Karnataka a Tourist Paradise

Karnataka a Tourist Paradise

Both nature and human efforts have combined to make Karnataka a Tourist Paradise. Its long sea shore has silvery beaches. The tall Western Ghats have lush green forests full of varied fauna, flora and a number of east and west flowing rivers emanating from the Ghats, enrich the soil of the land and contribute to State’s agricultural prosperity. The rivers create many water falls which are a feast to the eyes of the on lookers. The plain area is renowned for its beautiful river banks and projecting wonderful stony hills looking like rock parks that are natural creations. The hilly tracks have many Wildlife sanctuaries. The Gangas, Kadambas, Chalukyas, Rashtrakutas, Hoysalas, Vijayanagara

Rulers, Bahamanis of Gulbarga and Bidar, Adilshahis of Bijapur, Wodeyars of Mysore, Nayaks of Chitradurga and the Keladi rulers have raised wonderful forts, beautiful temples with impressive plastic art in stone and magnificent mosques and mausoleums of Indo-Saracenic style. The advent of the Portuguese and the English introduced European Renaissance architecture imitation of both gothic and Indo-European styles. They built imposing churches and captivating public as well as private buildings in Karnataka. The National Parks, the Animal and Bird Sanctuaries can provide the tourist the sight of wild animals like elephants, tigers, bisons, deers, blackbucks, peacocks and a variety of animals in their natural habitat. The National Parks also acquaint the visitor with a rich variety of flora like tall trees, bushy plants and creepers that try to entwine him. Karnataka is known for its aromatic sandal wood and broad beautiful trees of pipal and banyan with their hospitable  road shade. If one is spiritually inclined, there are living seers, whether Hindu, Christian or Muslim who can provide one with spiritual solace. There are also tombs of great religious leaders of Hindu,  Muslim, Christian, Jaina or Veerashaiva. In the precincts of these tombs even today people seek spiritual solace.

Karnataka is blessed with many waterfalls and the tallest water fall in India is at Jog (Shimoga District) where the river Sharavati jumps from a height of 293 mts. into four cascades of everlasting beauty. Presently the falls will be active with full zoom only during one month following the rainy season (July- October).The Cauvery at Shivasamudra falls (in Mandya district) has twin jumps,

Gaganachukki and Bharachukki, one km away from each other and their water has been harnessed for production of Hydel power from 1902. Mandya district has also a fall of the Shimsha, 14 km from Bluff, the power station of Shivasamudra. The river Shimsha is a tributary of the Cauvery and its falls is in Malavalli taluk, Mandya district. Kodagu district with its headquarters at Madikeri, a perennial hill-station, has the Abbi Falls, five km away from it. The Irpu falls of the river Lakshmana Tirtha, in Kodagu District, is 48 km from Virajpet, has also an old Rameshwara temple near it. Chikmagalur district has many water falls. The hill station at Kemmannugundi has the Hebbe Falls and it is created by a stream later joining the Bhadra river, and the water jumps down from a height of about 500 feet. Manikyadhara is yet another water falls near the famous pilgrim centre Baba Budangiri Dattatreya Peetha and here water spills down like small balls and visitors can enjoy a memorable shower bath. The Kallatti Falls at Kallattipura in Tarikere tq is 10 km from Kemmannugundi; water leaps down here from a height of 400 feet and there is an old Veerabhadra temple very near the Falls. Mysore district has the picturesque Chunchanakatte Falls at the place of the same name, besides which there is a Rama temple. Uttara Kannada is famous for its Unchalli (Lushington) also called ‘Keppa Joga’ Falls, about 450 feet in height and the Aghanashini river creates this water cascade at a place which can be reached from Yellapur (19 km away) and also from Siddapur (12 km) via, Kolsirsi, Heggarne and Unchalli. From Unchalli one has to walk five km from through the thick forest to reach the witnessing spot of this falls. The Magod Falls (situated at a distance of eight km from Yellapur) of the Bedti River can be reached from Siddapura (35 kms) as well as Yellapur in Uttara Kannada. The Chaya Bhagavathi falls, (five kms away from Narayanapur) in Surpur tq, the

Yattipota falls near Chincholi, the Gurmitkal falls (four kms from Gurmitkal) in Yadgiri Tq. the Kotikal falls near Badami and the Kabbargi Falls in Koppal district are noteworthy. Belgaum District has the famous Gokak Falls, which is eight km away from the Gokak Town and Gokak Road Railway Station. The 170 feet tall cascade here is called ‘Mini Niagara’ for its spread and shape. Hydro Electric Power was harnessed here to mechanically run the cotton mill as early as in 1887. There are many beautiful old temples at Gokak falls beginning from Badami Chalukyas till Later Chalukyan times and Vijayanagara periods and also a suspension bridge across the river Ghataprabha. The artificial but, attractive waterfalls at Sogala (Baihongal Tq.) needs special mention. The Mahadayi river creates the Vajrapoha Falls in the thick Jamboti forest in Khanapur taluk. While the river travels towards Goa, it is called Mandovi. A second falls of it at the lower valley from a height of 50 mtrs. Although inaccessible, can be reached from Asoge, which is six kms. away from this falls. Near Bangalore is Muthyalamaduvu falls not far away from Anekal, and 40 kms from Bangalore. The proper season to visit these water falls is between September and January and Gokak Falls must be visited in July-August when it will be in full bloom.

To the religious-minded and the devotees of every denomination, there are places worthy of a visit. To the Muslim, one of the oldest mosques of Karnataka is in the Gulbarga Fort, built in 1367. by the Bahmani King Muhammad Shah I. It is the biggest mosque in Karnataka, and when compared in plan and design, the mosque resembles the mosque at Cardova in Spain. The Jamiya masjid in

Ferozabad of Gulbarga Tq is of Bahamani period. Hirabibi masjid at Hirapur (Gulbarga), masjids at Gogi, Sagar etc. are noteworthy. The Jamiya mosque in Bijapur is another wonderful huge monument built by All Adilshah (16th century). It has a proportionate dome and its mihrab is  orgeously painted.  The Malika Jahan mosque in black stone is another notable mosque in Bijapur.

