Historical Places in Karnataka

Monuments of Deccan sultanate in Gulbarga, Bijapur and Bidar, monuments in Srirangapatna and Hoysala temples in Belur and Halebid are part of UNESCO Heritage List. Karnataka has seen the reign of the ancient kingdoms of the south such as the Chola, Chera, Vijaynagar, Sathavahanas, Maurya, Hoysala and many more right upto the Mighty Tipu Sultan and subsequently the British. List of historically important places in Karnataka ae given below.

There are 35 World Heritage Sites in India that are recognised by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as of July 2016. Kaziranga Wildlife Sanctuary - Assam, Manas Wildlife Sanctuary - Assam, Mahabodhi Temple Complex at Bodh Gaya - Bihar, Humayunís Tomb - Delhi, Qutb Minar and its Monuments - Delhi, Red Fort Complex, Churches and Convents of Goa, Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park - Gujarat, Group of Monuments at Hampi, Group of Monuments at Pattadakal, Buddhist Monuments at Sanchi - Madhya Pradesh, Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka - Madhya Pradesh, Khajuraho Group of Monuments - Madhya Pradesh, Ajanta Caves, Ellora Caves, Elephanta Caves, Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (formerly Victoria Terminus), Sun Temple - Kon‚rak, Keoladeo National Park, Jantar Mantar - Jaipur, Great Living Chola Temples, Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram, Agra Fort - Uttar Pradesh, Fatehpur Sikri - Uttar Pradesh, Taj Mahal - Uttar Pradesh, Mountain Railways of India, Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Parks, Sundarbans National Park, Western Ghats, Hill Forts of Rajasthan, Rani ki vav (The Queen's Stepwell), Great Himalayan National Park, Nalanda, Khangchendzonga National Park, The Architectural Work Of Le Corbusier are World Heritage Sites in India that are recognised by UNESCO. Aihole, Badami, Bidar, Belur, Halebidu, Hampi, Mysore, Pattadakal, Shravanabelagola, Somnathpur, Sringeri, Srirangapatna, Kudalasangama (Near Aihole), Lakkundi (Near Badami), Avani (Near Bangalore), Bhoga Nandeeshwara Temple - Nandi (Near Bangalore), Channapatna (Near Bangalore), Big Banyan Tree / Dodda Alada Mara (Near Bangalore), Kurudumale (Near Bangalore), Kolar (Near Bangalore), Ranganatha Swamy Temple - Magadi (Near Bangalore), Golden Temple / Tibetan Monastery - Bylakuppe (Near Coorg), Kavala Caves (Near Dandeli), Mirjan Fort (Near Gokarna), Belavadi (Near Halebidu), Banavasi (Near Jog Falls), Amruthapura (Near Kemmanagundi), Melukote / Melkote (Near Mysore), Talakadu (Near Somnathpur), Brindavan Gardens (Near Srirangapatna) are the popular Heritage Tourism spots in Karnataka.

One of India's top historical destinations, the laid back village of Hampi was once the last capital of Vijayanagar, one of the greatest Hindu empires in India's history. It has some extremely captivating ruins, intriguingly intermingled with large boulders that rear up all over the landscape. The ruins, which date back to the 14th century, stretch for just over 25 kilometers (10 miles) and comprise more than 500 monuments. An incredible energy can be felt at this ancient place. Hampi is a renowned UNESCO World Heritage Site.

At a distance of 17 km from Belur, 34 km from Chikmagalur, 32 km from Hassan, 148 km from Mysore & 211 km from Bangalore, Halebidu is located in Hassan District of Karnataka State. Halebid (or Halebidu) is famous for the beautiful Hoysala Temples of Hoysaleswara and Kedareswara built in 1121 AD. It is one of the three Hoysala temples nominated for UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The Hoysala temples are known for minute & intricate carvings.

At a distance of 443 Kms from Bangalore, 136 Kms from Hubli, 33 Kms from Bagalkot, 34 Kms from Badami & 13.5 Kms from Pattadakal, Aihole is a historical site in Bagalkot District of Karnataka situated on the banks of Malaprabha River. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site along with Badami & Pattadakal known as Chalukyan Group of Monuments. Aihole, along with Pattadakal, is considered as the cradle for South Indian Temple architecture.

