Southern state of Karnataka is an amalgamation of tradition and modernization. Karnataka is situated on the lower West Coast of South India, surrounded by Maharashtra to the north, Arabian Sea to the west, Goa to the northwest, Kerala to the southwest, Andhra Pradesh to the east and Tamil Nadu to southeast. Karnataka is recognized for its rich cultural heritage. This state had undergone rule of many kingdoms, which can be seen from the great temples, mosques, forts and palaces of architectural marvels as a reminder of those glorious period.
The state is immersed with ever shimmering natural splendor and boasts of affluent cultural heritage. Majestic Western Ghats, dense forest of Sahyadris and many wild life sanctuaries encompasses this beautiful state. This state also has long coastline dotted with some gripping beaches. Karnataka has been positioned as the fourth hot destination in India. Karnataka’s economy benefits from gold, manganese, oilseed, coffee, silk and sandalwood production. Over 90% of India’s gold production comes from south Karnataka. Extractions are carried out at manganese ore from the districts of Bellary and Hospet. Karnataka is the largest producer of coffee, raw silk and sandalwood based products.
Climate of Karnataka
Karnataka is one of the most gorgeous states in India. As far as the climate in Karnataka is concerned, this state also has a pleasant weather. Karnataka have moderate summers and pleasant winters. The entire coastal belt of Karnataka has The Tropical Monsoon climate. The Southern part of Karnataka experiences hot, seasonally dry tropical savanna climate. The north Karnataka experiences hot, semi-arid, tropical steppe type of climate.
The winter begins from January and ends in February. It is followed by summer from March to May. Post monsoon season begins in October and lasts till December. The months April and May are really very hot and dry. Weather tends to be harsh during June due to high humidity. The next three months (July, August and September) are comfortable due to reduced day temperature although the humidity continue to be very high. The best season to visit Karnataka is definitely the winter where the travelers can enjoy the most because of a very pleasant weather.
Karnataka- Art and Culture
The arts and crafts of Karnataka are uniquely traditional. They have evolved through ages from one generation to another. Karnataka has got a rich cultural legacy through the trade links with ancient Rome, Persia, China, Turkey and Arabia. This influence is notable in its art and culture. Apart from Kannadigas, Karnataka is home to Tuluvas, Konkanis and Kodavas. There are some other minor populations which include Tibetan Buddists and some other ethnic groups. Music, dance and drama are integral part of Karnataka culture. Traditional art form ‘Yakshagana’ offers a grand spectacle, is one of the major theatrical forms of coastal Karnataka. Contemporary theatre culture in Karnataka is one of the most vibrant in India. Veeragase, Kamsale and DolluKunitha are popular dance forms. Bharatanatya also enjoys wide patronage in Karnataka. Ritualistic dance is another attraction in Karnataka, which is taken as the main cultural treasures. Some of them are DolluKunitha, Puja Kunitha, DevareThatteKunitha, YellammanaKunitha, and SuggiKunitha. Most of these dance rituals take the name after the deity or the symbol or the instruments which the dancers carry on their heads while performing the dance.
Music has a great place in the culture of Karnataka. Karnataka is a unique place where both Hindustani and Carnatic singers flourish. North Karnataka is predominantly famous for Hindustani music and South Karnataka is well known for Carnatic music. It was the Vijayanagara kings and the Wodeyars who patronized music in Karnataka and great singers like PurandaraDasa and Kanaka Dasa flourished during their reign. Hindustani music contributed to the culture of Karnataka and many great singers came from this musical genre in Karnataka. Nagamandala is an elaborate ritual performed by the people of Dakshina Kannada and this is conducted extravagantly throughout the night where the dancers are dressed as nagakannikas and perform dances, which resemble the movements of a snake. An ancient art form of leather puppetry, which uses stories drawn from the Ramayana and Mahabharata, is known as TogaluBombeaata. It is an ancient heritage, and is still performed in rural Karnataka. The local village people use this form of puppetry to seek a good harvest and plenty of rainfall and also to get rid of diseases or attacks by pests.
Places to Visit
Bangalore- The Garden City of India
The pleasant capital city of the sate of Karnataka is known for its salubrious climate. Often called the ‘Garden City’ of India, Bangalore has fine parks and avenues lined with flowering trees. Stately buildings, splendid shopping, fine pubs and eating places, golf courses all add to Bangalore’s charm. The city is known as the ‘Silicon Valley’ of India for the extensive software industry that is located here. Bangalore is precisely called the doorway to South India. This city is placed halfway between the coasts of Southern India. As fifth largest city of India, Bangalore is famous for its education centre and students from all over the world aspire to be a part of these prestigious institutes.
