Literally meaning, “the lofty land,” Karnataka offers everything a visitor could want – cool hills, lush forests, rich wildlife, vibrant culture and an unspoilt coastline. An easy mix of the ancient and the modern, it balances the ruined city of Hampi and the hub of the technology revolution, Bangalore – also known as the Silicon Valley of India.
Marvel as the glory of the past comes alive in the well-preserved ruins of Hampi; including palaces, temples, pavilions and fortifications. The 18 metre high statue of Lord Gometeshwara, cut from a single stone, is the tallest on the continent; washed every 12 years with hundreds of pots of milk, honey, curd, vermilion and coconut water. The Gol Gumbaz at Bijapur is the world’s second-largest unsupported dome, after St. Peter’s Cathedral in Rome. Meanwhile, the Bandipur Sanctuary and the Nagerhole Natural Park offer an astonishing variety of wildlife – elephants, tigers, panthers, bison, barking deer, wild dogs, macaques and langurs.
See how royalty lived, through a tour of the Maharajah’s Palace in Mysore. (The spectacle of the annual Dussehra festival, with its caprisoned elephants remains unmatched in regal grandeur.) Soak in the beaches at Kawar and Ullal or visit through the picturesque coffee country of Coorg. Karnataka is also a treasure trove of splendid handicrafts made in metal, stone, sandalwood, rosewood and ivory. Equally famous are the silk and scented oils, gold-leaf paintings, Lambadi crafts and lac-painted wooden toys. At the end of the day, it’s not for nothing that Karnataka is called the ‘Theatre of Inspiration.’
State capital: Bangalore/Bengaluru
Places of interest: Vidhan Soudha, Lalbagh Gardens, Bangalore Palace, Tipu Sultan’s Palace, Visveswaraya Industrial & Technological Museum, Hampi ruins, Gomateshwara statue, Bandipur sanctuary, Nagerhole Natural Park, Jog Falls, Maharajah’s Palace, Mysore museum, Brindavan Gardens, Vitthala temple, Chamundi Hill, Belur, Halebidu, Badami cave temples, Gokarna beach.
By air: well-connected
By rail: well-connected
By road: well-connected (Bangalore lies at the junction of NH 47 & 48)
Official website: www.karnatakatourism.org