ABOUT KARNATAKA

ABOUT KARNATAKA:

  • Charismatic Karnataka, the land of royal grandeur and oriental glory is studded with architectural marvels, ancient sculptures, endless beaches, looming hill stations, pristine forests and excellent game reserves.
  • Kaveri, Tungabhadra and Krishna, the three great rivers of the South, originate from the verdant ghats.
  • A changing pageant of cultures, customs, life-styled and religions has left its mark on this land.
  • Its attractions are varied and diverting.
  • Belur, Halebidu and Hampi are known for its magnificent temples adorned with miniature carvings and are masterpieces to be marvelled at.
  • On the other hand, there are gigantic structures like the sculpture of the Jain sage Gomateswara at Sravanabelagola and the majestic Gol Gumbaz at Bijapur.
  • In sharp contrast with the simplicity of the countryside are the grand palaces and beautiful gardens befitting this princely State and the splendour of festivals like Dassara.
  • Karnataka is also a fine base for adventure enthusiasts and wildlife lovers.
  • A treasure trove of exquisite handicrafts made in metal, stone, sandalwood, rosewood and ivory.
  • Equally famous for silks and scented oils.

INFORMATION:

  • Capital: Bangalore,
  • Area: 1,91,791 sq. kms.
  • Population: 6,10,95,297 (2011)
  • Languages: Kannada
  • Best Season: October to April
  • Famous For: Magnificent Monuments, Dassara Celebrations, Scenic Beauty, Sandal Wood and Silks.

Climate (Temperature):

  • Winter (January and February): 220 C to 320 C
  • Pre Monsoon (March, April and May): 240 C to 330 C
  • Monsoon (June, July, August and September): 230 C to 290 C
  • Post Monsoon (October, November and December): 220 C to 320 C
CITIES AT A GLANCE
Bengaluru
(Bangalore)
Badami
Aihole & Pattakadal
Bidar Bijapur
Jog Falls
Aihole & Pattakadal Bidar Bijapur
Bengaluru Kodagu or Coorg Mangalore Mysore
Sravanabelagola Chikmagalur Kabini Bandipur

ABOUT BENGALURU (BANGALORE):

  • Beautiful Bengaluru, the capital of Karnataka is one of the prettiest and cleanest cities of India.
  • It is popularly known as the ‘Garden City’ and has earned several other epitaphs like an ‘Air –condition City’, for its climate throughout the year; the ‘Silicon Valley’ of India, for its rapidly growing software market and the ‘City of Draught Beer’ etc.
  • Foundation of the present day Bangalore was laid in 1537, by Kempe Gowda.
  • A Magadi chieftain, owing allegiance to the king of Vijayanagar.
  • The cantonment area of Bangalore was developed by the British in early 19th century, after the fall of Tipu Sultan.

MODE OF COMMUNICATION:

  • Airport:Bengaluru International Airport, Bengaluru (BLR), 35 kms away fromBengaluru city centre.
  • Rail:Bangalore City Railway Station, Bengaluru, 4 kms away from Bengaluru city centre.
  • Road:Well connected with NH 47 and NH 48.
SIGHTSEEING AT A GLANCE
SCENIC SITE DevarayanadurgaNandi HillsMuthyala Maduvu (Pearl Valley)
FORT &MONUMENTS Vidhan SoudhaAttara Kacheri (High Court)The FortTipu Sultan’s PalaceMaharajah’s Bangalore Palace
HOLY CENTRE Shiva Statue & ISKCON Temple Dodda Ganapathi TempleSri Gavi Gangadhareswara TempleDharamraja Temple (Nagarathpet)Basavangudi or the Bull TempleSt. Mary’s BasilicaVenkataramanaswamy Temple
MUSEUM & AUDITORIUM Cubbon Park & MuseumThe Government Museum & Venkatappa Art GalleryVisweswaraiah Industrial & Technological MuseumTipu Sultan’s PalaceKarnataka Folk Art MuseumJawaharlal Nehru Planetarium
WILD LIFE Bannerghatta National Park
PARK & GARDEN Lalbagh Botanical GardensCubbon Park & Museum
LAKE Ulsoor LakeHesaraghatta Lake
OTHERS WhitefieldNrityagrama
FAIRS & FESTIVALS Bangalore, being a cosmopolitan city with people from all over India and globe reside, all the festivals are celebrated well here
OTHERS WhitefieldNrityagrama

ATTRACTIONS OF BENGALURU (BANGALORE)

  • Vidhan Soudha:

    Majestic structure towering over the Cubbon Park, houses the Secretariat and the State Legislature, as well as several other State government offices.

