Karnataka is blessed with nature in abundance. Both nature and human efforts have combined together in making Karnataka, a ‘Tourist Paradise’. Its long sea shore has silvery beaches. The tall Western Ghats are covered with lush green forests full of varied fauna and flora,blessed with a number of East and West flowing rivers originating from the Ghats, enrich the soil of the land and contribute to State’s agricultural prosperity. These rivers have created many waterfalls which are a feast to the eyes of onlookers. The plain area is renowned for its beautiful river banks and projecting wonderful stony hills looking like Natural Rock Parks. The hilly tracks have many Wildlife Sanctuaries. The Gangas,Alupas,Kadambas, Chalukyas,Rashtrakutas,Hoysalas, Vijayanagar Rulers, Bahamanis of Kalaburagi and Bidar, Adil Shahis of Vijayapura, Barid Shahis of Bidar, Wodeyars of Mysuru, Nayaks of Chitradurga, Keladi, Magadi and other minor ruling dynasties have raised wonderful forts, beautiful temples decorated with impressive art in stone and magnificent mosques and mausoleums of Indo-Saracenic style.
The advent of the Portuguese and the English introduced European Renaissance architecture, imitation of both gothic and Indo-European styles. They built imposing churches and captivating public as well as private buildings in Karnataka. The National Parks, the Animal and Bird Sanctuaries provide touriststhe sight of wild animals like Elephants, Tigers, Bison, Deer, Blackbucks, Peacocks and a variety of other animals in their natural habitat. The National Parks also acquaint visitors with a rich variety of flora like tall trees, bushy plants and creepers that try to entwine them. Karnataka is known for its aromatic Sandalwood and broad and massive trees of Peepal and Banyan, with their hospitable broad shade. If one is spiritually inclined, there are living Seers, whether Hindu, Christian or Muslim who can provide one with spiritual solace. There are also tombs of great religious leaders of Hindu, Muslim, Christian or Jain affiliation. In the precincts of these tombs even today people seek spiritual solace.
Karnataka is blessed with many waterfalls and the tallest waterfall in India is at Jog (Shivamogga District) where the river Sharavati jumps from a height of 293 mts. into four cascades locally called Raja, Rani, Rocket and Roarer of awesome beauty. Presently, the falls becomes active with full force during the rainy season (July-October).
The Cauvery at Shivasamudra (in Mandya district) has twin falls, Gaganachukki and Bharachukki, one km away from each other and their water has been harnessed for production of Hydel power, first of its kind in the country installed in 1902. The river Shimsha is a tributary of the Cauvery and its fall is in Malavalli taluk, Mandya district. Kodagu district with its headquarters at Madikeri, a perennial hill-station, has the Abbi Falls, 5km away from it. The Irpu falls of the river Lakshmana Tirtha, in Kodagu District, 48 km from Virajpet, has also an old Rameshwara temple near it. Chikkamagaluru district has many water falls. The hill station at Kemmannugundi has the Hebbe Falls and it is created by a stream later joining the Bhadra River and the water jumps down from a height of about 500 feet. Manikyadhara is yet another waterfall near the famous pilgrim centre called Baba Budangiri Dattatreya Peetha and here water spills down like small balls and visitors can enjoy a memorable shower bath.
The Kallatti Falls at Kallattipura in Tarikere talukis 10 km from Kemmannugundi; water leaps down here from a height of 400 feet and there is an old Veerabhadra temple very near the fall. Mysuru district has the picturesque Chunchanakatte Falls at the place of the same name, besides which there is a Rama Temple. Uttara Kannada is famous for its Unchalli (Lushington) also called ‘Keppa Joga’ fall, about 450 feet in height and the Aghanashini River creates this water cascade at a place which can be reached from Yellapur (19 km away) and alsofrom Siddapur (12 km) via, Kolsirsi, Heggarne and Unchalli. From Unchalli one has to walk 5 km through the thick forest to reach the witnessing spot of this falls. Remnants of wooden Guest House built by Mr. Lushington, the then Collector of Karwar, facing this wonderful falls is even noticed today.
The Magod Falls (situated at a distance of 8 km from Yellapur) of the Bedti River can be reached from Siddapura (35 kms) as well as Yellapur in Uttara Kannada. The Chaya Bhagavathi falls, (5 kms away from Narayanapur) in Surpur taluk, the Yattipota falls near Chincholi, the Gurmitkal falls (4kms from Gurmitkal) in Yadgiri taluk. The Kotikal falls near Badami and the Kabbargi Falls in Koppal district are noteworthy. Belagavi district has the famous Gokak Falls, which is 8km away from the Gokak town and Gokak Road Railway Station. The 170 feet tall cascade here is called ‘Mini Niagara’ for its spread and shape. Hydro Electric Power was harnessed here to mechanically run the cotton mill as early as in 1887.
There are many beautiful old temples at Gokak falls beginning from Badami Chalukyas till later Chalukyan times and Vijayanagara periods. There is also a suspension bridge across the river Ghataprabha. The artificial but, attractive waterfalls at Sogala (Baihongal taluk) needs special mention. The Mahadayi River creates the Vajrapoha Falls amidst the thick Jamboti forest in Khanapur taluk. While the river travels towards Goa, it is called Mandovi. A second fall of it at the lower valley which falls from a height of 50 mtr, although inaccessible, can be reached from Asoge, which is about 6 kms away from this fall. Near Bengaluru is Muthyalamaduvu falls, not far away from Anekal, and 40 kms from Bengaluru. The proper season to visit this pearl valley or Muthyalamaduvlu is between September and January and Gokak Falls must be visited during July-August, when it is in full bloom.
Karnataka has many National Parks and Wild Life Sanctuaries. Of the National Parks, one is at Bannerghatta near Bengaluru, Bandipur in Chamarajanagar district is famous for its wild elephants .The Kudremukh National Park, is on the ranges of the Western Ghats, known for variety of flora and fauna. The Nagarahole National Park, famous for its Tiger population, includes areas both in Kodagu and Mysuru districts. The Brahmagiri Wild Life Sanctuary in Kodagu has nature in all its wild growth and animals in all their wild movements can be seen.
Ranebennur Wild Life Sanctuary in Haveri district is famous for its agile blackbuck’s population. Adichunchanagiri has a Peacock Sanctuary. It is a hilly place where there is a Bhairava Temple and a Matha of the Vokkaligas and peacocks can be seen in gay abandon in the mornings. Dandeli Wild Life Sanctuary in Uttara Kannada District is famous for bisons, deer’s and a variety of other wild fauna. Ranganatittu near Srirangapattana is a Bird Sanctuary and emigrant birds of all types like pelican, storks and large numbers of other varieties are found perching on the trees and bushes, feeding or busy flying to feed their young ones. Gadhvi Bird Sanctuary in Sorab taluk and Mandagadde Bird Sanctuary in Tirthahalli taluk are famous. An equally famous Bird Sanctuary is at Kokrebellur near Maddur.
Karnataka has many cool and pleasant hill stations of which Kudremukh is one. Kemmannagundi in Chikkamagaluru district (in the Western Ghats) is another hill station surrounded by a park. Biligiri Ranganabetta in Chamarajnagar is famous for its ancient Srinivasa temple atop a hill around which there exists a Wild Life Sanctuary. Wild elephants are seen around the place. The place is inhabited by Soliga tribes. Himavad Gopalaswamy Hill (Gopalaswamy Betta) is another destinationwhere there is Venugopalaswamy temple atop the hill. Devarayanadurga in Tumakuru district has temples of Lakshmi Narasimha and Yoga Narasimha atop the hill and the whole hill is surrounded by picturesque fortification. Nandi Durga in Kolar is an ancient place with the Yoganandiswara Temple of Chola times atop it and fortifications around it built by Haider Ali and Tipu Sultan.
Agumbe, known as the Chirapunji of Karnataka in Shivamogga district, though not a hill resort is a hill track from where the sunset can be observed and it is a heavenly experience. Few other hill resorts are at Ramdurga in Ballari, Siddara Betta in Tumakuru, Tadiyandamol in Kodaguand also at Jogi Matti in Chitradurga.
Wildlife enthusiasts who admire serenity of the forest and trekking at the hill tracks can visit these places and enjoy the natural bounty of the land. Karnataka has some outstanding Trekking spots. Places like Yana and Kavale caves in Uttara Kannada, Gottamgotta in Kalaburagi,Kabbaldurga in Bengaluru, Basavanabetta in Mandya, Male Mahadeshwara Betta in Chamarajanagar, Madhugiri and Shivaganga in Tumakuru, Nandi and Kolar hills in Kolar etc., are noteworthy, where you come across tanks, rivulets and water falls to help cool your heels. The chirping sounds of birds and of wild insects provide one with fine natural music.
The rivers of Karnataka have several reservoirs of tourist importance. Reservoirs like KRS (Mandya), Narayanapur and Almatti (Vijayapura), Chandrampalli (Kalaburagi) Navil Thirtha (Belagavi), Shimsha (Mandya) Munirabad (Koppal) Lakkavalli (Chikkamagaluru), Gorur (Hassan), Bichanahalli (Mysuru), Harangi (Kodagu) Marikanive (Chitradurga), Gajanur (Shivamogga), Hidkal (Belagavi ), Karanja (Bidar), Varahi (Udupi), Supa Dam (Uttara Kannada) etc. can serve as interesting picnic and tourist spots.
