Karnataka is a state in Southern India. It streches from Belgaum in the north to Mangalore in the south. It has various land features, including the coastal region with numerous coconut trees and beautiful beaches and the interior with mountains, valleys and farmlands. Karnataka is the sixth largest state in India.
- Cauvery Basin - Southern Karnataka, including Mysore
- Central Karnataka - the region around Bangalore
- Karavali - Karnataka's coastal region
- Northern Karnataka
- Northwestern Karnataka
There are many cities in Karnataka. These are some of the more notable:
- Bangalore -- the state capital as well as the IT Capital of India.
- Mangalore -- A major port on the Arabian Sea.
- Mysore -- Erstwhile capital of Kingdom Of Mysore
Below is a selective list of sites of interest in Karnataka. It is far from exhaustive. For other sites, check regional articles.
- Badami cave Temples in Bagalkot - Badami was the capital of the Early Chalukyas, who ruled much of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh between the 6th and 8th centuries. It was founded in 540 A.D. by Pulakesi I (535-566 AD), an early ruler of the Chalukyas.
- Manipal in Udupi (district). Home to Manipal University & Syndicate Bank.
- Belur. The former capital of the Hoysalla dynasty. Hale Belur is the older capital.
- Shivasamudram Waterfalls. The walk down to the base of the Waterfall is nice, and one can take a Coracle ride by paying ₹ 50 per person. One can also swim at the base of the waterfall.
- Sri Manjunatha Swamy Temple (shrine of Lord Shiva) at Dharmasthala, Belatangadi Taluk, Dakshina kannada district ranks first in attracting devotees, tourist of all classes. It is located in Western Ghats, includes beautiful sight seeing spots.
- Hampi - the ruins of the fabulous Vijayanagar Empire. Considered to be one of the finest cities in its time circa 14th and 15th Century. Hampi Utsav in 1st Week of November celebrates its History.
Karnataka is home to National Parks as below that abound in flora and fauna.
- Bannerghatta National Park in Bangalore - 104 sq km (25,000 Acre) zoological reserve that is 22 kilometers outside Bangalore. Contains a zoo, safari and butterfly enclosure. Great for a day trip or weekend getaway in natures lap.
- Bandipur National Park in Chamarajanagar (district). A 890 sq km wildlife sanctuary - sandalwood trees.
- Anshi National Park in Uttara Kannada District.
- Kudremukh National Park
- Nagarhole National Park
Kannada is the official language of the state and the mother tongue of around 70% of the population. Other linguistic minorities include Urdu (9.72%), Telugu (8.34%), Marathi (.5%), Tamil (3.82%), Malayalam (1.69%), Tulu (3.38%), Konkani (1.78%), and Hindi (1.87%). English and Hindi are spoken by most educated people.
Bangalore International Airport is the 4th Busiest Airport in India that connects with 20 International destinations.
Mangalore International Airport serves primarily the Gulf-Region.
A number of national highways link Karnataka with Maharashtra, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Goa and Tamil Nadu.
The state-owned Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) connects Karnataka with other major cities and states. Private bus operators also provide bus services alongside KSRTC.
Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation, locally known as KSRTC, provides trip planning, hotels and ticketing on their website. KSRTC plies Intra-State buses as well as Inter-State buses to the neighboring states across South India. Numerous KSRTC reservation counters are available across the state. Discounts are applicable for return journeys purchased online.
- Airavat:Semi-sleeper Volvo a/c buses
- Club Class Airavat: Volvo Multi-Axle
- Ambari: Corona AC sleeper class
- Mayura and Meghadoot:Comfortable A/C buses
- Rajahamsa:Non-A/C Semi Sleeper Deluxe buses which are comfortable for short distances and cheap for longer journeys.
Also available are private bus services for interstate areas, as well as to neighboring states. The information for booking tickets and available services from various vendors is available on Redbus.
All major cities in Karnataka are well connected by a mix of National and State Highways. Tolled roads are applicable in certain highways.
Mangalore Airport serves primarily the Gulf-Region and domestic destinations.
- Bijapur: Capital of the Adilshah Dynasty. A historic place with plenty of archaeological sites notably Gol Gumbaz (the largest dome in Asia)
- Gokak: Famous for Gokak falls
- Hampi: One of the highest foreign visitor receiving historical places in India located in North Karnataka of Bellary District
- Kudalasangama: A place of pilgrimage
- Mysore: The capital of the Kingdom Of Mysore until 1947, Mysore is known as the "City of Palaces"
- Kodagu: A cool & green hill station which includes the source of the river Kaveri
- Shravanabelagola: A place to remember of great sculpture art of "Gommateshwara" built in single large stone. This is located in a range of 160 kms from Bangalore city on the state highway to Hasan district.