Air:Well connected by air to International destinations and cities around India. Dubai, Muscat, Sharjah, Bangkok, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Paris, London, New York are linked by either direct flights or those with easy connections available. Air India, Indian Airlines, Jet Airways, Air Sahara link Bangalore to destinations within the domestic sector like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Madurai, Coimbatore, Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi, Mangalore, Hyderabad, Goa and Pune through regular flights.
Rail:Bangalore is well connected to cities around the country. The Rajadhani Express and Karnataka Express link Bangalore to New Delhi. The Udayan and Kurla Express go daily to Mumbai. Four trains, the Shatabdi, Chennai Express, Brindavan Express and Chennai Mail go daily to Chennai. Kanyakumari Island Express go daily to Kanyakumari via Trivandrum.
Road:Very well linked by road to all the major destinations in the south along the NH 47 and NH 48. Networks of state highways allow a high degree of connectivity around Karnataka.
Tourist Destinations and Attractions
In the heart of the city is the Cubbon Park laid out in 1864 with 300 acres of verdant lawns, flower beds and groves of fine trees, a popular escape for city dwellers. This park is famous for its many attractions which includes the large diamond shaped aquarium located at the entrance of the park. The aquarium which is the second largest aquarium in India houses rare collection of exotic fishes. This park is studded with splendid sculptures and Gothic buildings, which house the Public Library, Government Museum, Technological and Industrial Museum and the High Court.
This beautiful garden extends over 240 acres. Laid on by Hyder Ali and his son Tipu Sultan in late 18th century, the park is noted for its collection of exotic trees and plant, lawns and lotus ponds. The Glass House in the heart of the garden modelled after the Crystal Palace in London is the venue for the splendid flower shows held in January and August. 150 different varieties of roses are grown here.
VidhanSoudha built in grey granite in a neo-Dravidian style, housing the secretariat and State Legislature. This majestic building is the pride of Bangalore and is one of the important Bangalore attractions. The gleaming white domes, pillars and archways resemble the architectural pattern of Mysore’s old palaces. When illuminated the entire building presents a breathtaking picture.
The Bull Temple (Basavanagudi)
It was built in the 16th century by Kempe Gowda in Dravidian style. The temple gets its name from a huge, carved, monolithic, Nandi- the sacred bull which is 4.57m tall and 6.10m long. The bull temple also called as the Nandi temple, is dedicated to Nandi-the celestial vahana (mount) for Lord Shiva. This massive statue has been carved from single granite and is considered the largest Nandi statue of the world.
The Karnataka High Court – AttaraKacheriis situated in Bangalore. It is a breathtaking red brick and stone building built in the Greco-Roman (neo-classical) architecture style. It has two stories and overlooks the Vidhan Sabha, Karnataka’s legislature seat. Earlier named as Old Public Offices and now named as AttaraKacheri, meaning eighteen departments. It is so named as these 18 departments of the revenue and general secretariat of the Mysore Government were transferred here from the Tipu Sultan summer palace.
Ulsoor Lake, on the Northeastern edge of the city, is an important picnic spot. The ideal gateway for picnics or excursions, it is surrounded by pictorial islands. This pretty picnic spot is on the northeastern fringe of the city center. One can enjoy boat ride or swim in the nearby pool. One of Kempegowda’s watch towers stand near by the Ulsoor Lake.
Bannergatta National Park
21 km from the city, the Bannerghatta National Park has an area of 874 sq. kms, located amidst sylvan surroundings; this park has a crocodile farm, and a tiger and lion safari. Rivers and gorges traverse the hilly landscape of the park. The tree crop consists of dry deciduous and miscellaneous species. The animals to be seen here are tiger, leopard cat, sloth bear, four horned antelope, elephant, flying squirrel and mouse deer. The reptiles are mugger and monitor lizard. The main birds are spoonbill, jungle fowl, partridge, bush quail, woodpeckers, teal and coot.
Tipu Sultan’s Summer Palace
The Tipu’s Palace and the adjacent fort represent fine examples of Indo-Islamic architecture that also offers a peep into the Mughal lifestyle of the day. The construction of the palace was started by Haider Ali and completed by Tipu Sultan himself in 1791. Built entirely in Teak wood, this palace was originally a summer retreat and it took ten years to plan and complete the construction. It is a two-storied ornate wooden structure with pillars, arches and balconies flanked by gardens on either sides leading to the palace. The palace has battlements and turrets, Gothic windows and foiled windows resembling the Daria Daulat Palace of Srirangapatnam. The double-storied lavishly ornamented palace is identified for its carving and paintings. The walls and ceilings are painted in bright colors with carvings. The building now days are used as art gallery of nearly a thousand historical photos, including those of viceroys, maharajas and other famous personalities besides the fragile carvings and paintings. In the quadrant there is a Ganesha Temple that popularly depicts and represents Tipu Sultan’s religious tolerance.