    Magnificent edifice built of granite in the neo – Dravidian style of architecture is one of the most spectacular buildings of India.

    Four storeyed building covering a total plinth area of over 5,00,000 sq. ft.

    It was conceived and executed by Kengal Hanumanthaiah, the former Chief Minister of Karnataka in 1956.

    The structure is beautifully illuminated on Sunday evening.

  • Attara Kacheri (High Court):

    Magnificent two storeyed two building housing the High Court of Karnataka was built in 1867.

    It lies in front of the Vidhan Soudha and was originally built the house the Secretariat.

  • Lalbagh Botanical Gardens:

    Beautiful garden was laid out in 1760, by Haider Ali and later developed by his son Tipu Sultan.

    Sprawls over an area of 240 acres and is one of the most beautiful botanical parks of the country.

    In 1840, an excellent glass house was built resembling the famous Crystal Palace of London.

  • Cubbon Park & Museum:

    Park designed by Lt. Gen. Mark Cubbon, in 1864, covers an area of over 300 acres in the heart of the city.

    Studded with some splendid sculptures and red Gothic building, which house the Public Library, the High Court, the Government Museum and the Technological & Industrial Museum.

    Children’s Park inside the garden is exclusively for kids.

    Jawahar Bal Bhavan here has a children’s centre.

  • The Government Museum & Venkatappa Art Gallery:

    Established in 1886, and is one of the oldest museums of India.

    Art gallery here has paintings and sculptures done by K. Venkatappa, a renowned artist from the royal court of Mysore.

  • Visweswaraiah Industrial & Technological Museum:

    Interesting museum is dedicated to Sir M. Visweswaraiah, the architect of modern Karnataka.

  • Shiva Statue & ISKCON Temple:

    Beautiful Hare Krishna shrine on the hillock is a fine blend of modern technology and spiritual harmony.

    A fine view of the surroundings.

    A 65 feet tall Shiva statue is one of the new attractions of the city.

  • The Fort:

    Originally a mud brick structure built by Kempegowda in 1537.

    Haider Ali and Tipu Sultan rebuilt the structure in the 18th century.

    Most of the fort was badly damaged during the wars with British.

  • Tipu Sultan’s Palace:

    Construction of the palace was started by Haider Ali and completed by his son, Tipu Sultan in 1791.

    Wooden building resembling the Daria Daulat Bagh at Srirangapatnam and houses a museum.

  • Maharajah’s Bangalore Palace:

    Magnificent granite palace built in 1887, by the Goodyear’s of Mysore resembles the famous Windsor Castle in England.

  • Karnataka Folk Art Museum:

    Displays a wide range of folk arts, costumes, toys and extensive recorded music collection.

  • Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium:

    Modern planetarium was built in 1989.

    An attractive Musical Fountain with dancing waters is set opposite the planetarium.

  • Dodda Ganapathi Temple:

    One of the oldest temples of Bengaluru.

    A huge monolithic statue of Lord Ganapathi, which attracts a large number of devotees.

  • Sri Gavi Gangadhareswara Temple:

    Shiva temple built by Kempe Gowda is famous for a unique event at sunrise on ‘Makar Sankranti’ (14th January).

    Sun rays pass through an arch between the horns of the Nandi bull outside the temple and illuminate the idol of Lord Gavi Gangadhareswara inside the main shrine.

  • Dharamraja Temple (Nagarathpet):

    Enshrines fine images of Lord Krishna and Sri Dharamraja Swami, the hero of epic Mahabharta.

    Sacred shrine is also associated with the famous Karaga festival celebrated in March/ April.

  • Basavangudi or the Bull Temple:

    Built by Kempegowda on the Bugle Hill in Dravidian style.

    A large monolith of Nandi, the celestial bull measuring 4.57 metres in height and 6.10 metres in length in breathtaking.

