Places to Visit in Karnataka

Karnataka tourism sans Karnataka tourist destinations has no existence. Karnataka tourist destinations are the cells that constitute the whole body of Karnataka tourism.

Karnataka Tourist Destinations

Bangalore - Known as the Garden city, the city of Bangalore is the most upwardly mobile city in Asia. Bangalore is known among Tourist Attractions in Karnataka for its beautiful gardens, gigantic malls, well designed arcades, exotic art galleries, majestic palaces, forts and shrines. Some of the important Karnataka tourist destinations in Bangalore are:

The city of Bangalore offers numerous tourist attractions to the travelers. Tourists will come across a number of parks, gardens, museums, temples, historical buildings and lakes. Some of the major tourist destinations in Bangalore, Karnataka include:
  • Bull Temple
  • The Sangameswara Temple
  • Honne Devi Temple
  • The Dharmaraja Temple
  • Jumma Masjid
  • Government Museum
  • Visvesvaraya Museum
  • Venkatappa Art Gallery
  • Cubbon Park
  • Ulsoor Lake
  • Lal Bagh
  • Tippu's Palace
  • Vidhan Soudha
Accommodation will also not be a problem for the tourists, as there are plenty of luxury hotels and resorts in the city of Bangalore.


Mysore, Karnataka is a city of royal palaces, silk saris and sandalwood. Mysore, Karnataka is the second largest city in Karnataka, and forms the basis of Karnataka tourism.

Mysore, situated about 139 kilometers from the city of Bangalore was the former capital of Karnataka. In fact, India's richest silk saris are woven in Mysore of Karnataka.

Further, Mysore, Karnataka is the administrative seat of the Mysore District and the Mysore Division.

History of Karnataka says that Mysore had been the capital of Wodeyars which later went on to the hands of Hyder Ali and his son, Tipu Sultan. As a result, we find the acculturation of the native trends as the style of these Sultans.

Along with the sandalwood, rich saris and other forms of handicrafts, Mysore, Karnataka is also known for its ten day long celebration of Dasara. Dasara is the most important festival of Mysore. During this festival, Mysore palace is completely illuminated for a month. On the last day of the festival, a procession, that starts from the palace with the palace chariots, starts with accompaniment of a band of colorfully decked elephants.

Legend says that the area around city was once the territory of the demon king, Mahisasura, who had almost become invincible. But, Goddess Chamundeshwari vanquished the demon after a 10 day fight. In fact, the Dasara festival is the celebration of this victory of good over evil.


Karnataka Tourist map
Karnataka Tourist map

Shravanbelagola serves as one of the most frenzied and sought-after hubs for the bulk of people who are ardent followers of Jainism. The magniloquent knoll designated as Vindhyagiri constitute one of the two hillocks located in the majestic city of Shravanbelagola that is sited at a spot which is approximately 158 kilometers away from Bangalore.

The pinnacle of Shravanbelagola measures a staggering 3347 feet from the sea level. Being positioned at the apex of 614 step staircase, patients suffering from recurring heart problems are advised to take adequate precautions before commencing this daunting climb.

The star attraction at the Shravanbelagola is the 59 feet and 8 inches tall monolithic statuette belonging to Sri Gomatheswara who was the much celebrated successor of 'Adinath', who is reckoned as the maiden Tirthankara. This stupendous granite embodiment of Sri Gomatheswara came into its illustrious macrocosm in 978 to 993 AD during the reign of Ganga King Rajmalla's minister, Chundaraya.

The colossal statuette of Sri Gomatheswara, also renowned by the name of 'Bahubali' houses letterings in dialects like Kannad, Tamil and Marathi which is argued to be most veteran among the trio and believed to have been created in 981 AD. All these inscriptions convey a vivid description of the valiant upsurge and resurgence that transformed the Ganga, Hoysalas, Vijaynagar and Rasgtrakutas into a force to be reckoned with.


The Hasan dominion of Karnataka is regarded as the holy abode of innumerable architectural marvels that bear the robust trademark of Hoysala dynasty. One such venue that is endowed with the auspicious presence of the Chennakesava Temple is Belur.

Belur is such a destination that proudly displays the opulence with which the Hoysalas have dominated the social as well as the religious aura of Karnataka through its many intricately designed shrines.