This historic town is famous for the cave temples built by Chalukya kings, who ruled Deccan in 6th and 7th centuries and Badami was their capital. Among the rock-cut and structural monuments, the most richly decorated are the cave temples, which are carved into the cliff on the southern side. There are four such cave temples in Badami. The natural surroundings enhance the aesthetic appeal of these cave temples.

Belur Halebid
Located 220 kms from Bangalore, on the banks of river Yagachi, in Hassan District, Belur was once the capital city of the Hoysala dynasty, who ruled Karnataka during 11th and 12th centuries. They constructed the beautiful star shaped Chennakeshava temple at Belur, which took 103 years and 3 generations to complete the task. 16 kms away lies Halebid, which is also famous for its magnificent temples, set up on raised platform. Halebid was their earlier capital during 12th and 13th centuries AD, when it was known as Dwarasamudra. Even after 87 years of laborious work, the task was never completed at Halebid. One can spend days together admiring the beauty of these architecture marvels.

Located 530 kms from Bangalore, Bijapur is famous for the historical monuments like Gol Gumbaz, which is the second largest tomb in the world. In the circular balcony of Gol Gumbaz, visitors can witness its greatest marvel. There are more monuments in Bijapur, such as Jumma Masjid, Ibrahim Roza etc. Bijapur was the capital of Adil Shahi dynasty who ruled this land during 13th century.

The Kodagu region, often referred to as Coorg (the English version of its name), is an extremely picturesque and alluring mountainous area in southern Karnataka, not far from Bangalore and Mysore. The area is renowned for its sprawling coffee estates. Its stunning scenic beauty is captivating. The highlight of a visit to Coorg is undoubtedly a stay amidst the coffee plantations.

Mangalore is a beautiful scenic city, abundant with lush green surroundings, narrow winding streets, lofty coconut trees, unique tile-roofed houses, beautiful beaches, ancient temples and churches, located 357km west of Bangalore.

Charming Mysore has an impressive royal heritage, with the city's main tourist attraction being the imposing Mysore Palace. There are many other interesting buildings, palaces, and temples to see. Mysore is also an excellent place to shop for sandalwood, and study Ashtanga yoga. It is the erstwhile capital of the Mysore Maharajas, who ruled the Mysore State between 1399 & 1947. Mysore still retains its old world charm with its palaces, heritage buildings, traditions and temples.

Nagahole National Park
Karnataka's Nagarhole National Park is one of the top national parks in India, and is an excellent palace to see elephants close up in their natural habitat. It's not unusual to see herds of elephants on the river bank. The park is a place of unspoilt wilderness, with serene forest, bubbling streams, and a tranquil lake. Nagarhole can be explored by jeep, elephant back and boat. Visitors can also go trekking.

The sacred complex at Pattadakal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is situated on the banks of the River Malprabha. Pattadakal is famous for its 8th-century temples, built by Chalukya kings during their reign. These are built in the combination of North Indian and South Indian styles.

Located 147 kms from Bangalore and 83 kms from Mysore at Hassan District, Shravanabelagola is one of the most popular Jain pilgrim centers . Shravanabelagola is wedged between Vindhyagiri and Chandragiri hills. A giant monolithic statue (58 ft) of Bhagawan Bahubali (Lord Gomaetheswara), said to be the world's largest monolithic statue, is standing on the Vindhyagiri hills as a monument of peace.

Mahadeva Temple Itagi
The Mahadeva temple at Itagi (Ittagi) is about 7 km from Kuknur in Yalburga Taluka in the Koppal District. The temple is one of the temples built by the Chalukyas and is known as the "Emperor among temples".