  • St. Mary’s Basilica:

    Originally built in 1818, by Abbe Dubois.

    It was transformed into a huge Gothic style church by Rev. Kleiner in 1882.

  • Venkataramanaswamy Temple:

    Ancient temple near Tipu Sultan’s Palace was built by Maharaja Chikka Devaraya Wodiyar.

    It was destroyed during the third Mysore war and was restored by Maharaja Chikka Krishna Devaraya.

  • Ulsoor Lake:

    One of the eight lakes by Kempe Gowda around Bangalore.

    1.5 sq. kms has picturesque tiny islands and boating facilities are available.

ATTRACTIONS AROUND BENGALURU (BANGALORE)

  • Whitefield:

    16 kms away from Bengaluru city centre.

    Famous for the ashram of world renowned saint philosopher Sri Satya Sai Baba.

    International Tech Park, one of the most modern and successful software tech park in the country is also located here.

    Export oriented software centre has contributed immensely in making Bangalore the ‘IT Capital’ or the ‘Silicon Valley of India’.

  • Bannerghatta National Park:

    22 kms away from Bengaluru city centre.

    Beautiful Park covers an area of 104 sq. kms amidst thickly wooded hills.

    Inhabited by bison, elephant, panther, wild boar, jackal, lion tailed monkey etc.

    There is also a lion and tiger safari, a crocodile and snake farm and a mini zoo.

  • Hesaraghatta Lake:

    25 kms away from Bengaluru city centre.

    Beautiful lake set amidst lush fertile landscape is famous for its boating and wind surfing facilities.

    Region teems with orchards, poultry and sheep farms.

    An Indo-Danish dairy project has also been established here.

  • Devarayanadurga:

    71 kms away from Bengaluru city centre.

    Beautiful hill resort is famous for Namada Chilume, a natural water spring, said to be created by Lord Rama.

    Children’s Park inside the garden is exclusively for kids.

  • Nandi Hills:

    60 kms away from Bengaluru city centre.

    It was the summer resort of Tipu Sultan, who strengthened the existing fortifications on the hills in 18th century.

    Later on, it becomes a favourite resort of the British.

    There are two ancient temples dedicated to Lord Shiva and Amrita Sarovar Lake.

  • Nrityagrama:

    28 kms away from Bengaluru city centre.

    Unique experimental village is dedicated to the gurukula tradition of learning to revive the Indian classical dance and music.

    It is a winner of rural architecture award.

    Vasantha Habba, the annual festival celebrated here attracts a large number of visitors.

  • Muthyala Maduvu (Pearl Valley):

    40 kms away from Bengaluru city centre.

    Scenic site is named after the small pool created by the waterfalls, which looks like a ‘pond of pearl’.

    There is also a small temple over here.

ABOUT BADAMI:

  • Beautiful capital of early Chalukyas from 540 to 757 AD.
  • Nestles in a spectacular gorge surrounded by gold-rust sandstone cliffs.
  • Indeed a treasure house of architecture and sculpture and has some of the earliest and finest example of rock cut caves and free standing temple architecture.

MODE OF COMMUNICATION:

  • Airport:Goa International Airport, Dabolim (GOI), 290 kms away fromBadami city.
  • Rail:Badami Railway Station, Badami, 5.5 kms away from Badami city centre.
  • Road:Well connected by road.
SIGHTSEEING AT A GLANCE
FORT &MONUMENTS North FortPattadkal
HOLY CENTRE CavesJambulinga TempleBuddhist TempleAivalli (Aihole)Temple of DurgaBanashankari TempleMahkutaPattadkal
MUSEUM & AUDITORIUM Archaeological Museum
FAIRS & FESTIVALS Banashankari Festival, Pattadakal Dance Festival, and other major Hindu festivals like Dussehra, and Diwali are some of the prominentfestivals in Badami that are celebrated with great fanfare and enthusiasm.
Dedicated to Goddess Banashankari – an incarnation of Goddess Parvati, Banashankari Festival is one of the most important festivals in Badami that is celebrated in the month of January or February every year. Rathotsava is the highlight feature of this festival along with a local fair that is organised during the festival.
Pattadakal Dance Festival or Chalukya Utsav is another important festival in Badami that is celebrated here with great enthusiasm. Spread over a period of three days, the Pattadakal or Chalukya Festival is celebrated by Karnataka State Government with an aim to explore the vast cultural heritage of India.
Dussehra and Diwali are some of the other festivals that are celebrated with great fanfare here in Badami.
SHOPPING Shopping in Badami is a unique experience as there are varieties of to tempt a tourist here. Considered as shoppers’ paradise especially as far as hand-crafted items are concerned, Badami with its modest yet wonderful village shops is an ideal place to shop for those beautiful sandalwood sculptures, or rosewood carved handicrafts and of course its unique silk saris.
Some of the interesting curios that are a must-buy in Badami include sandalwood sculptures, incense sticks, perfumes, sandalwood oil, metal lamps, wood carvings, inlay work, paintings, Bijapur jewellery and handlooms along with Lambani jewellery, handlooms from Guledgudda and local hand-made jewellery that make for some great souvenirs to take back home.