One such shrine situated in Belur that reflects the genius and adeptness of the master builders of the Hoysalan era is the 'Chennakesava Temple'. Roughly translated the Chennakesava temple means the 'Vishnu with stunning looks'. The Chennakesava Temple can easily be identified as the chief attraction of Belur.

The entrance to the Chennakesava Temple of Belur is exquisitely ornamented following the Dravidian style of architecture and is regarded as 'Gopuram'. Being erected in the midst of a rectangle shaped courtyard, the temple is also dowered with a four-cornered hall, a pillared vestibule and a concrete, radially arranged 'vimana'.


It was Halebid that served to be the imperial capital of the glorious Hoysala Province in the midst of the 12th century. Being located in Karnataka Hasan district and approximately 149 kilometers away from Mysore, Halebid is conveniently approachable from ant distant nook of state.

Halebid is also well associated with Mangalore, Mysore and Bangalore. The main driving force that compels chunks of eager devotees and holiday-makers to select Halebid as their vacation spot is the magnanimous presence of duple temples- Hoysaleswara Temple and Kedareswara Temple.

The Hoysaleswara Temple at Halebid is flanked by a pristine lake that gifts a heavenly feel to it. Incidentally the ocean is reckoned as 'Dhwara Samudra' that is the translation of 'gateway to ocean' in the regional dialect.

The entranceway to these temples is aptly warded by two 'Nandi bulls' that have been chiseled out of a single stone. The principle ingredient that was lavishly utilized in the construction of the Hoysaleswara temple at Halebid was soapstone or you may be familiar with the name Chloritic Schist.


The primary destinations of Bijapur in Karnataka that entice tourists are listed below:-

Gol Gumbaz or Gola Gumbata - It is bestowed with the reputation of being the second largest dome in the entire planet measuring approximately 124 feet in diameter. Four slender towers with balconies and a flight of steps make way to the apex of the dome. An intriguing feature of the Gol Gumbaz is that even a meek whisper gets amplified to an unbelievable extent and gets heard in the opposite corner with crystal clarity. This spectacular phenomenon is a result of echo that makes it mandatory for the visitors to speak in a feeble tone.

Jumma Masjid - Regarded as one of the most veteran mosques to be built in India, the Jumma Masjid bears a spectacular replica of the holy book of the Muslims, the Quran inscribed in unadulterated gold. The most alluring feature of the Jumma Masjid is the 'Barah Cummon' or '12 half-circles that glorifies the center stage and utilized to host various celebrations.

Malik-e-Maidan - If you want to wish for something, you might as well give it a try by touching this gothic cannon that supposedly executes the wishes of those who are in contact with it. It weighs a whopping 55 tons and stretches to a length of 14 feet.

Ibrahim Roza - Being inspired by one of the seven wonders of the world, the Taj Mahal, Ibrahim Roza serves to hold the corpses of Adil Shah II. This enchanting grave is ornamented by corridors that are intricately designed.


Aihole of Karnataka are mentioned below:-

Ravanaphadi Temple:- Established in the latter part of the 7th century, this temple has been constructed from a single piece of rock and bears a pair of 'Mandapams' along a heavenly delectable Shivalinga.

The Kontiguri group of temples:- This assemblage of temples contains a trio of shrines. These include the Lad Khan temple, Huchiappayyagudi temple and Huchiapayya math. The Lad Khan temple has received its name from a friar that dwelt there during the 19th century and bestowed with two mandapams and also a Shivlingam. Other highlights include an array of 12 pillars. The face of the temple is adorned with the sabhamandapa that has pillars arranged in the design of one square within another larger square. The walls also bear carvings that depict different flowers. The Huchappayyagudi temple possesses a tower or shikhara at the top of the sanctum.

The Galaganatha group contains a massive number of temples, 30 to be precise. It is situated on the banks of the Malaprabha river. The principle shrine is dedicated to Lord Shiva and also homes idols of Yamuna and Ganga.

The Huchimalligudi Temple at Aihole made its presence felt in the 8th century. This shrine displays a slight deviation from the typical and age old style of temple construction as its ardhamandapan is affixed with the primary shrine giving the entire structure a gigantic appearance.