If you want to bask in the sunshine of the seashore or get beaten by the oceanic waves, there are many fine beaches. At Bengre, which is almost an island and at Ullal, both near Mangaluru, are notable beaches. Not far away from Mangaluru is the beach at Thanneerubhavi near Suratkal. Malpe near Udupi has a long magnificent beach and also an island near it.Maravanthe in the Kundapur taluk of Udupi district has a fine beach on one side and river Sauparnika on the other, running parallel to the coast for a considerable distance before its confluence with the sea and the highway runs in between sea and the river provides the tourists an enchanting travel experience and the sunset here is a magnificent. Kapu beach near Kundapur is also an enchanting tourist spot. Gokarna, the holy town in Uttara Kannada, has a very long beach which has also become a second resort to many people who visit Goa. Karwar has a number of beaches like Blue Lagoon Beach, Ladies Beach. Om beach, Murudeshwar and Kasarkod are other beautiful serene beaches of Uttara Kannada District. These are only a few among the many. The beaches not only provide you an encounter with the sea, but also give you a chance to taste sea food available there.
The sea coast has some captivating islandsand of these the St. Mary’s Island or Tonseparu near Malpe has peculiar pillar-like natural rock formations. The Nethrani Island near Murdeshwar is another captivating Island. Basavaraja Durga near Honavar is an island fort raised by the Keladi rulers during 16th and 17th centuries. It is surrounded by a strong fortification raised by gigantic laterite blocks and the hill has a flat top.Devagad and Kurmagad are two islands near Karwar.
To the religious-minded and the devotees of every denomination, there are places worthy of a visit. 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 Vijayapura is another wonderful huge monument built byAdilshah (16th century). It has a proportionate dome and its mihrab (semicircular niche in the wall of a mosque that indicates the Qibla, that is, the direction of the Kaaba in Mecca and hence the direction that Muslims should face when praying) is gorgeously painted. The Malika Jahan mosque in black stone is another notable mosque in Vijayapura.
Bidar has the famous Solhakamb mosque with 16 cylindrical pillars built in 1423. The Andu masjid, (Vijayapura), the Mahal masjid of Afzalpur and the Khali masjid of Aland built during Adilshahi period are some beautiful examples of Islamic architecture. Raichur has Ekminar mosque and Lakshmeshwar (Gadag Dist.) has artistically raised mosque in the style of a Hindu temple of Adilshahi times. Belagavi has the fine Safa mosque of Adilshahi times in the fort built by Asad Khan Lahiri. Another mosque in the fort is Jamia Masjid raised by Sher Khan of Vijayapura in 1586-87.
Bhatkal has magnificent Chinnada Palli and the mosque at Mangaluru Port is known for its fine wood work. The handsome Jamiya Mosque at Srirangapattana with its two tall minarets is the creation of Tipu. Sira has a mosque of Mughul times. The Mosque in the City Market, Bengaluru, is a large modernmarble structure with a series of windows crowned by arched canopies and rows of minaret-like pillasters. The Tara Mandal masjid in Taramandalpet near Nagarthpet(Bengaluru) is the oldest mosque of Tipu’s time.
The Bande Nawaz Dargah at Kalaburagi is in a sprawling complex, where a Mughul mosque is also seen. The Mausoleum of Ahmed Shah Wali, at Ashtur near Bidar, is a tall structure with paintings in it. Vijayapura has two princely Mausoleums. Ibrahim Rauza, a twin structure is standing on an arched platform. One end of the platform has a tomb and the other end a mosque, both domed structures. The Gol Gumbaz is a famous mausoleum of another Prince. The Yakub Kadri Dargah at Yadagiri, Sarmast Dargah at Sagar, Ladle Mashak Dargah at Aland, Amin Sab Dargah at Ijeri at Jevargi, Chanda Husaini Dargah at Gogi, Sayad Abib Sha Wali Dargah at Hirapur near Kalaburagi, Haji Khudanma Husaini Dargah at Chincholi, Chita Sha Wali Dargah at Chitapur, Khaji Shahabuddin Dargah at Karjagi in Afzalpur are some of the important Dargahs situated in Kalaburagi District.
The Panje Sab Dargah at Talikote, Hajisab and Badakalsab Dargahs at Tikota in Vijayapura and Hasan Dongri Dargah at Bilgi are noteworthy. The Dargah of Malik Rihan is the most notable with its Polygonal layout, a Mughul Structure, at Sira. The Gumbaz at Srirangapatna where rest Haider and Tipu’s mortal remains is a tall structure with a huge dome. Syed Madani Dargah at Ullala near Mangaluru is a modern structure. At the Asar Mahal palace of Vijayapura, Hazrat Bal, a hair of the Prophet is believed to be preserved in a holy casket.
Though Christianity was propagated by the efforts of the Portuguese in Canara (coastal area) during the 16th to 18thcenturies were razed to the ground by the Mysuru Rulers in 1790s. Mangaluru has the magnificent St. Rozario Cathedral with its tall frontal towers. The original building was of 1526, rebuilt in 1910. The Milagres Church reminds one of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Equally notable is Our Lady of Sorrow Church at Kodialbail built in 1857. Mangaluru has the Shanti Cathedral of the Basel Mission (now C.S.I.) raised in 1862. Virajpet in Kodagu has a Catholic Church in Gothic style. It celebrated its bicentenary in 1993. The small Anglican Church in Madikeri now houses the Government Museum.The St. Mary’s Church in Belagavi is a huge granite structure built in 1869. The St. Philomena Church at Mysuru can be the pride of any town and the building has a crypt.
Bengaluru has its oldest St. Mary’s Basilica in Shivajinagar supposed to be raised around 1600, rebuilt in 1832. St. Mark’s Cathedral, that took the present shape in 1927, isanother imposing structure in the former Cantonment area. The St. Patrick’s Church was originally built for Irish soldiers in 1844 and rebuilt in 1898. The Trinity Church on the Mahatma Gandhi Road was the official Anglican Church of British time which was attended by Residents and other officers. It took its present shape in 1908.
The Buddhists had their Tara Bhagavati Temples at Belgami (Balligave) near Shiralkoppa (Shivamogga District), Koliwada and Dambal, (both in Gadag District). Remains of the razed stupas and a large number of Buddhist plaques of Satavahana period were unearthed recently at Sannatti. The Bauddha Vihara at Aihole and Buddhist remains at Badami of Badami Chalukya period are noteworthy. Kadri in Mangaluru has three Buddhist bronze images in the Manjunatha temple. The Tibetan Settlements at Mundgod in Uttara Kannada and Bailukuppe in Mysuru district look like mini-Tibet. The two new Bauddha Viharas at Kalaburagi are worth mentioning. The Mahabodhi Society in Bengaluru has a magnificent stupa and a huge temple on the model of the Bodhagaya temple has been built inside the compound.
Jainism had been a very old religion of Karnataka and Shravanabelagola with its 58feet tall Gommata (installed in 981-82 AD) and many Jain Basatis on two rocky hills is the most important Jaina Centre. Kambadahalli (Nagamangala taluk) known for its Panchakuta Jaina Basadi of 10thCentury A.D is unique. Simhanagadde in Chikkamagaluru District has a Jaina Matha. Dakshina Kannada has many Jaina centres. Mudabidre has the biggest Jaina Basadi in Karnataka called Savira Kambada Basadi. At this place, there are many more Jaina monuments. Neighbouring Karkala town has a Gommata statue installed in the 15th century and a beautiful Chaturmukha Basadi. Another nearby town is Venur which also hasa monolithic Gommata installed in 1604 also has the Shantinatha Basadi.
Dharmasthala, a famous Shaiva Centre, has a monolithic Gommata installed in the last century. The beautiful Kamala Basadi in later Chalukyan style is within the Belagavi Fort. The ancient centre Tavanidi near Nippani and newly created centre at Shedbal where 24 Tirthankaras in white marble have been installed in a cluster are quite imposing. Lakkundi in Gadag district has a huge Brahma Jinatlaya of later Chalukyan style. Near Mysuru is Gommatagiri with a 20 feet tall Gommata monolith statue. Tippuru in Maddur taluk has a 15 ft.Gommata image of 10thCentury A.D. A picturesque hill, Maleyur in Chamarajnagar taluk with a Parshwanatha Basadi atop the hill and also the samadhi of the great Jaina Savant Pujyapada is another holy centre.
