Download GPX file for this article
12.97021477.56029Full screen dynamic map

From Wikivoyage
Jump to navigation Jump to search

A state in Southern India, Karnataka stretches from Belgaum in the north to Mangalore in the south. It has a coastal region with numerous coconut trees and beautiful beaches and an interior with mountains, valleys and farmlands. It has the largest population of tigers in the world.


Map of Karnataka
A map showing where Karnataka is in India
  Cauvery Basin
Southern Karnataka, including Mysore. Rolling hills, large sunflower fields and Tibetan culture.
  Central Karnataka
Contains cities like Shimoga and Tumkur.
Karnataka's coastal region. A Relatively unexplored region, full of empty beaches and lush green rainforest.
  Northern Karnataka
Home to the stunning religious and archeological site of Hampi. Full of other-worldly geology and nature.
  Northwestern Karnataka
Good transport connections, but interior is way off the beaten track.
  Southeastern Karnataka
The region around Bangalore. Numerous high-tech businesses and cool climate.


  • 1 Bangalore (Bengaluru) — the state capital as well as the information technology capital of India
  • 2 Belgaum (Belagavi) — the commercial hub in North Karnataka and the second biggest overall export powerhouse in Karnataka after Bangalore
  • 3 Belur — the former capital of the Hoysalla dynasty; Hale Belur is the older capital
  • Hubli (Hubballi) — the fastest-growing city in Karnataka after Bangalore
  • 4 Kalaburagi (Gulbarga) — centre for northern division of the state, with the historical Gulbarga Fort
  • 5 Mangalore (Mangaluru) — the chief port city of Karnataka and second IT destination in Karnataka after Bangalore
  • 6 Mysore (Mysuru) — erstwhile capital of the Kingdom of Mysore that ruled over much of present-day Karnataka, Mysore city is also known worldwide as the 'City of Palaces'
  • 7 Ramanagara — the sericulture (silk) capital in Karnataka, also known as Silk City or Silk Town

Other destinations[edit]

Below is a selective list of sites of interest in Karnataka. It is far from exhaustive. For other sites, check regional articles.


  • 1 Badami Cave Temples in Bagalakote district — 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.
Stone Chariot of Hampi
  • 2 Hampi — the ruins of the fabulous Vijayanagar Empire. Considered to be one of the finest cities in its time circa 14th and 15th centuries. Hampi Utsav in the 1st week of November celebrates its history. The ruins are a UNESCO World Heritage site.
  • Hoysala Structures The Hoysala structures of Shri Chennakeshava Temple at Somanathapura, Belur and Halebeedu are an added attraction in the southern part of the State.


  • 3 Shivasamudram — the walk down to the base of the waterfall is nice, and you can take a coracle ride by paying ?50 per person. You can also swim at the base of the waterfall.
  • Jog Falls — A beautiful waterfall in Shimoga district, famous for the hydroelectricity project, a major tourist attraction. Raja, Rani, Roarer, Rocket are the 4 splits of the falls, collectively forming the Jog falls
  • Coorg Various waterfalls like the Abbey Falls, the Cauvery and Lakshmana tirtha dot this district, as its various tributaries flow down to the Plateau.
  • Belgaum Bordering the Goa/Maharashtra State, this district has various gushing falls like Godachinamulki, Gokak Falls, Dudhsagar Falls formed by the various west-flowing rivers like Kali river and small tributaries like Mallaprabha which join the River Krishna
  • Sirsi Bordering the Western Ghats, Sirsi and Yellapura have various waterfalls formed by the West Flowing rivers, like Unchalli Falls, Sathod Fallf

National parks[edit]

Wildlife in Karnataka is administered under such institutions as national parks, wildlife sanctuaries and bird sanctuaries initiatives.