Other temples in Aihole include Durga temple and Meguti Jain Temple.


Badami is also known as Vatapi and considered as a hub for the tourists as it is enriched by the prized presence of the Chalukiyan architecture.

Legend has it that Badami had to see the ugly face of defeat at the hands of Narhasimhavarma Pallavan, a celebrated ruler belonging to the Pallava dynasty. However it took 12 years for the Chalukiyas to turn the tables on the Pallavas and seize what rightfully belonged to them.

Local inhabitants also narrate a bizarre story regarding the two hillocks located in Badami of Karnataka namely Ilvalan and Vatapi. According to them, Vatapi and Ilavan were two monsters who were also siblings. They used to deceive friars, kill them and eat them up. This continued until a hermit named Agastya came and ended this death spree that had gobbled up many innocent beggars and transformed the evil culprits into the two knolls.


Pattadakal is a town in the Indian state of Karnataka. Pattadakal is a perfect example of architectural genius as it contains temples constructed according to various styles. But the primary influence of the Chalukiyan art clearly reflects from the various temples it houses.

Four temples in Pattadakal have been engineered by keeping the style of architecture followed by the Dravidians in mind. Others except Papanatha temple are illustrations of the style followed by the Nagaras who descended from the northern parts of India.


Talking about the genesis of Hampi at Karnataka, it can be said that Hampi is a site where the mythological Kishkindha was stationed. It is said that Hampi, Karnataka was formed by the Vijaynagar kings between 1336-1565.

Some of the important locations worth seeing in Hampi, Karnataka are:

Virupaksha Temple - The temple forms a major site in Karnataka tourism; the mandapams and the painted ceilings are worth seeing. The temple, which remains opens from 8 am to 6:30 pm everyday, has a 9 storey gopuram and the temple is still in use by the local devotees.

Archaeological Museum - The Museum is situated at the southern part of the ruins of Kamalapuram. The museum remains open from 10 am to 5 pm everyday, except on Fridays.


Srirangapatnam is the biggest of the three islands encircled by the tributaries of river Cauvery. Srirangapatnam is located about 15 kilometers from the city of Mysore on the Mysore-Bangalore highway. Srirangapatnam in Karnataka was formerly the capital of the Tipu Sultan, the Nizam of Mysore.

Only 127 kilometers south of Bangalore, Srirangapatnam is a very picturesque island on the river Cauvery. The landscape around Srirangapatnam in Karnataka is very scenic and beautiful.

Srirangapatnam is now a renowned tourists spot in the Karnataka state. The places worth visiting in Srirangapatnam of Karnataka are Jumma Masjid, Ranganathaswami's temple, Rampart, Daria Daulat, the Dungeon and the museum.

Srirangapatnam houses a beautiful island fortress of Tipu Sultan. ?the tiger of Mysore?. Srirangapatnam of Karnataka is a history-rich town. The fort of Tipu Sultan in Srirangapatnam went in the hands of the British when Tipu Sultan was defeated by the British soldiers. The Fort of Tipu Sultan is the place where he was defeated after being betrayed by his own men. There is a mosque and the Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple inside this fortress of Srirangapatnam at Karnataka.

Another attraction of Srirangapatnam at Karnataka is the Daria Daulat Bagh. It is the summer palace of Tipu Sultan built in the year 1784. The Gumbaz is yet another most visited spot of Srirangapatnam. The place houses the remains of the Nizam of Mysore, Hyder Ali and his son Tipu Sultan.


Sringeri in Karnataka is a small scenic town located at the foothills of the Western Ghat mountains. It has the famous Sarada Peetham, the first of the Advaita study centers created by the sage Adi Shankaracharya.

It also has many other centers of great religious significance to the Hindus. The ancient town derives its name from the nearby Risshasringa hill, named after the famed sage of the epic times. Located at the height of 672 meters from sea level, this Karnataka town with an extremely high literacy rate is a very popular destination for devotees and interested visitors.