Bidar has the famous Solha-kamb mosque with 16 cylindrical pillars was raised in 1423. The Andu masjid, (Bijapur), the Mahal masjid of Afzalpur and the Khali masjid of Aland built during Adilshahi period are some beautiful examples of Islamic architecture. Raichur has Ekminar mosque and Lakshmeshwar (Gadag dt) has artistically raised mosque in the style of a Hindu temple of Adilshahi times. Belgaum has the fine Safa mosque of Adilshahi times in the fort built by Asad Khan Lahiri. Another mosque in the fort is Jamia Masjid raised by Sher Khan of Bijapur in 1586-87. Bhatkal has magnificent Chinnada Palli and the mosque at Mangalore port is known for its fine wood work. The

Jamiya Mosque at Srirangapattana with its two tall minarets is the creation of Tipu. Sira has a mosque of Mughul times. The Mosque in the City Market, Bangalore, is a large modern structure in marble with a series of windows crowned by arched canopies and rows of minaret-like pillasters.

The Dargas of Muslim Saints and Kings are equally famous. The Bande Nawaz Darga at Gulbarga is in a vast sprawling complex where a Mughul mosque is also seen. The Mausoleum of Ahmed Shah Wali, at Ashtur near Bidar is a tall structure with paintings in it. The prince is venerated as a saint by both the Hindus and Muslims. Bijapur has two princely Mausoleums. Ibrahim Rauza, a twin structure is standing on arched platform. One end of the platform has a tomb and another end a mosque, both domed structures with the domes emerging from lotus petals and having metallic  innacles on them. Gol Gumbaz is the most famous mausoleum of another prince. The Yakub Kadri darga at Yadagiri, Sarmast darga at Sagar, Ladle Mashak darga at Aland, Amin Sab darga at Ijeri (Jevargi tq), Chanda Husaini darga at Gogi, Sayad Abib Sha Wali darga at Hirapur near Gulbarga. Haji Khudanma Husaini darga at Chincholi, Chita Sha Wali darga at Chitapur, Khaji Shahabuddin

darga at Karjagi (Afzalpur tq) are some of the Important dargas situated in Gulbarga District. The Panje Sab Darga at Talikote. Hajisab and Badakalsab darga at Tikota (Bijapur tq) and Hasan Dongri dargah at Bilgi are noteworthy. Darga of Malik Rihan is the most notable with its Polygonal layout, a Mughul Structure at Sira. The Gumbaz where rest Haider and Tipu’s mortal remains is a tall structure with a huge dome at Shrirangapattana. Its doors have fine inlay work. Syed Madani Darga at Ullala near Mangalore is a modern structure. At the Asar Mahal palace of Bijapur, Hazrat Bal, a hair of the Prophet is believed to be preserved in a casket. Wherever there is Muslim population they also raise dargas (“chillas”) of Mehboob Subani (famous Saint from Baghdad) and Chamansha Wali. Uruses are also held at these places. Many of the uruses are very large gatherings, attended by Hindus also as at the Raja Bagh Sawar urns at Yamanur near Navalgund or the one of Ahmadshah Wali at Ashtur near Bidar, which is also considered as the jatra of Veerashaiva Saint Allamaprabhu.

A Veerashaiva pries officiates at it, beginning the rituals by doning green robes.

For those interested in seeing churches, the best are at Bangalore, Mysore and Mangalore. Though Christianity was propagated by the efforts of the Portuguese in Kanara {coastal area) far earlier than on the plateau, many of the churches they raised on the coast during the 16th to 18th Century were

razed to the ground by the Mysore ruler in 1790s. Mangalore has the magnificent St. Rozario Cathedral church with its tall frontal towers. The original building was of 1526, rebuilt in 1910. Milagres Church with beautiful tall façade accommodating many artistic images on its parapet, reminds one of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Equally notable is Our Lady of Sorrow church at Kodialbail built in 1857. It has a frontal tall wall facade divided into four rectangles of equal size with a pediment atop them. Mangalore has the Shanti Cathedral of the Basel Mission (now C.S.I.) raised in 1862 which is a beautiful simple structure with its complex well-planned layout.Virajpeth in Kodagu has a Catholic Church in Gothic style. It celebrated its bicentenary in 1993. The small Anglican Church in Madikeri, now houses the Government Museum managed by the State Archaeology Department has some rare antiquities and beautiful glass paintings. The St. Mary’s Church in Belgaum is a huge granite structure built in 1869 in the Camp area with fine piers in the prayer hall and gorgeous stained glass windows. The St. Philomina Church at Mysore with its two tall towers of imposing size can be the pride of any town and the building has a crypt. The Abbe Dubois Church (Srirangapattana) is worth mentioning. Bangalore has its oldest St. Mary’s Basilica in Shivajinagar supposed to be raised around 1600, rebuilt in 1832, and it has a tall Gothic tower at the entrance. St. Marks Cathedral that took the present shape in 1927, is another Imposing structure in the former Cantonment area, now of the Church of South India. The St. Patrick’s Church with North-South alignment is in Greeco-Roman style, was originally built for Irish soldiers in 1844 and rebuilt in 1898. The Trinity Church on the Mahatma Gandhi Road was the official Anglican Church of British times which was attended by Residents and other officers. It took its present shape in 1908, though originally built in 1851, it has fine ionic pillars and a portico with a majestic look. Its nave is 90 feet long and the back-wall has fine wooden carvings.

