The fifth most popular state in India in terms of tourism, Karnataka is a perfect blend of heritage and natural beauty. Bengaluru (earlier known as Bangalore), the capital of Karnataka, is one of the most significant states, as it is the hub of the Indian software industry. Who could have guessed that Karnataka alone houses 507 out of 3,600 centrally protected historical monuments in India, making it the largest number after Uttar Pradesh. Some of the famous temples in the state bring devotees from various parts of the world to pay their homage to their deities, making them an integral part of Karnataka tourism.
In simple words, tourism in Karnataka is mainly diversified in the four geographical regions of the state, namely: North Karnataka, the Hill Stations, Coastal Karnataka and South Karnataka.
Located in the southern part of India, the state of Karnataka lies between 11.5° to 18.5 ° Northern latitude, and 74° to 78.5 ° Eastern longitude. Towards the western side, Karnataka is surrounded by the Laccadive Sea and the Arabian Sea. On the northwest, it is bordered by Goa, on the northern side by Maharashtra, towards the north-eastern side by Telangana, on the eastern side by Andhra Pradesh and it has Tamil Nadu towards the south east and Kerala on the south west side.
|Location||Southern part of India|
Maharashtra and Goa to the North and Northwest
Arabian sea to the West
Kerala and Tamilnadu to the South
Andhra Pradesh to the East
|Latitude||11.5° -18.5° North|
|Longitude||74° - 78.5° East|
|Climate||Summer - Warm|
Winter - Cool
|Average Annual Rainfall||450 cm|
|Languages||Kannada, Tulu, Konkani, Kodava, Hindi, English|
|Religion||Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, Islam, Christianity|
|Best Time to Visit||September to February|
|Clothing||Summer - Light cottons|
Winter - Woolens
Karnataka is among some of the most advanced states of India, and has an organised network of roads, railways and airways. The transport facilities have played an important role in the development of the state's tourism.
The state of Karnataka has four domestic and two international airports. The most important airport of the state is the Bengaluru International Airport. The state is well connected to the rest of the country and the whole world, through regular flights to and from the airports.
Karnataka has a vast railway network of 3,089 km of total length. While some parts of the state come under the South Western Zone of the Indian railways, rest of the regions fall under the Southern Railways and the Konkan Railway network. All the major tourist spots of the state can be reached through trains running in the state.
The Karnataka Government has recently introduced The Golden Chariot, a train which connects popular tourist destinations in the state and Goa, an added boon to travellers.
All the major cities and tourist destinations of Karnataka can be easily approached through the excellent road network. Karnataka is connected by 15 National Highways, along with a wide network of state highways. The state has 3,973 km of national highways and 9,829 km of state highways. The Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) runs a regular bus service in the entire state.
Best Time to Visit
Karnataka experiences moderate summers and cool winters, and heavy monsoons from June to September. October to January are the most favourable months to travel in the state, as the state does not have harsh weather during the period. The state records on an average, a maximum temperature up to 40°C and a minimum temperature up to 10°C.
How many days are enough to travel in Karnataka
The numbers of days to travel in Karnataka vary depending on the number of tourist destinations to be covered in the available number of days of your vacation. Karnataka being a vast state, with a huge mix of heritage, beaches, and religious places, tourists must chalk out their holiday-plan and cover a particular region of the state. You can try to cover the coastal regions of Karnataka in one vacation, the major cities in one vacation, and so on.
