Tourism in Karnataka

Karnataka, the eighth largest state in India, is a veritable treasure trove of tourist delights [cite web
url=http://www.gazetteer.kar.nic.in/data/gazetteer/postind/Kar_Handbook_2005_Chapter14.Pdf
title=Handbook of Karnataka, Karnataka The Tourist Paradise
publisher=
accessdate=2008-08-29
] . By virtue of its varied geography and long and rich history, Karnataka boasts of numerous spots of interest for tourists. Karnataka has been ranked as fourth most popular destination for tourism among states of India. [http://news.oneindia.in/2006/05/14/karnatak-ranks-among-top-five-states-in-tourismficci-1147644798.html Karnataka ranks among top five states in tourism: FICCI - OneIndia retrieved on 2006-6-10] With its 507 out of the 3600 centrally protected monuments, Karnataka has the second highest number of protected monuments in India, next only to Uttar Pradesh.cite web|title=Alphabetical list of Monuments|url=http://asi.nic.in/asi_monu_alphalist_karnataka.asp|author=|publisher=Archaeological Survey of India|work=Protected Monuments|accessdate=2007-06-13] In addition the State Directorate of Archaeology and Museums protects 752 monuments. Another 25,000 monuments are yet to receive protectioncite web|title=Plan to conserve heritage monuments, museums|url=http://www.hindu.com/2007/01/06/stories/2007010606360500.htm|author=Correspondent|publisher=The Hindu|work=The Hindu, Saturday January 6 2007|accessdate=2007-06-13] There is a dazzling array of ancient sculptured temples, modern cities, scenic hill ranges, unexplored forests and endless beaches. Karnataka is a place that has all the ingredients for great holiday. Broadly, tourism in Karnataka can be divided into four geographical regions. These are North Karnataka, the Hill Stations, Coastal Karnataka and South Karnataka.

The Karnataka Government has recently introduced The Golden Chariot - train which connects popular tourist destinations in the state and Goa.

North Karnataka

Tourism in North Karnataka

North Karnataka is a land of harsh dryness accompanied by majestic cliffs, rocky landscapes and magnificent monuments that date back to 5th century. Kannada empires that ruled the Deccan had their capitals here. Badami Chalukyan monuments at Pattadakal, Aihole, Badami are a sight to be seen. Aihole is called the cradle of Hindu rock architecture and has over 125 temples and monuments built between 450 - 1100 CE. Rashtrakuta monuments at Lokapura, Bilgi and Kuknur and Kalyani Chalukya monuments built in Gadag style at Lakkundi, Gadag, Koppal District and the famous Vijayanagar empire temples at Vijayanagara are the best that it offers. Hampi in Bellary District is famous for the ruins spread over an area of 125 km². with some fifty four world heritage monuments and six hundred and fifty national monuments ("ASI"). An additional three hundred monuments await protection. The Deccan sultanate monuments at Bijapur and Gulbarga show unique and discreet Hindu influences and rival the Muslim monuments of North India. Archeologically important locations like Kanganahalli in Gulbarga have thrown more light on Buddhist centers of the 1st. c. BCE. - 3rd c. CE era. The first ever statue of emperor Ashoka with his queens and a Prakrit inscription "Rayo Ashoka" ("ASI") has been found.

Badami surroundings important locations are Kudalasangama, Aihole, Pattadakal, Mahakuta and Banashankari.

Hampi surroundings region, they can be visited from Hampi/Hosapete, or from Hubli. there are Kuknur, Ittagi, Gadag, Lakkundi,Dambal, Haveri, Kaginele, Bankapura.

Please refer North Karnataka wikipedia site for more information.

World heritage centres

* Hampi

The site of the capital of Vijayanagara(1336). It is known as Pampakshetra, as pampadevi temple is on the banks of Tungabhadra. There is Badami Chalukya temple, Virupaksha temple of Chalukyan times. The rocky hilly area with Anegundi to the north of the river is identified as Kishkindha of Ramayana times. Hampi has Krishnaswamy temple, Vithalaswamy temple, Irugappa's Basti called Ganigitti Jinalaya, Uddhana Virabhadra temple, monolithic Narasimha which is 29 feet tall installed by krishnadevaraya in 1529, and a large number other temples and monuments. Foreign visitors who visited during 15th and 16th centuries has called it bigger than Rome. The city was destroyed and deserted in 1565.

* Pattadakal

Pattadakal in North Karnataka is renowned for the group of the 8th century CE monuments. It is on the banks of the river Malaprabha, Pattadakal was the capital of the Chalukya rulers. Pattadakal is one of the unique places to see that many temples of the early Chalukyan architecture. Also it is a rare place where the south Indian and north Indian style temples share the same landscape.

The oldest of them all are the Sangameshwara, Mallikarjuna and Virupaksha Temples.

Other major temples in Pattadakal include the Kadasiddheshvara Temple, Jambulings Temple, Galaganatha Temple, Chandrashekara Temple, Papanatha Temple, Kashivishvanatha Temple and the Jain Temple.