The Buddhists had their Tara Bhagavati temples at Belgami (Balligave) near Shiralkoppa (Shimoga dt), Koliwada and Dambal, (both in Gadag dt), are no more. Remains of the razed Stupas and a large number of Buddhist plaques of Satavahana period are unearthed recently at Sannatti and Kanaganahalli nearby in Gulbarga dt. Buddha Vihara at Aihole and Buddhist remains at Badami

(between cave two and three) of Badami Chalukya period are noteworthy. Kadri in Mangalore has three Buddhist bronze images in the Manjunatha temple and of these, one of Avalokiteshwara is more than five feet tall, and is of ninth century. The Tibetan Settlements at Mundgod in Uttara Kannada and Bailukuppe in Mysore district look like mini-Tibet with their multi-coloured beautiful stupas and artistically painted prayer halls. The two New BaudhaViharas at Gulbarga are worth mentioning. The Mahabodhi Society in Bangalore has a magnificent stupa, and a huge temple on the model of the Bodhagaya temple has been raised inside the compound.

Jainism had been a very old religion of Karnataka and Shravanabelagola with its 58 feet tall Gommata (intalled in 981-82 AD) and many Jaina basatis on two rocky hills is the most important Jaina Centre. It is in Hassan dt. And in the neighbouring district of Shimoga is Humcha, famous for the worship of Yakshi Padmavathi. Kambadahalli (Nagamangala taluk) known for its Panchakuta Jaina Basadi (dwikuta and trikuta) of 10th C A.D. is unique by its varied amlashila adorning the shikaras of the trikuta temple with huge monolithic pillar in front. Simhanagadde in Chikmagalur dt. (Narasimharajapur tq) has a Jaina Matha of antiquity. Dakshina Kannada has many Jaina Centres.

Mudabidre has the biggest Jaina Basadi in Karnataka called Thousand-pillared basadi with wonderful Jaina icons, both in metal and wood. The pillars of this 16th Century structure are highly artistic. At this place, there are many more Jaina monuments. Neighbouring Karkala town has a Gommata monolith statue installed in the 15th century, and a beautiful Chaturmukha basadi.  nother

town nearby is Venur which has another monolithic Gommata installed in 1604, also has the Shantinatha Basadi. Dharmasthala, a famous Shaiva Centre has a monolithic Gommata installed in the last century. Belgaum district has the beautiful Kamala basadi in Chalukyan style in the Belgaum Fort. The ancient centre Tavanidi near Nippani and newly created centre at Shedbal, where 24 Tirthankaras in white marble have been installed in a cluster, are quite imposing. Lakkundi in Gadag district has a huge Brahma Jinalaya of Chalukyan style, built by a noble lady, Attimabbe. Near Mysore is Gommatagiri with a 20 feet tall Gommata monolith. Tippuru in Maddur Tq has a 20

ft.Gommata image of 10 th Century A.D. A picturesque hill, Maleyur in Chamarajnagar taluk with a Parshwanatha basadi atop the hill and also the samadhi of the great Jaina Savant Pujyapada is another holy centre. This place on a rocky hill has serene atmosphere.

To the Shaivas, Gokarn is a great all-India centre where the Atmalinga (Mahabaleshwara) of Shiva, brought by Ravana is believed to have been installed. Nearby is Murdeshwar where a huge modern Shiva temple in Dravidian Style has been raised, renovating an ancient shrine. Both the places are on the sea-shore in Uttara Kannada. At Hampi is the famous Virupaksha Temple, venerated by generations of poets, scholars, kings and commoners. Madikeri has the famous Omkareshwara temple built by the Kodagu rulers during the 19th century. Its domes and arches make it look like an Indo- Saracenic building. Dharmasthala in Dakshina Kannada is the most popular Shaiva centre in Karnataka. Nanjangud in Mysore dt. has the huge Shrikantheshwara temple, more than 1000 years old. The Chamarajeshwara in Chamarajanagar is built (in 19th Century) by Krishnaraja Odeyar III in

memory of his father Chamaraja, and both these huge temples have fine stucco images. The Nanjangud temple is a museum for the study of Shaiva Iconography with its fine stone figures in the round. Bangalore has the Ulsoor Someshwara temple of the 16th Century built by the Kempegowda family with tall imposing Rayagopura. The Shiva temple at Kudala Sangama in Bagalkote district is famous for its association with Saint Basaveshwara. Equally remarkable pieces of art are the  Virupaksha and the Mallikarjuna at Pattadakal in Bagalkote dt. Temples at Talakadu, Vijayapura and Mudukutore (Mallikarjuna on a hill) are together famous as five holy Lingas (Panchalingas) and are on the bank of the Cauvery.

On Shivaratri day, jatras are held at all these centres. The Veerashaivas have many venerated places, either associated with Basaveshwara or his contemporaries. Basavana Bagewadi was his place of birth and Kudala Sangama the place of his spiritual practices, are in Bijapur and Bagalkot dts. The latter is at the confluence of the river Krishna and the Malaprabha. Basava Kalyana, the ancient Chalukyah capital in Bidar district was the place where he conducted his socio-religious  ovement. Ulavi in Uttara  Kannada, a quiet place amidst forests, has the ‘samadhi’ of   Chennabasavanna, Basaveshwara’s nephew. Belgami (Balligavi), the famous Chalukyan art centre

in Shimoga dt. is identified as the birth place of Allama Prabhu and Uduthadi near it, is the native place of Akka Mahadevi. Later Veerashaiva saints are associated with many places. Kodekal (Gulbarga dt.) Basavanna temple, Kadakola Madivallajja Matha, Sharana Basaveshwara temple and Dasoha Math at Gulbarga are few more places of worship. The Mahadeshwara Betta in Chamarajanagar dt. is associated with a Veerashaiva Saint ascribed with many miracles. Yediyur in Tumkur dt. has the ‘gadduge’ of Tontada Siddhalinga Yati, another renowned saint. Balehonnur in

