WELCOME TO THE PARADISE OF KARNATAKA
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Ilf you want to see the green lushy state where the north and the south of India truly meet, go to Karnataka. Situated on a tableland, it is bounded by Maharashtra and Goa in the north, by the Arabian sea in the West; by Kerala and Tamil Nadu in the south and by Andhra Pradesh in the east.
The capital city Bangalore, or the Garden City, has grown into a thriving city and it is the centre of the digital revolution in India. If you’re looking for action, in whatever way, this is the place to be. Business is booming, whether in the electronic, entertainment or vendors world. However, at the same time it treasures its ancient roots and many sights.
When you’re interested in history, you can’t miss out on Mysore. In the former days, the state itself was called Mysore. Nowadays, this former capital is the city of sandalwood (the smell will never leave your nose again) with many markets, fine museums and an impressive palace open to the public. On special days, concerts are held on the balcony of the palace and accessible to all people.
An absolute must when you’re in Karnataka is visiting Hampi. This 14th century capital of one of the greatest empires of the world is well preserved, not in the least because it has gained a place on the World Heritage List. It’s like going back in time when you’re strolling around the old area, visiting the old temples, walking along the old pools and rocky area. The historic city of Bijapur is equally worth a visit.
Karnataka has some beautiful beaches on the Western Coast. Starting from the south the Someshwar Beach with its Large rock jutting out into the sea and the Rock temple above is popular with tourists. Next is the famous ULLAL Beach, a clean and quiet beach with the Summer Sands Beach Resort an hot spot for tourists. The other beaches after mangalore city are the Thaneer bhavi, Panambur, surthkal, Malpe. Further North Honnavar and Gokarna are equally well known.
PLACES OF INTEREST
Is the English version of Bengalooru, the way it is pronounced in the local language Kannada. It is said that the word Bengalooru originated from the sentence "Bendakaalooru" meaning "City of baked-beans", as the color of the soil resembled that of baked bean. During the first centuries immediately after Christ, the Southern part of the present day Karnataka state, where Bangalore is located, Jainism was the main religious belief. Once part of the Vijayanagar kingdom, this city was founded by Kempa Gowda in 1537AD. Later, ruled by Tipu and other Mysore kings as well as the British. It was a major military base for the British.
To date a vast area of the city is retained by Indian military and defense forces and is not open to visitors and the public. After independence, the Indian government setup strategically important defense, telecommunication and aeronautical development industries here, as it is located hundreds of miles away from the mainland coast and thus safe from possible enemy attacks.
Bangalore is famous for its booming IT and Internet industry. The city has a large Anglo-Indian minority and is considerably more westernized than many Indian cities. The fact that Bangalore is a high-tech place does not mean that it has no interesting sights. It's simply an all-round place. You might want to visit the Palace of Tippu Sultan, once home to the south Indian king famous for battling the British, the Bull Temple, the Indian Institute of Science and other scientific research institutes, Cubbon Park, and the 240-acre/100-hectare Lal Bagh botanical garden: its pools, terraces, fountains, trees, and herbs are highlights.
Bangalore is also an excellent starting point for exploring Southern India and the state of Karnataka in particular. Bangalore is 855 km southeast of Mumbai. It lends itself well to a day-trip to Hampi. There are also a number of organized day trips to Mysore, the historic capital of the state during British India, when it was the princely state of Mysore.
Many international tourists consider Bangalore, one of the five biggest Metropolitan cities of India, as just a connecting place to other destinations. They haven't heard of any interesting places in this area, especially compared to neighboring Kerala and Goa. Yet, many people visit Lalbagh Botanical Gardens, Cubbon Park, Vidhan Soudha- the state assembly building, International Tech Park at WhiteField, Vishweshwariah Industrial Museum, Bannerghatta National Park, Shopping Streets like MG Road, Brigade Road and Commercial Street. Malls like Forum and Bangalore Central are the latest places to hang-out for the city's youth.
The important tourist destinations of South India are easily accessible from here: Mysore Palace, Nandi Hills, Coorg,Ooty and Kodaikanal hill-stations, Bandipur National Park and other reserved forest areas, Hampi and Hassan district's ruins of medieval sculptures, Jogfalls and other fascinating waterfalls, scenic backwaters and the ayurvedic relaxation centers of Kerala. The main attractor of tourists to Bangalore is its nice climate (except in March - May) and its large, English speaking, modern-minded, population. One sees a mix of different Indian linguistic groups here. Most of the local shopkeepers speak four to five languages. It is one of the few cities in India, where one can easily get by without knowing the local language.
MYSORE - THE KINGDOME OF SANDAL
This lovely city will cover you up under a spell of sandalwood as soon as you set foot in it. Besides that, it is also the paradise for incense lovers. Whatever sort of scent you're looking for, there is a vendor stall thats sells it. What Varanasi is to the north of India when it comes to silk, Mysore is to the south. Several streets are lined with silk emporia where you can buy nice pieces of silk and then you can go to a tailor and let them have a go at it.
The city offers many markets, the Maharadja's and the Jaganmoham Palace (with an excellent painting section) and some good museums. The Maharadja's palace is nicely lit on sunday evening between 7 and 8 o'clock.
It might be a nice option to spend a morning or afternoon climbing up Chamundi Hill. Famous rock cuttings and temples along the way make this climb even worth more the effort. For the more lazy tourist you can also take a taxi, bus or rickshaw up the hill and walk down.
In the neighbourhood you have several nice places to visit, like Somnathpur, which has an impressive temple complex.
MANGALORE - THE HOME OF MARMAIEDS
357 kms west of Bangalore is the district headquarters of Dakshina Kannada - Mangalore. With an important port, this coastal town is a major commercial centre. Mangalore could be your entry point to Beach Country - with its virgin and unexplored beaches. While in Mangalore try and see a Yakshagana performance - an elaborate dance form unique to Karnataka. The Kambala (buffalo race) is another exciting event.
A trip to Mangalore would be incomplete without a trip to the 10th century Manjunatha Temple, St. Aloysius Chapel, Mangala Devi temple, Tipu's Battery and the Jumma Masjid. The Ullal beach with casuarina groves in another attraction that draws tourists all through the year.
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