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Discover Hampi, Mysuru, Bangaluru, national parks and golden beaches. A lesser-visited gem awaits.

Te state of Karnataka is located in between Goa and Kerala in Southern India. Its ultra-modern capital city of Bengaluru (formerly Bangalore) is the tech capital of India, Mysuru (formerly Mysore) is famous for large and lavish temples including Mysore Palace, the former seat of the region’s maharajas. But perhaps the biggest draw in Karnataka is Hampi, once the medieval Vijayanagara empire’s capital, with ruins of Hindu temples, elephant stables and a stone chariot. There are also 13 national parks in the state to explore and if you are looking for a relaxed stay on the Arabian Coast, the region offers quiet, unspoilt beaches to enjoy with a choice of luxury hotels and lodges.

Bangaluru is the silicon valley of India, with many tech start ups and IT companies making the city their base. As a result of this economic activity, the city has its own metro system and a cosmopolitan atmosphere with many restaurants and western style bars. Bangaluru Palace was inspired by Windsor Castle and well worth visiting. Indeed the central district of Bangaluru also has many buildings and architecture from the days of British Raj and the city has a delightful botanical gardens and several parks to enjoy.

Mysuru (the city changed its name from Mysore in 2015) is one of South India's most popular destinations, largely due to its stunning World Heritage listed palace. Mysuru is also home to the centuries-old Devaraja Market, where you can buy colourful spices, silk and sandalwood.

Hampi is known as the Machu Picchu of India, due to the vast, remote archeological site set in hills strewn with large boulders. Once the capital of one of the largest Hindu empires in Indian history, Hampi was founded in 1336 by the Telugu Princess Harihara and was at the height of its power in the early 1500's with a population of over 500,000 people. Hampi's wealth came from control of the spice and cotton trade, but the empire came to a sudden end in 1565 after a battle and the city was ransacked by Deccan sultans, which meant the region was then controlled by muslims. There is much to see within the ancient site, including the Bazaar, Siva Temple, Elephant stables and even an Underground Temple. 

There are also 13 national parks in Karnataka, the best being Nagarhole National Park (also known as Rajiv Gandhi National Park). Set against the backdrop of the Brahamagiri Mountains, the park is covered with sandalwood and teak trees and the Kabini River meanders through jungle. Here, observe tigers, Asian elephants and many species of birds. 

Karnataka is the state south of Goa, so it os no surprise that the beaches offer the same exotic white sandy resort experience you find on Goa - but without the commercialism. There a many excellent beachside luxury resorts to enjoy after your days exploring Bangaluru, Hampi, Mysuru and the National Parks - bliss.

 

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