Karnataka is a sensation that has it all: desert, waterfalls, ghats, beaches, hills, and whatnot. It is also the land of various native languages. It is one of those places that no matter how many times you have visited, you would never have covered everything. There are so many experiences and businesses that are to be experienced. Whether it’s the bustling metro life of Bengaluru or the quiet monsoon life of Coorg, K’taka has it all.
Here are five places one must visit according to my opinion:
Somnathpur and Talakad
More than the actual town itself, the gem is the magnificent Chennakeshava Temple elegantly standing in the town. The outer carvings of the temple are so beautifully intricate, that one look, and you’ll only want to look deeper. The temple was built by the Hoysala commander, Somnath in 1268 A.D. the temple was entirely constructed using soapstone. This is one such structure that draws in foreigners as well. It was declared as a heritage site by the Archaeological Survey of India.
With your toes buried in the blanketing sand under the warm sun, it’s almost like one can hear the whispers of Almelamma’s curse. It is also known as “the city that lies hidden beneath the sand”. The curious case of the town itself is enough to draw your attention. It was the capital of the Western Ganga kingdom once upon a time.
There are various temples in this town: the Talakad Panchalinga Temple, Pathaleshwara Shivalinga (which appears red during the morning, black at noon, and white in the evening), and the Mudukuthore Mallikarjuna Temple. Apart from these beautiful temples, one can also see the bank of the river Kaveri, which appears like a mini-beach due to the sandy nature of the town.
This is one city that almost everyone residing person in Karnataka has been to and will recommend. Mysore (previously referred to as Mysuru), is the third-largest and second most populated Karnataka city. Situated right at the foot of Chamundi Hills, Mysore was once the capital of the Kingdom of Mysore, former Karnataka. It is popularly known as Karnataka’s cultural capital.
Mysore is a city with a lot of eye-catchers. It is the getaway city. You have the infamous Mysore Palace, known for its immaculate lighting on Sunday nights, and during Dussehra. Mysore Dussehra is a spectacle you don’t want to miss. The entire city seems like a carnival you can’t get enough of. I can dedicate a whole article to Mysore: there are so many places to visit. The Jaganmohana Palace.
Other significant tourist spots in Mysore include Karanji Lake & Park, Chamundi Hill, Brindavan Garden, and Rail Museum. One must not forget the zoo, Nanjangud, and unique and beautiful places on the Mysore-Bengaluru journey.
Jog Falls is the pride and honor of not only Karnataka but India as well. There are several folk songs dedicated to this phenomenon. It is also a very famous shooting site for Kannada films. It is a beauty that is best captured with one’s own eyes. Jog Falls is situated on the borders of Shimoga and North Kanara, 100 Kms from Shimoga city.
The Western Ghats gives rise to the Sharavati river that plunges from a height of 829 feet in four magnificent cascades, namely Raja, Rani, Roarer, and Rocket. Being the tallest waterfalls in India, Jog falls in the dense evergreen forests, 16kms from Talguppa, nearest railway station, Shimoga district, Karnataka.
The surroundings are like icing on the cake. The lush greenery, the fresh, sweet air. It is a phenomenal experience you wouldn’t want to miss. During Monsoons, the Jog falls voluminous, creating a spectacular sight with rainbows now and then. One can take an adventurous walk at the bottom of the gorge when the sluice gates of the Linganmakki dam are closed.
The best time to visit the Jog is in winter when the sky is clear of the mist. The place is well connected by rail and road from Shimoga city, and the number of government & private buses plies between Shimoga and Jog Falls.
It’s the best long-drive trip Karnataka has to offer. The air is unmatchable. It is crisp and clear. The romantic monsoon vibes just adds on more to the air. House to numerous Home Cottages and coffee/tea plantations, Coorg, officially called Kodagu, is the most sought-after and famous hill station of Karnataka.
Lying serenely amidst high mountains, Coorg’s landscape stays misty throughout the year. The mist is so strong, one can easily confuse it for snow. Apart from Kannada, the other two main languages of this hill station are Kodagu and Kodava. It is also the highest producer of coffee in our country.
The best time to visit Kodagu is between October and May, and the peak season for this hill station is from February to May. Also, it is one of the places with the highest rainfall across the nation. This hill station has breathtakingly stunning scenic beauty, undulating hills covered in lush green forests, and a landscape dotted with coffee plantations, tea gardens, and orange groves.
The popular tourist attractions in Kodagu include Bhagamandala, Talakaveri, Nisargadhama, Dubare (it has an elephant camp- must visit), Abbey Falls, Iruppu Falls, and Nagarahole National Park. Pushpagiri and Brahmagiri in Coorg are ideal for trekking..
Once the home of the witty Tenali Rama, and the just King Krishnadevaraya, Hampi is one of the most aesthetic temple towns. It is situated in northern Karnataka, and it was once the capital of the historical Vijayanagara Dynasty (it is arguably the most remembered dynasty of Karnataka from that era). You might have seen these ruins in various South Indian films.
You can even see it in Bollywood songs. These ruins, dating back to 1500 A. D., sends you right into the era of swords, dance, and splendor. There are records that state that once, Hampi used to be the second-largest city in the world.
The numerous boulders surrounding this town just add to the already marvelous sight. One can also get a glimpse of the banks of the river Tungabhadra. Here are a few temples to visit in the temple town: Vithala Temple, Virupaksha Temple, and the Nandi statue. It is one of the best places for a weekend getaway (if you’re already a resident of Karnataka).