To the Shaivas, Gokarna is a great religious centre where the Atmalinga (Mahabaleshwara) of Shiva, brought by Ravana, is believed to have been installed. Nearby is Murdeshwar where a huge modern Shiva temple in Dravidian Style has been raised by renovating an ancient shrine. Both the places are on the seashore in Uttara Kannada. At Hampi is the famous Virupaksha Temple, venerated by generations of poets, scholars, kings and commoners. Madikeri has the famous Omkareshwara Temple built by the Kodagu Rulers during the 19thcentury. Dharmasthala in Dakshina Kannada is the most popular Shaiva centre in Karnataka. Nanjangud in Mysuru district has the huge Srikanteshwara Temple, believed to be more than 1,000 years old. The Nanjangud temple is a museum for the study of Shaiva Iconography. Bengaluru has the Ulsoor Someshwara Temple of the 16thcentury built by the Kempegowda family. Equally remarkable pieces of art are the Virupaksha and the Mallikarjuna at Pattadakal. Temples at Talakadu, Vijayapura and Mudukutore are together famous as five holy Shiva Lingas and are on the bank of River Cauvery. The Shiva Temple at Kudala Sangama in Bagalkote district is famous for its association with Saint Basaveshwara.
The Veerashaivas have many venerated places, either associated with Basaveshwara or his contemporaries. Basavana Bagewadi, place of birth and Kudala Sangama, the place of his spiritual practices, are in Vijayapura and Bagalkot districts. The latter is at the confluence of the River Krishna and the Malaprabha. Basava Kalyana, the ancient Chalukyan capital in Bidar district was the place where he conducted his socio-religious movement. Ulavi in Uttara Kannada has the ‘Samadhi’ of Chennabasavanna, Basaveshwara’s nephew. Belgami (Balligavi), the famous Chalukyan Art Centre in Shivamogga is identified as the birth place of Allama Prabhu and Uduthadi near it is the native place of Akka Mahadevi.
Kodekal (Kalaburagi district) Basavanna temple, Kadakola Madivallajjana Mutt, Sharana Basaveshwara Temple and Dasoha Mutt at Kalaburagi are few more places of worship. The Male Mahadeshwara Betta in Chamarajanagar is associated with a Veerashaiva Saint. Yediyur in Tumakuru has the ‘Gadduge’ of Tontada Siddalinga Yati, another renowned saint. Balehonnur in Chikkamagaluru and Ujjini in Ballari are the two among the five major important Veerashaiva Peethas of India in Karnataka. Athani has the ‘samadhi’ of the famous Veerashaiva Saint Shivayogi. Some of the outstanding Veerashaiva Mutts are seen at Naganur near Bailhongala and Kalmatha in Belagavi, Durudundeshwara Mutt at Arabhavi and Mahantaswamy Mutt at Murgod are in Belagavi. Murugha Mutt (Dharwad), Annadaneshwara Mutt (Mundargi), Tontadarya Mutt at Gadag and Dambal, Moorusavira Mutt at Hubballi, Murugha Mutt and Hukkeri Mutt (Haveri), Taralabalu Mutt at Sirigere, Murugharajendra Mutt at Chitradurga, Banthanala Shivajogi Mutt at Chadachan and Mahantaswamy Mutt (Ilkal) are equally notable. The ‘samadhi’ of Sharanabasappa Appa at Kalaburagi, the Belimatha in Bengaluru, Siddhaganga Mutt near Tumakuru and Jagadguru Shivaratreshwara Mutt at Mysuru and Suttur are equally important. Kolar has Nidumamidi Mutt. These places and many more of the Veerashaiva Mutts are visited by pilgrims in thousands.
Of the Adwaita School profounded by Adi Shankaracharya, there is the famous Mutt at Sringeri in Chikkamagaluru. Kudli has another Mutt in the same tradition in Shivamogga. Adwaita Mutt at Swarnavalli (Uttara Kannada) has several palmleafmanuscripts and this Mutt has a large number of followers, especially the Havayaks of Uttara Kannada and elsewhere. Avani in Kolar, Shivaganga in Tumakuru and Sankeshwara in Belagavi are the other prominent centres of this affiliation. Of the Adwaita Sampradaya, are the famous Siddharudha Mutt at Hubballi and the Shivananda Mutt at Gadag.
Devala Ganagapur in Kalaburagi where one of the famous saints from Karnataka, Narasimha Saraswathi had stayed for long and Dattatreya devotees from all over throng the place. Kurugadda, an island in the Krishna in Raichur, has the samadhi of Sripada Vallabha, another devotee of Dattatreya. At Balekundri near Belagavi is the ‘samadhi’ of another devotee of Dattatreya called Pantha Balekundri Maharaj. Inam Dattatreya Peetha at Bababudan Giri in Chikkamagaluru is worshipped by both Hindus and Muslims. As a Muslim devotee of Dattatreya, Dada Hayath Khalandar stayed and worshipped Dattatreya at this shrine (cave) and the latter’s ‘samadhi’ (tomb) is also seen on the hill. Maniknagar near Humnabad is another centre of Dattatreya worship and was consecrated by the presence of a saint Manik Prabhu.
For the Nathapanthis, there is representation at Handibadaganath in Khanapur taluk. Appachiwadi near Nippani and Kadri in Mangaluru are the other notable centres. Bhairava, a manifestation of Shiva is worshipped in many places and of these Adichunchanagiri in Mandya and Seethi Betta in Kolar are quite famous. Adichunchanagiri has now the famous Mutt of the Vokkaliga Community.
Mailara Marthanda or Malatesha or Khandoba is another manifestation of Lord Shiva, whose temples are seen at Guddapur in Ranebennur taluk, Mannetti Mailara in Ballari, Khanapur in Bidar, Mangasuli in Belagavi, Bellur and Mailarapatana in Mandya. All these are popular centres of pilgrimage.
Another popular manifestation of Shaivism is Veerabhadra. He is supposed to be the son of Shiva. Popular centres of his worship are spread all over Karnataka, but Yedur on the banks of the Krishna and Godachi in Belagavi, Mugbalu and Savanadurga in Bengaluru, Channappanapura in Mysuru, Koppa in Chikkamagaluru and the Uddhana Veerabhadra Temple at Hampi are some notable pilgrimage centres of this God.
Shakti, the consort of Shiva is worshipped by many. The village deities like Maramma, Durgamma, Patalamma, Sappalamma,Plague Amma, Matangamma etc., have been identified with her. Of the Shakti centres to be noted are Chandralamba at Sannati (Kalaburagi), Bagavanti at Ghattaraki, Mayavva at Chinchli, Yellamma at Savadatti, Banashankari near Badami (Bagalkote), Bhuvaneshwari at Hampi, Marikamba at Sirsi (Uttara Kannada), Mookambika of Kollur, Annapurneshwari of Horanadu, Chamundeshwari in Mysuru and Hemadramma at Bannur (Mysuru dt.), Mahalakshmi at Doddagaddavalli near Hassan, Lakshmi at Goravanahalli, Hasanamba at Hassan, Honnadevi of Shivaganga, Mariyamma at Huskur, Banashankari at Bengaluru and Kolaramma at Kolar are considered to be ancient. These places are visited by devotees of Goddess Shakti.
Among the Vaishnava Centres, Udupi is the foremost, as it is connected with Madhwacharya, who stayed and preached his doctrine. Lord Krishna at Udupi was installed by Acharya Madhwa (1200 - 1280 AD) in the beginning of 13th Century A.D and he founded eight Mutts (Asta Mutts) to help conduct services of the Lord at Udupi. The Madhwa Vaishnavas have their own holy places like Sonda in Uttara Kannada, where Vadiraja Swamy’s ‘Brindavan’ is seen. The pioneering Uttaradi Mutt of the sect is at Hosapete. The moola Brindavanas of Jayateertha and AkshobhyaTheertha are at Malkhed on the bank of the river Kagina and are considered to be a very vibrating pilgrimage centre for Madhwas.
The Navabrindavana or the ‘Brindavanas’ of nine great seers of the sect is at Anegundi to the north of Hampi in an island amidst the Tungabhadra river. Mulabagal in Kolarhas the Brindavana of Sripadaraja. Abbur, Nanjangud, Sosale Bhimanakatte, Mahishi, Manur, Santebidanur, Mantralaya and Savanur are holy places to the Madhwas. The last named having the Brindavan of Satyabodha Teertha of Uttaradhi Matha, a contemporary of Haider who paid him honours.
The great Vaishnava saint, Kanakadasa’s samadhi is at Kaginele in Haveri, where recently a Mutt has been founded with the name Kanaka Guru Peetha. Kanakadasa one of the exponents of Haridasa literature visited Udupi Krishna temple and the God is said to have turned backwards and given him darshan through the ‘Kanakana Kindi’ also called Dashvatara Kindi. Places like Mannur, Malkhed, Honnali, Kudli, Sosale, Yaragola, Holehonnur, Honnali, Budikote etc. are also noteworthy Madhwa centres in the State.
Srivaishnavism was preached by Ramanujacharya during the 12thcentury and he stayed at Saligrama (in Mysuru district where there is the Bhashyakara Temple in his memory). He is believed to have renovated the Cheluvanarayana Swamy Temple at Melukote in Mandya where he conducted pious for long. These are holy places to Srivaishnavas and also others. There is the Parakala Mutt at Mysuru and Yatiraja Mutt at Bengaluru.