Western Chalukya's Core area

Core area of Western Chalukya includes the places Badami, Sudi, Annigeri, Itagi, Gadag, Lakkundi, Lakshmeshwar, Dambla, Haveri, Bankapura, Rattahalli, Kuruvatti, Bagali, Balligavi, Chavundarayapura, Hangal.

* Badami
* Sudi
* Annigeri
* Itagi Western Chalukya architecture
* Gadag
* Lakkundi
* Lakshmeshwar
* Dambal

* Haveri
* Bankapura
* Rattahalli
* Kuruvatti
* Bagali
* Balligavi
* Chavundarayapura
* Hangal

* Aihole

It is a great center of Badami Chalukyan art. The temples were raised from the 6th to 12th century. It has a Jaina and Vedic rock-cut shrine, both of about 6th Century. It has fine Tirthankara images. The place has durga temple. Other temples are Huchchi-malligudi, Gaudaragudi and Chakragudi. The meguti on a hill is a jaina basti which has a famous Aihole inscription of Pulikeshin 2 and also a Buddhist two-storied rock -cut shrine below it.

* Badami

Badami, the capital of the early Chalukyas in the 6th century, is at the mouth of a ravine between two rocky hills. Badami has rock-cut cave temples, gateways, forts, inscriptions and sculptures. A flight of stairs leads you to ancient caves and cave carved out of sandstone on the precipice of a hill.

* Basavana Bagewadi

It is 43 km to the east of Bijapur. In 12th century Saint Basaveshwara was born in this place. It was an agrahara. The main temple here is Chalukyan style and it was called as Sangamantha in records. the Samadhis of Siddharameshwara and Gurupadeshwara of the Inchageri school of spiritual pursuit are seen here.

* Annigeri(30 km from Hubli)

It has a famous Amriteshwara temple of the time of the Kalyani Chalukyas. It was the birthplace of great Kannada Poet Pampa and there is a Jain basadi of Parshwanatha. It was once a headquarters of famous rich province of Belvola-300. It was the capital of Chalukya Someshwara 4. In addition to Veerashaiva Mathas; there is a ruined Banashankari Temple and seven mosques and also an ancient Veerabhadra temple.

* Bankapura(80 km from Dharwad)

Under Chalukya many beautiful temples were raised in the city including the Nagareshwara temple in the fort and another chalukya temple called Siddheshwara. Ali Adilshahi destroyed many temples in about 1567. There is a beautiful mosque in the fort.

* Dambal(21 km from Gadag)

It was a Buddhist centre. There are two notable chalukyan temple called Doddabasappa Temple and somewshwara Temple. Doddabassapa as polygonal star shaped Temple Garbhagriha and fine sculptural representations and huge nandi Temple. Someshwara could have been an old bsati. The Temple has a 400-year-old vast tank. There is an old ganapathi image in old ruined fort. And we can also find a huge ganapathi image in a small shrine.

* Hanagal

It was the capital of Hangal Kadambas, feudatories of Chalukyas of Kalyana. It was mentioned as Panungal in records and identified by tradition with Viratanagara of Mahabharatha days. It is on the left bank of the Dharma River. The Tarakeshwara temple here is a huge structure with series of images and polished tall Chalukyan pillars. The other temples are Virabhadra, Billeshwara and Ramalinga etc. There is a Veerashaiva Kumaraswamy Matha here.

* Gadag

It is a twin city municipality and it is 55 km from Hubli-Dharward .It is a great centre of Kalyana Chalukya art with the large Trikuteshwara temple. It was latter expanded by kalyana Chalukyas into a vast complex. The complex has triple shrines once housing Shiva, Brahma and Surya. The Saraswathi temple has the shining decorative pillars, and the Saraswathi image, and it is one of the largest examples of Chalukyan art. The place has Someshwara and Rameshwara temples of Chalukyan style. It has Veeranarayana temple of Chalukyan times.

* Lakkundi (10 km from Gadag)

Water falls in North Karnataka

* Lushington Falls

110 km from Karwar, the famous Lushington Falls or Keppa falls is located in Siddhapur Taluk on the Shimoga border. The falls where the river Aghanashini thunders down from the height of 116 meters is named after a District Collector who discovered it in 1845.

* Magod Falls

The Magod is 125 km from Karwar. The river Gangavathi emerging from the Western ghats takes a leap into a chasm of 183metre (600 feet) down, in a series of cascades over cliffs.

Wild life Sanctuaries

Dandeli Wild life Sanctuary

Dandeli Wild life Sanctuary near to Hubli-Dharwad (70km)

Prime Wildlife Attractions of Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary) are Sloth Bear, Bush Grail, Deer, Elephant, Sambar, Tiger, Gaur, Panther and Partridge are some of the many inhabitants of this sanctuary. Around 35 km from Dandeli National Park is Syntheri rocks, awesome monolithic granite structure amidst thick forest, with the perennial river Kaneri flowing by its side. Spread over 834.16 km2 the Dandeli wildlife sanctuary is the second largest in Karnataka and it is contiguous with the Mahaveer sanctuary in Goa. There are many trekking trails and fishing spots at Dandeli.

