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Karnataka is a state in South West India. It was created on 1 November 1956, with the passing of the States Reorganisation Act and this day is annually celebrated as Karnataka Rajyotsava (Formation Day). Originally known as the State of Mysore , it was renamed Karnataka in 1973.[6] It is the land of the Kannadigas, Tuluvas, Konkanis and Kodavas. The capital and largest city is Bangalore.

Karnataka is bordered by the Arabian Sea to the west, Goa to the northwest, Maharashtra to the north, Andhra Pradesh to the east, Tamil Nadu to the southeast, and Kerala to the southwest. The state covers an area of 191,976 square kilometres (74,122 sq mi), or 5.83% of the total geographical area of India. It is the eighth largest Indian state by area. With over 61 million inhabitants (2011), Karnataka is the ninth largest state by population, comprising 30 districts. Kannada is the most widely spoken and official language of the state.

Places to Visit in Karnataka

The palace is located in the city of Bangalore, India, was built by Chamaraja Wodeyar, Maharaja of Mysore in the year 1887 AD. Now owned by the current scion of the Mysore royal family, Srikanta Datta Narsimharaja Wodeyar. The Palace was built in Tudor Style Architecture with turreted parapets, battlements, fortified towers and arches. During a visit to England, Chamaraja Wodeyar was inspired by the Windsor Castle in London, and along similar lines he built this palace in Tudor style. The palace is famous for its elegantly carved woodwork.

Some paintings of Raja Ravi Verma are also present here. The inner walls of the Bangalore Palace are also festooned with paintings belonging to the mid-19th century. One of the walls of the Durbar Hall has a set of windows that are decorated with stained glass. The main attraction of Bangalore Palace Bangalore is an art gallery that displays several historical photos, including those of Viceroys, Maharajas and other royal personages and exquisite paintings and carvings. At that time it cost about Rs One lakh to construct the palace. It is one of the major tourist attraction in the city.

Situated in the southwestern part of Karnataka, it is perched on the Western Ghats at an altitude of 1100 m above sea level. Dotted with beautiful coffee and tea plantations, alluring nature trails and splendid waterfalls, it's a place good enough to be visited again and again. Nestling at a height, the climate in Coorg throughout the year is perfect. The most magical place in Coorg is Madikeri which is often referred to as 'Scotland of India'.

Coorg is an absolute gem for all adventure buffs. The options that you will get here are numerous. You can go on trekking in scenic routes, practice few swings on the green top golf course or you can just sit by the river and try your luck in angling. Around Coorg, there are many Buddhist circuits as well that will keep you interested for long.

Cubbon Park is situated in the heart of the city of Bangalore, sprawling across 250 acres. In addition to its natural beauty, there are well maintained Rose Gardens, Children’s Amusement Park, A Aquarium House and A Public Library. In the near vicinity are also Vishweshwariah Museum and Venkatappa Art Gallery. The park was founded in the year 1864 and named against Sir Mark Cubbon, the then commissioner of Bangalore.

There are varieties of trees like the Ashoka, Pine, Tamarind, Gulmohar, Bamboo, Mango etc.

There are different types of flowers bordering the lawns and structures, inviting colorful butterflies around. The noticeable birds at the park are Robin, Cuckoo, Kingfisher, Bee-eater, Bulbul, spotted owl and the Indian pond heron. Also there is an artificial pond that has ducks and the surroundings also have the Indian Hens that are reared there.

The rose garden is exactly opposite to the public library entrance. The varieties of roses cheerfully stand with enticing colors and natural beauty attracting the attention of passers by. The public library is also called the state central library. It is open for all. The library has been started in the year 1966 and the building said to be constructed in the year 1906. The inside of the library are high walls with a wooden parabolic ceiling from the inside, and a floor height book shelves; it gives a great feeling for one to be there. There are approximately 3,00,000 books in number and 240 periodicals, covering most of the Indian languages.

At the other side of the entrance (near to MG Road) of the park is “Children’s Amusement Park” having different types of playing equipments and a toy train ride, encircling certain area of the park. Elders are not allowed into this section until accompanied by their children. On the left hand side of the entrance is a government aquarium that hosts fishes of different kinds.

