Being one of the most culturally, geographically and linguistically diverse countries in the world, a lot of foreigners who visit one part of India often find it hard to believe that it’s the same country when they move to another part. So, if you have not visited the Southern state of Karnataka yet, here are five reasons why you should.
Kudremukh National Park
The Kudremukh National Park is not only a state protected national park, but it’s also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. About 95 km from the town of Chikmagalur, it’s a beautiful and ancient forest, spread over 600.32 sq km of land that’s rife with animals, birds and vegetation unique to the region. The best time to visit would be the colder months (December – February) as that’s when the chances of seeing sambhars, chevrotains and lion tailed macaques are at their highest. Keep in mind that while it’s not a tiger reserve, you may just see one if you are extremely lucky!
While you will not be allowed to trek inside the Kudremukh National Park, Mullayanagiri is a wonderful attraction for both local and foreign trekkers and mountain bikers. It’s the highest peak in Karnataka and part of the Baba Budan Giri mountain range. The terrain is a contrasting scenery of lush grasslands and rocky barrens which may not be the most challenging of treks, but it is definitely a relaxing venture for those that love the outdoors.
The cloud-covered view from Nandi Hills (1478 meters above sea level) is nothing short of magical, especially during sunrise. The place itself is actually famous for the ancient fortress that’s also colloquially known as Nandidurg. If you are already in Bangalore, a short drive of just 60 km will get you to the Nandi Hills. In addition to the beautiful view, Nandi Hills also has a number of historical sites such as the Tipu’s Drop, Gavi Veerbhadra Swamy temple, the Secret Passage, etc. for visitors to marvel at. Paragliding from the top is an experience of a lifetime here and you should definitely try that as long as you are there.
South India is famous for its temples, and whether you are religious or not, some of them are worth seeing as they give one the taste of the ancient local history, culture and beautiful architecture. The Dharmasthala Manjunatha is one of many such pieces of religious architectures that are worth visiting in the state. Dedicated to Shiva (one of the prime Hindu Gods), Dharmasthala Manjunatha records a footfall of 10,000 every day during the peak seasons.
Bandipur National Park
While there are hundreds of cultural and religious sites in Karnataka that you can visit, this list is about the most beautiful places in the state, so we will include the Bandipur National Park as the final entry, instead of more temples. Being a major tiger reserve in Karnataka, this is where you would want to come, if seeing a tiger in its wild habitat appeals to you. The best part of all, unlike many other national parks, the authorities actually allow renting of rooms inside the reserve!
If you are planning a vacation in India, we suggest that you book your Delhi to Bangalore flight tickets as soon as possible to save on flight fares. The route should allow you to visit the Taj Mahal in Agra and the nearby India Gate in Delhi, before flying straight into the capital of Karnataka and setting out to all the planned locations in the state from there.