Daroji Bear Sanctuary Situated only 15 kilometers from Hampi.The unique Sloth Bear sanctuary is situated very close to this heritage site.

The peacock sanctuary in Bankapura Bankapur Fort, situated in Bankapura village of Shiggon taluk, is just 2.5 km from the Pune-Bangalore national highway NH4, 22 km from Haveri town towards Hubli. An historical site, Bankapura has temples of Ranganatha Nagareshwara and Siddheshwara. The peacock sanctuary in Bankapur is the only second sanctuary in the country that is exclusively engaged in the conservation and breeding of peacocks. Bankpur Fort is home for not only for peafowl, but also a number of other birds like wood pecker, great-horned owl, babbler, magpie, robin, green bee eater, nightjar, spotted maina, paradise flycatcher, Indian robin, spotted dove, parakeets, kingfisher, grey hornbill, blue tailed bee eater, blacked winged kite, tailor bird etc.

Ranebennur blackbuck sanctuary Ranebennur blackbuck sanctuary has a core area of 14.87 km and a buffer zone of 104.13 km wherein the tourists are allowed. The vegetation here comprises mainly of scrub forests and extensive eucalyptus plantations. The fauna here comprises wild pig, fox,jackal, wolf, blackbuck etc.

Ranebennur blackbuck sanctuary in haveri district (declared a wildlife sanctuary on the 17th of June 1974 to protect blackbuck). Spread over 119 square kilo meters, it is divided into three blocks namely hulathi, hunasikatti and alageri for administrative purposes.

Deva Raya Wildlife Sanctuary An eco-tourism area due to its unique terrain, flora and fauna is near to Hampi. Sanctuary protects leopards, bears, hyenas, wolves, pythons, deer, peacocks, monkeys like langur and rhesus, crocodiles, anteaters, porcupines, wild bear and variety of plants and other animals.

Deva Raya Wildlife Sanctuary in Bellary District (private sanctuary) The sanctuary is named after kings of the Vijayanagar Empire.

Attiveri Bird Sanctuary

Attiveri Bird Sanctuary is near to Hubli-Dharwad, Spread over an area of about 2.23 km2, the sanctuary is located in and around the Attiveri reservoir. It is around 15 km from Mundgod in Uttara Kannada District North Karnataka of Karnataka.

Other tourist attractions of North karnataka

* Halasi

The place is in Background of Western Ghats in lush green atmosphere. It was the second capital of the Kadambas of Banavasi. The huge Bhuvaraha Narasimha temple has tall images of Varaha, Narasimha, Narayana and Surya. The place has a fort, and also temples of Gokarneshswara, Kapileshwara, Swarneshwara and Hatakeshwara.

* Saundatti

The town proper has a fort on the hill built during the 18th Century, by Sirasangi Desai, with eight bastions. It was the capital of Rattas who latter shifted their headquarters to Belgaum. There are two temples of Ankeshwara, Puradeshwara, Mallikarjuna, Venkateshwara and the Veerabhadra. The Renukasagar waters touch the outskirts of Saundatti.

Tourist atrractions are as follows

* Hooli Panchalingeshwara temple

* Renuka temple

* Saundatti Fort

* Parasgad Fort

* Devala Ganagapura

It is 651 km away from Bangalore. Sri Narasimha Sarasati who had stayed here for long and was granted a jahgir by the Bahmain Sultan. The Saint has cured the Sultan of a serious boil. The Saint is treaded as an incarnation of Dattatreya and devotees from Maharashtra and Karnataka.

* Banavasi

It was the capital of kadambas. The place is on the bask of the Varada river and its laterite fort is surrounded by the river at its three sides. It is an ancient place as Ashoka is said to have sent his missionaries to 'Vanavasa'. There are also some Buddhist brick monuments. Chutu prince Nagashri built a Buddhist Vihara, a tank and installed a Naga image at the place according to a Parkrit record at the place. There is also a monument at Banavasi, Mudhukeshvara temple and also Kadamba Nagara Shikhara is seen on the garbhagriha of this temple. Records here indicate that Buddhism and jainism were popular at this place.

* Sonda

It is in the middle of the thick forest. It was the headquarters of Sonde rulers who were feudatories of Vijayanagara. Its large number of monuments are spread over the forest. It was a jain center and has a Samadhi of scholar Bhattakalanka. There is also a small jain matha, Swarnavalli matha of Smartha tradition, Trivikarama temple, Shankaranarayana temple and Gaddige Matha. From 5 km from Sonda the river Shalmala creates a falls of 91 meters height called the Shivaganga falls.