Temples of Lord Vishnu and his incarnation are found all over the State. Udupi, Melkote, Biligiri Rangana Betta and Himavad Gopalaswamy Betta are few places of worship. Narasimha is worshipped in notable places like Raibag, Surpali, Halasi, Banawasi, Nagamangala and Maddur in Mandya. Zarani Narasimha near Bidar, Devarayanadurga and Sibi in Tumakuru, Toravi near Vijayapura and at T. Narasipur in Mysuru, Ranganatha has two famous centres of worship in islands in the Cauvery at Srirangapattana and Shivasamudra. They are respectively called AadiRanga, Madya Ranga both are visited by hosts of devotees. Equally famous Ranganatha Temple is seen at Anegundi in Koppal. The Chennakeshava Temple at Belur, Keerti Narayana at Talakad, Veeranarayana at Gadag, Soumya Keshava at Nagamangala are famous Vaishnava pilgrimage centres.
Vishnu in Bhuvarahavatara form found at Halasi (Belagavi Dist.) Varahanatha Kallahalli (Mandya Dist.) and Mysuru are unique and noteworthy. Chunchanakatte in Mysuru District and Hiremagalur near Chikkamagaluru and K.R.Nagar have very old Rama temples. Hanuman as a popular Vaishnava deity has his temples in Hampi, Bannur (Mysuru), Kote Anjaneyaswamy Temple (Mysuru), Banaswasdi near Bengaluru, Karanji Anjaneya in Bengaluru, Yalagur in Bagalkot, Mulbagal in Kolar, Kadaramandalagi in Haveri and Kengal Anjaneya and Sanjeevaraya near Channapatana and a host of other places. Muttatti on the banks of Cauvery in Mandya also has a famous Hanuman Temple called Muttatiraya.
Lord Subramanya, son of Shiva, has his worshipping centres at Sandur in Ballari district (picturesque hill resort), Ghati Subrahmanya in Bengaluru Rural district and Kukke Subramanya in Dakshina Kannada district and Nagalamadike Subramanya at Pavagada taluk in Tumakuru. In certain areas, Kartikeya is identified with serpent worship and an elaborate ritual called Nagamandala is performed in a huge arena decorated with colour powders and flowers.
Witnessing Nagamandala or a Yakshagana in coastal Karnataka will be a unique privilege to the visitor. So is seeing Bhoota worship rituals which are colourful and captivating. Other folk arts like Veeragase, intended to please God Veerabhadra, holds one spell bound. Dollinakunita to please Biredevaru is a mighty performance. Curious and funny is Somanakunita which entertains the onlookers though the huge mask wearing artists. Kamsale by Devaraguddas (devotees) of Mahadeshwara and Pathada Kunitha of old Mysuru region are fascinating.Janapada Loka near Ramanagara (Mysuru-Bengaluru Road) and the Regional Resources Centre at the M.G.M. College, Udupi, provide audio-visual tapes, and there is a huge Folk Museum in the Mysuru University.
The Sikhs have their famous Nanak Zhara in Bidar, a place believed to have been visited by Guru Nanak. Gurudvar Nanak Math in Kalaburagi of modern times is noteworthy. There is a modern Gurudwara at Ulsoor in Bengaluru, built of white marble.
No survey of Karnataka from the tourist point will be complete without mentioning about its historical forts. The whole range of ancient capitals such as Bidar, Kalaburagi, Vijayapura, Vijayanagara, Badami, Banavasi, Basava Kalyana, Srirangapatna, Keladi, Chitradurga, Mysuru, etc. had their forts. In addition, forts were built at strategic centres. There are hill forts at the Nandi Hills, Savanadurga (Ramanagara), Madhugiri, Pavagada, Nijagal, Midigeshi etc., in Tumakuru, Uchangi in Davanageri, Ballari and Sandur in Ballari, Jamalabad in Dakshina Kannada, Manzarabad near Sakleshpur in Hassan and Kavaledurga in Shivamogga, Yadgiri, Waghangeri, Jaladurga, Vanadurga, Shahapur and Surapur in Kalaburagi, Nargund Fort built by Shivaji in Gadag and Parasgad and Hargapur Forts in Belagavi, also raised by Shivaji. Bengaluru, Devanahalli, Magadi (Ramanagara), Aymangala in Chitradurga, Chikbanavar in Hassan and Belagavi etc. have fortifications around some part of the towns even now.
Old Forts have huge granite stones used without plastering materials. Raichur, Mudugal, Koppal forts too are noteworthy. Srirangapatna Fort is protected by the arms (branches) of the Cauvery. The coastal island forts like Bahadurgad, Basavaraja Durga, Devagad and Kurmagad have already been mentioned. Old forts exist in hundreds in Karnataka. A visit to them gives an idea of ancient architects, stone workers, builders and military strategists’ skill and fore-thought. They carry your memory to the past helping you to trace the foot-prints on the sands of time and make you think of men who fought to protect or to scale them, blood that was shed, intrigues involved in capturing them and a long pageant of past events.
To substitute the efforts made till now to pinpoint the centres of special interest to visitors and tourists of various tastes and temperament, further efforts, are made here to describe some notable and outstanding tourist spots in Karnataka. It is calculated that every year on an average two to three crore people visit Bengaluru for a variety of reasons and they also turn tourists and visit Mysuru in considerable numbers. They do not know that Karnataka has outstanding tourist spots and good facilities to visit them and also stay at those places. There is enough facility for trekking, water sports, sports like golf, snooker and other sophisticated games. Bengaluru and Mysuru have horse racing seasons too. Dasara at Mysuru is a great cultural festival. Of late, this festival is being celebrated on a large scale and styled as ‘Nada Habba’. The Annual festivals of Hampi Utsav (November) and Kadambotsav (December) are conducted by the State Government regularly at Hampi and Banavasi respectively. Vairamudi and Rajamudi at Melukote is other unique occasions when the utsavamurthy of Lord Narayana adorned with a diamond studded dazzling crown (‘mudi’) is taken in procession. During which lakhs of devotees and tourists, especially from abroad, congregate. The Bengaluru Karaga on Chaitra Poornima night is also a colourful festival. With this background, some important places are introduced here, in an alphabetical order.
Adichunchanagiri,a noted centre of Bhairava worship, located on a hillock,is 21 km from Nagamangala and 66 km from Mandya. The Gangadhareshwara Temple of the place attracts pilgrims in thousands during its annual jatra. The place has a Peacock Sanctuary located in its natural settings.
Aihole is a great centre of Badami Chalukyan art. The temples numbering over 100 of different styles were constructed from the 6th to the 12thcentury. It is 510 km from Bengaluru, 24 km from Hungund and can be reached from Bagalkote. If the Durga Temple is apsidal in plan, the Ladkhan Temple is square in plan. Other important temples are Huchimalligudi, Gaudaragudi and Chakragudi. The Meguti on a hill is a Jaina Basti and also has a two-storied rock-cut Buddhist shrine below it. Siddanakolla nearby has a beautiful Lajjagowri sculpture in a rare sitting posture near a small pond, besides the Siddesvara Temple of Badami Chalukya period.
Amritapura in Tarikere Taluk of Chikkamagaluru is 247 kms away from Bengaluru. It is known by its famous Amriteshwara Temple (Hoysala) built by Amrita Dandanayaka during the 12thcentury.
Anegundiis to the North of Hampi across the Tungabhadra and is to be reached by crossing the river with basket boats from Talawargatta (Hampi) or by road from Ganagavati. It has the famous Huchappayya Mutt and the Navavrindavanas or the Samadhis of the nine Madhwa Saints is in anearby island Kurugadde amidst Tungabhadra river. The Brindavanas include those of Saints Padmanabha Thirtha, Kavindrathirtha, Vageeshathirtha, Raghuvaryathirtha, Vyasarajathirtha and others. It also has the cave shrine of Sheshashayi Ranganatha, Gagan Mahal (Hawa Mahal) and a Jaina Basti.
Annigeri, in Navalgund Taluk,Dharwad district, is 30 kmaway from Hubballi, on the Hubballi-Gadag Road. It has the famous Amriteshwara Temple of Kalyana Chalukya period. A partially ruined Banashankari Temple and seven mosques are seen at the place in addition to two Veerashaiva Mutts. Near the Railway Station is an ancient Veerabhadra Temple.
Aralaguppe a place in Tumakuru, situated six km from Banasandra Railway Station,hasthe famous Kalleshwara Temple in Ganga-Nolamba style of the 9th century A.D. There is a Chennakeshava Temple of the Hoysala style. There are four Ganga Temples at the place.
Arasikere, ataluk headquarters in Hassan district,famous for its coconut gardens, is situated 41 km from Hassan and 176 km from Bengaluru. The Kattameshwara Temple here is also called Chandramoulishwara. There is a fine Haluvokkalu Temple and also Sahasrakuta Jinalaya. Malekal Tirupathi near Arasikere has a Venkataramana Temple atop a small hillock.
Avani in Kolar is 13 km from Mulbagal, has a Shankara Mutt and a wonderful complex of temples of the Nolambas. There are Rameshwara, Lakshmaneshwara, Bharateshwara, Shatrughneswara, Sita and Subrahmanya t
Temples. Atop the nearby small hill Agni Tirtha, a pond and the Ekantha Ramaswamy Temple are also seen.