Karnataka has 5 declared national parks that abound in diverse flora and fauna, including:

  • 4 Anshi National Park — A tiger reserve next to the Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary.
  • 5 Bandipur National Park — 890 km² area wildlife sanctuary in Chamarajanagar district.
  • 6 Bannerghatta National Park — just 22 km from the heart of Bangalore. A zoological reserve with 104 km², a zoo, safari and butterfly enclosure. The Park is surrounded by the Bannerghatta tropical deciduous forest and an important elephant corridor on the Karnataka-Tamilnadu border
  • B.R.Hills Forest Range Deriving the name from the Biligiri Ranganna, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, the area borders the Sathyamangalam Forests of Tamilnadu and is a major elephant Habitat.
  • 7 Kudremukh National Park — 600 km² area in Dakshina Kannada, Udupi and Chikamaglur district.
  • 8 Nagarhole National Park — 643 km² area in Kodagu and Mysore District.
  • Jayamangali Black buck Sanctuary — Black Buck Sanctuary, near Madhugiri of Tumkur District, about 140 km from Bangalore
  • Daroji Sloth Bear Sanctuary — Sloth Bear Sanctuary in Bellary District, near Tornagallu
  • Bhadra Tiger Reserve – Bhadra Tiger Reserve is spread over two revenue districts of Chicmagalur and Shivamogga. It covers catchment area of Bhadra river.
  • Devarayandurga Reserve forest Bordering the Tumkur Ditrict, famous for the Narasimha Temple, this forest is home to the leopards, along with other wildlife and birds. No permission provided for staying in the forest, however sightings possible en route to the Temples depending on luck


Coastal Karnataka is dotted along with beaches forming the complete Coastline.

  • Karwar Bordering the Goa state, this not so crowded beach sees a major inflow from Goa tourism
  • Gokarna Though famous for the Pilgrim place and Athmalingam Temple, this place is dotted with Beaches far away from the Pilgrim site. Om Beach, Half-moon Beach are most common. Beach treks are a common affair
  • Murudeshwar Famous for the Lord Shiva temple, in relation to the Gokarna Temple, the beach is one of the safest beaches for play
  • Maravanthe The beach on the national highway, bordered by the river on the other side of the road
  • Udupi Malpe Beach, about 7 km from Uudpi, is a famous attraction. St. Mary's Island (Tonsepar), 8 km from the coast, is accessible from ferry from this point. The beach has a walkway
  • Mangalore A business town. Tannerubhavi, Panamburu, Surathkal, Ullal and Someshwar Beaches form the major attraction.


Karnataka is the 7th-largest state in India in area and 8th-largest by population. Karnataka is bordered by Maharashtra in the north, Goa in the north west, Tamil Nadu in the south east, Kerala in the south west, Andhra Pradesh in the east and Telangana in the north east.


In the 3rd century BCE, the region we now know as Karnataka came under the Maurya emperors of Magadha. Chandragupta, the founder, is said to have spent his retirement in Shravanabelagola as a Jain ascetic. Jainism, introduced by the Mauryas, survives and flourishes to this day in Karnataka, and has given it some of its finest and oldest attractions including the Gomateswara statues that stand tall in their majestic nakedness in multiple places in the state. The Mauryas were followed by the Satavahanas who ruled from Pratishtana in Maharashtra and Amaravathi in present day Andhra Pradesh. Their reign lasted over 400 years, ending in the 3rd century CE They in turn were followed by the Kadambas of Banavasi, and the Western Ganga dynasty that ruled the region that is now Mysore. They are considered the first Kannada rulers. During the time of the Kadambas, the first works in Kannada were written by Adikavi (or first poet) Pampa, who wrote that even torture by an elephant bullhook would not make him forget the beauty of his beloved Banavasi.

The Chalukyas, the Rashtrakutas and the Hoysalas were the other major dynasties who ruled major parts of Karnataka from the 7th to 12th centuries. They are responsible for many of the temples that survive to this day and are considered architectural marvels, These include Pattadakal, Belur and Halebeedu.

The Cholas seem to have had a hold on the Southern Part of Karnataka, with various Dravidian Architecture Temples adorning the regions of Bangalore and Kolar.

Hoysala Dynasty ruled over the Mysore region and have developed structures, majorly a star shaped design occupying their designs in various Temples. The Period around 9th to 11th century seem to have been in the hands of the hoysalas, especially the Mysore region.

The Vijayanagara Empire ruled over much of what's now Karnataka and the larger Deccan Plateau from the mid-13th to the mid-16th century. The ruins of Hampi provide a glimpse into the splendor of the Vijayanagara Empire.

The Kingdom of Mysore in the early 14th century was centered around their capital city of Mysore which was then a small town ruled by the Wodeyar Dyanasty. The kingdom remained small till the 16th Century.