* Ulavi

It is in the middle of thick forest, where there is a Samadhi of Chennabasavanna ( the nephew of Saint Basaveshwara). Gavi Matha is a series of caves here in which the Sharanas lived. one cave is named after Akka Nagamma, Chennabasavanna's mother. On the samadhi of Chennabasavanna, a Nandi is installed in the sanctum. Every month on poornima, a jatra is held and a major jatra is held on Shivaratri Day. There is also a ruined fort called Baburayana Kote.

* Yana

Situated 60km from Karwar, Yana or Bhairavakshetra is a deserted town ship and a pilgrim centre with unique rock formations. Located in a valley, one has to trek a distance of about 10km by foot amidst thick forest to reach Yana. It is a popular rock climbing haunt. There is a shrine of Bhairaveswara on a hillock 100 metres high. A fair is held here during Shivaratri.

Hill stations

The Hill stations in Karnataka are generally unexplored and more pristine than better known ones in South India. Kudremukh, Kemmangundi, Agumbe, Horanadu, Nandi Hills are some of the better known ones. Not much tourism in these areas has kept them free of commercialization. Apart from scenic treks, bird watching, boating and waterfalls, these areas are also close to major coffee producing areas in the state, making a trip all the more interesting. There are many tourist resorts.

Coastal Karnataka

Coastal Karnataka is the stronghold of Hindu and Jain pilgrimage spots with Udupi and its many temples being the centre of Dvaita philosophy, Gokarna is known for Vedic studies, Sringeri has the first of the Shankaracharya mathas and is important for its Advaita philosophy, Karkala and Mudabidri are well known places of Jain worship and Vaishnava rituals. Exquisite Vijayanagar temples built in Chalukya - Malabar region combinational style are seen in Bhatkal, Kumta, Shirali etc. The warm beaches of Karnataka are mostly unspoiled.

Jamboti, 20 km south-west of Belgaum, has popular evergreen hilltop forests.

Karnataka is blessed with over 300 km of pristine coastal stretch. Netrani Island of Uttara Kannada is known for coral reefs. St. Mary's Island, a few kilometers from Udupi is famous for its basalt rock formations. Sunny beaches at places like Malpe, Murdeshwara, Maravanthe,Gokarna, Kumta have spectacular mountains to the east. Agumbe, Kodachadri hills, Kemmangundi, are just a few of many hill stations that straddle the coast providing tourists sun and greenery. Unlike many crowded hill stations in South India, the hill stations of Karnataka are still mostly undiscovered and pristine.

* Gokarna

The Coastal town of Gokarna is a pilgrimage centre as well as a centre of Sanskrit learning, 56km from Karwar. It is famous for the Mahabaleswar Temple with the 'Atmalinga' dedicated to Lord Shiva. There is an enormous chariot, which is taken out in a procession on Shiva's birthday in February. The Tambraparni Teertha here is considered sacred to perform obsequies of the dead.

* Udupi

One of the holy place and it is 58 km from Mangalore. The Krishna temple here is founded by Acharya Madhwa during the 14th century. He founded eight mathas to conduct the services of Lord Krishna in turns. Paryaya festival is held once in two years in January. The place has Kadiyali Durga temple, Ambalapadi Shakti temple, Raghavendra Matha and the Venkataraman swamy temple. Malpe is the port near here. It has a beach and the Vadabhandeshwara temple of Balarama.

* Karkala

50km from Mangalore and 20km from North of Moodabidire, is Karkala, an important centre of Jainism. There are several temples and a 17 metres high statue of Bahubali (Gomateshwara), situated on a small hill. The statue is a naked figure reached by a flight of rock-cut steps. Some of the temples are Chaturmukha Basti (1587), Neminatha Basti, Ananthapadmanabha Temple(1567) dedicated to Vishnu, and Venkataramana temple(Padutirupathi).

* Venur

Situated 50km NE of Mangalore, has eight Bastis and ruins of a Mahadeva temple. The largest of them is the 17C Kalli Basti, dedicated to Shantinatha. There is a Gommanteswara Monolith, 11metres high dating back to 1604 in Venur.

* Malpe Beach

Situated 66 km north of Mangalore, near Manipal. It has a tourist beach. The uninhibited St. Mary's Island, accessible by boat, has a beach and an impressive geological formation of basalt rock pillars into the sea.

* Dharmastala

Situated 75 km from Mangalore, Dharmastala is an attractive site surrounded by forested hills, rice fields and by the river Netravati on all sides. The Manjunatha temple here is a pilgrim centre. A Monolithic statue of Bahubali 14metres high was erected here in 1973. Visitors are provided with free boarding and lodging by the temple authorities. There is a small museum, Manjusha Museum located opposite to the temple. There are two temple chariots covered in wooden figures and all types of religious objects including carved and painted panels, bronze sculptures and bells.

* Kollur

Kollur is 147 km from Mangalore. The temple of goddess Mookambika is located here on top of Kodachadri hill, at the foot of the Western Ghats. The goddess takes the form of a 'Jyotirlinga' incorporating aspects of Shiva and Shakti. It is a pilgrimage centre attracting lot of devotees.

