Tourist’s guide to Karnataka – India’s Cleanest State

Karnataka, India is one of the most controversial states in the country. Skyscrapers here are adjacent to the slums, and the clean streets of Mangalore with the dirty beaches of Gokarna. This state will surprise you with its authentic culture and beautiful nature.

Karnataka State

General information

Karnataka is the eighth state in the country (191,791 km²) located in southwestern India. More than 60 million people live here who speak Kannada (official language), Urdu, Telugu, Tamil and Marathi.

Karnataka State Map

Karnataka borders the states of Goa, Maharashtra, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. Located in the region of the Deccan plateau, and the highest point of Karnataka is Mount Mullayanagiri (1929 m above sea level). The distance from north to south is 750 km, from west to east – 450.

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The basis of the economy is agriculture. More than 55% of the population is employed in this area. People grow beans, corn, cotton, cardamom and nuts. Karnataka is known as the largest producer of flowers and raw silk in India.

The state has 5 national parks and 25 nature reserves. There are more than 26,000 ancient monasteries, palaces and caves, many of which are included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

The most famous attractions of Karnataka in India are located in different parts of the state, so it will take more than one day to see all the interesting places.


The state of Karnataka consists of 30 circles, the most populated of which is considered to be Bangalore. The largest cities are Bangalore (10 million people), Hubli (1 million), Mysore (800 thousand), Gulbarg (540 thousand), Belgaum (480 thousand) and Mangalore (500 thousand). The total number of cities in the state is more than 70. From a tourist point of view, the following settlements are of interest.

Bangalore in Karnataka

Bangalore is a city in southern India with a population of 10 million people (the third most populated in the world). It is a recognized center of electronics and engineering in India, as well as the city with the largest number of universities.

Tourists visit this part of the country to buy quality Indian goods, visit local festivals and see the following attractions: Kubbon Park, Wonderla Amusement Park and the Art of Living international center.

Detailed information about the city is collected in this article .

Mysore in Karnataka

Mysore is an Indian city 220 km from Bangalore, famous for its palaces and parks. There are 17 palace and park complexes built back in the time of the royal family. The most famous is the Mysore Palace , which for centuries has been the main residence of rulers.

Also in Mysore, tourists can see a large number of temples and monasteries.

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Mudeshwar is a small town on the shores of the Arabian Sea, famous for its clean beaches and a small number of tourists (Indians themselves usually relax here). There are only two famous sights here – a giant statue of Shiva on the embankment and a gopuram tower.

Mudeshwar in Karnataka

The first attraction is the second largest statue of Shiva in the world (the highest is in Nepal), and you can see it from anywhere in the city.

And gopuram is a tower traditional for the southern part of the country, which serves as the main entrance to the temple. The sanctuary itself is much smaller and more compact. The Mudeshwar tower is considered the highest in Asia – its height is 75 meters.

These attractions are relatively new. So, the statue of Shiva in Karnataka began to be built only in 2002, and the tower was restored in 2008 (the exact year of its construction is unknown).

Gokarna in Karnataka

Gokarna or the “city of temples” is a favorite place for pilgrims and people interested in Hinduism. There are a large number of temple complexes and sculptures of deities, the most famous of which is the stone figure of Shiva.

Be prepared for the fact that this is not a tourist, and a very dirty city, which, however, has a very strong energy. There are not too many tourists in this part of Karnataka, but you can meet the Brahmins, for whom Gokarna is considered one of the most prestigious cities in India.

Hampi in Karnataka

Hampi is one of the most ancient and mysterious cities of India , built more than 500 years ago. Already in the early Middle Ages it was a full-fledged city with water supply, sewage and a large army (40 thousand people). Here, tons of mined diamonds and gold.

This would continue even further, but in 1565 the Islamic army defeated the Hampian army, and only the ruins remained from the city, which people from all over the world come to see today. The main attractions of Hampi: Virupaksha temple, stone chariot, Lotus Palace.

Mangalore in Karnataka

Mangalore is a city with a population of 3.5 million people, located 350 km from Bangalore. Recognized as the cleanest city in India and one of the best places to do business. The tourism industry is poorly developed, and there are no noisy tourists, merchants and dirty beaches. Mangalore is known in India for its wide roads, the presence of “quiet” areas and untouched nature.

The population is 500 thousand people, most of whom speak Tula. Some also own Konkani and Kannada.

The main way of earning from the locals is to work in the port and process coffee, cashews and tea.

Belur in Karnataka

Belur (or Velapuri) is a city known for its temples and sculptures of deities. The most popular attraction is the Chennakeshava Temple, erected in 1117 by the Khoisal king Vishnuvardhana. On the facades and walls of this building you can see figures of hundreds of dancers, who, according to legend, symbolize the transition from Jainism to Vishnuism.

In addition to the main temple, the complex has a swimming pool with fish and a number of small structures.

In Belur, there are only 20 thousand people who speak the language of Kannada. Interestingly, 77% of the population are literate (this is a very good indicator in India).

Natural attractions

The state of Karnataka in India is one of the driest in the country, as it is located on the Karnataka plateau (mainly the southern part). The northern half of the state is the mountainous region of Nilgiri, as well as the Western and Eastern Ghats. These places are characterized by dense forests, many rivers and waterfalls.