The highlight of Sringeri at Karnataka is the temple of Saradamba temple. Moved by a scene when he saw a cobra protecting with its hood a frog in labor, Adi Sankacharya decided this place to be a veritable haven of peace on earth and decided to establish Goddess Sarada, the goddess of learning at this very place. That gave birth to the Saradamba temple and the adjacent Sarada Peetham, the seat of learning. Sringeri of Karnataka still continues in the tradition of the Krishna Yajur Veda. The head of the matha still continues as the head of the Smarta tradition of Indian philosophy. The head, who stills uses the appellation of Shankaracharya to his name is referred to as the Jagadguru or the master of he world.


Dharmasthala is one of the important temple town in Karnataka in Belthangady taluk of Dakshina Kannad district.

Dharmasthala is situated in the middle of the Western Ghats on the banks of the Nethravathi river in Karnataka. Dharmasthala in Karnataka is only 100 kilometers from Udupi and some 70 kilometers from Mangalore.

Dharmasthala is the home to Sri Manjunatheshwara Temple with golden lingam, a famous temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple at Dharmasthala in Karnataka attracts a large number of pilgrims from all parts and of all cast and creed.

The town of Dharmasthala in Karnataka is well known for the eight Jain basadis and the ruins of Sri Manjunatheshwara Temple. There is a 11 meter high Bahubali statue whose origin dates back to 1604 AD.

Dharmasthala of Karnataka is a noteworthy example of communal harmony as well as religious and cultural permissiveness. The pilgrims visiting the town of Dharmasthala in Karnataka are offered free meals and lodging. About 100,000 oil lamps are lit up at night in the temple premises during Laksha Deepotsava festival.


nsidered to be one of the seven Muktistala pilgrimage sites in Karnataka.

The famous eight Sanyasi Mutts at Udupi in Karnataka are located in the following places:

  • Sanyasi Mutts in Palimar dedicated to Sri Rama
  • Sanyasi Mutts in Sode dedicated to Bhu Varaaha
  • Sanyasi Mutts in Admar dedicated to Kaliyamardana Krishna
  • Sanyasi Mutts in Krishnapura dedicated to Kaliyamardana Krishna
  • Sanyasi Mutts in Kaniyur dedicated to Narasimha
  • Sanyasi Mutts in Puthige dedicated to Vitthala
  • Sanyasi Mutts in Pejawar dedicated to Vitthala
  • Sanyasi Mutts in Sirur dedicated to Vitthala

Gokarna in Karnataka is a popular destination for Hindu pilgrims as well as holiday makers looking for some tranquil beach experience. The name of this ancient town literally means 'cow's ear'.

Gokarna is believed to be the place where lord Shiva emerged from the ear of a cow after a long penance in the underworld. It may as well be a reference to the shape produced by the confluence of the rivers and the particular shape attained by the beach.

Gokarna has four beaches. They are usually quiet and tranquil since very few people know about the beauty of the beaches of Karnataka's Gokarna. The sand is clean, the sea is blue and has numerous sea-gulls frolicking in its waters; the beach itself is lined with palm trees. Together, they make a stay at Gokarna extremely fruitful. The Gokarna beach is most popular, followed by the Om beach, named so because the beach roughly resembles the Hindu sacred word 'Om'. Other beaches like Paradise and Half-Moon are also equally calm.


If you are a religious minded person then whenever you go to Karnataka make it a point to visit Katil. It lies at a distance of 387 kilometers from the city of Bangalore and 30 kilometers from the city of Mangalore.

Katil is a religious place known to the people of Karnataka as the abode of the mother goddess Durga Parameshwari. The sacred temple of the goddess in Katil lies on the banks of the river Nandini. People come here from far away places in search of peace and prosperity. They firmly believe that Mata Parameshwari will save them from all the adversities in life and bless them with eternal peace and happiness.

Whenever you go to Katil in Karnataka you will have to get into the sanctum through the Dwajasthamba Mandapa. You will first have to worship the silver-covered flag mast. Then you can proceed to the sanctum of Devi Durga. The deity worshiped here is a Swayambu Linga (self-manifested), covered with gold.

Kukke Subramanya

Kkke Subramanya is one of the most wonderful and devotional places in the state of Karnataka. It is situated in a place surrounded by the hills of the western ghats. Lord Subramanya is the principal deity worshiped in this temple in the form of a Cobra.

The Kukke Subramanya in Karnataka is at a distance of 386 kilometers from Bangalore and 151 kilometers from Karwar.