The Bijapur Sultanate rose into prominence after defeating the Vijayanagara Empire in 1565. Bijapur was the capital of the Adilshah Dynasty which ruled the region. Bijapur is a historic place with lots of archaeological sites — most notably Gol Gumbaz, the largest dome in Asia.

After the defeat of the Bijapur Sultanate by the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb in the mid 16th Century the Wodeyar Dynasty expanded the Mysore Kingdom by leasing land from Aurangzeb. This enabled the kingdom to remain prominent.

In 1857 the British took over what is now India, Pakistan and Bangladesh and this period of rule was known as the British Raj.

The Wodeyars continued their rule as an independent kingdom under the British Raj by paying tribute till India's independence in 1947. After India's independence the Kingdom of Mysore became an Indian state. The city of Mysore has so many surviving palaces that it is known today as the "City of Palaces".

The Wodeyars' immense contribution in various fields - education, arts, governance, industry and infrastructure - laid the foundation for the rise of Karnataka after India's independence.


Mysore painting - Mysore is famous for the Mysore style of painting that is well known for its attention to detail. Some of the best examples of this style are inside the Mysore Palace.

Flora and fauna[edit]

Karnataka is known for its wealth of flora and fauna. Around 25% of India's elephants and 10% of its tigers are in Karnataka. Many regions in Karnataka are as yet unexplored, leading to new discoveries of flora and fauna. The Western Ghats teem with wildlife and are an acknowledged bio diversity hotspot.


Road Sign in Bangalore

Kannada is the official language and is spoken by virtually all of the state's inhabitants. Dialects of the language spoken in each of the regions differ from each other. Regional dialects in the state are influenced by the languages of neighbouring states, and sometimes a person from the southern region may find it difficult to understand the Kannada spoken in the northern region.

Like with the rest of South India, Hindi is not widely spoken nor understood, save for a few urban areas. People will respond more readily to English than Hindi.

In the districts along the borders of neighbouring states, people do speak multiple languages and many of them can speak the language of their neighbours across the border. In the Northern Karnataka region, many people can understand Hindi/Urdu in the districts of Bidar, Gulbarga and Yadgir and Telugu in Raichur and Bellary districts, while in the Belgaum and Bijapur districts bordering Maharastra in the Northwestern Karnataka region, people can speak Marathi.

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

Kempegowda International Airport (BLR IATA) in Bangalore Rural is the 3rd-busiest airport in India, connecting with major state capitals and cities as well as 20 international destinations.

Mangalore International Airport serves primarily the Gulf region, and domestically, the four metro cities–Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai and Mumbai and the state capital of Bangalore.

Hubli Airport at HubliDharwad serves the northern part of Karnataka with regular flights to Mumbai and Bangalore.

By train[edit]

Karnataka is served by South Western Railway and connected to all major railway stations across the country. Major junctions are Bangalore, Hubli, Mysore, Mangalore (Served by Konkan Railway & Southern Railway), and Gulbarga.

Rajdhani - superfast fully air-conditioned trains connecting India's capital New Delhi with Bangalore via Raichur and Secunderabad. This is a long-distance train which takes just under 34 hours to cover the journey.

Shatabdi - superfast fully air-conditioned day trip trains which connects Mysore and Bangalore with Chennai

Jan Shatabdi- Superfast with AC and Non-AC Reserved Accommodation, fastest connection between Hubli and Bangalore

Bangalore is well connected to the metro cities of Kolkata, Chennai, Mumbai, New Delhi, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, and major other Capital cities across the country.

Hubli falls on the junction of Bangalore Mumbai Line and Vijayawada Vasco railway and is connected to Kolkata, Mumbai Bangalore, New Delhi, Ahmedabad and Hyderabad.

Mangalore falls at junction of Southern Railway and Konkan Railway and is well connected to major northern states of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Delhi, as well as to Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

Gulbarga falls on the Mumbai- Chennai & Hyderabad Main line and is connected to Mumbai, New Delhi, Hyderabad, Tirupati and Chennai through long distant trains

By car[edit]

A number of national highways link Karnataka with the neighboring states of Maharashtra, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Pondicherry, Goa and Tamil Nadu.