ATTRACTIONS OF BADAMI

  • Caves:

    Famous four cave temples carved into a cliff on the southern side are full of splendid sculptures.

    6th century Cave No. 1 is dedicated to Lord Shiva is the oldest and has sculpture of 18 armed Natraja, the dancing Shiva.

    There are also figures of Ardhanarishvara, Harihara, Nandi, Parvati and Garuda etc.

    Cane No. 2 is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and is simpler design.

    Some of the fine sculptures hare are of Varaha, the boar incarnation of Lord Vishnu, Naga and Trivikrama.

    Large and beautiful Cave No. 3 is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and enshrines an enormous four armed figure of Lord Vishnu seated on his serpent couch.

    Cave No. 4 carved during 7th-8th centuries is the only Jain temple in Badami.

  • Jambulinga Temple:

    Ancient temple complex in the heart of the town dates back to 699 A.D.

    There are shrine of Lord Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma, which open into a common mandapa.

  • Buddhist Temple:

    Located in a natural cave near the ancient Bhutnath Lake.

  • North Fort:

    Within the fort are temples, relics of a granary, a treasury.

    A watch tower providing an insight into the history of Badami.

  • Archaeological Museum:

    Houses specimens from Badami, Aivalli and Pattadkal.

ATTRACTIONS AROUND BADAMI

  • Aivalli (Aihole):

    43 kms away from Badami city.

    ‘Cradle of Indian Temple Architecture’ on the banks of river Malprabha.

    It was the capital of Chalukyas between the 4th and 7th centuries.

    Chalukyas experimented hare with the idea of building temples and one can see temple architecture from its nascent stage to more complex edifices.

    There are over 140 exquisitely carved temples; most of them are dedicated to Lord Vishnu.

    Temple of Durga:

    7th century shrine is the largest and finest monument of Aivalli.

    Its semi-circular apse surrounded by an open colonnade and remains of curvilinear sikhara are quite unique.

    Main figures at the shrine are – Chamunda Devi trampling the buffalo demon,Narasimha and aspects of Lord Shiva

    A small museum behind the Durga temple, exhibiting works of Chalukyan sculptors.

  • Banashankari Temple:

    5 kms away from Badami city.

    One of the most ancient temples of Karnataka.

    Harishchandra Teertha, a large sacred pond in front of the shrine is a fine example of Chalukyan temple architecture.

  • Mahkuta:

    5 kms away from Badami city.

    Shaiva pilgrim centre set amidst lush surroundings.

    Famous for the Mahakuteshwara temple dedicated to Lord Shiva.

    20 kms away from Badami city.

    Second capital of Badami Chalukyas, set on the banks of river Malaprabha is yet another grand show case of Chalukya style of architecture.

    Cluster of magnificent temples at the foothills has been listed by UNESCO as a ‘World Heritage Site’.

    Most of the shrines date back to 7th and 8th centuries, but the earliest temples were built here 3rd and 4th centuries.

    These temples represent the evolution of South Indian style of temple architecture.

    There are 10 main temples and the largest among them is the Virupaksheshvara temple.

    Shaiva pilgrim centre set amidst lush surroundings.

    It has a huge gateway with intricate inscriptions depicting scenes from Ramayana and Mahabharata.

    In front of the temple is a 2.6 metres high sculpture of Nandi.