Kukke Subramanya lies on the bank of river Dhara. As goes the Hindu mythology, Lord Kumaraswamy arrived to this place after destroying the demon rulers Taraka, Shoorapadmasura and many others in a battle. It is said that the Lord washed his Shakti Ayudha (the battle-axe in the form of a bayonet) in this holy river.


Moodbidri in Karnataka is known to the world as an ancient center of Jain learning. It is a small town which lies at a distance of 37 kilometers northeast of the Dakshin Kannad district headquarters, Mangalore. The site has an average elevation is 147 meters or 482 feet. Between 14th to 16th centuries Moodbidri became a center of Jain religion, culture, art and architecture. This period of Moodbidri in Karnataka witnessed the construction of eighteen Jain temples. The head of the Jain Math here is a Bhattaraka who belong to the Mula Sangh order. The most popular among them are:
  • Guru Basadi
  • Tribhuvana Tilaka Chudamani Basadi
  • Ammanavara Basadi


Karkala is a the name of a small town in the south of Karnataka. Here you will find a famous Jain temple constructed thousand years ago. The intricate designs adorning its simple stone framework, magnificent stone sculptures and beautiful carvings are the evidences which show that the temple at Karkala is the result of the combined effort of talented sculptors, architects and artists.

Karkala in Karnataka lies amidst the hills and a has a lagoon. It is known for:

  • Great Karkala Temple
  • Jain stupa
  • Gigantic statue of the Jain god, Gandharva

The temple in Karkala of Karnataka is located on the top of a hill with a stone staircase. The wondrous architecture, the Hoysala type sculptures as well as the unique style of construction and the designs of the staircases and porticos are the characteristic features of the temples of Karkala at Karnataka.

At the entrance to the Jain temple in Karkala of Karnataka you will find a set of footprints embedded in a rock dedicated to the Gandharva. These are unique since they are thought to be the original impressions of the holy saint.


Melkote, a place near Mysore in Karnataka is known for the ancient shrine of Vishnu, worshiped here as Tiru Narayana. This shrine has a very ancient association with the spiritual leader Ramanujacharya. The other names for Melkote are:

  • Yadavagiri
  • Yatistalam
  • Vedadri
  • Narayanadri

The principal deity in Melkote is Tiru Narayana. Although the processional image of Vishnu goes by the name Selva Pillai or Sampath Kumara. Lord Vishnu's consort is popular in Melkote in the name of Yadugiri Taayaar.

The icon of Selvappillai is enshrined in the Rangamandapa. You will find the shrines to Yadugiri Taayaar as well as Kalyani Nachiyaar. The temple pond at Melkote is called the Kalyani theertham.


A visit to Somnathpur in Karnataka is a must for the people who have a passion for art and architecture. This is because in Somnathpur you can witness a style of architecture unique to the region.

Somnathpur is 38 kilometers from Mysore. Whenever you go to Somnathpur visit the Hoysala Temple. The temple is devoted to Prasanna Chennakeshava. The temple in Somnathpur was constructed in the 12th-13th centuries by Hoysala rulers and their officials.

The Hoysala temple in Somnathpur in Karnataka is unique in its style and presentation. It is comparatively stunted. The temple is small, compact and structural. It is lavishly adorned with sculpture. The sculptures probably cover each and every inch of the wall space. This particular style of intensely packed sculptural scheme is the characteristic exclusive to the Hoysala art. This was not copied by any other temple architecture in future.


Venur is the name of a small town in South Kanara District of Karnataka in India. The town lies on the bank of river Gurupur.

Venur instead of being a small town once used to be a great center of Jainism. The town was the capital of the Ajila Dynasty. The most popular among the rulers of this dynasty was Thimmanna Ajila. He constructed a colossus of Gommateshwara which was 35 feet high in 1604 AD. Venur colossus is the one with the lowest height of all the three Gommateshwaras within the radius of 250 kilometers.

The 35 high colossus of Gommateshwara (Lord Bahubali) has been erected in Venur on a raised pedestal and there is no support. It is a marvelous piece of art. The features are well carved and are quite proportionate.

The temple in Venur is a kind of Digamber temple.


Banavasi is a very ancient temple town of Karnataka, situated on the border of Uttara Kannad District and Shivamogga district of Karnataka.