By bus[edit]

Karnataka government-owned and -operated Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) connects Karnataka with the neighboring states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra, Goa and the Union Territory of Pondicherry. KSRTC provides trip planning, hotels and ticketing on KSRTC as well as smartphone apps for Android and IOS. KSRTC reservation counters are available at their bus terminals and their numerous dedicated travel agents located across the state. Discounts are provided for return journeys purchased online. KSRTC has dedicated bus terminals across Karnataka and in other states use dedicated sections of the government-run Inter-State Bus Terminals (ISBT) that are run by respective state governments. Tickets of KSRTC buses can be booked online[dead link]

Other state-owned bus operators from Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Goa, Andhra Pradesh also provide inter-state bus services into Karnataka with dedicated ticketing services on their websites.

The numerous private bus operators also provide inter-state bus services into Karnataka. The private bus operators operate from the ISBT located in the states. They feature their own stops as well as schedules. Ticket booking for the various private operators is available online as well as owned booking offices for most operators. Some larger private operators maintain individual websites for ticketing services. Travel agents across Karnataka provide bus tickets for the private bus operators.

Get around[edit]

By bus[edit]

KSRTC, mentioned in "Get in", also plies intrastate buses connecting most of Karnataka. NWKRTC and NEKRTC[dead link] buses serve the northern part of Karnataka state and to some places of adjoing states.

Services available:

  • Nagara Sarige: City Bus Services in the major District Headquarters from Central bus stand to important places
  • Gramanthara Sarige: Rural services operated from the District Headquarters to the nearby Towns for daily passengers livelihood
  • Karnataka Sarige: Express Services with limited stops connecting Major Towns
  • Rajahamsa:Non-A/C Semi Sleeper Deluxe buses which are comfortable for short distances and cheapest for longer journeyconnecting important Towns Intra state as well as inter state. Similar Service operated by NEKRTC is named as Suhas
  • Airavat:Semi-sleeper Volvo a/c buses
  • Non-AC Sleeper: Operated between major Towns and long distant at a cheaper rate than the AC sleeper buses on Tata and Ashok Leyland Chassis
  • Ambari: AC Sleeper Bus operated on Corona Chassis
  • Club Class Airavat: Semi-sleeper Volvo multi-axle a/c buses with B9R & B11R chassis
  • FlyBus: Volvo multi-axle a/c buses direct connection from Mysore, Madikeri, Kundapura and Salem to Kempegowda International Airport in Bangalore. Bus features in-bus Pantry as well as chemical toilets.

The Subsidiaries of KSRTC provide bus services in Karnataka as follows:

  • Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) - bus services within the city of Bangalore as well as some outlying areas.
  • North Western Karnataka (NWKRTC) - bus services in North Western Karnataka and the adjoining states of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.
  • North Eastern Karnataka (NEKRTC) - bus services in North Eastern Karnataka, Maharashtra and Telangana

Numerous private bus operators like VRL, SRS, Ganesh and SUGAMA provide bus services for interstate areas, as well as to the neighboring states. Travel agents provide tickets as well as private package tours for various destinations across Karnataka. The

By car[edit]

All major cities in Karnataka are well connected by a mix of national and state highways. Tolled roads are applicable on the newer highways as well as certain areas within Bangalore such as Bangalore Elevated Tollway located on the outskirts of Bangalore on the way to Hosur.

By plane[edit]

Kempegowda International Airport serves most domestic routes in India.

Mangalore International Airport also serves domestic destinations.

Domestic-only airports in Karnataka with varying service levels include Hubli, Belgaum, Hampi, Vidhyanagar and Mysore. These airports also connect with the Kempegowda International Airport in the state capital of Bangalore.

By train[edit]

There are trains run by Indian Railways originating from major cities of Karnataka like Bengaluru, Mysuru, Mangaluru, Hubbali and connecting to different places in Karnataka.


Mysore Palace

Thanks to its long and varied history Karnataka has an interesting mix of religious sites, remnants of historical empires, UNESCO World Heritage Sites, national parks, bird sanctuaries, wildlife sanctuaries, palaces, forts, beaches, hill stations, caves and waterfalls.