Venkatappa Art Gallery
Venkatappa Art Gallery is the highly recommended as a must-visit place in Bangalore city. This brilliant art gallery is more than capable of satiating even the true art aficionados. The art gallery, which is divided into two halls, has stone sculptures from the Mathura and Khajarao schools of art in one of the halls, while the other hall is dedicated to pottery and clay articles belonging to the Indus Valley civilizations. It also exhibits 20th century landscapes and the occasional contemporary art show.
Structurally spread over two floors, the gallery exhibits around 600 paintings, which are on display throughout the year. The ground floor displays the works of K. Venkatappa, who was born in 1887 and belonged to a family of Court painters. His works include a panoramic view of the Ooty Lake, view from Church Hill – Ooty, Nilgiri Mountains, Kodaikanal, Sunrise in Ooty, a painting on Monsoon and various other sketches.
On the first floor, the works of M. F. Hussain, Vasudev, Hanumaiah, Hariram, Rekha Rao, Yusuf Arakkal and N.S. Bendreare displayed. Also, on the same floor is a section dedicated to C. P. Rajaram’s exquisite wood carvings, while, the floor is also available for other artists to exhibit their work. The second floor is solely dedicated to K.K Hebbar – the “Hebbar Section”. His paintings, based on the elements of nature, are titled Vayu, Jala, Prithivi and Agni and others such as Sea Shore, In Space, Nagamandala, Last Glimpse and Death are on display. It also includes numerous sketches labelled Japan, Bali village, Mother and so on. A comprehensive art gallery, the Venkatappa Art Gallery, also gives room to present contemporary artists to display their works.
Built in an ornate architectural style, on a extensive 7 acre plot, atop the Hare Krishna hill, the Krishna Temple is an amalgamation of modern technology and spiritual harmony. The International Society for Krishna Consciousness – ISKCON– Temple Complex of Bangalore is an excellent building structure. It is a harmonious merge of the Dravidian and modern architecture. The main temple hall houses the altars of Their Lordships Sri Radha Krishna, Sri Krishna Balarama and Sri NitaiGouranga. You will find the Golden Chandelier fashioned like an inverted Lotus Flower. The building possesses some of the modern facilities like the multi-vision cinema theatre, computer aided presentation theatres along with Vedic library and a preaching library. The temple also has good accommodation facility for its members and non-members.
The GaviGangadhareshwara Temple is an ancient temple shaped out of the rock probably in the 9th century and is a natural monolith rock structure with the cave temple carved out of it. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the temple has four monolithic pillars and a rare idol of Agni, the God of fire. There are other idols inside including the idol of Agnimurthi, which has two heads, seven hands and three legs and those worshipping this deity trust it will cure one of all eye defects.
Every year in January, thousands of devotees come to the temple on Makar Sankranti Day to this cave temple. It is a special day when, owing to the brilliance of the architecture of the Temple, the sunrays fall on the Shivalinga for one hour as it passes between the horns of the Nandi. While Bangalore has several temples that are visited by several devotees but what makes GaviGangadhareshwara Temple is special because it is one of few temples in Bangalore dedicated to Shiva and is visited by hordes of devotees, especially during Shivaratri.
Visveswaraiah Industrial and Technological Museum
Visveswaraiah Industrial and Technological Museum is an ideal destination for information on science and technology. The museum has various technological gadgets, working model and diagrams and displays. The museum is dedicated to the memory of Sir. M. Visveswaraiah.
Kodagu- The Scotland of India
Known as Scotland of India and Kashmir of South India, it has all one can ask for – nature at its best. Lush greenery, Coffee plantations, teak wood forests and the mountain ranges welcome you to this beautiful land called Coorg. Renowned for its innate beauty, Kodagu (Coorg) is a charming hill resort in Karnataka. Studded with vast coffee plantations and sandal wood trees, Coorg offers an amazing treat to the visual and olfactory senses. Coorg is also known as Kodagu. The history of Coorg is cloaked in obscurity. However, it is believed that the place was ruled by Lingayat and Kodavas. In 1785, Tipu Sultan controlled the area. Later Coorg came into the hands of the British.