Badamiis 500 km from Bengaluru and 113 km from Bagalkote. Its fort was raised by Chalukya Pulakeshin I in 543 A.D. The cave at the top is a Jaina Basti, full of figures of Thirthankaras, Yakshas and Yakshis. The Jambhulinga Shrine housing Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva is another important monument of the place. Badami rock-cut shrines are engraved in hard red sandstone and the figures here are of unrivalled beauty. Banashankari nearby is home for the famousBanashankari Temple.
Bagali, situated at a distance of 9 km from Harapanahalli. There is a complex of temples called Kalleshwara apart from the twin temples of later Chaklukyan times. The Archaeological Survey of India has maintained a sculpture shed Kalleshwara Temple of Bagali.
Banavasi,is in Sirsi Taluk ofUttara Kannada district. It is a very ancient place, as Ashoka is said to have sent his Buddhist missionaries to ‘Vanavasa’. The place is on the bank of the Varada River and its laterite fort is surrounded by the river on its three sides. Chutu Prince Nagashri built a Buddhist Vihara andthe striking monument at Banavasi, the Madhukeshvara Temple has been renovated. The Kadamba Nagara Shikhara is seen on the garbhagriha (sanctum santorum) of this Temple. Around this main Temple are shrines of Vithoba, Ardha Ganapathi,Rama etc. and to its left is Parvati Shrine and to the right Narasimha temple of Vijayanagara times. Not far away from Banavasi is Gudnapur with a massive Madhukeshwara Temple, Banavasi tank and a Jain temple.
Bengaluru is the capital of Karnataka and it took the status of a capital in modern times from 1831 when the British Commissioners took over the administration of Mysuru State from the Mysuru Prince. The old Gavipura natural cave shrine of Gangadhara was built and the monolithic Basava in Basavanagudi was engraved. It also has the beautiful Someshwara Temple at Ulsoor&Lalbagh, the famous Botanical Garden of Bengaluru. There are ancient temples at Begur, Madiwala (Tavarekere), Kadugodi, Hesaraghatta and Dommalur. Other temples like Gavi Gangadhara in a natural cave, Basavanagudi with monotithic Nandi, Rangaswamy temple built around 1600 AD in the Rangaswamy Temple street, the Someshwara Temple at Ulsoor and Kadumalleswara Temple in Malleshwaram which had received a grant from Ekoji, are some of the interesting monuments.
The Art of Living Centre Ashram has recently been built by Saint Ravishankar on the Kanakapura Road near the city. A huge Rajarajeshwari Temple built in Dravidian style at Kenchenahalli on the Mysuru Road and the Meenakshi Temple on the Bannerghatta road was built Amrita Anandamayi Ashram, Iskcon located on the West of Chord Road in Rajajinagar, Vishwa Shanti Dhamaare the new additions to the long list of temples in Bengaluru. Mukthi Naga Temple,also called as Junjappana Bayalu is situated at a distance of 18 km from Bengaluru off the Bengaluru-Mysuru Road.
Muslims have the Taramandal Sangeen Jamia Masjid built by a Mughal Officer around 1687. The Ibrahim Shah Shahib Mosque at Kumbarpet was constructed in 1761, the Jamia Mosque at the City Market is the creation of the 1940s. The oldest Church in Bengaluru is St. Mary’s Basilica in Shivajinagar. The Trinity Church of the Anglicans on the M.G. Road and St. Mark’s Cathedral on the same road,St. Patrick Church and St. Andrew’s on the Cubbon Road are some of the other known Churches of the city. There are many Jain Basadis of which the one in Gandhinagar and Jayanagar are famous. The Sikhs have their Gurudwara at Ulsoor and Parsis have their Fire Temple.
Bengaluru has beautiful gardens like Lalbagh and the Cubbon Park, which are the pride of the city. One of the fine large modern buildings raised by using granite is Vidhana Soudha built in traditional Dravidian style. Bengaluru has the Government Museum, Sir M. Visveswaraya Industrial Museum and the Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium. It is called the Electronic and Silicon City of India for its unparallel progress in the field of Computer Science and Information Technology.
Bankapura inHaveri district is about 80 km away from Dharwad in Savanur taluk. The town has many beautiful temples including the wonderful Nagareshwara Temple in the fort. There is a beautiful Mosque in the fort. It has Pancharabhavi, a swimming pool like structure andBankapur has the Kilari Cow Breeding Centre.
Basava Kalyana, the taluk headquarters in Bidar, is 80 km away from Bidar. It has an old fort renovated by the Bahamanis and inside it is an Archaeological Museum. There is Narayanapura Temple of the Chalukyas era in the outskirts of the town. There is a modern Basaveshwara Temple. Vijnaneshwara Cave, Madivala Machiah Pond, Akka Nagamma Cave, fully renovated Siddheshwara Temple and a new structure called Anubhava Mantapa are also the main attractions of the place. The QajiMosque is an impressive structure. There is also Raja Bagh Sawar Dargah.
Basavana Bagewadi is located 43 km to the east of Vijayapura. The main temple here is of Basaveshwara. The Samadhis of Siddharameshwara and Gurupadeshwara of theInchageri School of spiritual pursuit are seen here.
Basaral, located 24 km north of Mandya, is known for its famous Hoysala Temple. The Mallikarjuna Temple here was built by Harihara and ranks among the fine examples of Hoysala Art. Near this temple is the Vishnu Temple also built during the Hoysala rule.
Belavadi in Chikkamagaluru dt. is known for its fine Veeranarayana temple and the place is 29 km. from Chikkamagaluru. There is also a Ganapathi temple called as Huttada Ganapathi.
Belagavi is 502 km away from Bengaluru. The place has a fort inside which is the Kamala Basadibuilt by one Ratta Officer called Bichiraja in 1204 AD. The Jamia Masjid in the fort was built by Sher Khan in 1585-86. There is a statue of Rani Channamma. The Maruthi Temple here is quite vast and the Kapileshwar Temple in Shahpur area is of Chalukyan times.
Balligavi is 12 km away from the taluk place Shikaripur and three km from Shiralkoppa. The palace has the Kodimatha which was the Kedareshwara Mutt of the Kalamukhas. The Tripurantaka Temple is another Chalukyan Temple. There are also temples of Nagareshwara, Panchalingeshwara and Veerabhadra of later Chalukya period. A Chalukyan general installed a Bherunda Stambha to commemorate his victory.
Ballari, is situated at a distance of 306 km to the north-west of Bengaluru. It has spread round two rocky hills and one of them called Balahari Betta has a temple. The fort built round the hill in Vijayanagara times is still intact. The Durgamma (Ballaramma) Temple here has the deity represented by the heap of earth. The place has two large Mosques.
Beluris in Hassan district is located 222 kms from Bengaluru. The Chennakeshava Temple here was completed in 1116 AD. There are shrines of Kappe Chenniga, Andal, Saumya Nayaki, etc. in the precincts of this temple enclosed by a Prakara with ‘Gopura’ (entrance tower).
Bhadravati, an industrial town in Shivamogga, is situated 256 km away from Bengaluru,was formerly called as ‘Benkipura’. There is a 13th century Lakshminarasimha Temple in Hoysala style here. The Visveswaraya Iron and Steel Works, a Cement Factory (1938) and Paper Factory (1935) function at this place on the banks of the Bhadra River.
Bhagamandala,in Kodagu,is situated288 km from Bengaluru and 35 kmfrom Madikeri.It has a Shiva temple called as Bhagandeswara. Ganapathi, Vishnu and Subrahmanyaare the other shrines located here.
Bidar is 740 kms to the north of Bengaluru. Inside it are the Solha Kamb Mosque (1423) and palaces like Takht Mahal, Chini Mahal and Rangeen Mahal.Jharani Narasimha Temple here is quite famous. Ashtur near Bidar has tombs of Bahmani Sultans. The Gurudwara at Bidar is built at Nanak Zhira.
Chamarajanagar is 56 km away from Mysuru. It was the birth place of Chamaraja Wodeyar in whose memory the Chamarajeshwara Temple was constructed in 1825. It also has Parshwanatha Basadi, Lakshmikantha and Virabhadra Temples of early times.
Chikkamagaluru is 251 kms from Bengaluru and there is a Kodandarama Temple of Hoysala times. The Sangeen Mosque here is an old structure. Jarni Mosque built during the 19thcentury andSt. Joseph’s Cathedral and St. Andrews Church are the other impressive monuments. The Kattiramma Temple here has a priest of the SC community. The Kannika Parameshwari and the Rukmini Panduranga are the other modern temples. The town is placed in the backdrop of the Chandradrona Parvata or Bababudan Hill of the Western Ghats and also the the place is also home for Mulayanagiri.
Chitradurga, the famous hill fort town, is 202 km away from Bengaluru. They built this hill fort with seven rounds of ramparts, a picturesque sight. In the high forts there are temples of the Sampige Siddheswara, Hidimbeshwara (a cave shrine), Ekanatheshwari, Phalguneshwara, Gopalkrishna, etc. amidst thick rocky surroundings. The Galimantapa, located opposite to the Hidimbeshwara is unique monument and the Rangayyana Bagilu is the Archaeological Museum. In the town are temples of Chennakeshava, Venkataramana, Anjaneya etc and the Murugharajendra Brihan Mutt is a venerable centre.
Dambal is 21 km from Gadag. The Doddabasappa and the Someshwara are the two notable Chalukyan temples.There is the Thontada Siddhalingeswara Mutt at the place.