Shiggaon Utsav Rock Garden
Utsav Rock Garden, Shiggaon: Sculptural Garden located near NH-4 Pune-Bangalore road,Gotagodi Village,Shiggaon Taluk, Haveri District, Karnataka. Utsav Rock Garden is an sculptural garden representing contemporary art and rural culture. A typical village is created where men and women are involved in their daily household activities. A unique picnic spot which delights common people, educated and intellectuals. There are more than 1000 sculptures in the garden of different sizes. It is an anthropological museum. It represents traditional farming, crafts, folklore, cattle herding and sheep rearing.

The Doddabasappa Temple at Dambal in the Gadag District is famous. Dambal or Dhammavolal now in Gadag dt. is 21 km from Gadag. It is also known as Dharmapolalu in ancient inscriptions. It was a Buddhist Centre too. The Doddabasappa and the Someshwara are the two notable Chalukya temples here and the Doddabasappa has multigonal star-shaped garbhagriha. With fine sculptural representations and a huge Nandi image. The Someshwara could have been an old basadi. In the old ruined fort, there is a huge Ganapati image in a small shrine. The town has a 400-year-old vast tank. There is the Thontada Siddhalingeswara Matha at the place. Dodda Basappa Temple at Dambal, a unique 24-pointed, uninterrupted stellate (star-shaped), 7-tiered dravida plan, 12th century CE.

At a distance of 116 kms from Bangalore, 41 kms from Kolar and 11 kms from Mulabagal, Kurudumale in Kolar district of Karnataka is famous for Sri Maha Ganapathi Temple and Someswara Temple. The Ganapathi shrine is at Kurudumale is regarded as a very powerful. The beautiful temple was built during the reign of Vijayanagara kings. The Ganesha idol in this highly revered temple is 14 feet tall. The temple attracts large crowd during weekends and special festivals.

Golden Temple and Tibetan Monastery at Bylakuppe
At a distance of 34 km from Madikeri, 4.5 km from Kushalnagar, 7 km from Cauvery Nisargadhama & 87 km from Mysore, the Golden Temple or Namdroling Monastery is a beautiful Buddhist Monastery situated at Bylakuppe. This is the second largest Tibetans settlement in India after Dharmasala. Bylakuppe is a Tibetan refugee settlement area established by Lugsum Samdupling in 1961 and Dickyi Larsoe in 1969 and is situated to the west of Mysore district close to Bangalore - Coorg route.

Mirjan Fort, Gokarna
At a distance of 11 km from Kumta, 22 km from Gokarna, 31 km from Honavar, 59 km from Karwar and 56 km from Murudeshwar, Mirjan Fort is a beautiful fort located in the village of Mirjan on the west coast of the Uttara Kannada district in Karnataka. The Mirjan Fort has rich history and there are many versions on the origin of the fort. According to one version, the fort was built in 16th century by Chennabhairav Devi, Queen of Gersoppa, a subordinate of Vijayanagar kings.

Gadag-Betgeri (Kaldugu is the old name for Gadag and Battakere ("Round Tank") for Betgeri) is a twin city, It is a centre of Kalyani Chalukyas art with the large Trikuteshwara temple, originally Rashtrakuta, later expanded by the Kalyani Chalukyas into a vast complex, and it has Trikuteshwara temple complex triple shrines once housing Shiva, Brahma and Surya. The Saraswati temple in its precinct has the finest shining decorative pillars, is the finest examples of Chalukya Art.

The place has the Someshwara and Rameshwara temples of the Chalukyan style, it is also known for its religious harmony. The Veeranarayana temple of Chalukya times, completely renovated in Vijayanagara times including the image of Narayana. The great Kannada poet Kumaravyasa composed his famous "Karnataka Bharatha Kathamanjari" when staying in this temple.

Gadag has a mosque from the time of Adil Shahi. There is also a Church of the Basel Mission (Now C.S.I.). Betageri has many artistic herostones, some dating back to the 9th-10th centuries. Gadag-Betageri is famous for the weaving industry and, of late, Gadag has excelled in printing.

Mahakuta, once a great center of shaiva cult, Mahakuta is a beautiful place surrounded by hills. The Mahakuteshwara temple dedicated to Shiva, is built in the Dravidian style. Naganath Temple, located in a forest on the way to Mahakuta, it is one of the early Chalukyan temples dedicated to Shiva.