Chikmagalur dt. and Ujjini in Bellary dt. are the two among the five (Pancha) major important Veerashaiva Peethas of India in Karnataka. Athani has the ‘samadhi’ of the famous Veerashaiva Saint Shivayogi. Some of the outstanding Veerashaiva Mathas are seen at Naganur near Bailhongal and Kalmatha in Belgaum, Durudundeshwara Matha at Arabhavi and Mahantaswamy Matha at Murgod are in Belgaum dt. Murugha Matha (Dharwad), Annadaneshwara Matha (Mundargi),  ontadarya Matha at Gadag and Dambal, Moorusavira Matha at Hubli, Murugha Matha and Hukkeri Matha (Haveri), Taralabalu Matha at Sirigere, Murugharajendra Matha at Chitradurga, Banthanala Shivajogi Matha at Chadachan and Mahantaswamy Matha (Ilkal) are equally notable. The ‘samadhi’ of Sharanabasappa Appa at Gulbarga, the Belimatha in Bangalore, Siddhaganga Matha near Tumkur and Jagadguru Shivaratreshwara Matha at Mysore and Suttur are equally important. Kolar District has Nidumamidi Matha. These places and many more of the Veerashaiva Mathas are visited by pilgrims in thousands.Of the Adwaita School profounded by Adi Shankara, there is the famous

Matha at Sringeri in Chikmagalur District. Kudli has another Matha in the
same tradition in Shimoga dt. Adwaita Matha at Swarnavalli (Uttara Kannada)
has several palmleaves collections and this Matha has a large number followers
especially the Havayaks of Uttara Kannada district and elsewhere. Avani in
Kolar dt., Shivaganga in Tumkur dt. and Sankeshwar in Belgaum dt. are the
other prominent centres of this school. Of the Adwaita Sampradaya, are the
famous Siddharudha Matha at Hubli and the Shivananda Matha at Gadag.
Dattatreya worship is popular in Karnataka and Devala Ganagapur in
Gulbarga dt. where the famous saint from Karnataka, Narasimha Saraswati
had stayed for long, and Dattatreya devotees from all over throng the place.
Kurugadda, an island in the Krishna in Raichur dt. has the samadhi of Sripada
Vallabha, another devotee of Dattatreya, the guru of Narasimha Saraswati. At
Balekundri near Belgaum is the ‘samadhi’ of another devotee of Dattatreya
called Pantha Balekundri Maharaj. Murgod in Belgaum dt. and Agadi in Haveri
dt. have similar centres. Inam Dattatreya Peetha at Bababudan Giri in
Chikmagalur dt. is worshipped by both Hindus and Muslims. As a Muslim
devotee of Dattatreya, Dada Hayath Khalandar stayed and worshipped
Dattatreya at this shrine (cave) and the latter’s ‘samadhi’ (tomb) is also seen
on the hill. Maniknagar near Humnabad is another centre of Dattatreya worship
and was consecrated by the presence of a saint, Manik Prabhu.
Among the Shaivas, there are Nathapanthis. Handibadaganath in Khanapur
taluk. A ppachiwadi near Nippani and Kadri in Mangalore are their notable
centres. Bhairava, a manifestation of Shiva is worshipped in many places, and
of these Adichunchanagiri in Mandya dt. and Seethi Betta in Kolar dt. are
quite famous. Adichunchanagiri has now the famous Matha of the Vokkaliga
community.
Mailara Marthanda or Malatesha or Khandoba is another manifestation of
Shiva, whose temples are seen at Gudda Guddapur in Ranebennur taluk,
Mannetti Mailara in Bellary dt., Khanapur in Bidar dt., Mangasuli in Belgaum
dt., Bellur and Mailarapatna in Mandya dt. All these are popular centres of
pilgrimage.

Another popular manifestation of Shaivism is Veerabhadra, He is supposed
to be the son of Shiva. Popular centres of his worship are spread all over
Karnataka, but Yedur on the banks of the Krishna and Godachi in Belgaum
dt., Mugbalu and Savanadurga in Bangalore dt., Channappanapura in Mysore
dt, Koppa in the Chikmagalur dt. and the Uddhana Veerabhadra temple at

Hampi are some notable pilgrim centres of this God.
Shakti, the consort of Shiva is worshipped by many. The village deities like
Maramma, Durgamma, Patalamma, Sappalamma,Plague Amma, Matangamma
etc., have been identified with her. Of the Shakti centres to be noted are
Chandralamba at Sannati (Gulbarga), Bagavanti at Ghattaraki, Mayavva at
Karnataka, The Tourist Paradise 363

Chinchli, Yellamma at Saundatti, Banashankari near Badami (Bagalkote dt.),
Bhuvaneshwari at Hampi, Marikamba at Sirsi (Uttara Kannada), Mookambika
of Kollur, Annapurneshwari of Horanadu, Chamundeshwari in Mysore and
Hemadramma at Bannur (Mysore dt.), Mahalakshmi at Doddagaddavalli near
Hassan, Lakshmi at Goravanahalli, Hasanamba at Hassan, Honnadevi of

Shivaganga, Mariyamma at Huskur, Banashankari at Bangalore and the one
near Badami and Kolararnma at Kolar are considered to be ancient. These
places are visited by devotees of Goddess Shakti.