Davanagere is situated 267 km from Bengaluru. The Eshwara Temple of the nearby Anekonda village is an important temple here. Devala Ganagapura in Afzalpur taluk in Kalaburagi is 651 km away from Bengaluru.
Dharmasthala is a very prominent Shaiva Centre where Manjunatha (Shiva) is worshipped as the main deity. The temple has main Manjunatha Linga and Devi. The place has Chandranatha Basti and a Gommata andthe ‘Manjusha’ Museum here is unique.
Dharwad located 437 km from Bengaluru is the cultural headquarters of North Karnataka.The Vijayanagara rulers built a fort here. The Durgadevi Temple near the fort and the Someshwara Temple on Kalghatgi Road has a Chalukyan Temple and a tank. The Mailara Linga Temple at Vidyagiri is a Kalyana Chalukyan monument converted into a Mosque. The place has many temples of Venkataramana, Nandikola Basavanna, Dattatreya, Ulavi Basavanna etc. The Murugha Mutt is a centre of religious activity. Dharwad has churches of the Basel Mission and the Catholics.
Doddagaddavalli, located 14 km from Hassan, is known for its Lakshmidevi Temple with five garbhagrihas. It is called Dakshina Kolhapura and Godddess Lakshmi worshipped here represents Shakta Lakshmi.
Gadag-Betgeri is 80 km from Dharwad and Gadag. It is a great centre of Kalyana Chalukyan art with the large Trikuteshwara Temple. The Saraswati Temple in its precinct has the finest shining decorative pillars. The place has the Someshwara and Rameshwara Temples and also the Veeranarayana Temple of Chalukyan times. Gadag has a mosque of Adilshahi times. There is a Church too of the Basel Mission. Betageri has many artistic hero-stones, some dating back to 9th to 10thcenturies.
Gokarna situated in coastal Karnataka is 453 kmsfrom Bengaluru and about 55 kms from Karwar. It is described as a Shaiva Centre on par with Kashi and Rameshwar with the presence of Mahabaleshwara Temple. It is also believed that Atmalinga of Lord Shiva has been installed here.There is a famous Ganapathi Temple andTamragauri is another shrine here. The Bhadrakali and Venkataramana Temples, Jatayuteertha, Kotiteertha etc., are other holy places here. Gokarna has a long beach on the west and the Western Ghat ranges.
Kalaburagi is 623 km. from Bengaluru. The fort here was originally said to have built by one Raja Gulchand.In all there areseven mausoleums of Bahamani Sultans. Sharana Basappa Appa’s tomb here is highly venerated. The place has many modern temples. The State Archaelogy Museum here has Buddhist plaques.
Halasiis 14 km from Khanapur Railway Station. It has one of the oldest Basadi’s of Karnataka. The huge Bhuvaraha Narasimha Temple has fine tall images of Varaha, Narasimha, Narayana and Surya. The place has a fort and also Temples of Gokarneshwara, Kapileshwara, Swarneshwara and Hatakeshwara. The place is in the backgroundof westernghats in lush green.
Halebid is 27 kms away from Hassan. It has one of the finest Hoysala Temples and the twin Shiva Temples with a common platform. The place has a Parshwanatha Basadi and there is a Museum of ASI. The Kedareshwara Temple is another monument amdChatchatnahalli has an attractive Hoysala Trikuta temple.
Hampiis 10 km from Hosapete in Ballari was an ancient city. Known as Pampakshetra, because of Pampadevi Temple, is on the banks of Tungabhadra. On the Hemakuta Hill behind the famous Virupaksha Temple of Chalukyan times, there is a Badami Chalukya Temple. Also called as an Open-Air Museum, Hampi has the Krishnaswamy Temple, Hazara Ramaswamy Temple, Achutaraya Temple housing Ranganatha, Kodandaramaswamy Temple, Vithalaswamy Temple, Irugappa’s Basti (called Ganigitti Jinalaya), Uddhana Virabhadra Temple, monolithic Lakshmi Narasimha (29 Feet tall installed by Krishnadevaraya in 1529), huge Badavi Linga, Kamala Mahal, Elephants’ stable, Mahanavami Dibba, monolithic Ganeshas called as Kadalekalu and Sasivekalu Ganesha and a large number of other temples and monuments. Hampi is included in the World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.
Hanagalis 80km away from Dharwad. The Tarakeshwara Temple here is a huge structure. The Virabhadra, Billeshwara and Ramalinga temples etc., are other important temples and the Ganesha Temple near Tarakeshwara has a northern curvilinear (Nagara) Shikhara. There is also a famous Veerashaiva Kumaraswamy Mutt here.
Harihara is 277 km from Bengaluru. The rivulet Haridra joins it here and the place was called Kudalur and it is called as Harihara now because of the temple of the name (of Hari and Hara unified). There are also temples of Srirama, Dattatreya and Eshwara.
Hassan is at a distance of about 150 kms from Bengaluru.There are two Hoysala Temples dedicated to Chennakeshava and Virupakshehswara. The Hasanamba Temple is a structure of post Vijayanagara period. There is also a Jaina Basti which is about 900 years old.
Haveriis 340 kms away from Bengaluru. It has few ancient temples and the Siddeshwara Temple. Ugranarasimha and Kalleshwara are the other important Temples of early times. The Virakta Mutt, Hukkeri Mutt, Hosamatha, Murugaswami Mutt and the Raghavendra Mutt of Madhwa tradition are important.
Horanadu in Chikkamagaluru is situated 15 kms from Kalasa. It is famous for its Annapurneshwari Temple.
Hosaholaluissituated at a distance of two km east of Krishnarajapet. The Lakshminarayana Temple, the Hariharesvara Temple, the Viranjaneya Temple, the Parswanatha Basadi and also the remains of the Fort around the town are the places worthy of visit here.
Hubballi is 408 km away from Bengaluru.There is a Bhavani Shankara Temple and Jaina Basti. Hubballi is also home for Hebic Memorial Church. The Bhavanishankar Temple in old Hubballi and the impressive Chaturlinga Temple in Unakal are of Chalukyan times. The Siddharudhaswamy (1837-1929) Mut in Old Hubballi is visited by hundreds. There is Mahdi Mosque at Bandiwadagase and Mastan Sofa Mosque in Old Hubballi. Of the Churches, the Church of Ascension (1905), Church of Holy Name (1928), St. Joseph’s Church (1858) and the St. Andrew’s Church (1890) are notable. Unakal has a church of the Basel Mission and there is a Gurudwara of the Sikhs in Vidyanagar.
Ikkeri is very near to Sagar in Shivamogga. The Aghoreshwara Temple here of the Kalamukha sect is a 16th century. There is also a Parvathi Temple nearby. It has the Rameshwara and Veerabhadra Temples. There is also a Museum.
Itagiis in Yalburga. It has the best of the Kalyana Chalukya temple called Mahadeva, described as ‘Devalaya Chakravarthi’ (Emperor among temples) in early inscriptions.
Kalagi is 60 kms from Kalaburagi. It has five Later Chalukyan temples. Among them, the Mallikarjuna Temple is famous. The Parswanatha Basadi near Banasankari Temple,the Kalinga Temple complex has some temples richly adorned with several dietie. The Kaleshwara Temple is earliest of the place. On the north bank of Kalagi stream are Eshwara and Narasimha Temples amidst a Puskarani.
Kambadahalli lies at a distance of 16 km west of Nagamangala on the Shravanabelgola road. There is a wonderful complex of seven basadis comprising a Trikuta Adinatha, a Dwikuta Basadiand to the north of it another Dwikuta Santinatha Basadis built in three different stages.The mantapa in front of the navaranga is a later addition. There is an octagonal pedestal with Ashta-dikpalakas.
Kannambadi is a village having the Krishnaraja Sagar Dam built across the River Cauvery. It had the Kanneshwara (Ganga) and the Gopalakrishna (Hoysala) Temples now submerged in backwaters. Of late, Krishnaraja Sagar in Mandya is a dam across the Cauvery River with the beautiful Brindavan Gardens. The Garden with musical fountain is to be seen in the evenings.
Karkala in Dakshina Kannada (52 km from Mangaluru) has been a notable Jaina Centre has the Gommata Statue. The Ananthashayana and Venkataramana Templesand on the bank of Ramasamudra Tank is another Basadi of early times. The St.Lawrence Church here is highly venerated. Mudabidri in Dakshnina Kannada, situated 35 km away from Mangaluru is one of the famous Jaina Centres of South India. Among the 18 Basadis here include the Tribhuvana Tilaka Chudamani Basadi also known as Thousand Pillared Basadi.
Karwaris located about 520 kms from Bengaluru bordering Goa state. Karwar has one of the finest facilities for allweather port with a row of islands like Anjadiv, Kurmagad, Devgad etc.Karwar Beach among some of the finest beaches and is to the South of the Kali which meets the sea here. Across the Kali, crossing a new bridge is Sadashivagad, a hill fort built by Sonda Sadashiva Nayaka.Sadashivagad has a Durga temple and a Darga of Peer Kamruddin.
