Karnataka is a state in southwest India and is dotted with temples, palaces, coffee plantations, wildlife reserves and some great beaches on the sandy shores of the Arabian Sea.
The capital, Bengaluru (formerly Bangalore), is a high-tech hub known for its shopping and nightlife. To the southwest, Mysore is home to lavish temples including Mysore Palace, former seat of the region’s Maharajas and the nearby palace and fortress of the infamous Tipu Sultan at Suringapatna. Hampi, once the medieval Vijayanagara empire’s capital, contains ruins of Hindu temples, elephant stables and a stone chariot set amongst a surreal boulder strewn landscape.
If you are a devotee of temples then the Hoysala temple complexes at Belur and Halebid are a must and at Shravanbelagola the huge 17m monolithic statue of Gommateshwara Batubali, in a temple on top of Vindiyagiri Hill, is not to be missed though there are a lot of steep steps to negotiate first.
The wooded hills of Coorg are home to coffee plantations and some fabulous wildlife areas including Kabini, famous for its leopards and panthers. The state ends up on the shores of the Arabian Sea where you can relax on the sandy beaches such as Om beach near Gokarna, where you can also revive and cleanse your body and spirit at CGH Earth’s Swaswara wellness resort.
The accommodation has been much improved over the last few years with the Evolve Back group, formerly Orange County, offering such delights as the Chikkana Halli Estate in Coorg, the Karuba Safari Lodge at Kabini and the Kalamapura Palace at Hampi.