Places to Visit
The state of Karnataka has a wide range of beaches, historical monuments, temples, and national parks to choose from. So, choosing a few from a huge list can be a massive task. Though, here is a compilation of some of the most famous tourist destinations in Karnataka:
- Coorg hill station
- Mahabaleshwar Temple, Gokarna
- The Mysore Palace, Mysore
- Gol Gumbaz, Bijapur
- Daria Daulat Bagh
- Khwaza Bande Nawaz Dargah, Gulbarga
- Jog Falls
- Magod Falls
- Shivanasamudra Falls
- Iruppu Falls
- Lalguli Falls
- Nrityagram Dance Village
- Gurudwara Nanak Jhira Sahib Bidar
- Beaches in Gokarna
- Murudeshwar Beach
- Karwar Beach
- Mallikarjuna Temple Pattadakal
- Bandipur National Park
- The cave temples at Badami
- The rock-cut temples at Aihole
Karnataka is a safe state for tourists from across the world, but the tourists should make sure of the following things:
- Be careful of your personal belongings, especially in crowded places.
- Travel in groups, if you are not a local or unaware of the local language.
- Try to learn a few terms of the local language to ease communication.
- Carry necessary medicines and an adequate amount of water, if travelling during summers.
- Organise your trip beforehand, using the state tourism department or reliable travel agents.
Cost of Travel
The travel cost varies from the number of travel days to the tourist destinations that you plan to cover in your tour. The Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation (KSTDC), offers various packages for tourists to choose from, such as the Heritage Holiday package, Nature Holiday package, Beach Holiday package, Pilgrimage holiday package, and City Holiday package, to name a few. You can also find specific packages to visit only Coastal Karnataka.
The railways network of Karnataka offers something special to all kinds of travellers. Usually a 7 nights and 8 days journey in the famous Golden Chariot covers a wide range of tourist destinations including, Mysore, Srirangapatna, Kabini, Shravanabelagola, Belur, Halebidu, Hampi, Badami, Aihole, Pattadakal, and Goa. The per person cost is Rs 22,000 or a package of Rs 1,54,000 for Indian nationals only, as the prices vary for foreign tourists.
From Government Emporiums to malls, to private shops, Karnataka has a wide range of handicrafts to offer. Some of the most popular products which are synonymous with the state are:
- Sandal sculptures
- Carved metal, stone and wood objects
- Silk sarees from Mysore
- Sandalwood oil
- Incense sticks
- Mysore paintings from Mysore
- Lambani jewellery
- Bijapur handlooms
- Bidriware artifacts (made of zinc and copper)
- Carnatic music (a traditional Indian classical music form)
- Udupi cuisine of coastal Karnataka
Hotels and Accommodation Options
The state offers a wide range of accommodations, from lodges/guesthouses, to hotels (low-range to high-range), to on-rent apartments, as well as hostels.
You can choose between the rest houses in the Bandipur and Nagarhole wildlife sanctuaries or the luxury resorts from among the modes of accommodation.
Karnataka offers a lip-smacking spread that would appeal to every palate. The state has varied forms of different cuisines for both vegetarians and non-vegetarians. The state's foods have a strong influence from its neighbouring states as well, while the Kannada cuisine is the oldest and most famous among all in the state. From traditional Kannadiga cuisine, to Udupi, Mangalorean and Kodava, the food habits differ from the state's southern to the northern parts.
- Mysore Masala Dosa
- Kane fry (lady fish) in Mangalore
- Maamsa Saaru (Mutton Curry - Kannada style)
- Kesari Baath
- Patrode in Mangalore
- Midigayi pickle (tender mango) and sandige in Malnad
- Masala dosa in Udupi
- Pandi curry (pork curry) in Kodava
- Dharwad peda in North Karnataka
- Dosa Pandi curry in Bijapur
- Thatte idlis (flat idlis) for Breakfast
- Mysore pak (dessert)
- Shavige payasa (dessert)
- BaaLaka - (a snack made of deep fried vegetables and fruit chips)
- Kaapi (Filter Coffee)
Tourist Helpline Numbers
Department of Tourism, Government of Karnataka
Tel: 080-2235 2828,
Fax: 080-2235 2626
Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation
Tel: 080-4334 4334, 4334 4337, 089706 50070
Fax: 080-4334 4353
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
References: State Tourism Guides
Last Updated on : September 6, 2014