Religious sites[edit]

Owing to the multi-religious influence in Karnataka through its history, there are a vast number of religious sites in Karnataka, some even dating from antiquity. Belur and Hale Belur are home to ancient Hindu temples. Kudalasangama is a pilgrimage center for people of the Lingayat faith and is at the confluence of the Krishna and the Malaprabha rivers. Murudeshwara has a beautiful Shiva statue situated on the tallest place on the Arabian Sea coast, with a colorful panorama. Shravanabelagola is a Jain Pilgrimage centre and home to the biggest monolithic (single stone) statue of Babhubali in Karnataka. The statue is visible from a distance of 30 km. Udupi Krishna matha and Kollur Mookambika Temple are also very ancient Hindu temple in Karavali region.

Gol Gumbaz in Vijayapura, Karnataka, India

One of the oldest mosques of Karnataka is in the Kalaburagi Fort, built in 1367 by the Bahmani King Muhammad Shah I. It is the biggest mosque in Karnataka, and when compared in plan and design, the mosque resembles the mosque at Cardova in Spain. The Jamiya mosque in Bijapur is another huge monument built by Adilshah in 16th century. It has a proportionate dome and its mihrab is gorgeously painted. The Malika Jahan mosque in black stone is another notable mosque in Bijapur. Bidar has the famous Solha-kamb mosque with 16 cylindrical pillars built in the year 1423. The Andu masjid of Bijapur, Mahal masjid of Afzalpur in Kalaburgi district and the Khali masjid of Åland in Bidar district built during Adilshahi period are some beautiful examples of Islamic architecture in Karnataka. The Mausoleum of Ahmed Shah Wali, at Ashtur near Bidar is a tall structure with paintings in it. This prince is venerated as a saint by both the Hindus and Muslims. Vijayapura has two princely Mausoleums, Ibrahim Rauza, a twin structure is standing on an arched platform. The Gol Gumbaz is another famous mausoleum of Mohammed Adil Shah.


The Government Museum built in the year 1880 in Bangalore has a collection of ancient arms, a sculpture gallery and a collection of old coins. There are exclusive painting collections of noted artists like K. Venkatappa and K.K. Hebbar. Jaganmohan Art Gallery housed in an old palace of Mysore has fine art works (including some by Raja Ravi Varma) in colours, metals, ivory and wood but a huge collection of musical instruments too of yore. The Mysore Palace has a large collection of art works from various countries, besides a gallery of armory.

At the district museum in Shimoga in an old palace, queer items of Keladi rulers are preserved. The Kalaburagi Museum has the items of Bahmanshahi times and huge collection of Buddhist sculptures (Decorative plaques) from Sannati. Museum in Chitradurga has many antiquities connected with the local chieftains, hero-stones, weapons and other items. There are Karnataka State Government Museums at Kittur, Hassan, Keladi, Raichur, Basavakalyana, Huvina Hadagali, Dharwad, Gadag and Srirangapatna.


Jog Falls

Waterfalls are one of the major tourist attractions in Karnataka, many of which are primarily located in Malenadu, Cauvery Basin and Karavali regions. Best time to visit these waterfalls would be during rainy season months of June, July, August or post-rainy seasons between September to October months. Jog falls near Sagara in Shimoga district is one of the highest waterfalls in India and Abbey Falls, Achakanya falls, Balmuri falls, Chunchanakatte falls, Gokak falls are some of the other well known falls among the many waterfalls of Karnataka.

  • Hebbe Falls, Kalhatti Falls, Kallathagiri Falls, Shanti Falls in Chikmagalur district.
  • Netgodu Falls, Hosagodu Falls, Muktihole Falls, Konala Falls, Vibhooti Falls, Devakar Falls, Vajragundi Falls in Uttara Kannada district.
  • Onake Abbi Falls, Hidlumane Falls, Dabbe Falls, Bheemeshwara Falls in Shivamogga district.
  • Hallihole Falls, Thombattu Falls, Kunchikal Falls, Kudlu or Koodlu Falls, Koosali or Kusalli Falls, Belkal theertha Falls in Udupi district.

Adventure sports[edit]

Dandeli is popular for trekking, river rafting and wildlife discovery

Botanical and rock gardens[edit]

The Brindavan Gardens offer ornamental gardens adjoining the Krishnarajasagara Dam (also known as KRS dam) located in Mandya District near the city of Mysore. In Bangalore Urban District, look for Cubbon Park and Lalbagh Botanical Garden. Tungabhadra dam near Hosapete has also beautiful garden.