Gokarna is a ancient temple town and center for Sanskrit studies.It is located in Uttara Kannada district of Karnataka State. Gokarna means " Cow's Ear "- It is believed that Lord Shiva has emerged from the ear of a cow. This town lies between the rivers Gangavali and Agnashini and situated along the Karwar coast by the Arabian Sea. Gokarna is also mentioned in Shrimad Bhagawat Purana. This Shivitiestemple town is also called Kashi of the South.

It has been attracting for hundreds of years. Gokarna is also an important center of Sanskrit learning and houses Bhandikeri Math and Toggu Math. Many Hindus perform the last rites of a person here.

Gokarna is a town of contrasts as it a temple town and also a holiday destination.The place is full of palm and coconut trees. It is an attraction town with two main streets with shops and traditional tile roofed brick houses. The Car Street, which runs through the heart of the town is a typical Pilgrim center, flanked by small business, Puja paraphernalia, souvenirs and food stuff. The maze of narrow lanes and alleys are reminders of tradition, which continues even today. Brahmin priests go about busily with their religious duties. A walk through the main street would not take more than twenty minutes.

Hampi is a village located in the north of Karnataka, amongst the ruins of the former capital of the Vijayanagara Empire, Vijayanagara. The town lies on the banks of the Tungabhadra River, 74 km away from Bellary. It is located atop a rugged terrain, 467 m above sea level.

The place is a significant religious centre of the Vijayanagara Empire due to the presence of the historic Virupaksha Temple along with many other monuments of the old city. UNESCO has listed the Vittal Temple and other ruins of the town of Hampi as a World Heritage Site.

The history of Hampi is related with the historical Kishkindha, which is known for the ‘Vanara’ or Monkey Kingdom, whose reference is also there in the epic Ramayana. Hampi was the settlement of main areas of the Vijayanagara Empire since 1336 to 1565. After this, these areas were persecuted by the Deccan Muslim Confederacy due to the decisive location of Hampi with the Tungabhadra River on one side and hills on the other three sides.

The Archaeological Survey of India and other researchers also take deep interest in the place due to its historical and architectural significance. The region of Hampi is full of large stones, out of which the statues of Hindu gods and goddesses have been crafted. The town is also an important mining site due to the presence of several mineral deposits in this region.

The place hosts the annual Vijayanagara Festival, organised every January by the Government of Karnataka. Popularly known as Hampi Utsav or Hampi Festival, the festival will be held from 27th-29th January, 2012. This cultural affair is a mix of dance, music, drama, processions and a host of other events which take visitors back to the grandeur of the bygone days of the Vijaynagara Empire.

Along with this, the town is also famous for the Purandara Festival, which is held around the end of January to celebrate the birth anniversary of the poet Purandar, in the Vittal Temple. The popular Virupaksha Temple situated near the Hampi Bazaar is one of the oldest monuments of the town. Its top is 50 m from the ground with its main Shrine being dedicated to the Virupaksha form of Lord Shiva.

Jog Falls, the highest waterfall in India is the creation of the Sharavathi River in the Shimoga district of Karnataka. Cascading from a height of 253 meters (829 ft), the waterfall is also known as Gerusoppe falls, Gersoppa Falls and Jogada Gundi. The history of the falls goes back to the year 1800, when the site was first discovered by Buchanan during one his journeys.

Jog Falls mainly comprises of four different streams of the River Sharavati, plunging down a steep incline in the district of Shimoga. The significance of Jog Falls is that in this waterfall, the water does not stream down the rocks in a tiered fashion. On the contrary, the water thunders down the slope losing contact with the rocks, thus making Jog Falls the tallest untiered waterfall in the country. This is the reason why Jog Falls is a famous tourist destination frequented by almost every tourist visiting India. The area around the fall is excellent for trekking.

There are four different streams or tracks into which the River Sharavati is split, comprising the entire structure of Jog Falls, and these streams are: Raja, Rani, Rocket and Roarer.

