Perhaps most well known tourist trail in India is the Golden Triangle which covers Delhi, Agra and Jaipur in the north. Casual tourists seldom venture beyond this popular path and head down south. South India tourism is growing in leaps and bounds every year, and even the more seasoned travelers might have not heard of some of these places before. A home-stay in Chikmagalur, anyone?
The slogan “One State, Many Worlds,” alone should give you an idea of what to expect in Karnataka. The 7th largest Indian state in terms of size, it has been home to prominent Indian dynasties and hosts numerous heritage sites, national parks, palaces and cities. If you are planning a trip, here are some of the best places to visit!
The garden city of Mysore is a hub for Yoga lovers around the world, but also offers incredible sights for those otherwise inclined. This former state capital city is home to the beautiful Mysore Palace, St. Philomena’s Cathedral, the Devaraja Market, the Brindavan Gardens and Chamundi Hills.
National Parks and Reserves
It’s a lesser known fact that Karnataka has the largest population of Tigers in India. If you wish to see these regal beasts in their natural habitat then you can head to any of these wildlife parks to spot elephants, leopards, giant squirrels and much much more. The Nagarhole National Park is approximately 2 hours away by car from Mysore.
Srirangapatna is one of the most underrated tourist spots in Karnataka. Located a mere 40 minutes away, it makes for a convenient day trip from Mysore. Must visit spots include the Dariya Daulat Summer Palace and Mausoleum (AKA Gumbaz). The Summer Palace, like the one in Bangalore, is made of teak wood and has incredibly intricate carvings and beautiful interior facade. The Gumbaz is often referred to as a “Mini Taj” because of its structure. Like the Taj Mahal, it is a Mausoleum for Tipu Sultan and his parents.
An ancient town with beautiful temple remains buried in sand that you can explore on foot. Though slightly off the beaten track, Talakadu is of great historical importance and a favorite pilgrimage site with Hindus. Located an hour away from Mysore it can easily be covered in 1 day along with the next 2 destinations.
The twin falls of Gaganachukki and Barachukki in the monsoon season are a perfect exhibit of natural splendor.
Though there are a number historical places of significance all over Karnataka – Somanathapura is home to the stunning Chennakesava Temple, that dates back to the 13th(!) century. The main temple and outer walls are resplendent with intricate carvings depicting Indian legends and mythology. The Hoysala-dynasty temple also sports amazing designs on the ceiling.
Famous for its rolling coffee plantations and hiking trails, ideal for either a day trip or an overnight stay. The very least you can do is take a plantation tour through endless rows of Arabica and Robusta plants. The best time to visit – in June or July when the coffee flowers are in full bloom.
Karnataka lies in the southwest of the Indian peninsula sharing borders with Goa, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. One can easily devote weeks to explore what Karnataka has to offer, yet fall short.
Related Post: Travel Tips – How to Pack your Backpack