Kodagu is the home of colorful, robust, martial race – the Kodavas, Said to be the descendants of the Greeks (Alexander’s soldiers), the kodavas are fiercely independent. They were never conquered by either Tipu Sultan neither the British. And so to this day, all kodavas retain the privilege of carrying firearms without a license. Kodagu is famous for the generals it has produced for the Indian army. The women are known for their beauty. But what kodavas are famous for is their hospitality. Madikeri is a grand place to walk, snaky lanes wander off the main street, and Mountain trails assure visual delights. And the Tadiyandamol, the tallest peak in the area, stands unwearyingly, waiting to be climbed.
Air:The nearest airports are Bangalore and Mangalore.Rail:The nearest railway station is at Mysore which is 114 Kms.Road:Regular buses operate between Madikeri and Bangalore, Mysore, Mangalore, Hassan, Arasikere, Belur, Chikmagalur, Cannanore and Tellicherry. You could take a taxi. The drive to Madikeri is a memorable experience.
Tourist Destinations and Attractions
Abbi Falls, around 8 km from Madikeri, is a sight that is truly astounding; the fabulous sight of cascading water is an absolute treat for the eyes and the senses! Nestled amidst private coffee plantations, the Abbi Falls provide a striking contrast to the sylvan surroundings of Coorg. A narrow road winding through the green and dense plant life of surrounding coffee plantations leads to Abbi Falls. Situated on private property, a narrow pathway leads you downward to where the waterfall can be seen.
As various streams flock in the mountains above, they engorge with the monsoon rains and force their way down the mountain slope. Splashing hard against the huge boulders of rock, heedless of the crevices and hollows, the water drops at enormous speeds accompanied by gushing sounds. This white wall of water creates a foggy cloud with its moisture-like spray and descends into a flowing stream to perhaps join with the River Cauvery somewhere in the vicinity.
The gushing waters of the Abbi falls, dipping down a rocky canyon, results in a vociferous sound that can be heard from a distance. During the monsoon season, the Abbi bloats with abundant seasonal rains with water plunging down the mountain slope at enormous speed. The locale is scenic but protective railings installed at the edge of the fall leaves the spot with hardly any space to sit around, thus, making it a not so complimentary destination for picnics. However, go here to relish beauty in its most supreme and innate form!
Around 3km from Kushalnagar, you can find the striking tourist destination KaveriNisargadhama. This is a hill station and hence the atmosphere is pleasant and suitable for traveling. At NisargadhamariverKaveri splits into two creating a beautiful island measuring around 65 acres. Nisargadhamacan be considered as a private sanctuary as it shelters all the native animal and plant life. The forest department had developed it as a beautiful tourist spot with a hanging bridge into the island and the facilities like boating, tree top shelters and elephant riding and other tourist’s attractions. There are beautiful cottages available around nine in numbers for spending the time there provided by the forest department. KaveriNisargadhama is located a few kilometres away from the Mysore-Coorg border and not in the hilly terrains of interior Coorg. On one side one can see charming hanging cottages made from bamboo, hovering over water and encircled by a profusion of bamboo grooves. There is also a small but friendly canteen that supplies food to those coming here.
At Nisargadhama visitors are provided with the provisions for taking boat rides and elephant rides. For a nature lover there are deer park and an orchidarium to visit. Bailkuppe- the tibetan settlement near Kushalnagar is an added attraction for those coming Nisargadhama. This settlement boasts of a Buddhist temple which has got three 45 feet golden statues of the Buddha. There are some shopping lanes present from where one can get traditional Tibetan wares. Tou can get some traditional Tibetan momos from the tiny restaurants around.
According to the Hindu scriptures Talakaveri is the birth place of River Kaveri, which is considered to be one of the sacred ‘saptasindhus’. Talakaveri is located at the top of the Brahmagiri hill. There is a holy kundike from where the river appears as a small perennial spring and then flows underground again to emerge out at a short distance away. It is believed that taking bath here on Tula Sankrama as very sacred and many devotees come here on that time for that holy bath. There is a temple dedicated to sage Agasthya displaying the connection of River Kaveri with the sage. There are two other temples near which were dedicated to Lord Shiva and Lord Ganesha. One thing special here is an ancient Ashwantha tree. It is believed that at Trimurtis – Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva gave ‘darshan’ to sage Agasthya here.
The water stream is not present at every time here. On Tulasankrama water gushes out as a water fountain at a particular time. Many people come here to watch this spectacular sight. There is another belief that if you offer a prayer and ask the Lord for something, your wish will surely be granted. It is also considered significant that after the fulfillment of your prayers, you must make a trip back to Talakaveri and bid another prayer in gratitude.
Madikeri fort is one of interesting place to see in Madikeri. This ancient fort built in brick and mortar is a wonderful piece of historic monument for every one who likes to visit such places.