The best season to visit this waterfall is the monsoons when this gigantic body displays its maximum charm. Though one will find dense vapour engulfing the waterfall, but when the mighty waterfalls the vapour evaporated in an ethereal manner. The best look of the waterfall can be had by lying down and looking over the giant from the slabs of rock near the Bombay bungalow. Watkin’s platform is another spot from where the view is splendid.

The Jog fall is an important source of water for the Mahatma Gandhi hydro Electric project that was started way back in1948. At present the water of this fall provides 120 MW capacity of electricity and today serves LDPH (55MW), SGS(1035 MW) and Gerusoppa Tail race(240MW) generating stations.

Located at a mere distance of 200 kms from Bangalore, the fall is easily accessible by road. While Shimoga (105 kms) is the nearest railhead, the nearest town are – Sagar (30 kms) and Taluguppa (16 kms). One can avail buses from Bangalore. When coming by a private vehicle one can take the NH 206 to reach Shimoga and Sagar.

LalBagh is one of the very famous park in Bangalore and it is one of the most important tourist attractions in Bangalore. Hyder Ali commissioned the building of this garden in 1760, but his son, Tipu Sultan completed it. LalBagh is a 240 acre garden and is located on the southern part of Bangalore. It holds a number of flower shows, especially on the Republic Day (26th January). The garden has over 1,000 species of flora. The Glass House, modeled on London's Crystal Palace (now re-modelled with a different layout), is the center of attraction. Hyder Ali laid out these famous botanical gardens and his son added horticultural wealth to them by importing trees and plants from several countries.

The garden has trees that are over 100 years old. It also has an aquarium and a lake. Flower shows are conducted every year to educate people about the variety of flora and develop public interest in plant conservation and cultivation.

LalBagh remains open daily from 6.00 a.m. to 7.00 p.m. throughout the year. For the benefit of joggers, tourists and fitness enthusiasts, entry is free from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. and from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. At other times, a fee of Rs.10/- is charged. Entry for school children and the disabled is free all day.

A priceless national treasure and the pride of a kingdom, the Mysore Palace is the seat of the famed Wodeyar Maharajas of Mysore. Today it is a museum housing treasures from across the world reflecting the rich and colorful history of the erstwhile princely state of Mysore. Built in Indo-Saracenic style with domes, turrets, arches and colonnades, the Palace is a treasure house of exquisite carvings and works of art from all over the world. Intricately carved doors open on to luxuriously furnished rooms. The majestic Durbar Hall has an ornate ceiling and many sculpted pillars. The magnificent jewel-studded golden throne of the Wodeyars is displayed here during the Dasera festival. Every autumn, the Palace is the venue for the famous Mysore Dasara festival, during which leading artists perform on a stage set up in the palace grounds. On the tenth day of the festival Vijaya Dashami, a parade with caparisoned elephants and other floats originate from the palace grounds. Mysore palace was initially built during the Muslim Dynasty of Haider and Tipu.

After their downfall, the Wodeyars rebuilt and refurnished the architectural style of the Mysore Palace from the Muslim way to that of Hindu. Temples were created and idols of Hindu dieties were carved onto the structure.

Nagarhole National Park is a beautiful forest reserve located in south Indian state of Karnataka. Spread over the Mysore and Kodagu districts, the park is bonded by the Kabini river to the south, the Wayanad Sanctuary to its south-west and the Bandipur Tiger Reserve to its south-east.

Nagarhole is one of the oldest National Park in India. It is a part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve inhabiting tigers as well as some of the other rare and endangered species. It was declared as a Game Sanctuary in 1955. With a view to preserve the exotic wildlife of the forest, the area of the park was extended by combining Mysore forests with Nagarhole National Park. The best period to visit Nagarhole is between October to April.

Flora of Nagarhole National Park :

Nagarhole consists of the moist and dry deciduous with an abundance of teak and rosewood trees. To the west, where rainfall is greater, the vegetation is mainly tropical moist and semi-evergreen forests. There are also patches of swampy fallows that are dominated by grasses and sedges, providing ideal grazing areas for many wild herbivores. Tectona Grandis and Dalbergia Latifolia trees are found in abundance in southern parts of the park.