Kere Tonnuru is situated 10 kms northwest of the taluk centre Pandavapura and 15 kms South of Melukote. The bund constructed across the River attributed to Ramanuja is the present Yadavasamudra, also referred as Thirumalasagara. Among the temples of this place the Lakshminarayana Temple of the reign of Hoysala Vishnuvardhana. Outside the village in a paddy field is the Kailasa Udeyavar. Nearby, is a ruined Temple called Kallara Gudi. The Yoganarasimha Temple on the small hill is to the north of the Lakshminarayana temple. In a nearby place are the lakes Sreepada Teertha and the Ramanuja Mantapa. On the small hillock (Padmagiri) by the side of the temple is a Venkataramana Temple (Utti Thimmappa). The garbhagriha houses a Narayana sculpture. On the small hillock in the road to Chinnakurali outside the village are the Dargah of Syed Salar Masood and the tomb of Salar Masood.
Kittur is 33 km from Dharwad was the headquarters of a Desagati. The place has the ruined Wada, a bastion, which formed part of fortification. The State Government Museum here has many antiquities collected from the Desai Wada. Inside the fort is the KalmeshwaraTemple and the place has Veerashaiva Mutts called Chauki Mutt and Hire Mutt.
Kolar located 72 km away from Bengaluru has the famous Kolaramma Temple. Kolaramma is Mahishamardini and she is one among the seven Mothers (Sapta Matrikas) installed there. In another shrine next to it are attractive individual stucco figures of Sapta Matrikas. The Someshwara, Venkataramana and Kodandarama are other major temples in the town. Antaragange is located three km away from Kolar. The hill top has several places like Teruhalli (old pre-Vijayanagara temple), Paparajanahalli and many other seven villages. This hillock overlooking the Kolar town is a fine trekking track for the Adventure Tourism.
Kokkare Bellur is a natural bird sanctuary that is located 18 km away to the northwest of Maddur. From the mouth of January to July pelicans migrate here from different quarters, build their nests on trees here and lay eggs and raise their young ones and later go back to their own places after winter. The place is also declared as the National Protected Bird Sanctuary.
Kollur, one of the Shakti worship centres of Karnataka, is situated 42 km from Kundapur in Udupi District. It is famous for its Mookambika Temple ascribed to Adi Shankaracharya.
Koppal, a major holy place of the Jainas, has two Ashokan inscriptions at Palkigundu and Gavimatha. It has a hill fort. There is an ancient Shiva temple called the Male Malleshwara.
Kotilingeshwara is situated in the village Kammasandra. This temple project was initiated by Saint Sambhashivamurthy who has his original hermitage called Valmiki Ashrama. This temple complex consists of more than 70 lakh miniature Shivalingas.
Lakkundi located 12 km from Gadag has the highly ornate Kashi Vishweshwara Temple in damaged condition, a twin temple, one housing Shivalinga and the other facing it of God Surya. Another notable monument of the place is the huge Brahma Jinalaya. This small town is full of ruined Temples like Mallikarjuna, Lakshminarayana, Manikeshwara, Virabhadra, Nanneshwara, Someshwara, Nilakanteshwara and others. Lakkundi also has a museum of ASI. There is a dargah of Zindeshah Wali.
Lakshmeshwarais 72 km from Dharwad.The Somanatha and the Lakshmaneshwara are famous temples here. It was a Jaina Centre and Shankha Basadi. The Kali Masjid here is an ornate structure.
Maddur is 20 km from Mandya. The Temple there referred as Vaidyanatha (God of medicine). Madduramma is the village goddess of the place. It has the Narasimha Swamy Temple and the Varadaraja Temple. Vaidyanathapura, locateed five kms from Maddur is situated on the banks of River Shimsha and is famous for its Vaidyanatha Temple.
Madhugiri 43 km from Tumakuru and is famous for its massive hill fort. It has temples of Venkataramana and Malleshwara. There is also a Mallinatha Basadi. The fort has majestic gateways called Antaralada Bagilu, Diddibagilu and Mysuru Gate etc.
Madikeri is on the ranges of Western Ghats located 250km from Bengaluru. The place has a fort and a palace building. There is an old Church inside the Fort. The Omkareshwara Temple and the tombs of the Kodagu Rajas, Doddaveera Rajendra and Lingarajendra are all in Indo-Saracenic style. The Raja’s Seat overlooking the valley gives a panaromic view of the surrounding coffee and paddy growing lush green lands.
Magadi, located 41 km from Bengaluru, has the fort and the Rameshwara Temple. There is also the Someshwara Temple. Tirumale is a hill near the town where there is a vast Ranganatha Temple.
Male Mahadeshwara Betta
Mahadeshwara Betta is a hill very close to the Eastern Ghats and is located 220 kms from Bengaluru and 142 kms from Mysuru and is in Chamarajanagar district. It is a very picturesque spot of Mahadeshwara Temple.
Mandya lies at a distance of 100 km southwest of Bengaluru and 42 km northeast of Mysuru. Mandya is an important industrial and commercial centre. The Mysuru Sugar Company (1933) was the first of its kind to be established in India. There is a Janardanaswamy Temple located here.
Mangaluru is on the west coast of Karnataka with both anold and a modern port.Mangaluru has the old Mangaladevi Temple and the Kadri Manjunatha Temple where once Buddhists had stayed. There are fine bronze statues of Avalokiteshwara and Dhyani Buddha and some laterite caves around Kadri Temple. The Venkataramana, Mahamayi and the huge modern Gokarnanatha are important Temples of Mangaluru. Bengre has a fine beach. The Light House Hill has the Idagah. The St. Aloysius College here has a chapel with fine paintings. St. Rozario Church, Church of the Most Holy Rosary and the Milagres Church are here. Shanti Cathedral of the Bassel Mission is also famous. The port area has an old mosque. Mangaluru is famous for its Sea Food.
Melukote is the temple town in Mandya district and a great centre of pilgrimage. The Cheluvanarayana Swamy here was for long worshipped by Ramanujacharya. The Yoganarashima Swamy Temple, the twin ponds (Akka-Thengi Kola) are the visited often by the tourists and devotees. Melukote is one of the most sought after shooting location for the south Indian movies.
Mysuru, located 139 km Bengaluru, is the Cultural Capital of Karnataka. The Mysuru Royal Palace is one among the favourite tourists spots in thee world. Besides the several Temples situated in the Palace complex, the Kote Anjaneya, Kote Maramma, Parshwanatha (near corporation), Kanyaka Parameshwari (Doddapet and Shivaram Pet), Renuka Yellamma (Mysuru Karaga fame) near Zoo Garden, Sri Lakshmi Venkateshwara (Vantikoppal), Raghavendra Mutt, etc., are also important. The Chamundi Hill has the statue of Mahishasura at the entreance of the hill top. There is also a 10thcentury Mahabala Temple. The hill has steps and on way is a monolithic Nandi.The Chamudeshwari Temple is among the most visited temples in the country. Among the other tourists attractions in Mysuru includes the Lalitha Mahal Palace, Jagan Mohan Palace, Jayalakshmi Vilas Mansion at the University of Mysoree campus, which has nnow been converted into a Folkore Museum. The city his also home for Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens which houses some of the rare exotic birds and animals.
Mysuru is also home for many historic monuments which includes the archs or gateways that date back to British Rule. The Old Deputy Commissioner’s office and Crawford Hall are monuments built during the British Rule. Mysuru is also home for many educational institutions which includes a University of Mysore campus at Manasagangothri which is a must visit place for the tourists. There is also a Cricket Statium inside the campus that plays hosts to many local, State and National level cricket matches. Some of the other educational institutions include the Mysore Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Jayachamarajendra College of Engineering, National Insitute of Engeering, SDM Institute of Management Development that have global recognition.
Nanjangud is theTemple town located on the bank of Kapila. The town which is 20 kms from Mysuru is famous for its Nanjundeshwara Temple also known as Srikanteshwara Temple that is almost 1000 years old. The temple complex houses temples of Goddess Parvati and other deities. The town is also home for the famous Raghavendraswamy Mutt, Suttur Mutt and Siddappaji’s shrine.
Narasamangalais about 24km from Chamarajanagar.The place has a wonderful temple of the Gangas dedicated toLord Rameshwara. The monument can be ascribed to 9th or 10thcentury AD. This small temple has a magnificent shikhara with remarkable stucco figures, still intact, for more than 1000 years. The figures include Shiva, Tandaveswara, Uma and Dakshinamurthy, Vishnu, Garuda, Ugra Narasimha to name a few.
Pattadakal is 22 km away from Badami and 514 km from Bengaluru. Temples like the Virupaksha (Trailokeshwara) and the Mallikarjuna (Lokeshwara) are famous here.The Sangameshwara, Papanatha, Chandrashekhara, Jambulinga and Kadasiddeshwara are the other major temples here and Pattadakal has also a Jaina Basadi of the Rashtrakuta times with two beautiful elephant sculptures in front. The Galaganath Temple hereis included in the World Heritage Series by the UNESCO.
Raichur is 475 km away from Bengaluru. It has a hillfort originally built in 1294. The outer fortification has five majestic gateways, the Darwaza (door) being impressive. The town has a majestic Ekminar Mosque and the Jami Masjid here is the biggest of its kind. There are many modern temples in the town of which Manikprabhu and the Ramalingeshwara Temples are notable.