ABOUT BIDAR:

  • Fortified town was once the capital of the Bahamani’s and the Barid Shahi’s.
  • Bahamani Empire broke into fours kingdoms and Ahmad Shah I, the 9th Bahamani ruler shifted his capital from Gulbarga to Bidar in 1424.
  • Rebuilt the old Hindu fort and also made beautiful palaces and gardens.
  • Bahamani’s were succeeded by Barid Shahi dynasty, which ruled here from 1487 to 1619, when it was annexed by Bijapur.
  • Aurangzeb, the Mughal emperor captured of Muslim architecture in the Deccan.
  • It is also an important Sikh and Hindu pilgrim centre.

MODE OF COMMUNICATION:

  • Airport:Rajiv Gandhi International Airport, Hyderabad (HYD), 136 kms away fromBidar city.
  • Rail:Bidar Railway Station, Bidar, 2 kms away from Bidar city centre.
  • Road:Well connected by road.
SIGHTSEEING AT A GLANCE
FORT &MONUMENTS Bidar FortChaubara
HOLY CENTRE Nanak JhiraNarasimha Jheera
OTHERS Madrasa of Mahamud Gawan
FAIRS & FESTIVALS  
SHOPPING Shopping in Bidar is about picking up some excellent and world Bidriware artefacts. A silver inlaid metal craft so exquisite that it is even displayed at the Louvre Museum in Paris, Bidriware is iconic of Bidar and forms the core of its identity outside Karnataka. It is available from the Bidriware works at Chaubara road, one of the shopping markets in Bidar.

Other items that you may buy from here include captivating Suraahis (tall wine jugs with a very long neck), bowls, hookahs, hair pins, vases, trays and Sindoor (vermillion) holders among other paraphernalia, all with beautiful Persian designs and verses from the Quran.

While shopping in Bidar, do buy Sandalwood items as well. Toy animals,abstract sculptures, utility items and knick knacks, all made from the fragrant wood are available.

ATTRACTIONS OF BIDAR

  • Bidar Fort:

    Stronghold of the Bahamani Kings in the 14th and 15th centuries was built by Ahmad Shah Bahamani between 1426 and 1432.

    There are five Darwazas (gateways) of the fort and within its precincts are fine palaces and tombs.

  • Chaubara:

    71 feet high watch tower is set in the heart of Bidar town.

  • Madrasa of Mahamud Gawan:

    It was built in 1472, by Muhammad III.

    It was a renowned centre of learning, attracting scholars from all over the Muslim world.

  • Nanak Jhira:

    Sikh pilgrim site is associated with a miracle of Guru Nanak, the first guru of the Sikhs.

    He is said to have visited here during a severe famine and created a Jheera (spring) of crystal clear water.

    Sacred site is marked by a huge Gurudwara.

  • Narasimha Jheera:

    It is the only subterranean stream of Karnataka.

    Cave with waist deep water has an image of Lord Narasimha.

    Papanaash, the sacred shrine of Lord Shiva is visited by a large number of devotes.

ABOUT BIJAPUR:

  • The ‘city of domes and minarets’ was the capital of Adil Shahi’s and is known as a ‘treasure house of Islamic architecture’.
  • Chalukyan rulers of Kalyana originally founded Vijayapura or the ‘city of victory’ which came under the reigns of Bahamani rulers of Bidar in 1347.
  • Yusuf Adil Shah, the Governor of Bijapur declared independence in 1481 and established the Adil Shahi dynasty.
  • Adil Shahi’s were great builders and Bijapur become a centre for architectural activity.
  • Town has about 50 mosques, 20 tombs and numerous palaces and it is one of the ‘classic tourism’ destinations of India.