* Moodabidre

Situated 35km from Mangalore, Moodabidire has Jain temples known as Basti's. There are 18 Bastis, the oldest and the largest is the Chandranatha Basti (1429) with its 1000 pillared hall. 'The Jain Matha' near the entrance has an important collection of manuscripts. Other shrines worthy of mention are Shantinatha, Settara, Derama Setti Basti, Guru Basti, Kote and Vikrama Setti Basti.

* Bhatkal

Bhatkal located 135 km from Karwar was the main port of Vijayanagar empire in the 16th century. The ancient town has temples of Vijayanagar style and many interesting Jain monuments. The 17th century Hindu temple here in Vijayanagar style has animal carvings. 16 km away is the shore temple of Shri Murdeshwar. The temple attracts a lot of devotees and tourists.

* Honnavar

Honnavar, situated 90 km from Karwar, has a Portuguese fort. There is also a fort in Basavaraja Durga Island, amidst the sea which can be reached by a sail upstream on river Sharavathi.

* Ankola

Located 37km south of Karwar, is a small town with 15century ruined walls of king Sarpamalika's fort and the ancient Shri Venketaraman Temple. Near the temple there are two giant wooden chariots carved with scenes from the 'Ramayana'.

Murudeshwar The Tallest Hindu Temple Gopuram in the World

The famous Murudeshwar Temple in Uttara Kannada District of Karnataka now possesses at 249-feet Raja Gopura. The Murudeswar temple complex is renowned for the tallest idol of Lord Shiva in the world, which is 123 feet. The latest addition to the temple is the Rajagopuram, which was opened on April 12, 2008. And is it the tallest the tallest Hindu Temple Gopuram in the World.

If Gopuram can be considered as a unique ornate structure associated with Hindu Temples, then the Gopura of Murudeshwar Temple in Karnataka should be the tallest in the world.

The Rajagopuram of Murudeswar Temple has 21 floors, including the ground floor. The base measures 105 feet in length and 51 feet breadth. The gopura also possess a lift and visitors can go to the top and have an aerial view of the Arabian Sea and the statue of Lord Shiva. Another highlight is the life-size statues of two elephants at the base of the gopura.

World's tallest Siva idol

The highlights of Murudeshwar lie beyond its nice beach and rural flair. A breathtaking view awaits you when moving towards the little headland dividing the beach into north and south. There, on a little green hill, a 37m (or 123 feet) Lord Shiva idol sits enthroned, surrounded by smaller, but not less impressive, statues illustrating moments of the Hindu mythology.

outh Karnataka

South Karnataka is a unique combination of spectacular vesara style Hoysala architecture, colossal Jain monuments, colonial buildings and palaces of the Kingdom of Mysore, impregnable fort at Chitradurga and densely forested wildlife sanctuaries that offer some of the best eco-tourism available in the country. Belur, Halebidu in Hassan District, Somnathpura in Mysore District, Belavadi, Kalasa and Amrithapura in Chikmagalur District, Balligavi in Shimoga District offer some of the best of Hoysala architecture dating from the 11th - 13th century CE., while Shravanabelagola and Kambadahalli in Mandya District have well known 10th century Jain monuments. Scenic forests and the high density of wild animals of this region are a popular attraction for those interested in the wilder side of life. Bandipur National Park, Nagarahole, Biligirirangan Hills, Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary and Bannerghatta national parks are a few popular places for jungle safaris.

The river Kaveri flows east from Kodagu District and along its way one finds important tourist destinations like Shivanasamudra and nearby Sivasamudram Falls,

Srirangapattana and Melkote etc. Mysore, the cultural capital of the state is famous for exotic palaces, quaint colonial buildings and cultural activities including Carnatic music, theatre. Bangalore the capital is the most cosmopilitian city in India and is well known for its parks, pubs, restaurants, shopping and fast paced technology rich lifestyle.

* Belur

It is famous for its magnificent Hoysala temple complex. The Chennakeshava temple here was completed in 1116 by Hoysala Vishnuvardhana. The magnificent image is 3.7 mtr tall and the temple standing on a platform has exquisite plastic art work on its outer walls and bracket figures of dancing girls in various poses in perfect proportion. There are shrines of Kappe Chenniga Andal, Saumya Nayaki etc. The temple here is a classic example of Hoysala art, and Belur was one of the Hoysala Capitals.

* Halebidu

It is 27 km from Hassan, was capital of Hoysala and it was formerly called as Dwarasamudra. It has one of the finest Hoysala temples said to have been started by Ketamalla, a commander of Vishnuvardhana in 1121. The twin Shiva Temples with a common platform and two garbhagrihas, one houses for Vishnuvardhana Hoysaleshwara Linga and the other for Shanthaleshwara Linga. In front fo Hoysaleshwara is the Nandimantapa and behind that is shrine of Surya with a two-meter-tall image. Outer walls have rows of intricate figures narrating episodes from epics like Ramyana, Mahabartha, and Bhagavata.