There are 5 national parks and 25 nature reserves in the state of Karnataka.

Jog Falls
Jog Falls

One of Karnataka’s most visited national parks is Jog Falls. To be precise, this is not even the name of the area, but the name of one waterfall, consisting of 4 streams:

  1. A rocket is the most powerful and “fast” stream with a characteristic sound.
  2. Rani is the most sinuous and changeable (in the period of drought, he disappears first). Hindus say it looks like a dance of an Indian dancer.
  3. The Raja stream falls from the highest height, without creating a lot of noise and splashes.
  4. Rumbling is the noisiest.

Every year, hundreds of tourists from all over the world come to the waterfall, and this is best done in the rainy season – from June to October it is the most full-flowing. You can get to this Karnataka attraction from the city of Sangara (30 km) or Bangalore, where the international airport is located. Oddly enough, travelers recommend coming to the waterfall on weekends – when there are many tourists, the Indians open a dam, and the amount of water increases markedly.

Jog Falls in the rainy season

At the bottom of the waterfall there is a small lake where everyone can swim. You can go down to the foot of the attraction by a long staircase consisting of 1200 steps. The main thing is to remember that it is slippery enough, and the water flows are very powerful.

Near the waterfall there is a toilet, shower and a small cafe. If you want to spend a few days in the area of ​​this attraction of the state of Karnataka in India, tourists are advised to stay in the resort of Honnemardu.

The cost of visiting is 100 rupees.

Western Ghats

Western Ghats is a mountain range in western India that runs through the states of Goa, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Kanyakumari. The length is about 1600 km.

Western Ghats

In this national park you can see:

  • unique green mountains that look like hills;
  • tea plantations;
  • the surroundings of Lake Kundale, where unusually tall trees grow without branches and leaves;
  • spice plantations;
  • waterfalls;
  • a huge number of rare plant species.

While walking in the national park, pay attention to animals with birds – rare species are found here.

Allocate a whole day to visit this natural attraction – there are a lot of interesting places here, and you won’t be able to get around them all quickly. Many tourists recommend renting a car or tuk-tuk for the whole day.

Bandipur National Park
Bandipur National Park

Bandipur is one of the most famous and largest national parks in India. He gained his popularity thanks to the vast territory on which you can find:

  • Unique forests (e.g. teak)
  • flowering meadows;
  • green hills with beautiful views of the surroundings;
  • hundreds of species of rare plants and animals.

Walking through the national park will not work – the territory is very large, and you need a car or a sightseeing bus. If you have the opportunity to choose, then tourists recommend traveling in a national park in a jeep.

Bandipur is divided into several zones, each of which is intended for certain birds or animals. For example, there is a territory on which herbivorous animals live: zebras, gaurs, zambars and axes. In this part, the elephant nursery is considered the most visited. If we talk about predators, then in the territory of the national park there are red wolves, leopards, tigers and gubachi bears.

Tiger in Bandipur National Park

When traveling, be sure to pay attention to the birds. In Bandipur you can find peacocks, tragopan satyrs, cranes, Asian paradise flycatchers, Himalayan monals. Also on the territory of the reserves many rare species of butterflies fly.

  • The cost of visiting the attraction is 200 rupees.
  • Opening hours: 9.00 – 18.00.

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Weather and climate

June-October (rainy season)
Weather in Karnataka

On the territory of Karnataka, the subequatorial and tropical monsoon climate dominates, making it always very humid and hot. The year is divided into 3 seasons, the most hectic of which is the rainy season. It starts in June and ends in mid-October. Typically, the temperature is around + 27 ° C – + 30 ° C, and the rainfall reaches 208 ml. At the same time, the number of windy and cloudy days is 25 per month.


The most suitable time to visit Karnataka is from November to February. The thermometer columns do not rise above the +30 ° C mark, and the number of sunny days in a month is at least 27.

March may
Precipitation in Karnataka

March to May is the hottest. The temperature does not fall below +30 ° C, and often is higher than + 35 ° C, which is exacerbated by high humidity.

Thus, if you want to sunbathe on the beaches and swim in the sea, come from November to February. If your goal is to visit natural attractions, then you can consider the rainy season, because at this time the rivers and waterfalls are much more beautiful.

Interesting Facts

  1. Bangalore is often called the city of universities, because the largest number of higher educational institutions in India is concentrated here.
  2. Karnataka is a rather poor state, which, moreover, is not spoiled by tourists.
  3. Mount Ana Moodi, located in the Western Ghats Nature Reserve, is the highest point of India south of the Himalayas.
  4. Mount Ana Moody
  5. One of the first hydropower plants in Asia was built in 1902 on the Kaveri River.
  6. In the state of Karnataka, you can find gaurs – these are the largest representatives of the genus of bulls.
  7. Jog Falls is one of the highest waterfalls in Asia, the height of which exceeds 250 meters.

Karnataka, India is one of the cleanest and most beautiful states of the country, which is worth visiting for real travelers.

Impressions of Gokarna, visit to the beach:

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