The historical and quintessential state of Karnataka is one of the major tourist destinations in India. Karnataka’s geographical diversity ensures one state with many worlds that includes ageless monuments, lush green forests, heritage sites, spectacular waterfalls, temples, adventure sports, hill stations, vibrant art and colorful culture.
The culture loving travelers here can’t miss the well-known UNESCO world heritage sites Hampi and Pattadkal along with Mysore Dasara festivals and places that are amalgamation of modernity and ancient charm.
What is Karnataka famous for?
While the geographical location of Karnataka gives it a unique spot in India’s travel map, state is also famous for many cultural heritages and diversities.
As the state is one with having richest history, it is not easy to summarize everything about Karnataka. But here is the quick glimpse:
Art and Music
- Famous dance forms: Yakshagana, Bengaluru Karaga, Kolaata, Huli Kunita, Kola (Boota), Bharatanatyam with Shiva Kavya (including ragale) and Daasa Sahitya, Dollu Kunita.
- Carnatic music: Karnataka Music is the baby of Kannada Bhakti Movement. This is still popular across Southern India and to some extent in Maharashtra.
- Folk songs: Ragale Sahitya is very unique to Kannada language. This is quite popular among the Bharathanatyam dance. Folk Songs including Geegi Pada, Kamsale, Yakshagana are unique to the state.
Food and Cuisines
- Jovar roti: North Karnataka’s jovar roti is quite unique.
- Ragi Mudde in combination with one of Upsaar or Bassaar or Chicken Curry is a unique food in the Southern Karnataka.
- Mysore Masale Doseh is unique style prepared in the old Mysore regions. Uddina vadeh, Masale Vadeh are unique.
- Karavali food: Coming to the Costal region, one should not miss Fish curry, Goli Bajji, Udupi meal Mangalore Bonda and Coconut Chutney.
- Filter coffee: Chikkamagaluru Coffee and Coorg Coffee. MYSORE Filter Coffee.
- Mysore Silk Sarees, Ilakal Saree are quite popular.
- The traditional dress in Coorg is very unique in India.
- The unique style of Hoysala Architecture in Beluru and Halebeedu should not be missed.
- The musical stones in Hampi and Whispering Gallery in Golgumbaz in Bajapur are very unique.
- Group of temples in Badami and Aihole are the World Heritage Centres.
- Sravana Belagola Gommateshwara is the tallest monolithic statue in the world, carved out of a single block of granite.
Popular travel destinations
25% of the bio diversity of India is in the state of Karnataka. State is divided into 3 geographical regions:
- Coastal Karnataka: Famous for beaches, sea food etc
- Malnad Karnakata: Famous temples, greenery and beautiful Western ghat region
- Bayaluseeme: Famous for diverse cultures and traditions and popular industries.
Famous pilgrimage places
Dharmastala Manjunatha which is known for its world class service for catering devotees.
Kukke Subramanya which is very well known temple for Dhosha Parihaara.
Katilu Durgaparameshwari, Kolluru Mookambika, Murdeshwara, Gokarna (Atmalinga), Udupi Srikrishna, Chamundi Hills in Mysore, Siddeshwara Temple of Bijapur, Ane gudda Ganapa, Sringeri Sharada Peeta, Horanaadu Annapurneshwari, Lakshmeshwara temple, Yadiyuru Siddalingeshwara, Bijapur Siddeshwara, Soundatti Yellamma (Renuka) who was the mother of Parashurama, Sikh Gurudwara in Bidar.
Karnataka’s unique contributions
- Karnataka historically brought many firsts in India. They include
- Industrialization of Mysore Kingdom by Mysore Kings (Mysore Sandal Soap, Mysore Agarbatti, HAL for which Mysore was a stake holder).
- Own legislative building construction within Short period after the independence.
- Successful implementation of irrigation projects.
- Center of IT/BT revolution in India.
- Coining of the Word ‘Akashavani’.
- Abolition of caste System was a unique movement of the 12th century. The caste system is hardly discussed in Karnataka.
- Reintroduction of 10000 years old Gamakas to Music system was first done by Kannada Gamaka Parishat.
- First Indian language software was developed in Kannada (Baraha Kannada Software).
Karnataka is called the land of Poets and Sages. Kannada is the language with the highest collection of literature in India.
- It has won 8 Gnanpeet awards (second highest) and 67 Sahitya academy awards (Highest in India).
- SL Byrappa’s literature holds the record for the record number of copies sold for any Indian language.
- Daasa Sahitya, Vachana Sahitya, Tripadis of Sarvajgna are some of the sacred literatures.
Kannada, the language of religion
- There are more than 22000 Vachanas which are sacred texts of Lingayats. This makes Kannada as one of language of Religion in the world.
- Other such languages being Sanskrit (Vedic Texts) , Arabic (Kurhan), Persian (Zorastrian Texts), Hebrew (Bible), Pali(Buddhist Texts), Prakrit (Jainism Texts).
Popular Trekking Destinations in Karnataka
Perched at an elevation of 1226 metres, Savandurga is one of the most amazing trekking places to visit in Karnataka. It is well-known among the trekkers for posing a trail that will test your spirits and delight you with the stunning views from the top
It is famed as the second highest peak in Karnataka and offers a stunning retreat for nature admirers. Adventure seekers here can look forward to an enthralling trekking experience which is beginner friendly and presents the magnificent views of the surroundings.