* Arasikere

It is 41 km from Hassan and 176 km from Bangalore. It is famous for its coconut gardens. There is a Kattameshwara temple here which is also called Chandramoulishwara and referred to as Kalmeshwara in the records. It is a fine Hoysala monument with a rare polygonal frontal Mantapa with special design. There is a fine Haluvokkalu Temple and also a Sahasrakuta Jinalaya. Malekal Tirupathi near Arasikere has a venkataramana temple visited by many devotees.

* Aralaguppe

There is a famous Kalleshwara temple in the Ganga-Nalamba style of the 9th century. Its ceiling has wonderful dancing Shiva sculpture with musical accompanists and eight Dikpalas surrounding him with all their paraphernalia. There is a Chennakeshava temple of the Hoysala style. The image of vishnu in the garbhagriha is magnificent. There is four Ganga temples at the place.

* Madhugiri

It is 43 km from Tumkur and it is famous for its hill fort which is very vast. The ancient name of the place is Maddagiri. It has a temples of Venkataramana and Malleshwara built by Vijayanagara feudatories. There is also a Mallinatha basadi. The fort has majestic gateways called Antaralada Bagilu, Diddibagilu, Mysore Gate etc. 19 km from here is another hill fort called Midigeshi.

* Sira

It is 52 km from Tumkur. The town called Siriya was founded by Rangappa Nayaka of Ratnagiri. The Jumma masjid here is a fine monument built in 1896 and the Malik Rihan's tomb is another impressive structure. The Gopalakrishna temple here has no image, and it is said to be housed in Narayana temple. 24 km from south of Sira there is a place called Seebi, which was called as Sibburu and there is a Narasimhaswamy temple built in the 18th century by Nallappa an officer under Haider Ali. The temple is painted with themes of Ramayana, Mahabharatha and Dashavatara themes.

* Yediyur RamanathapurThis is place in Hassan dist. around 50 Km from Hassn. It is on the bank of Kaveri river.This place is famous for TEMPLES.1 Rameshwara Temple, @ aghastheshwara, 3 Subramanya, 4. Pattabi rama Temple. It is very beatiful to have look at Kaveri river.

It is 30 km from Kunigal. It has a samadhi matha of Tontada Siddhalingahwara Yati, a famous Veerashaiva saint who lived during 16th century. Piligrims who visit the place in hunderds daily are feed free, and there are rest houses. The matha has fine wooden chariot with some interesting sculptures. The place has a Varadarja temple and two Veerashaiva mathas. The matha's building has some old paintings on walls.

* Madikeri / Mercara

Known as Scotland of India, Mercara has enchanted millions of travelers with its misty hills lush forests, coffee plantations and breath taking views. It is also known for its lovely climate. It has many places of attraction such as Tala Cauvery, Nagarahole National Park, Abbe Water Falls, Bagamandala, Cauvery Nisargadhama, Belegiri Hills, Thadiyanda Murali Kund, Igguthappa Temple, Irupu Falls And Coffee & Tea Estates.

* Srirangapattana

It is 14 km from Mysore & it is an island in between two branches of the Cauvery. It was also the capital of the mysore rulers. There is a Ranganath temple here. The fort here was built in 1454. The Mysore rules made it their capital in 1610 in the days of Raja Wodeyar, who took it from the Vijayanagara Governor. The Ranganatha temple is called Adi Ranga. Ganjam has Dariya Daulat palace of Tipu and Gumbaz, the mausoleum of Haider and Tipu. Both are impressive structures of Indo-Saracenic style. The palace has paintings, fine wood work and it houses a museum.

* Melukote

It is a religious centre which attracts lakhs of people during its world famous annual feast Vairamudi. The temple was reconstructed in the Hoysala style by Visnuvardhana with the guidance of Ramanujacharya, a famous Visistadvaitist, in 11th century A.D. There are Cheluvanarayanaswamy temple, Kalyani, Hill shrine of Lord Narasimha, Thottilamadu, Dhanuskoti, Academy of Sanskrit Research and many more to visit. The nearest tourist places are Thondanur, Srirangapatna, Karigatta, Nagamangala etc.,

* Maddur

It is 20 km from Mandya and it is headquarters of this district. It is described in records as "Arjunapuri agrahara", the institution being ascribed to epic hero Arjuna. Madduramma is the village goddess of the place. The Narasimha Swamy Temple here of the Hoysalas has the figure of Narasimha, which is seven feet in height. The Varadaraja temple is a Chola structure with a 12 feet tall Varadaraja image.

* Mahadeshwara Betta

It is 220 km from Bangalore and 142 km from Mysore. It is very close to eastern Ghats. It is said that a saint called Mahadeshwara could ridetiger lived during the 14th-15th century has his gadduge here. The hill is full of thick forests and thousands of pilgrims visit the place.

* Talakadu

A Holy place on the banks of the Cauvery. It is full of sands, carried by the wind from the dried bed of the river. It was the second capital of the Gangas. They built the Pataleshwara and the Maruleshwara templeshere. Hoysala Vishnuvardhana built Kirti Narayana temple.