Scuba diving[edit]

Netrani Island

Pigeon Island (Netrani Island) lies about 12 nautical miles (22 km) 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 10-30 m. 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, as are whales, whale sharks, orcas, 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 from 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
  • Anthargange in Kolar
  • Kudremukh and Narasimha Parvatha, in Chikmagalur
  • Kumara Parvatha and Yedakumeri, Ettina Bhuja, Amedikallu, Ombattu gudde, in Dakshina Kannada
  • Siddara Betta in Tumkur
  • Tadiyandamol in Kodagu
  • Makalidurga, Kabbaladurga, Savandurga, Bhairavadurga, Nandidurga, Channarayanadurga, Huthridurga, Huliyurdurga, Devarayanadurga all near to Bangalore city.


Gokarna, Udupi and Shringeri are well-known centres for the study of Sanskrit and Hindu philosophy.


A typical lunch from Karnataka contains white rice, cucumber salad, potato chips, poppy sweet, lentils, yoghurt and bisibele bath.

Karnataka is known for a wide variety of local fast foods which are available at outlets everywhere. Some are standalone outlets while others are well known names with branch locations. The outlets are self-service where you stand and eat, although some of the newer ones provide sit-down table service for a higher charge. The outlets are open throughout the day and popular during breakfast and lunch. Some outlets specialize, while others have more variety as indicated in their menus.Udupi cuisine (vegetarian) is known worldwide through Udupi hotels and restaurants.

These are a few specialty dishes you can feast on in Karnataka:

  • Bisibele Baath - As the name suggests, it is served hot. It's made of rice and lentils and a lot of spices.
  • Chutney - A favourite accompaniment eaten with dosa, idli, vada, chutney can be prepared from virtually anything including vegetables (tomato), fruit (mango), nuts (groundnuts) or chopped coconut. Chutney is prepared fresh every day for optimal taste and can be stored for few days.
  • Dharwad Peda - A sweet delicacy created in the city of Dharwad. Made from milk, thickened milk and sugar. Also available at Nandini branded milk booths of the Karnataka Milk Federation (KMF) a milk co-operative in Karnataka.
  • Dosa - A thin dough fried until crisp, usually served as One Serving. To eat, the pieces are broken off and dipped in the amazing chutney and sambar served in bowls accompanying the dish. Numerous varieties of dosa are found across Karnataka like 'masala dosa', 'set-dosa' (soft spongy fluffy dosa served as a pack of 3 or 4 with vegetable curry, kurma or sambar and tomato-onion chutney), 'benne-dosa (a dash of butter added to standard dosa preparation for distinctive flavor and aroma), rava-dosa (rava - sooji or semolina), etc. Neer or Bajjare dosa is a delicacy unique to coastal districts of Dakshina Kannada and Udupi.
  • Idli - Idli, also romanised "idly", is made by steaming batter, that is traditionally made from black lentils and rice into patties using a two to three inch diameter mold. Traditionally a breakfast dish since it is light yet wholesome. The shape and size of the "idli" moulds varies across Karnataka. Always accompanied by steaming hot sambar and fresh chutney that vary in preparation region wise. Variations include 'Tatte idli' (tatte - plate in Kannada), 'rava (sooji or semolina) idli' are a popular specialty in some outlets.
  • Jolada Roti - A thin tortilla made of jowar (aka jawar, similar to corn / millet / maize) baked on both sides for 2-3 minutes. Jowar is specially grown in the northern part of Karnataka which is the 2nd most arid region of India. Served with brinjal curry (various types of preparations) and chutney (peanuts and garlic variant). A staple diet in Northern Karnataka and the border areas with Maharashtra.
  • Kesari Bhath - Originally a dessert item, this is now popular as breakfast. Made with sooji (semolina), ghee (for taste), water and milk. Garnished with cashew nuts and dried fruits for added taste. In some parts of Karnataka it is known as Shira.
  • Mysore Pak - A sweet delicacy created in the Royal Kitchen of Mysore under the Wodeyars. Made with gram (chana) flour, ghee and sugar. Available across Karnataka.
  • 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 the interior since preparation is simple. Basically cook raagi flour in water and roll into thick-consistency balls. Raagi mudde is swallowed and not chewed after dipping it in ghee and sambar.
  • Upma - prepared as a thick porridge from soji (semolina) with cut vegetables and seasonings. Served hot and a popular breakfast item.
  • Uttapam - a dosa like dish with toppings cooked into the batter during frying. This is thick, unlike Dosas which are crisp.
  • Vada - A fried savory doughnut. This is consumed along with idli and known as idli-vada.Vada are very popular item at breakfast time since it is light yet wholesome. Vadas are available on Indian Railways and most transport hubs all day. Although deep fried in boiling oil, this is not oily when fried correctly. Served with steaming hot sambar and chutney.