Mesmerising your soul with lush green forests and waterfalls, Kodachadri peak is one of the most sought after trekking trails in Karnataka. It is perched at an elevation of 1,343 meters and offers a medium level trail for the trekkers.
Located at an elevation of 1930 meters above sea level, Mullyanagri is famed for offering a picturesque landscape for the trekkers. The trail here stretches for 4 km which is a delight for adventure lovers. Other thrilling activities to be enjoyed here are mountain biking and road biking.
A serene delight for all nature lovers, Kumara Parvatha offers the blissful views of Pushpagiri Wildlife Sanctuary. At a height of 1712 meters, it is the third tallest peak of Karnataka and offers an enthralling trekking experience for two days.
This is a famous 22 kilometre trek which lets you enjoy the scenic beauty of Western Ghats. It is a moderate level trek and fascinates all the trekkers with the glorious views of emerald hills, waterfalls and misty clouds.
GI tags for Karnataka
Karnataka is credited highest GI tags among Indian states which are indicative of them being famous around the globe. A geographical indication (GI) is a name or sign used on certain products which corresponds to a specific geographical location or origin (e.g., a town, region, or country). Some of the popular ones mentioned below:
- Mysore Silk
- Mysore Agarbathi
- Mysore Sandalwood Oil
- Mysore Sandal soap
- Kasuti Embroidery
- Mysore Traditional Paintings
- Ganjifa cards of Mysore
- Bydagi Chilli
- Mysore Malligae
- Udupi Malligae
- Hadagali Malligae
- Ilkal Sarees
- Molakalmuru Sarees
- Coorg Green Cardamom
- Coorg Orange
- Monsooned Malabar Arabica Coffee
- Mysore Betel leaf
- Nanjanagud Banana
- Channapatna Toys & Dolls
- Malabar Pepper
- Navalgund durries
- Devanahalli Pomello
- Appemidi Mango
- Kamalapur Red Banana
- Sandur Lambani Embroidery
- Udupi Mattu Gulla Brinjal
Karnataka’s Popular Tourist Places and Attractions
Karnataka has 31 districts and each has unique geographical and cultural specialty.
– Kudalsangama temple
– Badami caves and temple
– Ilkal sarees
Vijayapura ( Bijapura)
– Lord Shiva statue in Shivagiri is world’s fourth tallest.
– Gol Gumbaz
– Alamatti dam
– Magadi bird sanctuary
– Trikuteshwara Temple
– Nargunda fort
– Temple in Gokarna
– Shiva statue Murudeshwara
– Atomic power station Karwar
– Yana hill
– Water falls (Gersoppa, Unchalli etc)
– Dandeli Abhayaranya (forest)
– Silk city Doddaballapura
– International airport Devanhalli
– Chitradurga fort
– Vanivilasa Sagara dam
– Kolar gold field
– Land of milk, silk and gold
– Jog Falls
– Hydro electric power station
– Linganamukki dam
– Historical temples
– Bellary Fort, a historic fort.
– Bommghatta temple
– Timmalapura Sri Krishna temple
– Hampi UNESCO world heritage center
– Tungabhadra dam biggest in Karnataka
– Archaeological sites like Budhihal, Sanganakallu, Tekkalakote and Kupgal.
– Sanganakallu is spread on area of 1000 acres.
– Sharana Basaveshwara Temple,
– One of the Sufi city
– Khwaja Banda Nawaz Dargah,
– Ladle Mashak and Buddha Vihar
– Raichur fort
– Ramagadde island
– Biligiri Rangana betta BR hills.
– Gopalswamy hill
– Silk treasury Kollegala.
– Manjunathswamy temple at Dharmasthala
– Mangalore harbour
– Beaches in Mangalore
– Kukke Subhrahmanya temple.
– Education hub
– Beautiful hill station
– Birthplace of Kaveri
– Spice garden
– Nagarahole national park
– Cultural capital of the state
– Palace city
– Karanji lake
– One of the cleanest city in India
– 2nd administrative office of Karnataka.
– Belagavi, Gokak Karadantu
– Belagavi Kunda
– Gokak falls
– Karnataka university, Education hub
– Dharwad peda
– Siddeshwara temple
– Byadagi red chilli
– Hukkeri and other math
– Capital of the state
– IT / BT hub
– Garden city
– Historical temples
– Vidhan Soudha
– Nandi Hills
– Davanagere benne dosa
– Sulekere, (Shanti sagara) it is Asia’s 2nd largest lake
– India’s only Vulture sanctuary situated in Ramadevarbetta.
– Silk capital of Karnataka
– Town of toys, Channapattana
– Education kingdom
– City of Triveda Dasoha
– Siddaganga math
– Devarayan durga
– Narasimha Jhira Cave Temple.
– Bahamani Tombs.
– Papanash Shiva Temple.
– Kanaka giri a hill of God
– It is temple land
– Mahadeva temple
– Koppal fort
– Gangavati is Rice bowl of Karnataka
– Venugopal swami temple Surapur
– Cement manufacturing factory
– Textile and leather factories
– Coffee kingdom
– Tourist Paradise with beautiful western ghats
– One of the richest district
– Historical places like Beluru and Halebeedu
– Shravanabelagola Bahubali statue
– Beautiful Sakaleshpura hill station
– KRS dam
– Land of Sugar
– Rangantittu bird sanctuary
– Shivanasamudra, first hydroelectric power station in Asia.
– Shree Krishna temple
– St. Mary’s Island.
– Malpe Beach
– Paradise for food lovers.