Spice, sandal, silk and scenery merge to present a state enmeshed in a glorious blend of the old and new- Karnataka , formerly known as Mysore. Home to 48.6 million people, it has been able to preserve its past heritage and embrace the vision of the future with equal elan.
Set against the Arabian Sea with the Deccan plateau in the background, the state consists of a narrow coastal strip backed by the monsoon drenched Western Ghats and a drier, cooler interior plateau that turns arid in the far north.
Bangalore, the capital city is a thriving metropolis dotted with lush gardens, beautiful flowered lined avenues and stately buildings. The atmosphere is more Western than traditional Indian. Pubs, beer bars, discos are the major happening places in the town. Dubbed the 'Silicon Valley of India' it is a major industrial and commercial center well known for its scientific and research institutions.
Karnataka has some of the most magnificent monuments, temples, palaces, beaches in India. The Bull Temple at Bangalore, the Hoyselaswera temple at Halebid and the famous Krishna temple at Udupi are some the major tourist attractions. Tipu's Summer Palace is a beautiful cool retreat of wood and soaring arches.A visit to the Chamundi Temple atop a hill overlooking Mysore and the monolithic,black, Nandi Bull halfway up is a must.
The people are fun-loving, the pace of life is brisk and it is one of India's most progressive and liberal states as far as attitudes go.
The major festivals include Dussehra when palaces are illuminated and processions of bedecked elephants accompany the image of the goddess Chamundeshwari through the streets.The Vijaynagar festival held in June is the celebration of the glory of the Vijaynagar Empire. The Karga festival at Bangalore is held in April where eminent dancers and musicians perform at festivals held at Pattadakal and Bijapur.
The state witnesses a hot, tropical climate during the summers and the winters are generally cold.
The best time to plan a visit to Karnataka is between September and February when the weather is mild, pleasant and cheerful.
Places to visit:
Vidhana Soudha - is one of the most imposing landmarks of Bangalore. The entire edifice is built of Bangalore granite and is a tribute to temple architecture. Housing the Legislative Chambers of the State Government, this 46-m high seat of the government is one of Bangalore's most important buildings. Mr. Kengal Hanumanthaiah the then chief minister of Mysore decided to construct the Vidhana Soudha entirely along Indian style of architecture. There are four domes on all the four corners. The main entrance is overshadowed by the four-headed lion, the symbol of Indian sovereignty. It houses 22 departments and 300 rooms.
The Fort and Tipu Sultan's Palace - is noted for its beautifully carved arches in Islamic style and for the well-preserved Ganapati temple. Originally built by Kempe Gowda in 1537, it was fortified by Tipu Sultan. Hyder Ali, Tipu's father had imprisoned David Baird along with a number of British army officers here. Tipu Sultan's Palace close to the fort is now a museum. However, only parts of the fort now remain. The palace, started by Hyder Ali and completed by Tipu, took a decade to plan and construct. This two-storeyed ornate wooden structure with pillars, arches and balconies flanked by gardens, was one of Tipu Sultan's summer retreats.