Among the Vaishnava Centres, Udupi and Melkote are the foremost, the
former connected with the Dwaita school and the latter Vishishtadvaita. Lord
Krishna at Udupi was installed by Acharya Madhwa (1200 – 1280 AD) in the
beginning of 13th C.A.D. and he founded eight Mathas to help conduct services
of the Lord at Udupi. The Madhwa Vaishnavas have their own holy places like

Sonda in Uttara Kannada, where Vadiraja Swamy’s ‘Brindavan’ is seen. The
pioneering Uttaradi Matha of the sect is at Hospet. The Navabrindavana or the
‘Brindavanas’ of nine great seers of the sect is at Anegundi to the north of Hampi in an island amidst the Tungabhadra. Mulabagal in Kolar dt. has the
Brindavana of Sripadaraja. Nanjangud, Sosale Bhimanakatte, Mahishi, Manur,

Santebidanur (Andhra Pradesh), Mantralaya (Andhra Pradesh) and Savanur
are holy places to the Madhwas, the last named having the Brindavan of
Satyabodha Teertha of Uttaradhi Matha, a Contemporary of Haider who paid
him honours. The great Vaishnava saint, Kanakadasa’s samadhi is at Kaginele
in Haveri dt. where recently a Matha has been founded with the name Kanaka

Guru Peetha. Kanakadasa one of the exponents of Haridasa Literature visited
Udupi Krishna temple and the God is said to have turned backwards and
given him darshan through the ‘Kanakana kindi’. Places like Mannur, Malkhed,
Honnali, Kudli, Sosale and Yaragola are also noteworthy Madhwa centres in
the State.
Srivaishnavism was preached by Ramanujacharya during the 12th century

and he stayed at Saligrama (Mysore dt. where there is the Bhashyakara Temple
in his memory). Tonnur and Melukote in Mandya dt. At the last place he is
believed to have renovated the Cheluvanarayana Swamy temple and conducted
the pious for long. These are holy places to Srivaishnavas and also to others.
There is the Parakala Matha at Mysore and Jeeyar Yatiraja Matha at Bangalore
(Malleshwaram).

Apart from the above places which are holy to Srivaishnavas, temples of
Vishnu and his incarnation are found all over the state. Reference is already
made to Udupi, Melkote, Biligiri Rangana Betta and Himavad Gopalaswamy
Betta. Narasimha is worshipped in notable places like Raibag, Surpali, Halasi,
Banawasi, Nagamangala and Maddur in Mandya dt. Zarani Narasimha near

Bidar. Devarayanadurga and Sibi in Tumkur dt., Toravi near Bijapur and at T.
Narasipur in Mysore dt. Ranganatha has two famous centres of worship in
islands in the Cauvery at Srirangapattana and Shivasamudra. Both are visited
364 A Handbook of Karnataka
by hosts of devotees. Equally famous Ranganatha temple is seen at Anegondi
in Koppal dt. The Chennakeshava at Belur. Keerti Narayana at Talakad,
Veeranarayana at Gadag, Soumya Keshava at Nagamangala are famous
Vaishnava pilgrimage centres. Vishnu in Bhuvarahavatara form found at Halasi
(Belgaum dt.) Varahanatha Kallahalli (Mandya dt.) and Mysore are unique and
note worthy. Chunchanakatte in Mysore District and Hiremagalur near
Chikmagalur and K.R.Nagar have very old Rama temples. Hanuman as a

popular Vaishnava deity has his temples in Hampi, Bannur (Mysore),
Banaswasdi near Bangalore, Karanji Anjaneya in Bangalore, Yalagur in Bagalkot
dt., Mulbagal in Kolar dt. Kadaramandalagi in Haveri dt. and Kengal Anjaneya
near Channapatna and a host of other places. Muttatti on the banks of Cauvery
in Mandya dt. also has a famous Hanuman Temple called Muttatiraya.

Subrahmanya, son of Shiva has his worshipping centres at Sandur in Bellary
district (picturesque hill resort), Ghati Subrahmanya in Bangalore (R) district
and Kukke Subrahmanya in Dakshina Kannada, In certain areas, Kartikeya is
identified with serpent worship and elaborate ritual called Nagamandala is
performed in a huge arena decorated with coloured powders and flowers. Around

this, special dance rituals are performed by trained priests. Witnessing
Nagamandala or a Yakshagana in coastal Karnataka, will be a unique privilege
to the visitor. So is seeing Bhuta worship rituals which are colourful and
captivating. Other folk arts like Veeragase, intended to please God Veerabhadra
hold one spell bound. Dollinakunita to please Biredevaru is a mighty
performance. Curious and funny is Somanakunita which entertain the
onlookers by the huge mask wearing artists. The Kamsale dance by the
Devaraguddas (devotees) of Mahadeshwara and Pathada kunitha of old Mysore

region are fascinating. The pageant of folk arts of Karnataka like Yakshagana,
Bayalata etc., will captivate the audience for a long period.Janapada Loka
near Ramanagara (Mysore-Bangalore Road) and the Regional Resources Centre
at the M.G.M. College, Udupi, provide audio-visual tapes, and there is a huge
folk museum in the Mysore University.
The Sikhs have their famous Nanak Zhara in Bidar, a place supposed to
have been visited by Guru Nanak. Gurudvar Nanak Math in Gulbarga of modern
times is noteworthy. There is a modern Gurud wara at Ulsoor in Bangalore,
built in white marble. The Parsees have their fire temple in Bangalore.
The State has many National Parks and Wild Life Sanctuaries. Of the National
Parks one at Bannerghatta near Bangalore is about 100 sq.km. in area and
there is a Tiger Safari. Bandipur in Mysore and Chamarajnagar dt. is more
than 800 sq.km. in area and famous for its wild elephants .The Kudremukh
National Park, 600 sq km in area is on the ranges of the Western Ghats and is
known for all kinds of flora and fauna. The Kudremukh Iron Co. at Malleswara
is amidst the park and has maintained a township and a guest house. The
Nagarahole National Park spread over 640 sq km includes areas both in Kodagu
and Mysore districts, has forest lodges to accommodate visitors and this park

