Karnataka

Karnataka is a land of ancient temples, wildlife sanctuaries, unexplored forests, awe inspiring waterfalls, beautiful beaches, sprawling coffee plantations and much more. This southern state has a varied geography with and climate. Coastal plains lie on the western side bordering the Arabian Sea sporting a warm and humid climate for most part of the year. Mountains, valleys and farmlands in the interior regions have hot summers and cool winters.
Karnatakas rich heritage and history are evident in the numerous temples and heritage sites present in the state such as Hoysala temples at Belur, Hampi, Gol Gumbaz at Bijapur, Ibrahim Rauza, cave temples at Badami and the rock-cut temples at Aihole, monolith of Gomateshwara Bahubali at Shravanabelagola and Mysore Place. Karnataka invites beach lovers to Murudeshwara,Gokarna and Karwar and the religious to Udupi Sri Krishna Matha, the Marikamba Temple at Sirsi, the Sri Manjunatha Temple at Dharmasthala, Kukke Subramanya Temple and Sharadamba Temple at Shringeri, Kudalasangama, Basavana Bagewadi, Mudabidri and Karkala.
Karnatakas natural heritage, the forests and wildlife are fondly cared for in Bandipur National Park, Bannerghatta National Park, Ranganthittu Bird Sanctuary, Dubare – Elephant Camp and Kudremukh National Park to name only a few. Natural wonders abound in the state in the form of Jog Falls (India’s tallest single-tiered waterfall), Gokak Falls, Unchalli Falls, Magod Falls, Abbey Falls and Shivanasamudra Falls among many.
Karnataka has a good network of railways, national and state highways and has international airports at Bengaluru and Mangalore.

COORGI DELIGHTS-SRIRANGAPATNA

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Pet puja done, we moved on past Channapatna(famous for its toys), Mandya and at 10.30 AM reached SriRangapatna, a place of great religious, cultural and historical importance. Located 20 kms from Mysore City, the entire town is an Island enclosed by the River Cauvery. The town gets its name from the famous Sri Ranganathasamy Temple. The temple, one of the important Vaishnavite pilgrimage centres was built in the 9th Century and is a mix of Hoysala and Vijayanagar styles of Architecture(Thanks:Wikipedia).

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Coorgi Delights – Reaching Coorg

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The shortest route from my hometown in Tamil Nadu, Tiruppur to Madikeri (Coorg’s largest town) passes through Mysore and is around 315 kms. But going by this route meant a difficult climb on the Dhimbam Hills from Bannari Checkpost in Tamilnadu right upto the TN-Karnataka border just past Hasanur (An almost vertical climb with 27 continuous hairpin bends in just 16 kms). This was a strict no-no because my wife has a chronic allergy to hill travel and vomits incessantly during hill rides, of which I have had many unpleasant experiences, especially during one trip to Munnar on a packed Innova and during another ride on the Palani-Kodaikanal route last summer. Inexplicably she never has any problems when riding up hills on a bike and that is the reason for my many bike trips to nearby Ooty (Thanks for small mercies). So, I had to choose a relatively less adventurous route and picked the Bangalore-Mysore-Madikeri route as my best option. Although this doubled my travel distance (Tirupur to Bangalore to Madikeri is 575 kms by road) there was no other choice.

Travelling to Coorg from Bangalore, though has its own attractions. The stretch between Bangalore and Mysore is dotted with many tourist hotspots. The ride is almost a tracing back of river Cauvery from the plains to its birthplace in Coorg district. Srirangapatna an island situated in the midst of Cauvery river, is renowned for its famous Ranganathasamy Temple and the historical sites connected with the reign of the brave Tipu Sultan and his encounters with the British. Further on the route, a mere 6 kms after Srirangapatna is the Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary, the largest of its kind in Karnataka. Here guided Boat tours are available throughout the day to watch the birds. Along with the birds, the riders on the boat can also enjoy the thrilling sight of huge crocodiles, sun-bathing on the rocks, precariously close to the boat’s edge.

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The Stupendous Chitradurga Fort

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Most of the forts you visited were predictable. But this fort has a surprise waiting at every gateway corner and beyond every wall. It is like being rewarded for your huffing and puffing at every level of this Wii game. You feel like a child bounding up every which way. There are water storage tanks with elaborate planning for rain harvesting, granaries, oil pits, natural sources of clean cold water and temples.

