This is a guest post from Rohit from the blog, Trans India Travels.
Well, as everyone knows by now, India is world famous for its historical heritage, and that stands on a foundation of temples, palaces, intricate beauty and folklore. At a first glance into Karnataka, any average person might think that all of ancient India’s temples were congregated, packed tightly into this pleasant meadow of a place, and they wouldn’t be very far from the truth. You see, taking a voyage through Karnataka’s tourist sites throw up many, many temples, all heritage, and recognised even by UNESCO. There are ancient civilisation ruin sites, cult temples, township remains and pilgrimage destinations, all standing side by side strong together to make this place one of the worthiest and most rejuvenating options India can provide to the millennial on holiday.
The third in concern to city size, Mysore was re-christened from the ‘Mysuru’ it used to be. Temples and palaces are the major tourist attractions of Mysore. So many palaces that it is called “The City of Palaces”, in fact. And all of them are exquisitely beautiful, sculpted incorporating not only Indian, but also international, like Gothic, architectural styles. Mysore has a thriving, important trade market having spices and silks on sale. It is located on the hills.
Do you ever find yourself wondering what life must have been like hundreds of centuries ago? A weekend (or vacation) trip to Hampi is your opportunity to figure things out for yourself. An ancient village’s ruins, also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it has majestic temples on display like the Vittala and the Virupaksha. It also has a market, and archaeological museum, and a sanctuary nearby houses the Indian Sloth Bear. This vacation is bound to turn out educative along with relaxing, and is amazing even for a solo tour.
One more UNESCO Heritage Site, this temple town is one of the worthiest remnants of Hoysala craftsmanship. It loosely translates to “Strike Sala!”, which a Jain guru said to one of his student who was fighting in accordance with ritual on the temple premises. It is rumoured that the wealthy patroness Shantaladevi dancing, inspired the statues on display. It has land under cultivation too.
You see, this is the thing with structures that are not just old, but are pre-historic. They sometimes have religious stories that chill you to the bone. If you want to find out more, go Google the story of Ilavala and Vatapi, the latter the demon after which Badami was named. Badami is an ancient monarchy capital, a temple town, and one with forts, cave statues, and one cave you can enter only on four limbs, crawling. Visit Badami, if you want to know more about the legacy of sage Agastya.
Aihole is a heritage site with monuments yet to go up on the UNESCO list. Sprawled along the Malaprabha river, it has Buddhist, Jain and Hindu temples. Aihole is often grouped with Pattadakal in terms of historical relevance, and showcases Early Chalukya style of architecture. Located to the north of Karnataka, and is a very famous heritage tourist site of Aihole.
Also, located along the Malprabha river, Pattadakal is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It has Early Chalukyan style, and Dravidian architectural influence. It is comprised of temples like the Mallikarjuna and the Papanatha, which up the charm factor. It used to be to the ancient people what Vegas is to America, kind of- a place to sing, dance, be merry and have fun, but then turned politically powerful. It has hotels but not many shopping sites.
If you are not the dreamy sort and are looking for learning things on over a tight schedule, you must visit Bidar. A politically significant zone always, it used to be town headquarters, and now sits on the controversial Telangana border.
Karnataka is great for history love, but don’t think its all fairy tales-you’ll find power and administration if you look in the right places. The enviable UNESCO lineage are the major attractions of Karnataka, and is a pop pick among Indian tourists from 18 to 80, be it a three-day break or weeks long power vacation to recharge bodily batteries.
Rohit is a blogger at TransIndiaTravels.com. His love for ancient architecture and unexplored places make him travel the most fascinating destinations of India and across the world.