is famous for its tiger population. The Brahmagiri Wild Life Sanctuary is in
Kodagu where nature in all its wild growth and animals in all their wild
movements can be seen. This is at more than 2000 to 3000 ft above mean sea

level. Ranebennur Wild Life Sanctuary in Haveri district is more than 100 sq
km in area and is known for its agile blackbucks population. Adichunchanagiri
has the Peacock Sanctuary. It is a hilly place where there is a Bhairava Temple
and a Matha of the Vokkaligas and peacocks can be seen in gay abandon in
the mornings. Dandeli Wild Life Sanctuary in Uttara Kannada District is famous

for bisons, deers and variety of other wildfauna.
Ranganatittu near Srirangapattana is a small island in the cauvery where
there is Bird Sanctuary and emigrant birds of all types like pelican, storks and

large number of other varieties are found perching on the trees and bushes,
feeding or busy flying to feed their young ones. Gudvi Bird Sanctuary in Sorab
taluk and Mandagadde Bird Sanctuary in Tirthahalli taluk are famous, and they
are in Shimoga district. An equally famous Bird Sanctuary is at Kokrebellur
near Maddur in Mandya district. Lovers of wild life who love serenity of the

forest and trekking at the hill tracks can visit these places and enjoy the natural
bounty of the land of Karnataka. Karnataka has some outstanding Trekking
spots. Places like Yana and Kavale caves in Uttara Kannada District. Gottamgotta
(Gulbarga dt), B.R. Hills (Chamaraj Nagar), Kabbal durga (Bangalore dt.)
Basavanabetta in Mandya dt. Mahadeshwara Betta in Chamarajanagar dt.

Madhugiri, Siddara Betta and Shivaganga (Tumkur dt.) , Nandi and Kolar hills
in Kolar district etc., are noteworthy. Herein you come across tanks, rivulets
and water falls to help cool your heels. The chirping sound of birds and of wild
insects provide you with fine natural music.
Karnataka has many cool and pleasant hill resorts of which Kudremukh is
one, mentioned above. Kemmannagundi in Chikmagalur district (in the Western
Ghats) is another hill resort surrounded by a park with good accommodation
facilities arranged by the Horticulture department (housed at Lalbag, Bangalore).

Biligiri Ranganabetta in Chamarajnagar dt. is famous for its ancient Srinivasa
temple atop a hill and around the temple, there exists a Wild Life Sanctuary.
Wild elephants are seen around the place. The place is inhabited by Soliga
tribes. Himavathgopalabetta (Gopalaswamy Betta) is another resort where there
is a Venugopala temple atop of hill. Rest house and food facilities are provided

in the small hamlet that has grown around the temple.
Devarayanadurga in Tumkur district has temples of Lakshmi Narasimha
and Yoga Narasihma atop the hill which is a cool resort and the whole hill is

surrounded by picturesque fortification. Nandidurga in Kolar dt. is an ancient place with the Yoganandiswara Temple of Chola times atop it and fortifications
around it, built by Haider and Tipu. The place is provided with lodging facilities,
and the Horticulture Department has raised an attractive park above the hill.
Mahatma Gandhi had stayed here more than once when he was in poor health.

Agumbe known as the Chirapunji of Karnataka in Shimoga district, though
not a hill resort, is a hill track from where the sunset can be observed and it is
an heavenly experience. There are hill resorts at Ramdurga in Bellary district,
Biligiri Rangana Betta in Mysore district, Siddara Betta in Tumkur district ,
Tadiyanda Mol in Kodagu district and also at Jogimatti in Chitradurga district.
The rivers of Karnataka have several reservoirs of tourist importance.
Reservoirs like KRS (Mandya dt), Narayanapur and Almatti (Bijapur dt.),
Chandrampalli (Gulbarga dt.) Navil Thirtha (Belgaum dt.), Shimsha (Mandya
dt.) Munirabad (Koppal dt.) Lakkavalli (Chikmagalur dt.), Gorur (Hassan dt.),
Bichanahalli (Mysore dt.), Harangi (Kodagu dt.) Marikanive (Chitradurga dt.),
Gajanur (Shimoga dt.), Hidkal (Belgaum dt.), Karanja (Bidar dt.), Varahi (Udupi
district ), Supa dam (Uttara Kannada) etc. can serve as interesting picinic and
tourist spots.
If you want to bask in the sunshine of the sea shore or get beaten by the
oceanic waves, there are fine beaches. At Bengre which is almost an island
and at Ullal both near Mangalore are notable beaches. Ullal has provision for
cottages and food facilities. Not far away from Mangalore is the beach at
Thanneerubhavi near Suratkal where there is the Regional Engineering College.
Malpe near Udupi (both places were associated with great Vaishnava saint

Madhwacharya) has a long magnificent beach and also an island near it.
Marvanthe in the Kundapur taluk of coastal Karnataka has a fine beach on
one side and river Sauparnika on the other, running parallel to the coast for a
considerable distance before its confluence with the sea and the Highway runs
in between Sea and the river provides the tourists an enchanting travel
experience and the sunset here is a magnificent divine spectacle. Kapu beach
near Kundapur is also an enchanting serene tourist spot. Gokarna, the holy
town in Uttara Kannada, has a very long beach hich has also become a second
resort to many people who visit Goa. Karwar has a number of beaches like
Blue Lagoon Beach, Ladies Beach around it and Poet Rabindranath Tagore
had unforgettable experiences at Karwar beach to which he has given expression
to in poetic prose. Om beach, Murudeshwar and Kasarkod are other beautiful
serene beaches of Uttara Kannada Dist. These are only a few among the many.