Banavasi is set in the rain forest region of Western Ghats in South Indian state of Karnataka and the river Varadha flows through the town. Banavasi in Karnataka is only 374 kilometers from Bangalore.

Banavasi in Karnataka was the capital of the Kadamba Kings in 345 AD. Banavasi is the venue of Kadambotsava - the annual cultural festival of the state held in December. Banavasi of Karnataka is famous for the Madhukeshwara Temple of the 9th century, dedicated to Lord Shiva is the fine example of architectural excellence.


Shivaganga is only 70 km from the Garden city of Bangalore. Shivaganga in Karnataka is located in the hill top which is about 1368 meters high and lies on the national highway number 4.

The small town of Shivaganga in Karnataka is situated on the four-faced hill. The eastern part resembles the Nandi bull of Lord Shiva, the western part resembles Ganesha, the southern part resembles a linga and finally the northern part resembles King Cobra. Shivaganga in Karnataka is the home to two main shrines, Gavi Gangadhareshwara Cave Temple and Honnadevi Temple. You will be amazed to see the beautiful natural spring at Patalaganga on your way to the hilltop of Shivaganga.

The temple of Lord Shiva and waters found is said to be from river Ganga which was believed to be from holy waters of Ganga in Kashi. Shivaganga has a temple on the hill top where you will find a statue of Nandi. Thousands of devotees come to the temple of Shivaganga at Karnataka to pay their homage to the Lord.


Devarayanadurga is located about 65 kilometers from Bangalore on Tumkur road in the state of Karnataka in India. Devarayanadurga is a hill station located at a height of 3940 feet above sea level. Devarayanadurga in Karnataka is well-connected to other parts of the state by a network of well built roads. The hill station is encircled by forests and doted with numerous temples.

Devarayanadurga is a picturesque town with three elevations and seven gates that will lead you to the top of the hill. Devarayanadurga in Karnataka has a number of springs namely Dhanus-tirtha, Ane-done, Rama-tirtha, Mangali and Jaya-tirtha. The famous Lakshmi-Narasimha Swamy Temple is situated in the lower elevation of the hill station.


Nanjangud is located on the Cauvery banks also known as Garalapuri. Nanjangud of Karnataka is well known for Nanjundeswara or Srikanteswara temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is one of the ancient temples of the town.

The Kritti Narayana Temple which was also called the Vaideshwara Temple at present is totally buried beneath the sand dunes of the river. This temple of Nanjangud in Karnataka is excavated once in 12 years in the Panchalinga Darshan festival celebrated here.

Nanjangud is a holy place of the Hindu religion. The neighboring town of Sangam, the meeting points of the rivers Kapila and the Gundlu is called "Parashurama Kshetra". According to legends, this spot near Nanjangud at Karnataka is where Parashurama expiated from his sin of beheading his mother. The temple of Parashurama temple in Nanjangud at Karnataka is built in the style of Mysore temple. Nanjangud also houses shrines of Maruthi and Basaveshvara temple.


Manipal, Karnataka is a beautiful town and is the hub of many universities situated in the Karnataka state of India.

Manipal in Karnataka lies in the rocky hinterland in the coast of Malabar Coast in the southern part of the country. The city of Manipal, Karnataka is only 8 kilometers from the great Arabian Sea. Thus the city of Manipal on the Deccan plateau is surrounded on the west by the Arabian Sea and the Western Ghats range on its eastern side. The beautiful temple city of Udupi is 60 kilometers away from it.

Manipal is called Mannu palla in local language whereby mannu means mud and Palla means lake. Manipal is renowned for its beautiful lake where boating facilities are available.

Apart from being a beautiful city, Manipal of Karnataka is also a center of academic learning, health care, industry as well as finance.

Manipal in Karnataka has recorded to impart higher education to more 70,000 students annually. But the enrollment of students from all parts of India is increasing daily. Manipal at Karnataka has two universities, 24 professional colleges, affiliated institutes and numerous primary and high schools.

Karnataka tourist destinations portray a wide range of locations ranging from forts to museums; from gardens to temples. Thus, Karnataka tourist destinations are really a delight to the tourists.

Last Updated on : 16/09/2013