Karnataka popularly known for Carnatic Music through out the World has given much more to the World than Carnatic Music, a unique form of Classical Music patron by many across the continents. Karnataka with all its Richness in Culture and Traditional Grandeur is also one of the fastest growing States in terms of Industries and Facilities.
Karnataka is also known as the Capital of Agarbathi (Incense Sticks), Arecanut, Silk, Coffee and Sandal Wood. All this is apart from the fact that it has been the Culture Center for hundreds of years and its testimony stands spread across the State pulling millions of Tourists from all parts of the World to Karnataka, whose richness and hospitality can only be felt and never explained better.
The course of Karnataka’s history and culture takes us back to pre-historic times. The earliest find of the Stone Age period in India was a hand axe at Lingasugur in Raichur district. The Ashokan rock edicts found in the state indicate that major parts of Northern Karnataka were under the Mauryans. Chandragupta Maurya, the great Indian emperor abdicated his throne to embrace Jainism at Shravanabelagola. Adding new dimensions to the cultural and spiritual ethos of the land, many great dynasties left their imprint upon the aesthetic development of Karnataka’s art forms. Prominent among them were the Chalukyas, the Hoysalas and the mighty Vijayanagara Empire. The Chalukyans built some of the very early Hindu temples in India, at Badami in Northern Karnataka, setting the trend and the style for structural temples. The Hoysalas who ruled from the 11th to the 13th century chiselled their way into the pages of glory by building more than 150 temples, each a marvel of sculptural skill. There is an amazing dexterity and fluidity of expression at Somnathpur, Halebid and Belur.Under the enlightened rule of Krishnadevaraya, Vijayanagara Empire rose to its zenith and was greatly appreciated by foreign travellers who came to the court of the king. Abdur Razaaq the Persian ambassador had remarked, “The eye of the pupil has never seen a place like it and the ear of intelligence has never been informed that there existed anything to equal it in the world”.
The Vijayanagar Empire with its capital at Hampi was a victim to the marauding army of the Deccan Sultan in 1565 A.D. As a consequence of this, Bijapur became the most important city of the region. This city is a land of monuments and perhaps no other city except Delhi has as many monuments as Bijapur. The Bahmani Shahis and the Adil Shahis of Bijapur have played a notable part in the history of Karnataka by their contribution to the field of art and architecture and also by their propagation of Islam in the state. Hyder Ali and his valiant son Tipu Sultan are notable figures in the history of the land. After ‘the tiger of Karnataka’, Tipu Sulltan was killed in 1799 A.D, the Mysore throne was handed over to the Odeyars. In the beginning of the 19th century the whole of Karnataka came under the control of Britishers. The new state was called new Mysore and the Maharaja of Mysore was appointed the Governor by Independent India. This unified state was renamed as Karnataka on November 1, 1973. The varied and tumultuous history of Karnataka, coupled with architectural excellence and religious fervors has ensured that the state is of immense interest to the tourist. Nature has also not lagged behind in providing Karnataka with beautiful waterfalls, exotic beaches, thick wild forests and game sanctuaries. The state also offers excellent facilities for trekkers, anglers and golfers.
Called Karnadu (elevated land) in ancient times, Karnataka is made up of a series of uplands with an average height of 610 meters above sea level. The Bababudan range in the Western Ghats has one of the highest mountain peaks between the Himalayas and the Nilgiris. And boasting one of the wettest regions in India, at Agumbe, are the Western Ghats, rich in teak, rosewood and sandalwood. Karnataka is known for its legendary craftsmanship in sandalwood and rosewood. Swift flowing rivers criss-cross to create a network of water sources.
Flanked by the soaring Western Ghats in the east and blessed by the blue waters of the Arabian Sea in the west, Karnataka has a 320 kms. Long coastline dotted with unspoilt beaches and scores of temples. Some of these beaches and temples are unknown, unsung and undiscovered – and that is their biggest attraction. Kudremuch, the second highest peak in the Western Ghats, stands proudly amidst thick evergreen forests. Just 3-4 days of trekking and camping, and you’ll discover how close you’ve grown to this captivating place. To reach this range, you will need at least 8-10 hours of trekking from the nearest road head.
COORG Coorg or Kodagu is a beautiful hill station situated in the state of Karnataka. Madikeri, the district headquarters of Coorg, situated at a height of 1525 meter above the sea level. Earlier Coorg was known as Kodaimalenadu, which means ‘dense forest on a steep hill.’ Coorg district has many tourist spots of historic, epic and natural importance. Nestled amidst the hills and deep valleys of the beautiful Western Ghats, Coorg is one of the most attractive places in India. Coorg is also referred as the Scotland of India, because of its misty hills, beautiful towns and mist-covered slopes. The hill station offers breathe taking views of lush green forest, acres of tea and coffee plantation, orange groves and the curved streets. Apart from orange and coffee plantation, Coorg is famous for spices, pepper and cardamoms. Madikeri produces almost half of Karnataka’s coffee production.
Built in the 19th century the fort is situated in the centre of Madikeri. The fort houses a museum, aprison, a chapel and a temple. The fort provides breath taking view of Madikeri.
Raja’s Seat situated at the top of the hill, this is a beautiful view point in Coorg. It offers stunning views of the surrounding dense forests. According to legend, the kings of Coorg used to come to this view point to spend their evenings here. One must not forget to take the spectacular views of the sunset from the hill top.
Nagarhole National Park
Nagarhole National Park is situated at Coorg, Nagarhole National Park is a Project Tiger reserve, spreads in an area of 640 Sq Kms. The park is linked to Bandipur National Park and is covered with thick tropical forest, grassy swamps and several rivers and streams. The National Park provides shelter to a number of Gaur (Indian Bison) tigers, leopards, elephants, sambhar, wild boar, barking deer mongoose, peacock, jungle fowl, spotted deer and many other birds and animals. Both trekking and visiting by private vehicles are allowed through prior-permission.
Talakaveris the source of the river Kaveri, situated in the Brahmagiri Hills. A perennial spring lies at a height of 4,500 feet, which is the beginning of this mighty river.
Iruppu waterfalls are situated on the Lakshmanatirtha River. Local people believe that this place possesses the power to clean one’s sins. Thousands of devotees come on the Holy Day of Shivaratri, to bathe in these falls, to clean their sins. There is a temple dedicated to Sri Ram, from where it is a climb up to the falls via natural forest.
Excursions from Coorg
Abbey FallsLocated at a distance of 8 Kms from Madikeri, the Abbey falls is a famous tourist attraction. The surrounding cardamom and coffee plantations provides the scenic beauty to Abbey Falls. The roar of the falls can be heard from a long distance, while the chirping of birds fill the air with sweet music.
This is mainly an elephant capturing and training camp of the Forest Department lies on the Kushalnagar Siddapur road. Situated at the edge of Dubare forest, on the bank of river Kaveri, the elephants are caught here and are held captive for up to 6 months in large teak wood cages. The domesticated elephants attend various jobs and the mahout offers free elephant rides to eager tourists.
How to reach Karnataka
By Air: The nearest Airports are Mangalore (125Kms) and Bangalore (250 Kms) from Madikeri.
By Rail: Nearest railway stations are Mysore (120Kms), Hassan (125 Kms) and Telicherry (135 Kms).
By Road: Coorg is well connected by buses from allover Karnataka as the Mysore – Mangalore high way passes through the town. The distance of important towns from district headquarters Madikeri (Mercara) are Bangalore (260 Kms), Mysore (120 Kms), Mangalore (136 Kms), Cannanore and Tellicherry (115 Kms). Regular bus services are available from these places to Madikeri.