* Bhadravathi

It is an industrial town in Shimoga district 256 km away from Bangalore, which was earlier known as "Benkipura". There is a13th century Lakshminarayan Temple in Hoysala style. The Visveshwara Iron and Steel works, a cement factory and a paper factory function at this place on the banks of Bhadra river.

* Ikkeri

It was a capital town of the Keladi Nayakas from 1512, and a place very near to Sagar. The Aghoreshwara temple is a 16th century monument of great attraction. There is also a Paravathi temple nearby. Keladi is another place nearby, the original capital. It has the Rameshwara and Veerabhadra temples. There is also a Museum.

* Sravanabelgola

It is famous for the statue of Lord Bahubali. The place is an important Jain pilgrimage center and has a long history. The 17 meter high statue of Bahubali is said to be the tallest monolithic structure in the world. It overlooks the small town of Shravanbelgola from the top of the rocky hill known as Indragiri. One can reach this hill after ascending 614 rock-cut steps.

* Somnathpur

It is the home to one of the best examples of Hoysala temple architecture, the Kesava Temple.

* Jog Falls

Jog falls, the highest waterfalls in India, is located about 50km from the coast midway between Udupi and Karwar. The Sharavati river drops 253 metres in 4 separate falls known as Rani-the Rocket and Raja-the Roarer. The highest is the Raja with the fall of 253 metres and a pool below 40metres deep. After rain during the monsoon season, the falls are a magnificent spectacular sight. The best time to visit is Late November to early January. The 50km long Hirebhasgar Reservoir and the Linganamkki damregulates the flow of the Sharavati river to generate the hydro electricity.

* Mekedatu

It is a beautiful picnic spot were river Cauvery offers an unforgettable site. It tumbles down majestically through a deep ravine, on top of which is a chasm around 5meters wide, narrow enough for a goat to leak across. Mekedatu is on Kanakapura Road.

* Hesaraghatta

Hesaraghatta has an artificial lake, a dairy and a horticulture farm. Baoting & windsurfing are the other attractions. Also here is the famous 'Nrityagrama' where young dancers are trained in all disciplines of traditional dance.

* Shivaganga

An interesting hill with four faces, rising to a height of 4599ft looks like a Nandi from the East, Ganesh from the West, A Linga from the South and Cobra with it hood spread from the North side. It is accessible by road.

* Shivanasamudram

The picturesque waterfalls, the Ganganchukki and the Bharachukki, cascade down 90 meters. These falls are the source of Asia's first Hydro Electric Power Statin called "Shimsa". The falls are in full splendour during July-August. The falls are 22 km from the Bangalore.

* Hogenekkal Falls

These are also known as the 'smoking rocks' because of the mist. At the bottom of the 90ft water falls, one can ride in a coracle.

* Devarayanadurga

This is a hill station of Tumkur road perched at a height of 3940 feet. A few kilometers from foot of the hills is a natural spring called Namada Chilume.

National Parks and Wildlife

Karnataka in all has 21 wildlife sanctuaries and 5 National parks. Well known among them are Bandipur National Park in Mysore District, Bannerghatta National Park in Bangalore district, Nagarhole National Park in Mysore District and Kodagu district, Kudremukh National Park in Dakshina Kannada and Chickmagalur district, Dandeli & Anshi National Park in Uttara Kannada district, Gudavi and Mandegadde bird sanctuaries and Sharavati WLS in Shimoga District, Biligirirangan Hills WLS in Chamarajanagar district, Rangantittu Bird Sanctuary in Mandya district, Brahmagiri wildlife sanctuary and Pushpagiri Wildlife Sanctuary in Kodagu district. Interior dry areas have their own unique wildlife.

There are twenty one wildlife sanctuaries and five national parks in all.

Recently, the government of India has proposed to the UNESCO to include important ecosystems in the Western Ghats as a World Heritage Site. Two subclusters of natural areas occurring in the list are entirely in the Karnataka region covering several wildlife sanctuaries and some reserve forests. Fragile and exotic ecosystems like Kudremukh NP, Brahmagiri WLS, Pushpagiri WLS, Agumbe, Talakaveri WLS, Someshvara WLS figure in this list. As such, the Western Ghats that run south-north through the Karnataka is considered as one among the twenty five bio-diversity hotspots of the world.

The Niligiri Biosphere Reserve (also a designated UNESCO Biosphere reserve) is located at the junction of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerela. Nagarahole National Park WLS and Bandipur National Park and Nugu WLS in Karnataka are included in this biosphere reserve.

The state is home to the largest concentration of Asian Elephants along Kabini River in Nagarahole and Bandipur parks. These two parks are also hold among the most viable population of the highly endangered Indian Tiger. Rannebennur Blackbuck sanctuary in Davangere district is home to one of the largest populations of blackbuck anywhere in India. The Doraji wildlife sanctuary and areas in Karnataka like Bellary district, Chitradurga are strongholds of the sloth bear.

