Karnataka deservingly ranks among the top five tourist destinations in India. The tourist activities in this southwest Indian state hugely rely on the existence of many monuments, which include archaeological treasures, palaces, temples and ancient ruins. In fact, the state has the second highest number of protected monuments in India.
Bangalore, the state’s capital city, is called the Silicon Valley of India, but has its own share of old monuments. Bengaluru Palace and Tipu Sultan’s Palace have eye-pleasing architectural styles and the Bull Temple and Ragi Gudda are among the prominent temples. The city also has many caves and cave temples like Gavi Gangadeshwara Temple in its close vicinity.
Mysore, often acclaimed as the cleanest cities of India, is another popular tourist destination in Karnataka. Mysore Palace indeed has a royal grandeur defined by the elements like intricate carvings, marble and ivory work and a collection of paintings. There are many exquisite mansions and villas in the city which is also known for its beautiful parks and gardens.
Karnataka is world-renowned for its archaeological sites that include a number of ancient ruins spread over miles. The most popular of them are the ruins of the Vijayanagara Empire that ruled the region for hundreds of years. Hampi, which served as the capital of the empire, is one of the most interesting destinations for the tourists. The area presents a stunning picture with innumerable boulders of different sizes dotting it. The temples like Virupaksha Temple, Laxami Narasimha Temple and Achuyat Raya Temple are notable for their wonderful constructions. Monolithic bull, elephant stables, royal enclosures and many other structures in the area are simple mesmerizing.
Hassan is one of the popular historical towns in the state. It is well-known for housing the two beautifully constructed temples, Chennakeshava and Someshwara, which showcase the Hoysala Architectural style. There are similar temples located at the nearby historical towns of Belur and Halebid. It is a great experience to explore the minute details of the architectural designs of these temples. Located near Hassan is the city of Shravanabelagola which houses 57-feet high monolithic state of Gommateshvara. The cave temples of Badami and group of monuments at Pattadakal are other magnificent attractions.
The state of Karnataka has miles of forest spread and there are many protected wildlife areas which also serve as popular tourist destinations. The most popular of them is the Bandipur National Park which houses endangered species like tiger, elephant, gaur, four-horned antelope and mugger. The park is also a paradise for the bird lovers as there are many species like peafowl, drongo, honey buzzards and Indian rollers found in the area. Nagarhole National Park in the state offers unadulterated beauty through valleys, waterfalls, streams and a huge variety of animal species like Indian bison, gaur, Asiatic elephant and tiger. Many types of birds and reptiles too find home at this park. The tourists can also visit Bannerghatta National Park where Bengal tigers, white tigers, lions and many other wild species reside.