Sandur is a taluk headquarters in Ballari. It is in a valley surrounded by hills and the hills are rich in quality iron and manganese ore. One of the hill ranges has the attractive Kumaraswamy Temple and also the Parvati Temple. There is a Rama Temple on this cool hill resort.
Sannati is situated 48 kms from Chitapur and 18 kms from Nalwar Railway Station. It was an important Buddhist centres. It is also famous for the Chandralamba Temple.
Saundatti or Savadatti is 74 km from Belagavi. There are two small Jaina Basadis of Ratta times and also houses the temples of Ankeshwara, Puradeshwara, Mallikarjuna, Venkateshwara and the Veerabhadra. The Renukasagar waters the outskirts of Saundatti. Yellmmmanagudda, 12 km away from Saundatti is on a hill. This original Rashtrakuta Basadi is now used to worship Yellamma or Renuka.Just a couple of kilometres away is Parasgad, a wonderful hill fort, expanded by Shivaji.
Shivamogga located on the bank of the Tunga river is about 274 km from Bengaluru.It was a notable centre under the Keladi Nayakas. The Kote Seetharamanjaneya Temple and Sri Raghavendra Mutt are the oldest in the town. The place has the Bhimeshwara, Lakshminarayana and Guddekal Siddheshwara Temples.
Sirivalaissituated 15 kms from the taluk head-quarters Shahapur on the right bank of Bhima. The place is home for more than 20 ancient temples. Among the temples scattered across are Anabi Sujnyaneshwara Temple, five are Ekakutas and the remaining two are Dvikuta Temples.
Shivagange is about 60 km from Bengaluru. It is a conical shaped hill and one of the caves has Shiva (Gangadhara) Shrine and another cave has Honnadevi of Ganga times. The hill top houses Shanteshwara Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, the Shankara Mutt here is also worth a visit. There is also a Lingayat Mutt called Mahanta Mutt located on the hill.
Located about 157 kms from Bengaluru, Shravanabelagola is an important Jaina centre. There is a pond and two stony hills called Chandragiri and Indragiri. Chandragiri has the Chandragupta Basadi of the Gangas Era and the Parshwanatha Basadi here is the biggest. Indragiri has the 58ft tall Gommateshwara statue. There is also Siddhara Basadi, Odegal Basadi, Chennanna Basadi, Chauwisa Tirthankara Basadi besides the finely engraved Tyagada Brahmadeva Pillar with excellent floral designs.
Sira is 52 km from Tumakuru. It is home for a beautiful garden called Khan Bag. The Jumma Masjid here is also famous. The Fort, believed to be built by Mughals is visible in parts. The Gopalakrishna Temple and Narasimhaswamy Temple are among the tourist attractions.
Sirsi is 90 kms from Karwar. The place has the Shankara, Ganapathi and Veerabhadra temples of early times. The Triyambakeshvara and the Gopalakrishna temples are of recent times. The Marikamba Temple of the place is said to have been built in 1689.
Somanathapur is an historical place located about 10 kms from T. Narsipur. Thee place is famous for its Hoysala temples. The three vesara shikharas of the Keshava Temple are in good condition. The Trikuta Temple is the finest monument of the place. The other temples are the Panchalingeshwara, Lakshminarayana and Narasimheswara.
Sonda is 35 kms away from Sirsi. It is located in the middle of thick forest. Its large number of monuments is spread over a wide area in the forest. It was a Jaina centre andhouses a small Jaina Mut here.There is a Trivikrama Temple. Swarnavalli Mutt of the Havyaka Brahmins andShankaranarayana Temple at Sonda and the Gaddige Mutt are notable. The River Shalmala creates a falls of 91 metres called the Shivaganga Falls which locatedjust 5km from Sonda.
Sringeri is in Chikkamagaluru district is 334 km away from Bengaluru. Sringeri has an old Parshwanatha Basadi. There is the Sharadamba Temple ascribed to Adi Shankaracharya and the magnificent Vidyashankara Temple on the banks of the Tunga River, built during the 14thcentury.
Srirangapatna in Mandya district is a holy place. It was also the capital of the Mysuru Rulers and is located 14 km from Mysuru. The town is an an island surrounded by River Cauvery. The Ranganathaswamy Temple here is ascribed to a chieftain who raised it during the 9th century. It is also home for Dariya Daulat Palace of Tipu and Gumbaz, the Mausoleum of Haider and Tipu.The Abbe Dubbois Church and Nimishamba temple nearby are worth seeing.
Talakad in Mysuru district is a holy place on the banks of River Cauvery located 29 km. from T. Narasipur. The Pataleshwara, Maruleshwara and the Kirti Narayana temple here are famous. The Vaidyanatheshwara is another Shiva temple here. The Arkeshwara at Vijayapura is located nearby. The Mallikarjuna Temple on hill nearby called Mudukutore together are called the Pancha Lingas.
Talacauvery is 28 km from Madikeri on the ranges of Brahmagiri hill. There are two shrines dedicated to Eshwara and Ganapathi here. Maunappaiah, the Vishwakarma Saint’s tomb here and is worshipped both by Hindus and Muslims with due respect.
Tirumakudlu Narasipura or T.Narasipurais situated 28 km away from Mysuru. The famous Kumbha Mela is held once in three years at confluence of three rivers, Cauvery, Kapila and Spatika Sarovara. The Agasteshwara temple is one of the famous temples of the place. The Gulaganji Narasimha Temple is located at T. Narasipur.
Tumakuru is 70 km to the north of Bengaluru. The oldest temple here is Lakshminarayana built in 1560. Nearby Kyatsandra the Siddhaganga Kshetra is situated on a hill. Siddhaganga has the samadhi of Siddhalingeshwara, a Veerashaiva Saint and Dr. Shivakumaraswamiji and there is a natural spring called Siddhaganga.
Udupi is 58 kms away from Mangaluru. The Sri Krishna Temple was built and the mein deity of Krishna was installed by Madhwacharya (1200-1280 AD) during the 13th Century. The place has Kadiyali Durga Temple, Ambalapadi Shakti Temple, Raghavendra Mutt and the Venkataramana Swamy Temple. Udupi is also home for Asta Mutts (Eight Mutts) which take up the administration of the main Sri Krishna Temple through a religious ceremony known as Paryaya that is held once in two years. Malpe a nearby port has fine beach and the Vadabhandeshwara Temple dedicated to Balarama.
Ulavi in Uttara Kannada is 32 km from Yellapur is amidst thick forests, where there is the Samadhi of Chennabasavanna. Gavi Mutt here is a series of caves in which the Sharanas lived. There is also a fort in ruins called Baburayana Kote.
Vajrapoha Fallsis 23 km from Khanapur. It is situated amidst hilly surroundings of the Jamboti forest. One has to travel from Jamboti upto a point 4 km beyond Chapoli and then cross the River Mahadayi which leads to an elevated flat hillock.
Varakooduis situated 12km away from Mysuru. It is famous due to its recently renovated Varadaraja Temple. It has a garbhagraha, crowned by a shikhara; an antarala, navaranga with two entraces and a mukha mantapa in front.
Vijayapura is situated 579 km away from Bengaluru. Gol Gumbaz here has the biggest dome in India. Anand Mahal, Gagan Mahal, Asar Mahal etc. are the other important monuments of this place. It has many grand artistic mosques like Kali Masjid, Mecca Masjid, Malika Jahan’s Mosque and the Jami Masjid. To the west of the citadel is a Dattatreya Temple. There is a Parshwanatha Basadi (1927) in the city and many modern Temples of which 20ft. Shivalinga Temple (1954) is notable.
Yadagiri, now a district head quarters, was formerly included in Kalaburagi district. It was the capital of the Kalyana Chalukyas and has an attractive fort of medieval period.
Yana, a revenue village is 24 km from Kumta and 45 km from Sirsi. Yana can be approached from Kumta via Katgal-Harita (on the Kumta- Sirsi road) after taking a deviation to the far left of Harita. One has to walk a distance of 9 km through the irregular forest route which is open only during summer. This leads to a steep valley and then crossing the Vaddi Pass the spot can be reached. The place can also be reached from Sirsi, via the Devimane Ghat and Harita and also from Hegdekatta one can reach by walking 9km crossing the steep ghats. There is no motorable road to reach the place. The annual jatra held here during Shivaratri attracts thousands. It is a belief that people should take bath in ‘Danditirtha’ (stream) and take the holy waters then on to Gokarna for worshipping Mahabaleshwara there.
Yediyur in Tumakuru district (Kunigal taluk) has the samadhi (matha) of Tontada Siddhalingeshwara Yati, a famous Veerashaiva Saint who lived during the 16th century. The place is 30 km away from Kunigal. Pilgrims who visit the place in hundreds daily are fed free and there are rest houses for them. The Mutt has a fine wooden chariot (ratha) with some interesting sculptures. The place has a Varadaraja Temple and two Veerashaiva Mutts. The Mutt’s building has some old paintings on walls.
(Source: Handbook of Karnataka, Department of Gazetteer, Government of Karnataka)