Karnataka is home to more than 500 species of birds. [http://www.karnatakabirds.net karnatakabirds - Birds of Karnataka ] ]

Water Falls and Caves

Karnataka is famous for its waterfalls. Jog falls of Shimoga District is one of the highest waterfalls in Asia. Some well known waterfalls are Varapoha Falls, Magod Falls, Lalgulli falls, Sathodi falls, Unchalli falls, Lushington falls, Shivaganga falls, Ulavi falls, Irupu falls, Sivasamudram Falls near Shivanasamudra, Balmuri falls, Gokak falls,Abbe falls, Achakanya Falls, Chunchanakatte Falls, Hebbe falls, Kallathigiri falls, Sogal falls, Godachinamalki falls etc. In fact the waterfalls of Karnataka and Kudremukh National Park are listed as "must see" places and one among the 1001 natural wonders of the world. [Michael Bright, "1001 Natural Wonders of the World" by Barrons Educational Series Inc., published by Quinted Inc., 2005.]

Some well known caves in Karnataka are Yana caves and Kavala caves and Syntheri rocks in Uttara Kannada district, Sugriva's cave in Hampi holds similarity to the descriptions of 'Kishkinda' in the epic Ramayana, hundreds of caves in Basava Kalyana in Bidar District.

Rural tourism

India is a country of rich culture and heritage. With above 70% population residing in around 6 million plus villages, real India has its roots right inside this simplistic structure. With Rural Zing, we try to take you to a journey of not so known – the land and people which is the back bone of this country. It is a journey to explore diversity and hospitality from nook and corners of India.

Eco-Tourism

The districts of the Western ghats and the southern districts have popular eco tourism locations. [http://www.indianmba.com/Articles_on_Management/AOM6/aom6.html Article in Indianmba. Retrieved on 2006-6-10] Some of the popular locations include Kudremukh, Madikeri and Agumbe. Karnataka boasts of the highest elephant and Gaur bison population (greater than 6000 & 8000 respectively) in India. Its forests hold some of the largest remaining populations of the endangered tiger and leopard. Eco-tourism is a very popular activity in the state. Karnataka leads other states in eco-tourism. Jungle Lodges & Resorts, a state run organization has camping and safari facilities in several wildlife sanctuaries. Private safari providers have sprung up in several places along the western ghats.

Several NGO's (youth groups) are actively involved in birding and other conservation activities.

Outdoor Activities

Karnataka is a rock climbers paradise. Yana in Uttara Kannada, Ramnagara near Bangalore district, Shivagange in Bangalore district and tekal in Kolar district are a rock climbers heaven. A climbing academy has been formed in Ramnagara called General Thimmaiah Rock Climbing Academy. The Nisarga Organisation for Wildlife and Adventure Academy is based in bangalore. It organizes eco-tourism, adventure activities and wildlife tours. River rafting in Dandeli is a tourist attraction.

Health care Tourism

In the last couple of years Karnataka has emerged as a hot spot for health care tourism in India attracting health tourists from all over the world. Karnataka has highest number of approved health systems and alternative therapies. Along with some ISO certified government owned hospitals, private institutions which provide international quality services have caused health care industry to grow up to 30% during 2004-05. Hospitals in Karnataka treat around 8,000 health tourists every year.cite web|url=http://www.blonnet.com/2004/11/24/stories/2004112402271700.htm|title= Karnataka bets big on healthcare tourism|work=Online webpage of the Hindu Business Line, dated 2004-11-23|publisher=2004, The Hindu|accessdate=2007-06-21]

See also

*Karnataka
* Kadkani River Resort http://www.kadkani.com. Kadkani is a riverside resort with 36 cottages in south Coorg. Kadkani was started in October 2007 and has started getting lot of tourist and corporate attention. Kadkani is nestled on the banks of Cauvery river surrounded by a 250-acre coffee estate with gardens of over 1,000 types of plants and flowers, exotic birds and butterflies. Also, see the blogs at http://kadkani.blogspot.com.

References

External links

* [http://www.karnatakatourism.org]
* [http://www.incrediblekarnataka.org Incredible Karnataka]
* [http://www.godakshin.com/travel-guides/karnataka-tourism-and-travel-guide Karnataka Tourism Guide]
* [http://www.ruralzing.com/ Rural Toursim]
* [http://www.karnatakavision.com/karnataka-tourism.php/ Karnataka Tourism Information]

Also visit

Maps, photos and description related to Tourism attractions of North Karnataka places

North Karnataka : North_Karnataka

Tourism in North Karnataka : Tourism_in_North_Karnataka Lakkundi : Lakkundi

Haveri : Haveri

Gadag : Gadag

Koppal district : Koppal_district

Annigeri : annigeri

Dambla : dambal

Hubli : Hubli Hangal : Hangal

Kundgol : Kundgol

Kalghatgi : Kalghatgi Hooli : Hooli

Belgaum District : Belgaum_district

Bankapura: Bankapura

Tamboor : Tamboor

Saundatti : Saundatti

Gajendragad : Gajendragarh


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