Blessed with beautiful beaches adorning the coastline, lush mountains, valleys and an array of monuments. These monuments include historical places, monuments, temples and religious sites. HolidayIQ lists down 10 must visit heritage sites in Karnataka.
1. Hampi group of monuments
The forlorn ruins of erstwhile Vijayanagar Empire are scattered around Hampi over an area of 40 square km. Criss-crossed by the Tungabhadra River irrigating sugarcane, banana plantations, and paddy fields with a backdrop of an azure sky with cirrus clouds, Hampi is truly a magical landscape. The Virupaksha temple, the most famous and important temple of Hampi, is dedicated to Lord Shiva.HolidayIQ traveller Lambith recommends a visit to Hampi if you wish to relive history then head to Hampi. He adds, “Hampi is a historical place where the great king of Vijayanagara walked and ruled the state. It is now a UNESCO world heritage site. Considered one of the great king of India was an erudite and great ruler. Visiting the ruin make you relive the time and imagination take you as if you are with the locals.” – 2212 Ratings, 1749 Reviews, 37 Sightseeings, 892 Photos”> © wikimedia.org The forlorn ruins of erstwhile Vijayanagar Empire are scattered around Hampi over an area of 40 square km. Criss-crossed by the Tungabhadra River irrigating sugarcane, bana… The forlorn ruins of erstwhile Vijayanagar Empire are scattered around Hampi over an area of 40 square km. Criss-crossed by the Tungabhadra River irrigating sugarcane, banana plantations, and paddy fields with a backdrop of an azure sky with cirrus clouds, Hampi is truly a magical landscape. The Virupaksha temple, the most famous and important temple of Hampi, is dedicated to Lord Shiva.
The ancient caves temples of Badami are an excellent example of Indian rock-cut architecture of the Chalukya era. The two Bhuthanatha temples extend into the Agastya lake, they depict the early phase and mode of South Indian architectural styles and are made of local sandstone.
Somanathapura houses the grand Chennakesava temple (Keshava temple), which perhaps is the last remaining piece of Hoysala architecture. The temple was built to commemorate the victory of the Hoysalas over the Cholas at Talakad. It is quartered inside an impressive high walled enclosure and the entrance to the complex is through a porch with tall lathe-turned pillars.
4. Pattadakal Group of monuments
The monuments in Pattadakal represent a period where the transition from rock-cut medium to structural temples took place. The Chalukyan rulers being patrons of art encouraged artists and craftsmen to experiment and innovate in different architectural styles. The oldest temple at Pattadakal is Sangameswara, followed closely by Kada Siddhesvara, Jambu Lingeswara and Galaganatha temple.
Situated on planes of Deccan plateau, amidst the beautiful landscape with down-to-earth and hospitable people, lies the town of Bidar. Once ruled by the Barid Shahi dynasty, you get to see many tombs all across the Bidar town. Most famous in the Fort of Bidar, whose perimeter wall is known to be one of the longest. Bidar also has the third largest Gurudwara of India, an underwater cave, Shiva temple and Karanja reservoir situated in the outskirts.
Kurudumale is famous for the Old Lord Ganesha temple, built by the Vijayanagar kings. The temple has a 13.5 ft tall statue of Kurudumale Ganesha. Kurudumale was once the capital of the Hoysala dynasty.
One of the largest Tibetan settlements outside Tibet, Bylakuppe is a small yet beautiful town near Coorg. The settlement came up in 1960’s when a large number of Tibetan refugees settled here due to Chinese aggression. The area is dotted with monasteries, out of which Great Gompa of Sera Je and Sera Mey are the most significant.
On the banks of river Malaprabha, lies the legendary town of Aihole. Once, the capital of Chalukyas dynasty, Aihole was once considered the cradle of Hindu temple architecture and had more than 125 temples. Surrounded by legends, one of the most popular legends states Parshurama from Ramayana cleaned his ax here after killing the Kshatriyas. Durga Temple is one of the best known and important temples of Aihole, probably built during the late 7th century or early 8th century. The Ravana Phadi is one of the oldest rock cut cave temples in Aihole, dating back to the 6th century AD.
9. Halebid and Belur
Halebid and Belur formed a part of the Hoysala Empire between the 12th and 13th century. The range of the temples of the Hoysala Dynasty is distributed between both the towns. Termed as the temples towns, the specialty of the temples of these towns is that they are drafted out of a soft stone called Chloritic Schist. The temple sculptures also portray the tradition of ivory and sandalwood handwork. Shravanabelagola Temple is one of the chief pilgrim centers of Jains and houses an 18 meters high monolith of Lord Gomateshwara atop Indragiri hill. Just 4 hours from Bangalore close to Hassan, these 2 sites are 16 km apart.
Mysore is an ancient city that is believed to have existed since the time Emperor Ashoka’s rule. Known for its glittering royal heritage and opulent monuments and buildings, Mysore is fabled to have come into existence after goddess Chamundi slayed the vicious demon, Mahishasura. The famed Mysore Palace, botanical park and musical fountain at Brindavan garden are a must visit.