The beaches not only provide you an encounter with the sea, but also give you
a chance to taste sea food available there.
The sea coast has some captivating islands too and of these the St. Mary`s

Island or Tonseparu near Malpe has peculiar pillar-like natural rock formations.
The Nethrani Island near Murdeshwar is another captivating Island. Basavaraja
Durga near Honavar is an island fort raised by the Keladi Rulers during 16th
and 17th Centuries. It is surrounded by a strong fortification raised by gigantic
laterite blocks and the hill has a flat top. Devagad and Kurmagad are two

islands near Karwar. Visiting these places will be a wonderful experience.
If the visitor is interested in old paintings, the mural paintings of
Vijayanagara times are seen at Hampi Virupaksha temple and also at
Karnataka, The Tourist Paradise 367
Haradanahalli in the Chamarajanagar dt. Earlier, there were some paintings
in Cave No. 3 at Badami of the 7th century. They have faded. There are old

paintings of considerable antiquity at the Jaina Matha in Shravanabelagola.
Paintings of Bijapur times are seen at Asar Mahal Palace of the 16th-17th
century. Asar Mahal has mostly floral figures now fading. Ragmala paintings
and portraits of kings and queens like Chand Bibi are preserved in the Bijapur
Museum. A place near Bijapur, Kumatagi has also some wall paintings around
a swimming pool. Eighteenth century paintings are seen at Dariya Daulat Palace
at Srirangapattana, some of them are war scences, others personal portraits.
The Sibi Temple near Tumkur also has paintings of the 18th century of secular
nature besides some astounding erotic figures.
The Eighteenth century paintings are also seen at Chamarajnagar and at
Haleparivaradavara Chavadi in Kollegal and the Nalkunadu Palace in Kodagu.
The paintings on an wooden plank from Kittur have been transferred to the
Hire Matha at Amminbhavi in Dharwad dt. The 19th century paintings are
seen in the palace of Nippani, {Belgaum dt.), Nargund (Gadag dt.) and two
temples in the precincts of the Mysore palace. The Jaganmohan Art Gallery
has mural painting and also traditional paintings of gods and goddesses drawn

on cloth and also on glass. The traditional paintings of Mysore are preserved at
the Chitrakala Parishat in Bangalore too and they are mostly framed paintings
of gods and goddesses of the Mysore style. Small round ‘Ganjifa’ cards and
various ‘snake and ladder’ type game boards of the 19th century also have fine
paintings. Sritatvanidhi, a manuscript of the 19th century has hundreds of

miniature paintings. In which series are nine unpublished coloured illustrated
manuscripts originally prepared during the time of Krishnaraja Wodeyar III of
the Mysore Royal family, are now found in the Oriental Research Institute,
Mysore and of which only Shaktinidhi has been recently published.
Sritatvanidhi’s illustrations are considered to be outstanding and has been
recently published in parts by Prof S.K.Ramachandra Rao.
Schools of art also have good collection of modern paintings. The ideal fine
arts college at Gulbarga, Vijaya Fine Arts College at Gadag, Arts School of
Halbhavi at Dharwad, Arts School of Minajigi at Hubli, Hadapad’s Ken School
of Art, Chitrakala Parishat and Kalamandira at Bangalore and Art School at
Davanagere can be specially mentioned. Art exhibitions called ‘Kala Mela’ are
generally held in Bangalore, Davanagere, Udupi, Dharwad, Hubli, Gulbarga,
Mysore, Mangalore and other centres. Chamarajendra Academy of Visual Arts

(CAVA) is a Government institution is working in an old heritage building at
Mysore.
Of the handicrafts of Karnataka, brocade weaving can be seen at Bangalore,
Hubli, and other places. Wood inlay work is practised at Mysore and it is a
unique art. Lacquer ware working can be seen at Channapatna, Kinahal and
Kalaghatgi. Kinahal in Koppal district is doing special type of works. Sculptors

are seen at Mysore, Shivarapatna, Bangalore, Gadag and other centres, sculpting stone figures. Sandalwood carving is practised by the Gudigars at
Sagar, Sorab, Kumta and Honavar who undertake both big and small delicate
works. They also use other soft and hard wood as the medium, since sandalwood
is very costly. Their delicate works have few equals. Bidar has a special metallic

craft called Bidariware in which on a black metal surface fine silvery or gold
designs are embossed artistically. The Lambanis are known for their special
embroidery work. Doll making is also a special talent found in Karnataka.
Wonderful braziers are found at Nagamangala (Mandya dt), Gollaradoddi near
Ramohalli (Bangalore dt.), Udupi and Chikkodi in Belgaum dt. Observing the

nimble fingers at work on cane or bamboo or with chisel is a hair-raising
experience. The Canara Bank at Jogaradoddi and the Sandur Industries at
Sandur have opened workshops to make various type of craftsmen to sit under
a single roof and work together. A show room is also opened to help them
secure remunerative price for their products. Govt. Cauvery Emporia at

Bangalore, Mysore and other centres have showrooms of craft products of
Karnataka.
Of the Museums in the state, for art lovers, Jaganmohan Art Gallery housed
in an old gorgeous palace of Mysore is a must. There are not only fine art
works (including some by Raja Ravi Varma) in colours, metals, ivory and wood
but a huge collection of musical instruments too of yore. The Mysore Palace

