Karnataka is traditional yet one of the forerunners of the information technology revolution in the country. Karnataka reminds of the old world charm of villages and towns; friendly rural folk; misty mountain ranges of the Western Ghats; lovely waterfalls at Jog and Sivasamudra; cacophony of migratory birds at Ranganathittu; the wildlife at Bandipur and Nagarhole; and the mild aroma of teak, ebony and rosewood in the forests.
Located in the southern part of the country, it is surrounded by other states like Maharashtra and Goa in the north, Tamil Nadu and Kerala in the south, Andhra Pradesh in the east and the Arabian Sea in the west. The major tourist places in Karnataka include Bangalore, Mysuru, Belur, Halebia, Hospet and Hampi, which once constituted the progressive Karnataka - The Vijaynagar Empire.
Location: Bangalore is the capital city of Karnataka and is the seventh largest city in India. Bangalore city is located 3,113 feet (949 m) above sea level, on top of a ridge in the Karnataka plateau.
Tourist Destinations: Its many beautiful gardens and parks give it the name - The City of Gardens. Because of the high concentration of IT industry, its also called the Silicon Valley of India. The Vidhan Soudha or the State Secretariat, built in 1954, is the main attraction of this city, a fine amalgamation of traditional Dravidian and modern styles. Cubbon Park, the 120-hectare park has a number of neo-classical styled government buildings. The Government Museum of Bangalore (one of India's oldest museums) and the Visvesvaraya Technological and Industrial Museum are important museums within the city. The Lal Bagh Botanical Gardens, Tipu Sultan's Fort and Palace Dravidian-styled temple dedicated to Nandi the Bull, the Venkataramanaswamy Temple, the Gavi Gangadhareswara cave temple, the Someshwara Temple and the Ulsoor Lake are other must visits of the city. Bangalore city is famous for its Yoga centers, where fitness enthusiast can learn and practice this ancient Indian art of keeping healthy.
Mysuru - The Abode of Chamundeshwari
Location: Mysuru is located in Karnataka around 140 km from Bangalore. Mysuru city was the capital of the old royal Mysuru province. The word Mysuru expands to "Mahishasurana Ooru" which means the town of Mahishasura.
Tourist Destinations: The Mysuru Palace, saracenic in style, the palace has both Hindu as well as Muslim influences. St. Philomena's Church, built in Gothic style, the church is among the largest in India. Shri Jayachamarajendra Art Gallery has a rare collection of some beautiful paintings from the same era. The gallery is located in Jagmohan Palace and exhibits paintings by Raja Ravi Varma, Svetsolav Roerich and traditional paintings from Mysuru. The Mysuru Zoo houses some rare and exotic birds and animals. The Chamundeshwari Temple is one of the noted Hindu places of worship situated atop the Chamundi Hill. On way to the Chamundi Hills is the Lalitha Mahal which is now converted into a heritage hotel.
Hampi - The World Heritage Site
Location: Hampi is located in central Karnataka. It is located on top of a rugged terrain and is 467 m above sea level drained by the waters of Tungabhadra River. Hampi is famous for its ruins belonging to the erstwhile medieval Hindu kingdom of Vijaynagar and it is declared a World Heritage site.
Tourist Destinations: The main tourist spots in Hampi can be divided into two broad areas: the Hampi Bazaar area and the Royal center near Kamalapuram. The Virupaksha Temple is dedicated to Virupaksha, a form of Lord Shiva. Hemakuta Hill contains early ruins, Jain temples and a monolithic sculpture of Lord Narasimha, a form of Lord Vishnu. The World Heritage Vittal temple, Sule Bazaar, the Achutraya temple, Monolithic statue of Lord Ganesh, Nandi, the Kodandarama temple and the Krishna temple are other places to visit in the Hampi Bazaar area. Lotus Mahal or palace, the Elephant quarter, the Queen's Bath, the Underground Virupaksha temple, the Archeological Museum at Kamalapuram and Anegondi with a number of temples in and around it are other important places to visit within the city.
Hospet - The Fort Town
Location: Hospet is 325 kilometers from Bangalore. The significance of Hospet lies in its propinquity to the World Heritage Site of Hampi.
Tourist Destinations: The hill and fort town of Chitradurga is often referred to as Kallina Kote or the Place of Stones. There are as many as nineteen gateways to the fort and several ancient temples inside the fort - the Sampige Siddeshwara temple, the cave shrine of Hidimbeshwara, Ekanathamma, Phalguneshwara, Gopalakrishan, Anjaneya, Subbaraya et al. The major tourist attractions at Nayakana Hatti are the temple and tomb of saint Tippe Rudraswamy. The ancient and holy town of Harihar is situated on the banks of the Tungabhadra River. The Archaeological Museum, Jogimatti (one of the highest points in the are), Himavat Kedaya waterfall, Murugharajendra Matha and the amazing Ankli Matha are the other tourist places thronged by the tourists.
Belur - The Hoysala Reign
Location: Belur city of Karnataka is famous for the Chennakeshava Temple, which was built by the Hoysala rulers between the 10th and 13th centuries. It is 38 kms from Hassan and 222 kms from Bangalore.
Tourist Destinations: Vishnuvardhana, the great Hoysala ruler built the Chennakeshava Temple on the banks of River Yagachi, to commemorate his victory over the Chola rulers at Talakad. The main entrance to the shrine is guarded by twin statues of a youth slaying a tiger (the royal symbol of the Hoysala dynasty). Most of the friezes decorating the walls of this temple generally depict scenes from Hindu epics like Ramayana, Mahabharata and the Bhagvat Purana; apart from figures of Gods and Goddesses, amorous maidens, animals and mythological figures. The huge walled court of the Chennakeshava Temple houses four smaller temples within its precincts: the Channigaraya temple, the Soumyanayaki temple, the Andal temple and the Veeranarayana temple, all of which are decorated with rich carvings and sculptures.
How To Reach Karnataka
Indian Airlines and some private domestic airlines connect Bangalore to all the major metropolitan and other cities of India like Thiruvananthpuram, Hyderabad, Goa, Kochi, Ahmedabad and Mangalore. International flights link Bangalore directly to Singapore, Dubai, London, Oman, Hong Kong and Saudi Arabia. A good rail network connects Bangalore to various parts of India. The major Indian cities connected with Bangalore through regular trains are Chennai, Mysuru, New Delhi, Kolkata, and Mumbai. There are national highways and a number of other roadways leading to the major cities and important towns. There are also regular bus services to and from Bangalore for the nearby cities and towns.
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