Karnataka, India, is a sprawling Southern state that has it all. Here you’ll find everything from 280km of gorgeous coastline to lush green coffee plantations; from ancient temples to the cosmopolitan chic of its capital city, Bangalore.
Chances are you’ll begin your trip in Bengaluru (also called Bangalore), in Karnataka’s capital city. There are many Karnataka tour packages from Bangalore, and this thriving, modern city has a lot to offer. Stroll past flowerbeds and lotus ponds in Lalbagh park, where you can also find a 3000-million-year-old rock formation, or visit the hip neighbourhood of Indiranagar for a plethora of shopping and dining opportunities. Bangalore is also well-known for its craft beer breweries, so make sure you stop for a pint at Toit or Arbor Brewing Company.
Mysore is located a short drive or train ride from Bangalore. Known as the City of Palaces, it is famed for its royal heritage and ancient monuments. The Mysore Palace is the most famous and richly decorated of these, with Lalitha Mahal, in the east of the city, coming a close second. The ancient Sri Prasanna Krishna Swamy Temple is also a must-visit, providing a taste of India’s rich cultural and religious traditions. Mysore is also the birthplace of Ashtanga yoga, and the city has a plethora of different yoga classes and retreats to try if you’re feeling adventurous.
Situated amongst the breathtaking peaks of the Western Ghats, this district is the perfect place to relax and rejuvenate after visiting Mysore and Bangalore. Stroll through misty forests, emerald hills and coffee, cardamom and pepper plantations. Interact with elephants at the Dubare Elephant Camp – if you arrive before 9:00am you’ll have the chance to give them a bath. Near the camp is the oldest Tibetan settlement in India, Bylakuppe, where you can visit the lavishly decorated Golden Temple, its interiors decorated with colourful, traditional friezes.
Gokarna is a dreamy town located on the Arabian coast. It’s a tranquil, less crowded alternative to the neighbouring beaches of Goa, where you’ll find the nearest airport. It’s also both a laid-back hippie hangout and a popular Hindu pilgrimage site. Gokarna boasts five beaches connected by a 10km walking path. On Gokarna Beach you’ll find pilgrims taking a dip in the waters before visiting the ancient Mahabaleshwar Temple. However, the quietest and most picturesque are Half Moon Beach and the aptly named Paradise Beach, both accessible by boat from Om Beach.
The ancient ruins and temples of Hampi are surrounded by paddy fields, banana plantations and surreal hillsides littered with large, rust-coloured boulders. Despite the village’s small size, there’s a lot to see at this UNESCO heritage site. One of the most intriguing is the Hanuman Temple, of which there are 570 steps to the top and you’ll find hundreds of monkeys along the way. In Hampi Bazaar you’ll find gorgeous handwoven fabric and other traditional handicrafts for sale. To find a quieter side to Hampi, take a traditional coracle ride across the River Tungabhadra, where you can hike up to Sunset Point for a view of these awe-inspiring surroundings.
These are just five of the many places you can visit in Karnataka, and this Southern state has a lot to offer the adventurous tourist. Take a look at our Karnataka Tours page for tailor-made itineraries that will allow you to get the most out of your trip.