MODE OF COMMUNICATION:

  • Airport:Rajiv Gandhi International Airport, Hyderabad (HYD), 355 kms away from Bijapur city
  • Rail:Sholapur Railway Station, Sholapur, 99 kms away from Bijapur city.
  • Road:Well connected by road.
SIGHTSEEING AT A GLANCE
FORT &MONUMENTS Gol GumbazThe FortIbrahim RauzaAsar Mahal
HOLY CENTRE Jama Masjid
FAIRS & FESTIVALS Bijapur Music Festival is one of the main festivals in organised by the Government of Karnataka every year. A number of talented artists and musicians can be witnessed in the event for the entertainment, attracting a large number of people to this festival.Festivals in Bijapur are celebrated with great pomp and include the Siddeshwara Temple Car Festival (January), Holi (March), the Asar Mahal Urs festival (September) and Diwali (October-November).
SHOPPING Shopping in Bijapur is all about buying the local handicrafts for which small town is popular. Some of the must buy items from Bijapur include sandalwood items, stone decorative items, hand woven Ilkal saris, Lambani jewellery, beaded jewellery and jute bags among other things.

The Lambani jewellery is the traditional jewellery crafted by the Lambani tribe of Karnataka using copper, white metal and silver. The Ilkal Sari, unique in being made using the Tope Teni technique, is not found anywhere else in the country.

Other products that are produced by the craftsmen include coin jewellery, rosewood sculptures, silk carry bags, embroidered waist line belts and fancy antique metal armlets.

ATTRACTIONS OF BIJAPUR

  • Gol Gumbaz:

    It was built in 1626-1656, by Mohammed Adil Shah, as a mausoleum for himself.

    It is recognised as “one of the finest structural triumphs of the Indian builders”.

    Four minarets have four stair cases, leading to the top of the enormous dome, measuring 44 metres in diameter.

    It is regarded as the second largest dome in the world, unsupported by pillar.

    A circular ‘Whispering Gallery’ underneath is famous for its amazing acoustical system,where a faintest whisper is echoed 9 times.

    On a raised platform in the centre of the hall are the replica tombs of Mohammed Adil Shah and his family, while the actual tombs lie in a crypt below.

    Gallery around the dome affords a fine view of the city.

  • The Fort:

    Huge fort built by Yusuf Adil Shah-I, has relics of palaces and pleasure gardens.

    Gagan Mahal was built in 1561, as a royal residence as well as Durbar Hall.

    Sat Manzil, the seven storeyed palace of Mohammed Adil Shah and the Jala Manzil are noted for its architectural beauty.

    Another attraction is the Malik-i-Maidan, a 55 tonne, 4.3 metres long cannon of Adil Shahi’s, which is perhaps one of the largest bell metal guns in the world.

    Bara Kaman, located nearby is the incomplete mausoleum of Ali-II and is noted for its graceful arches.

  • Jama Masjid:

    Largest and oldest mosque of Bijapur was built by Adil Shah-I between 1557 and 1686.

    Finely proportioned, rectangular mosque is known for its graceful minarets and bulbous domes.

    Aurangzeb added a grand entrance and painted the floor with 2,250 musullahs (space for prayers)

  • Ibrahim Rauza:

    Exquisite group of buildings lie on the western outskirts of the city.

    Palatial mosque and tomb with delicate minarets at each corner is regarded.

    One of the most beautifully proportioned Islamic structures in the country and an inspiration for the famous Taj Mahal.

  • Asar Mahal:

    It was built in 1646 by Muhammad Adil Shah as ‘Hall of Justice’ and has some holy relics of Prophet Mohammed.

ABOUT BELUR:

  • Beautiful Belur, the quaint little town is set elegantly on the banks of river Yagachi amidst lush surroundings.
  • It was chosen as the capital of the Hoysalas, after the sacking and destruction of their capital at Dwarasamudra (Haledid), by the Delhi Sultans.
  • Hoysalas ruled this region between 11th and 13th centuries.
  • Great patrons of art and architecture and built a number of magnificent shrines during their 300 years reign.
  • Temples and monuments at Belur are indeed the best Hoysala creations, showcasing their amazing architecture and sculptures in full glory.
  • Hoysala temples are characterised by typical star shaped ground plan and are usually set on a platform.
  • Today, this small town basking in the warmth of its luxurious greenery and glorious past regarded as ‘one of the jewels’ of South Indian Architecture.