proper has a large collection of art works from various countries, besides a
gallery of armoury of olden days including a sword that can be worn round the
waist like a belt.
Bangalore Government Museum (1880) too has a collection of ancient arms,
a sculpture gallery and a collection of old coins, which are shown at special
request. There are exclusive painting collections of noted artists K. Venkatappa
and K.K. Hebbar and plaster of paris sculptures of the former. The district
museum at Shimoga (housed in an old palace) where queer items of Keladi
rulers are preserved. The Gulbarga Museum has not only the items of
Bahmanshahi times but also a huge collection of Buddhist sculptures
(Decorative plaques) had from Sannati. Chitradurga Museum (1947) has many
antiquities connected with the local chieftains, hero-stones, weapons and other
items. There are State Government Museums at Gulbarga, Kittur, Hassan,
Keladi, Raichur, Basavakalyana, Huvina Hadagali, Dharwad, Gadag, Srirangapatna and Shimoga which are worth noticing.
The Central Government (Archaeological Survey of India) maintains a rich
collection of armoury, coins, manuscripts and paintings at the Museum near
Gol Gumbaz, Bijapur. Hampi {at Kamalapura) has a similar site museum of
Vijayanagara days, and it also contains many objects unearthed during recent
excavations at Hampi. Srirangapattana’s Daria Daulat Palace has a Museum
on Tipu (1959) which contains manuscripts, drapery, coins, arms and paintings
of his time. Halebidu, Balligave, Banavasi, Lakkundi, Aihole, Badami, Bagali

etc., have Museums maintained by the A.S.I.
In addition to the Folk Art Museum at the Mysore University, the museum
at the Janapada Loka at Ramanagara founded by Karnataka Janapada Parishat
founded by H.L. Nagegowda has to be specially mentioned. The Kannada
Research Institute, Karnataka University has a famous Museum of antiquities
and its eqigraphical gallery is the most notable. There is the Visweswaraya
Industrial Museum at Bangalore besides the State Museum founded (1962) by
the Indian Council of Scientific and Industrial Research.
The finest and the best Museum in Karnataka is ‘Manjusha’ seen at the
famous pilgrim centre Dharmasthala which has a huge collection of all items
like vessels, implements of day-to-day use, jewellery, watches, clocks, art pieces,
typewriters, cars, coins, weapons, icons, manuscripts, copper plates, curious
items, drapery etc., dating back to several centuries. Shashwati is a unique
museum for women, having the items they used, created, wore etc., giving a
complete picture of their life. It is situated in the N.M.K.R.V. College for Women
at Jayanagar, Bangalore.
Karnataka can boast of the best pathology museum in India at the
Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Medical College, Belgaum, run by the K L E Society.
It is both educative and entertaining, both to a layman and a medical person
because all sorts of aberrations in human body in all its dimensions are
attempted to be unmasked with detailed academic notes being provided at
this museum.
Karnataka has one of the finest zoos in the country at Mysore. The Sri

Chamarajendra Zoological Garden founded in 1892 spread over an area of 100
acres and has collection of nearly 1000 animals of all variety including many
exotic ones like Sloth Bear, Chimpanzee, Orangoutang etc., and also the White
Tiger. The Bannerghatta National Park near Bangalore, has the Tiger safari.
The Natural Museum and the Fantacy Park at Mysore are recent additions
worth mentioning. The big Acquarium with varieties of Coloured fishes at Bal
Bhavan, Bangalore is noteworthy.
No survey of Karnataka from the tourist point will be complete without

mentioning about its historical forts. The whole range of ancient capitals such
as Bidar, Gulbarga, Bijapur, Vijayanagara, Badami, Banavasi, Basava Kalyana,
Srirangapattana, Keladi, Chitradurga, Mysore, etc. had their forts. In addition,
forts were built at strategic centres. There are hill forts at the Nandi Hills
(Kolar dt.), Savanadurga (Bangalore (R) dt.), Madhugiri, Pavagada, Nijgal,

Midigeshi etc., in Tumkur dt., Uchangi in Davanagere dt., Bellary and Sandur,
in Bellary dt., Jamalabad in Dakshina Kannada, Manzarabad near Sakleshpur
in Hassan dt. and Kavaledurga in Shimoga dt., Yadgiri, Waghangeri, Jaladurga,
Vanadurga, Shahapur and Surapur in Gulbarga dt., Nargund fort built by
Shivaji in Gadag dt. and Parasgad and Hargapur forts in Belgaum dt., also
raised by Shivaji. Bangalore, Devanahalli, Magadi (Bangalore (R) dt.), Aymangala
in Chitradurga dt., Chikbanavar in Hassan dt., Belgaum etc. have fortifications
around some part of the towns even now. Rehmanghad nd

Gummanayakanapalya in Kolar District. Old forts have huge granite stones
used without plastering materials. Raichur, Mudugal, Koppal forts too are
noteworthy. Shrirangapattana fort is protected by he arms (branches) of the
Cauvery. The coastal island forts like Bahadurgad, Basavaraja Durga, Devagad
and Kurmagad have already been mentioned. Old forts exist in hundreds in
Karnataka. A visit to them gives an idea of the ancient architects’, stone workers’,
builders’ and military strategists’ skill and fore-thought. They take your mind
to the past, helping you to trace the foot-prints on the sands of time, make you
think of men who fought to protect or to scale them, blood that was shed,
intrigues involved in capturing them, and a long pageant of past events.
To substitute the efforts made till now to pinpoint the centres of special
interest to visitors and tourists of various tastes and temperament, further
efforts, are made here to describe some notable and outstanding tourist spots
in Karnataka. It is calculated that every year on an average two to three crore
people visit Bangalore for a variety of reasons and they also turn tourists and
visit Mysore in considerable numbers. They do not know that Karnataka has
outstanding tourist spots and good facilities to visit them and also stay at
those places. There is enough facility for trekking, water sports, sports like
golf, snooker and other sophisticated games. Bangalore and Mysore have horse
racing seasons too. Dasara at Mysore is a great festival. The Annual festival of
Hampi Utsav (November) and Kadambotsav (December) are conducted by the

State Government regularly at Hampi and Banavasi respectively. Vairamudi at
Melkote is another unique occasion when the Utsavamurthy of Lord Narayana
adorned with a diamond studded dazzling crown (‘mudi’) is taken in procession.
The Bangalore Karaga on Chaitra Poornima night is also a colourful festival.
With this background, some important places are introduced here, in an
alphabetical order;

96 thoughts on “Karnataka a Tourist Paradise”

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