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One Day Trip to Ooty-Coonoor

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I explored the hill-sides along the road looking at flowers, trees and occasionally the habitations along the road,perched diligently on the sloping terrain.The panoramic views of the valley below enamoured me, though no Tourist Department had christened them with clichéd names.

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Srirangapatna – Mysore Trip Part 2

Srirangapatna – Mysore Trip Part 2

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Mysore is the Karnataka’s second biggest city. It was the erstwhile capital of the Wodeyar dynasty and is considered the cultural capital of the state. It is also known as the City of Palaces. From what we saw, Mysore appeared to be a clean and well planned city with a heritage feel and quaint charm to it. Here are the places we visited

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Gokarna – much more than OM beach

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Gokarna is about 453 km from Bangalore and 165 KM from Hubli. We started by train at 7:45 PM and reached Hubli early morning at 3:45 (though arrival time was 4:30 AM – Trains do reach early in India also). Anyway Taxi (booked in advance) came as per the time given to him and we started at 5:00 AM from Hubli and had a breakfast at Kamath on the way and reach Om Beach resort at 8:45 AM. Normal check –in time was 12:00 however staff made the rooms ready by 10:30 and we checked in to relax.

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Gokarna – Story of Ravana

Gokarna – Story of Ravana

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Gokarna also has an mythological significance which attracts pilgrims. There are a lot of stories about Gokarna, but the most famous one is the story of Ravana and the Atmalinga.
Ravana, the demon-king of Lanka, received the atmalinga from Shiva after he had performed a penance at Mount Kailash reciting self-written Shivatandavastotram. Shiva instructed Ravana that the sacred atmalinga should not be placed on the ground as it would establish itself where placed on earth. On his way back to Lanka, Ravana stops for his evening prayers at Gokarna.

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Srirangapatna – Mysore Trip Part 1

Srirangapatna – Mysore Trip Part 1

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Mysore, known as the cultural capital of Karnataka, is a must-visit if you come up-to Bangalore for even a week. As for Srirangapatna, made famous by Tippu Sultan and more so by the TV series “the Sword of Tipu Sultan” aired on Doordarshan :), it lies on the way to Mysore from Bangalore. So, visits from in-laws and my parents resulted in two trips to Srirangapatna and Mysore. Here is my travelogue based on the two visits – first part about Srirangapatna and second part on Mysore.

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AN ANNUAL DATE WITH OOTY

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We stuck to our usual route of  Tiruppur-Mettupalayam-Kotagiri route for the onward journey to Ooty  and the Ooty-Coonoor-Mettupalayam-Tiruppur route for the return journey. The Kotagiri route has very little traffic, even in peak season and hence a much more enjoyable drive.

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Temple trails of Karnataka-Part 5-KUDREMUKH NATIONAL PARK

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On our way to Kudremukh, we happened to spot this beautiful little Ganapathi temple amidst lush green tea gardens at a village named Samse, 6 kms from Kalasa.
We drove further and a km later, reached Kudremukh National Park Checkpost. On giving the details of our vehicle and its passengers to the officer at the checkpost, we were issued a receipt indicating both our entry time and the time by which we had to exit the park at the western side of the reserve.

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Temple Trails of Karnataka: Part-3 – Belur and Halebeedu

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After our exertions at Mullayanagari Peak, we returned back to Chikmagalur town by mid-day, had our lunch and reached our hotel. I had hoped to catch some of the action from the Perth Test(hoping to watch Sachin’s 100th hundred live), but the Indian team dashed any such hopes by losing the Test in two and a half days. Disappointed by the result, I took the opportunity to slip into a much needed nap.

Our next destination was Belur temple, 25 kms from Chikmagalur. Belur is a small town located on the banks of Yagachi River in Hassan district. The main attraction of the town is the Chennakesava (literally translates to Handsome Vishnu) temple. It was built by King Vishnuvardana of Hoysala dynasty. The temple is one of the finest examples of Hoysala architecture alongside Halebeedu and Somnathpura. Coupled with Halebeedu, this is one of the major tourist destinations of Karnataka.

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