Fauna of Nagarhole National Park :

At Nagarhole large groups of sambar, chital, gaur and elephants, and occasionally a tiger or leopard can also be easily spotted. Among other mammals are muntjac, the tiny mouse, deer, wild boar, pangolin, giant squirrel, slender loris, langurs and the macaques. Some 250 species of birds have have listed in the park and these include Malabar Trogan, and Malabar pied hornbill, the Great Indian black woodpecker, the Indian pitta and the green imperial pigeons.

Nandi Hills, also known as Nandidurg, is an ancient hill fortress, which served numerous dynasties in the yesteryears. Located in the Chikballapur district of Karnataka state, the destination stands at 4,851 feet (1,479 metre) above sea level.

Tourists can reach the destination from the diverged road on the National Highway 7 after Devanahalli town. From the diversion, it takes a ride of 30 minutes (20 km) to reach Nandi Hills. The ancient fortress of Nandi Hills or Nandidurg is an anglicised form of Nandidurg and Nandydroog, lying at distance of 60 kilometres from the Bangalore city centre.

According to the legend, the name Nandi Hills originated from the shape of a hill, which resembles a sleeping bull. During Chola rule, it was known as Ananda Giri, meaning 'The Hill of Happiness'. Moreover, the place is associated with Yoga Nandeeshwara, who performed penance.

A 1,200 year old Dravidian Nandi temple positioned on the hill is one of the premier tourist attractions of Nandi Hills. One of the oldest temples of Karnataka was constructed in the ninth century, which is carved in the rock. The temple comprises two complexes, the first one features three deity sculptures and the other one houses a beautiful Kalyani pond.

The foundation stone of the temple was laid by the Banas in the ninth century. Thereafter, the Cholas constructed the roof of the temple in 11th century. The complex also features a marriage hall that was built by the Hoysalas in the 13th century. The wall of the complex was erected by the Vijayanagar kings. The highlights of the temple are the elegant stone carvings on the walls and ceilings.

In another historic event, the fort of Nandi Hills was attacked by troops of Cornwallis on 19 October, 1791 declaring war with Tipu Sultan of Mysore. Among major sightseeing attractions of the destination are Amrita Sarovar Lake, Tipu's Drop and Sir Mark Cubbon's bungalow.

Nandi Hills has moderate climatic conditions round the year; therefore, it can be visited any time of the year. However, due to intermittent rainfall during June to August because of south-west monsoons, visit to Nandi Hills is not much favoured.

The famous Ulsoor Lake is centrally situated sprawling over an area of 1.5 sq. kms. Originally known as "Halsur" or "Alsur", the lake then extended over an area of 125 acres. Constructed by Kempe Gowda II, this pretty picnic spot is on the northeastern fringe of the city centre.

Dotted with picturesque tiny island, it is just the spot to take a break from busy sight seeing and shopping. It is a major tourist attraction with a boat club where you can hire out cruises with stops at some of the tiny islands that dot the lake.

You can enjoy a boat-ride, which includes stops at some of the tiny islands that dot the lake. The boating is organized by the KSTDC. Pedal and rowboats can be hired for Rs 120/- per hour.

Attached to the lake is a park with a lot of shade and greenery, which is frequented by children and many other people. Timings boating are open on all days including Sundays and government

The Tipu Sultan Fort is close to the City Market in Bangalore and has been built in 1537 by Kempe Gowda, who was the founder of Bangalore.

The fort has complicated carved arches that are according to the Islamic style. The major highlight of this fort is that there is a Ganapati (Lord Ganesh) temple in it that has been well-retained.

Inside the fort there is the Tipu Sultan Palace that has been built in 1790.

This palace is constructed totally of teakwood. Tipu Sultan used this structure as a summer residence.

It is a two-storied palace that has balconies, arches and pillars. There are attractive gardens on both sides of the palace and these lead to the main entrance.

In the palace, the walls as well as the ceilings have been decorated with beautiful floral designs. The eastern and western balconies of the upper floor were used by Tipu Sultan to manage the affairs of the kingdom.

Following Tipu Sultan’s death, the British used this palace as the secretariat up to 1867.


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