Karnataka is the hub of many impressive tourist spots. It is the only southern state in India that is bordered by all the neighboring states, including Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, and Goa. The state also prides itself on having 5 well-known national parks. Western ghats, a biodiversity hotspot is a home to unique flora and fauna. Karnataka, a land of substantial scale, offers a variety of cultural and geographical experiences.
Previously known as Mysore state, it was renamed Karnataka on 1 Nov 1973. With its widespread natural habitat, world heritage sites, palaces, museums, and ever-increasing modern architecture, Karnataka has all the qualities and more to be visited at least once in a lifetime.
Tourism in Karnataka has flourished because locations like Coorg, Chikmagalur, Mysore, and Hampi were tempting enough for tourists and travelers to make a visit and explore. There are so many more attractive spots and locations that can fulfill this thirst of travel for anyone, be it, a backpacker, vagabond, family tourist, or simply a curious traveler.
Karnataka boasts of many places that can give you extraordinary and authentic experiences, it can be in terms of beautiful sceneries, delicious food, unforgettable historical sites, and amazing people. When you visit here, make sure to explore and enjoy its surreal locations including, national parks, caves, river sides, trekking sites, and more.
Come on then, without any delay, let us get you a list of the Top 5 must-visit places to include in your Karnataka travel itinerary:
1. Hampi: If you ever wondered about where Karnataka’s most powerful and rich empire thrived, it was right here in Hampi. A UNESCO declared world heritage site that was once a ruling home of the formidable Vijaynagara Empire. There are countless monuments and historical sites dedicated to the Hindu mythology’s god and goddess, some of these include the temple of Virupaksha, Vijay Vittala, Ugra Narashima statue, and Kadalekalu Ganesha (to name a few!).
How to reach: The nearest airport is Bangalore Int Airport, and from there you can catch a bus or a train to Hospet (the nearest town to Hampi) public transport is widely available. Best time to visit: October to February.
Ideal unmissable stops: Lotus Mahal, Stone chariot, Virupaksha Temple.
2. Chikmagalur: Also known as the “Coffee land of Karnataka”, Chikmagalur is situated on the highlands of the mullayangiri hills of the western ghats region. This coffee land is one of the famous hill stations of Karnataka, people from many states visit the place from time to time and if you enjoy trekking and exploring, you will never fall short of that experience here.
If you are someone who lingers on the smell of coffee, then this is the place you need to come to at least once. There are numerous Home stays, Resorts that will assure you of the best hospitality and food. Some of the must-visit places in and around Chikmagalur are Mullayanagiri, Rani Jhari, Ballalarayadurga Fort, Kalasa, Baba Budangiri, and Kudremukh, which also happens to be a national park for its rich and unexplored fauna & fauna.
How to reach: The near airport is Mangalore airport, you can hire a taxi or take a bus or train to reach Chikmagalur Best time to visit: All year long Chikmagalur offers a good climate, we do suggest visiting it in the peak winters to get the best experience.
Ideal unmissable spots: Bhadra wildlife sanctuary, Mullyangiri peak, Kudremukh national park.
3. Coorg: Coorg, also known as Kodagu, is famously referred to as the “Scotland of India”. The place has a rich and powerful history, it was ruled by Kodavas, a warrior community who defended and built numerous historical sites.
Coorg is also known for its beautiful chill year-long climate, lush green coffee and tea plantations, architecture, hills, and great food. Make sure you try their authentic curry (available both veg and non-veg). Places like Mugilpete and Kushalnagara offer beautiful scenery. Kushalnagar is home to a stunning Buddhist monastery.
How to reach: The nearest station is Mysore junction, and the nearest airport to Coorg is Mangalore airport. The best time to visit: is June to February.
Ideal unmissable spots: Abby falls, Omkareshwara temple, Namdroling monastery, Brahmagiri, and Madikeri Fort.
4. Mysore: The former capital city of the state, Mysore is very well known for still preserving its old-world charm. The wodeyars, a ruling royal clan are considered as its rightful rulers, the kingdom earlier served as the vassal state for the Vijay Nagara empire, and later on, when tippu sultan took over, it served under his regime.
As previously stated, this cultural mix gave Mysore a unique quality in its cuisine, people, locations, and historical sites. Located in the elevations of Chamundi Hills, Mysore also possess the element of religious significance, chamundeshwari temple, is the site of utmost reverence to the people of Karnataka. Mysore palace with its breathtaking architecture seduces one with its royal allure.
How to Reach: Mysore has all the facilities of transport so there is no room for inconvenience, you can reach Mysore by air (Mysore airport, Many KSRTC buses available) numerous trains connect to Mysore. Best time to visit: It has a great climate all year long.
Ideal unmissable spots: Mysore zoo, Mysore palace, Krishna Raja Sagar dam, Bandipur wildlife sanctuary.
5. Gokarna: The name “Gokarna” has a mythological significance, the term “Go” literally means “cow” and “Karna” means “ear”. The name Gokarna means, Cow’s ear. The locals believe that the god, Shiva emerged from the ear of the cow (from Phritvi) so thus the name. This small town has numerous other mythological importance as well.
Om beach is its unique USP that tempts tourists to visit the place all year long. The Mahabaleshwara temple is yet another divine structure that one should never miss during their visit to this place. Because of its overwhelming mythological impact, Gokarna is on the bucket list of many older people, as a site of pilgrimage.
How to reach: The nearest airport to Gokarna is in Dabolim, goa. Almost all buses and trains in Gokarna are connected to major cities like Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, and Mumbai. Best time to visit: August to January
Ideal unmissable spots: Om beach, Mahabaleshwara temple, Half moon beach, and Yana.