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Every state of India has a story to show the kings and their kingdoms, invasions, temples and many beautiful sites. Karnataka is a blessed state with beaches, architectural wonders, breathtaking wealth of nature, palaces and more. Here are the best travel destinations in Karnataka.

Badami, Aihole and Pattadakal

There are intricately carved stone temples at Badami, Aihole and Pattadakal, three of which are 10 to 35 kilometers apart and further connected to each other on the banks of the Malaprabha River. These stone structures were built in the 6th to 12th centuries in the Karnavat Dravidian architectural style when the Chalukya Empire ruled South India.

Sangameshwara Temple in Pattadakal | © Sanyam Bahga / Wikicommons

Hampi

One of the richest cities in the world in medieval times, Hampi is a city located on the banks of the Tungabhadra River in Karnataka. It is famous for 14th century monuments when the Vijayanagara Empire ruled the district. It is a UNESCO World Heritage with several temples.

The rock-cut temples and monuments in Hampi | © Mohit Modi

Mysore Palace

The Mysore Palace was commissioned in 1897 by Rajarshi Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV. From 1912 to the present day, the palace is home to the Wodeyar family. The architecture of the palace is predominantly Indo-Saracenic and had Mughal, Hindu, Gothic and Rajput bits.

The Mysore Palace in Karnataka was built in the late 19th century | © Ananth BS / flickr

The interiors of Mysore Palace is full of mural art | © Dave Ginsberg / flickr

Chitradurga Fort

The Chitradurga Fort is named after the district in Karnataka and was first built by the Chalukyas in the 11th century and expanded by successive kingdoms that ruled Karnataka. At one time it was known as 'Okina Kote' which means 'Steel Fort' or impregnable fort. It is situated in a valley on the banks of the river Vadavati.

The view of Chitradurga fort from the inside | © Haneeshkm / flickr

A view of Chitradurga Fort in Karnataka | © Sharada Prasad CS / flickr

Gokarna and Karwar beach

Gokarna is one of the seven important Hindu pilgrimage sites and is mostly known for the Mahabaleshwar temple that worships Lord Shiva. On one side of Gokarna is the Western Ghats and on the other side the Arabian Sea. The beach is a majestic place to watch the sunset. Karwar beach, not far from Gokarna, is in Karwar village which was a training camp during World War II. Tourists can also visit Kurumgad Island and Anjadiva Island from the beach!

Gokarna is situated in the Northern part of Karnataka | © sarangib / pixabay

One can see islands from Karwar beach in North Karnataka | © Noronha3 / Wikicommons

Mullayanagiri peak

Mullanagiri is the highest peak in the Chandra Drona range in Chikkamagaluru district of Karnataka. Trekking to the summit is a particularly adventurous and scenic journey and the view of the sunset from above is absolutely worth the arduous climb.

Mullayanagiri falls on the Western Ghats of India | © Prashe / pixabay

Sivasamudram

Sivasamudram is a small town in Karnataka on the banks of the river Kaveri and is popular for its beautiful springs. The best time to see the decline in absolute splendor is between July and October. Round transport saucer shaped boats are used for transportation.

The round 'sauce-kind' boats are used to travel | © Mohit Modi

These round concave handmade boats are used for transportation in Sivasamudram, Karnataka | © Rockuzz / flickr

The best time of visit Sivasamudram falls is between July and October | © Primejyothi / Wikicommons

Nagarhole and Bandipur National Park

Nagarhole National Park, also known as Rajiv Gandhi National Park, is part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. The park has incredible wildlife including mammals, birds, insects and reptiles amidst hills, valleys and waterfalls. Then there is Bandipur National Park, which is a dry forest park.

A reptile in Bandipur National Park | © Lokeshlakshmipathy / Wikicommons

Indian Jackal spotted in Nagarhole National Park | © Puru150 / Wikicommons

Halebidu Temples

The Holebidu temple was built in the 12th century by the ruler of the Hoysala Empire. Although the temple was damaged by the Mughal emperors who tried to invade the region, the temple is mostly intact. The stone carving on the exterior of the temple is a wonderful sight.

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