remarkable views, perfect weather, and historic sites. Even Tipu Sultan used to head to this place to escape the summer heat.
The small hillocks are also popular among trekkers, who scale the hills to reach the famous Yoganandeeshwara Temple. The gigantic statue of Nandi the bull sits majestically in front, and is the reason the hills got their name.
Karnataka has something for everyone, and Bijapur is the ideal destination for history buffs and architecture lovers. Once the capital of the Adil Shahi kings, the ancient town dates back to the 10th-11th Century. Here, visitors get to see historic monuments like the Gol Gumbaj, which has the world’s largest dome. Other attractions include the Ibrahim Rauza, Jami Masjid, and Uppali Buruz.
#9 Jog Falls
Although not quite a ‘place’ in itself, Jog Falls cannot be left out when you are on your first visit to Karnataka. It is, after all, four cascades combine to make one of the highest waterfalls in India. These then fall gorgeously down into the Sharavati River, creating a spellbinding experience for one and all.
Yercaud is a little away from Karnataka, but a popular weekend getaway for people in the state. Located 4,700 feet above sea level, this picturesque hill station has everything from a beautiful lake, and waterfalls to wildlife, temples, and plantations of coffee and oranges. The Pagoda Point, Yercaud Lake, and Shevaroy Temple are some of the most popular attractions here.
Location: In India’s southern part, bordering Goa, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, and Kerala.
How to Reach: There are several airports in the state, such as Bangalore and Mysore; rail connectivity is good to Bangalore from other Indian cities. State transport buses and taxis, etc. connects Karnataka internally as well as to other states.
Official Language: Kannada
Time Zone: UTC+05:30
Food: Varies with the region, although South-Indian vegetarian cuisine like dosas and idlis are common in all. Try Bisi Bele Bath, Chitranna, and Ragi Rotti. Popular sweet dishes include Huggi and Mysore Pak.
Interested to holiday in Karnataka?