MODE OF COMMUNICATION:

  • Airport:Mangalore Airport, Mangalore (IXE), 154 kms away from Belur city.
  • Rail:Hassan Railway Station, Hassan, 37 kms away from Belur city.
  • Road:Well connected by road.
SIGHTSEEING AT A GLANCE
HOLY CENTRE Chenna Keshava Temple
FAIRS & FESTIVALS March is the month for the Hoysala Mahotsava, is the Belur and Halebid. The fesitval is a dance festival held in the temples of Belur and Helebid and is celebrated with much fervour.
SHOPPING Shopping in Belur and Halebid is all about buying terracotta items,Panchaloha statues and other religious items. The souvenir shops and trade emporia near the temples are good places to go shopping. The souvenir shops sell statues of Panchadhatu or Panchaloha, an alloy of five different metals that is resistant to damage by the elements and can last for years. Terracotta items depicting village life are among the popular decorative items that make for some excellent souvenirs to take back home from shops in Belur and Halebid and nearby Hassan.

ATTRACTIONS OF BELUR

  • Chenna Keshava Temple:

    Magnificent shrine dedicated to Lord Vijayanarayan, one of the twenty four incarnations of Vishnu.

    Built to commemorate the victory of Hoysalas over the Cholas in the great battle of Talakkad.

    Its construction commenced in 1116 A.D. at the instance of king Vishnuvardhana, later on his son and grandson completed the work.

    According to historical records, it took about 103 years to complete this profusely sculpted masterpiece of Hoysala architecture.

    Huge temple complex enclosed by high walls has a Garbha Griha (sanctum sanctum), a sukhanasi (vestibule), a navaranga mandapa and many smaller shrines, mandapams and other structures.

    Star shaped main sanctum is a homogenous architectural unit set on a raised platform in the centre of a spacious paved courtyard surrounded by subsidiary shrines and colonnades.

    Virtually every inch of the shrine is intricately carved.

    Outer walls are adorned with Jagati or railed platform sculpted with horizontal rows of friezes with carvings of elephants, simhalatas or lions and scrolls of small female figures in ornamental niches and intersected here and there by larger vertical images.

    Singularly beautiful are the 38 freestanding bracket figures angled between the upper walls and the over-hanging caves around the outside of the temple and navranga (pillared hall).

    Brackets are adorned with voluptuous beauties known as Madanikas in various dancing and ritual postures and depict an amazing variety sculpted forms.

    Main sanctum enshrines a beautifully ornamented 6 feet high image of Chenna Keshava in Kannada language.

ABOUT HALEBID:

  • This ancient capital of Hoysala’s was founded in the early 11th century.
  • Named Dwarasamudra, after a huge artificial lake dating back to 9th century.
  • Flourishing capital city had a small fortress with a magnificent palace.
  • Fortified with a wall of enormous boulders and a moat that was connected with the lake.
  • Halebid attained glorious heights during the region of Ballala-II, the grandson of Vishnuvardhana.
  • Hoysalas built over 150 exquisite temples in southern Karnataka, but the temples at Halebid, Belur and Somnathpur are considered to be outstanding.

MODE OF COMMUNICATION:

  • Airport:Mangalore Airport, Mangalore (IXE), 170 kms away from Halebid city.
  • Rail:Hassan Railway Station, Hassan, 33 kms away from Halebid city.
  • Road:Well connected by road and 16 kms east of Belur.
SIGHTSEEING AT A GLANCE
HOLY CENTRE Hoysaleswara Temple
FAIRS & FESTIVALS  
SHOPPING  

ATTRACTIONS OF HALEBID

  • Hoysaleswara Temple:

    Magnificent shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva is the largest and the best among Hoysala temples.

    Construction was started in 1121, by “Ketumalla’’, one of the officials of Vishnuvardhana and could be completed only by 1207.

    Shrine is very similar to the Chenna Keshava temple at Belur, but its figures are more profusely carved.

    Even after working diligently for about a century, there are still some unfinished portions in this amazing edifice.

    Sculptural extravaganza has been lavishly praised by the experts, critics and common visitors.

    Complex consists of two identical temples, each with its own array of navranga and sukhanasi and Nandi mandapas.

    Both the sanctums have a characteristic star shaped ground plan and are set on a stone platform as seen in other Hoysala shrines.

    Temple on the northern side is named Shantaleshwara, after Shantala Devi, the beloved queen of Vishnuvardhana, while the southern side shrine is the Hoysaleswara temple.

    Two temple halls are joined by a common verandah creating a spacious columned interior.