  • Badam milk - crushed almond powder mixed with milk and is served hot or cold as preferred.
  • Filter coffee - unique varieties of preparation, famous across Karnataka. Without chicory.
  • Tea - grown in the various tea gardens in the mountainous Western Ghats in Karnataka and elsewhere in India provide great variations in taste.
  • Tender coconut - naturally sterile and available everywhere. The best thirst quencher during the hot Indian summer. An all natural health drink due to its high mineral content.


Karnataka provides a wide variety of accommodation to suit the budget of every kind of traveller. The international chains like Hyatt are not limited to the state capital of Bangalore, but are also present at the smaller cities like Hampi as well with a similar experience as checking into London or Paris or for that matter New York City. The well known domestic hotel chains provide accommodation options at various price points with multiple hotels in some cities across the budget range. Home stays are a New and fast growing option for those who would like to experience the native life and are around places as divergent as Chikmagalur or even Nandi Hills.

The Karnataka-Govt owned Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation (KSTDC) also runs in-house branded hotels which range from Budget to Luxury at many of the tourist destinations located around the state.


Budget hotels also called lodges are found near the transport hubs (railway stations and bus stands) as well as the central areas of most cities and towns. Meals are had at the nearby local fast food joint.


Medium range hotels comprise national and notable foreign chains with a range of options to suit the budget. Buffet breakfast is provided as part of the room charges or chargeable separately. In Bangalore for the Upper Medium Range hotels a continental breakfast (chicken variant is provided instead of pork - chicken sausage, chicken ham, chicken salami) and is provided alongside the typical South Indian breakfast of idli, vada, dosa, upma , etc. as well as the local specialty items termed Today's Special. Some properties provide only South Indian buffet breakfast. Most of the district headquarters like Mangaluru, Udupi, Dharwad, Belagavi, Davangere, Shivamogga, Ballari, Vijayapura, Kalburgi, and Bagalkote have medium priced hotels for stay and dining.


The high-end 5-star and 5-star deluxe hotels are similar to what's offered across India's major cities with domestic as well as international chains and standalone properties. Multiple properties belonging to the same chain adhering to customer categories are found especially in Bangalore. Additionally in Bangalore breakfast includes continental breakfast, specific menu's typical of their target clientele (Japanese, South Korean, etc.) and the specialties of various Indian Breakfasts like idli, vada, dosa, upma , poha, parantha with Mosaru (curd) including Today's Special. One can try the local breakfasts to get a hang of the varied tastes of India.

Stay safe[edit]

  • People of Karnataka are friendly by nature and will help you in many ways. However, common crimes such as theft and purse-snatching do occur so be careful with your valuables.
  • When travelling late at night, a group offers better safety and protection.
  • Police assistance is available by dialing 100 from land line phones or mobiles.
  • Bangalore City Police provides Mobile Patrol Vans Hoysala and bike patrols Cheetah. These vehicles provide first response in emergency situations.
  • It is advisable not to venture into sea at certain beaches like Surathkal, Taneerubhavi, Panamburu, Malpe and Ullala.
  • Before trekking in reserved forests take permission from Karnataka forest department (Forest Range Officers). Also carry Water, Torch, Whistle, Food, Medicine and appropriate clothes before trekking. Medical emergency facilities within and in vicinity of reserved forests and national parks are poor.
  • Airtel, Reliance Jio, Vodafone-Idea & BSNL mobile phone signals are available at most places in the state.

Go next[edit]

This region travel guide to Karnataka is an outline and may need more content. It has a template, but there is not enough information present. If there are Cities and Other destinations listed, they may not all be at usable status or there may not be a valid regional structure and a "Get in" section describing all of the typical ways to get here. Please plunge forward and help it grow!