Karnataka is a bounty. Here you’ll find palaces, tiger reserves, ancient ruins, and pretty much everything else that favours tourism. Come here to experience some of the most beautiful and clean beaches of India. At its nerve centre is Bangalore – India’s IT hub, with nearly 8 million people running on its streets. In the south, is a much beautiful coastal line and hill districts, representing a quintessential Hindu south India – of lush tropical vegetation and dominating temple sites. In its east, the rainforest Western Ghats can be found impeding the path of dramatic clouds. Come here for any kind of experience.
TOP PLACES TO SEE AND EXPERIENCES TO TRY
Experience Life In Bangalore: Bangalore is the biggest cosmopolitan in the south India, and is my favourite city in India. Unlike other big cities, Bangalore has an educated young crowd, a perfect weather, and a benevolent drinking and dining scene. It is not necessarily a place you’d come to experience a world-class city, but if you want to experience a modern side of India, come straight to Bangalore.
Beaches In Gokarna: Around 150 kms in the south of Goa, lies the beautiful beaches of Gokarna. You can picture it as a more laid-back and less-commercialised version of Goa – where people come for a chilled-out beach holiday, over full-scale parties. And that’s what makes Gokarna many traveller’s preferred choice. Its real Indian vibe, has not been yet completely washed away as the waves upon waves of westerner hippies flock in the country.
Kodagu District: Also known as Coorg, Kodagu is situated on the eastern slope of the Western Ghats, with coffee and Pepper plantations surrounding it. Come here to spend a weekend at one of the many hillside resorts and homestays, or perhaps have some adventure river rafting, quad biking and trekking.
The Town Of Bylakuppe: Located in the Kodagu District itself, Bylakuppe is popular for its Tibetan population. You can call it Dharamshala of south, without Himalayas. The town has south India’s biggest monastery and accommodates the highest number of Tibetan refuges in India, after Dharamshala.
Hampi: About 7 hour journey from Bangalore takes you to the city of Hampi – a fantasy world of rocks and ruins. The town is all about an uncountable number of impressive long lost ruins (most of which are a UNESCO world heritage site), banana plantations and paddy fields, surrounded by big/small size boulders, all perched on top of each other as far as the eye could go. Other than that, expect a lively atmosphere with a chilled out and a relaxing vibe – thanks to the many western hippies who end up staying here for weeks and months.
Chikmangalur: Chikmangalur’s favorable climate and coffee estates attracts tourists from around the country. Here you will find Karnataka’s highest peak, Mullayanagiri, which stands at 2000 metres above sea level; the mesmerizing Kalhatti falls; and Bhadra wildlife century – for those who are into Tiger spotting.
Uduppi: A prominent pilgrim site, Udupi is home to the atmospheric 13th-century Krishna Temple. It’s a hive of ritual activity, with temple musicians playing at the entrance, elephants on hand for puja (prayers), and pilgrims constantly passing through. If you’re into culture and want to see the real south Indian religious culture, look no further.
COST OF TRAVELLING
Food: Food in Karnataka is cheap – particularly in the big and non-touristic towns. You can eat something local and basic for under 50 Rupees. An average meal in restaurants can cost between 100 to 200 Rupees. I remember spending an average of 100 Rupees per meal in most of the cities, except for Hampi – where most of the restaurants (serving to a prominent hippie crows) had everything strangely overpriced.
Accommodation: Accomodation in Karnataka, can be cheap to moderately expensive. If you’re visiting Western Ghats, then expect to pay a little more, given a scarcity of cheap lodges in the area. Here you might have to pay around 1000 Rupees per night, for an basic room, in one of the many big size tourist resorts, that are in trend here. Beaches and historical cities like Hampi, can be slightly cheaper to stay.
BEST TIME TO TRAVEL
Given the tropic and hot weather of Karnataka, the ideal time to travel is only between October and March, when the climate is pleasant and temperatures remain in its minimum. The monsoon season between June and August is also sometimes favoured by those who love to hang out in rain, but exploring the rainforests in the Western Ghats, which lies on its eastern border, can be tough.
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