    Thousands of intricately carved sculptures depicting scenes from the mythological epics Ramayana, Mahabharta, puranic legends, beasts and beauties etc. adorn the temple walls.

    There are about thirty five thousand sculpted pieces in the shrine, noted for their breathtaking beauty, bout the south doorway unrivalled for its filigree work is considered to be a masterpiece of delicate carving.

    There is an Archaeological Museum in front of the Hoysaleswara.

ABOUT GOKARNA:

  • One of the most important Hindu Pilgrim centres of Southern India.
  • Mythological legends suggest that Rudra (Shiva) arrived here shortly after the creation of earth squeezing through the ear of the earth and named it as ‘Gokarna’ or the ‘ear of the cow’.
  • Gokarna is also an important beach resort and has several secluded beaches nearby.

MODE OF COMMUNICATION:

  • Airport:Goa International Airport, Dabolim (GOI), 150 kms away fromGokarna city.
  • Rail:Gokarna Railway Station, Gokarna Road, 9 kms away from Gokarna city centre.
  • Road:Well connected by road.
SIGHTSEEING AT A GLANCE
SCENIC SITE MurudeshwarYana
HOLY CENTRE Mahabaleshwar TempleMurudeshwar
BEACH Kudle BeachOm Beach
FAIRS & FESTIVALS Gokarna is well-known for its colourful culture, rich heritage, fascinating history and the typical lifestyle; which makes this place different from other places. Mahashivratri is the main festival in Gokarna that is celebrated in the month of February and is celebrated with lots of fervour and enthusiasm. It is believed, that on the night of Mahashivratri, the Lord brings in positive energy in the air.

The celebration is spread over a period of four day and the whole town is decorated with colourful paper. Devotees gather in huge numbers during the festival and celebrations are held in the main temple of Mahabaleshwar. The idol of Lord Shiva is placed on a temple chariot which is driven from the main bazaar to the temple.
SHOPPING Shopping in Gokarna is all about buying souvenirs like brass lamps trishuls.Other than this you can also pick up some decorative items or jewellery made from seashells.

Don't forget to buy 'kallusakkare' a kind of sugar candy which is a speciality of Gokarna.

ATTRACTIONS OF GOKARNA

  • Mahabaleshwar Temple:

    Magnificent shrine is considered next in sanctity to Kashi Vishwanath temple I Varanasi.

    Perched beautifully on a hillock near the beach and is famous for the Atmalinga.

    A mythological legend suggests that the demon king Ravana appeased Lord Shiva through penance and obtained a Shivalinga with special powers from the Lord.

    Ganapathi and other gods were worried by the growing power of Ravana and decided to take away the Shivalinga from him.

    Ravana was on his way to Lanka and Ganapathi tricked him into putting the linga down on the ground at Gokarna for performing puja.

    Ravana was unable to lift the linga up again and hence the linga is known as ‘Mahabal’,around which the Mahabaleshwar temple is built.

    Ravana was infuriated and tried to pull the linga out of the earth, bit it broke in pieces and scattered in the nearby areas.

    These pieces are believed to be venerated at the temples of Dhareshwar, Gunavanthe and Murudeshwar.

  • Kudle Beach:

    Lovely beach lies on the southern outskirts of Gokarna.

  • Om Beach:

    It resembles the auspicious Hindu symbol of ‘Om’.

    Located further south of Kudle beach.

    Secluded beach is worth visiting for its beauty.

ATTRACTIONS AROUND GOKARNA

  • Murudeshwar:

    76 kms away from Gokarna city.

    Pilgrim centre is famous for the hill top temple of Lord Shiva.

    View of the sea from the hill is breath-taking.

    A charming and clean beach is located nearby.

  • Yana:

    50 kms away from Gokarna city.

    Twin peaks of Bhairaveshwara Shikara and Mohini Shikara, surrounded by thick forests are venerated by the locals.

    A small shrine of Lord Shiva has a Shivalinga which is continuously bathed by a perennial stream.

  • Karwar:

    50 kms away from Gokarna city.

    Excellent beach resort and port town at the mouth of Kali River is the district headquarters of Uttara Kannada.

    Town is also an angler’s paradise and is dotted with many picnic spots.

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