Karnataka, in the south west of India,is a wonderfully diverse destination and although large parts of this huge state are semi-arid or agricultural regions with little in the way of Karnataka tourist places infrastructure,those parts which have been opened up to visitors are among the most compelling and interesting in the southern part of the country.
The city of Bangalore is the state’s major international gateway and is a hub for India’s vast IT industry. It is the nearby, much smaller, city of Mysore which provides the most welcoming window into Karnataka’s rich history, being home to a splendid Palace, some wonderful ancient temples and the legacy of its past as the capital of the princely state of the same name.Mysore is around 3 hours drive from Bangalore on a major highway and is the most popular tourist places in Karnataka within the state.
One of the world’s greatest archaeological treasures is the vast site at Hampi or more correctly Vijaynagara which was the original name of the city here. At one time the Vijayanagar Empire ruled over much of south India from here.Hampi today is a rather remote place but the rewards for anyone making the journey are significant.
The remoteness serves to keep the area (which covers over 40 square kilometres) largely free of tourists and its sheer size means that space is never at a premium. Literally hundreds of small temples, vast compounds of royal buildings and such wonderful major buildings at the Elephant Stables make this one of the most fascinating tourist places in Karnataka,if not all of India.
The rich history of Karnataka, which arguably had its heyday of influence between the 12th and 16th centuries CE, has left a legacy of spectacular sites including some of the most beautiful temples in India. The Hoysala style of temple architecture reached its apex with the neighbouring temples of Belur and Halebid in the south of the state.A major pilgrimage site for people of the Jain religion is at Sravanabelgola is home to a massive monolithic statue of a Jain deity.At over 17 metres tall it is probably the largest monolithic statue in the world.
Karnataka also boasts a long and very beautiful coastline and although much of this is still completely undeveloped from a tourist perspective,the beaches of the Konkan Coast in the states south are among the most serene and unspoilt in India.Another major draw for visitors to Karnataka are the state’s famous National Parks.The best known of these, Nagarhole and Bandipur,are located within easy reach of Bangalore and Mysore and are among the best places to visit in Karnataka in the south of India to see tigers (Nagarhole) and elephants (Bandipur) along with a host of other unique and iconic specie