Karnataka is an enchanting land abounding in scenic beauty, rich is flora and fauna. It has pomp and pageantry of glorious traditions and marvels of modern engineering.
The State Cabinet, which has decided to bring tourist activities under the priority sector, has come out with a host of new plans including offering government land to entrepreneurs at 50 per cent of the market value to establish resorts and privatising the managements of government guest houses.
Karnataka has seen tourist arrivals grow by more than 300% from a mere 24 million in 2005 to 85 million in 2015. Karnataka has two world heritage sites in Hampi and Pattadakal and 319 tourist destinations, including heritage, pilgrimage and adventure travel hot spots.
Jog Falls. Image courtesy Sateesh Mane
The government would be using airstrips in Bidar, Belgaum, Hubli, Mangalore, Bellary and Harihar. The air strips in Mysore and Gulbarga would be strengthened and the government will also build airstrips in Bijapur, Raichur, Karwar, Shimoga and Gulbarga. Nandi Hills, Bridavan Gardens, Kemmanagundi, Jog Falls , Badami, Aihole, Pattadakal, Belur & Halebedu, Shravanabelagola, Bijapur, Hampi, Gokarna and Karwar would be treated as major tourist spots.
The government would be developing Bangalore as a tourist destination by promoting adventure sports, creating high-end accommodation and allowing private parties to manage tanks like Ulsoor, Sankey, Madiwala, Bellandur etc.
Karnataka’s manifold attractions include everything that interests the tourists. The wild game sanctuaries at Bandipur, Nagarhole and Dandeli, the Ranganathittu Bird’s Sanctuary.
5 Kms from Srirangapatna which is itself a well known tourist center, hill stations like Nandhi Hills and Kemmannagundi and Mercara, beach resorts like Karwar, Ullal, Malpe and Maravanthe, the world famous Brindavan Gardens at Krishnarajasagara, the monolithic statue of Gommateshwara at Sharavanabelagola, Gol Gumbaz with its whispering gallery at Bijapur, the Jog falls and other water falls at Shiva Samudram, Magod, Unchelli or Lushington near Siddapur, Lalguli at Yallapur and other places indicate the variety and richness of the attractions that Karnataka State holds out to the tourists.
There are many places of historic and religious importance. The great Acharyas, Shankara, Ramanuja and Madhwa, preached in this region. Great reformers like Sri Basaveshwara, mathematicians like Baskaracharaya, commentators like Sayana, saint poiets like Purandaradasa and Kanakadasa, great writers like Pampa, Harihara and Kumara Vyasa have all enriched the heritage of Karnataka.
The temples at Aihole, Badami and Pattadakal in Bijapur district have great significance for all lovers of art. The temples of Halebedu, Belur and Somanathapura are great architectural achievements – the like of which are rarely seen in any part of the world.
Lotus Mahal near Hampi
The profusion of artistic skill is bewildering in its range and exquisiteness. At Hampi [Bellary district] one can see Indian sculpture in all its richness and vitality.
The Muslims and Christians in ages past have made no mean contribution to the enrichment of art and architecture in Karnataka. The Gol Gumbaz and Ibrahim-Roza at Bijapur, the Daria Daulat Bagh (Summer Palace) of Tippu Sultan at Srirangapatna, the Khwaja Bandenawaz Darga at Gulbarga are someof their remarkable contributions.
The churches at Mysore, Mangalore, Bangalore and Bijapur indicate the contribution of Christians to the great repertoire of Karnataka’s culture. With all these manifold attractions a visit to Karnataka State is always memorable.
In August 2004, the State Government decided to form Kaginele Development Authority (KDA) to protect all the monuments and the documents related to Kanaka Das. KDA will be formed on the lines of Koodal Sangam Development Authority which was formed to save and protect all the monuments of 12th Century. Also, Kaginele, which is the birth place of Kanaka Das a great saint from Kuruba community, will be developed. The govt has decided to form Basava Kalyan Development Authority to protect the ruins of 12th Century.
Tourist information on Karnataka is now available across the country over a toll-free telephone number. The toll free number is 1-600-44-1414 and the service is provided nine hours a day, from 09:00 hrs (IST) 18:00 hrs (IST) round the year. The office is closed on Tuesdays.
The State-run Jungle Lodges and Resorts Limited (JRL) is into eco and adventure tourism – river raftin, scuba diving and jungle treks. With several strategically located properties acros the State and many more inthe offing, JRL is increasingly becoming the eco-tourism face of Karnataka. One of their offering is to spend time with elephants at the Dubare camp.
The detailed list of Karnataka cities covered are listed here.