- Dandeli: Popular for trekking, river rafting and wildlife discovery
- Murudeshwara - A beautiful Shiva statue situated on the tallest place on the Arabian Sea coast, with a colorful panorama. It is part of Bhatkal Taluk of Uttara Kannada district.
There are a vast number of religious sites in Karnataka, some dating from antiquity. For example, Shravanabelagola is home to the biggest monolithic statue of Babhubali in Karnataka, which is 17 metres tall. Belur and Hale Belur are home to ancient temples, and Bangalore is known for its churches, including the neo-Gothic St. Mary's Basilica.
Pigeon Island (Netrani Island) lies about 12 Nm off the coast of Murudeshwar in Karnataka. It is a 4 hour drive from Goa, or can be reached by Konkan Railway, with Murudeshwar and Bhatkal being the nearest stations. The Dreamz Diving is the only local dives centers here. Please check in advance with them as quite a few times due to Navy training the place is closed for scuba diving.
The visibility here is generally in the 15-20m range and the dive sites are between 10 to 30m. Marine life is spectacular, with huge schools of Jacks, Barracuda, Triggerfish and Fusiliers. Many times giant Groupers, Black Tip Sharks, Kobias and Giant Tunas are spotted here, even Whales, Whale Sharks, Orkas, Dolphins, have been spotted by many divers at Netrani Island.
Netrani is considered to be the best Dive Location from main land India which is accessible within a day's trip to Murudeshwar.
There are plenty of companies in Bangalore who arrange for weekend scuba diving trips to Netrani.
Trekking is the best way to discover the natural beauty of Karnataka. Trekking is the most popular adventure sport for the nature enthusiasts in Karnataka.
There are many places for trekkers starting form the southern parts of the Sahyadri hills to the Western Ghats of Kodagu. Most of the trekking places are found in Uttara Kannada (North Canara) district, Dakshina Kannada (South Canara) district, Shimoga district, Chikmagalur district and Kodagu district.
Kodagu and Chikmagalur districts cover unknown and very beautiful trekking places. These places are well known for beautiful mountain ranges, national parks, forests, wild animals and waterfalls.
The following are popular places for trekking in Karnataka.
- Agumbe and Kodachadri, in Shimoga
- Kudremukh and Narasimha Parvatha, in Chikmagalur
- Kumara Parvatha and Yedakumeri, in Dakshina Kannada
- Siddara Betta in Tumkur
- Tadiyandamol in Kodagu
- Anthargange in Kolar
These are a few speciality dishes you can feast on in Karnataka:
- Dosa - A thin dough baked until crisp and containing masala. To eat, pieces are broken off and dipped in one of the amazing sauces that accompany the dish.
- Bisibele Baath - Made of rice and lentils and a lot of spices.
- Raagi and Akki Rotis - Similar to tortillas but made of raagi (English: coracan, finger millet) or rice flour and black cumin, asafoetida, fresh coriander, green chillies and finely chopped onions.
- Raagi Mudde – A staple food in some South Indian households. It is basically made by cooking raagi flour in water and rolling it into thick-consistency balls. Raagi mudde is swallowed and not chewed after dipping it into ghee and sambar.
- Idli - Idli, also romanized "idly", is made by steaming batter — traditionally made from black lentils and rice — into patties using a two to three inch diameter mold.
- Jolada Roti - A thin tortilla made of Jawar baked on both sides for 2-3 minutes, grown in northern part of Karnataka. Preferable to have with brinjal curry.
- Kesari Bhath - a dessert originally from Karnataka , now popular across India as breakfast. Made with semolina, ghee, water and milk.
- Mysore Pak - Originally from the Royal Kitchen of Mysore under the Wodeyar Rulers.
- Filter coffee - unique varieties of preparation, famous across Karnataka.
- Badam milk - crushed almond powder mixed with milk. Served hot or cold.
- Tender coconut - Naturally Sterile and available everywhere. Best way to quench your thirst and keep healthy during the Indian summer.
- People of Karnataka are friendly and they can help you in many ways. However, common crimes such as theft and purse-snatching do occur.
- Avoid traveling late at night, and if you must, travel in a group.