About Karnataka

Karnataka is a state in the south western region of India. It was officially declared an independent state on 1 Originally known as the State of Mysore, it was renamed Karnataka in 1973. The name Karnataka is derived from the Kannada words karu and nādu, meaning "elevated land".

The capital and largest city of Karnataka is Bangalore (Bengaluru). Karnataka is bordered by the Arabian Sea and the Laccadive Sea, states of Goa, Maharashtra , Telangana , Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu , and Kerala. The state covers 5.83 per cent of the total geographical area of India. It is the seventh largest Indian state by area and eighth largest state by population, comprising 30 districts. Kannada is the most widely spoken and official language of the state.

The two main lifeline river systems of the state are the Krishna and its tributaries in the north, and the Kaveri and its tributaries in the south. Most of the tributaries of these rivers flow out of Karnataka, eastward into the Bay of Bengal.

The coastal region of Karavali
The hilly Malenadu region comprising the Western Ghats
The Bayaluseeme region comprising the plains of the Deccan plateau

The bulk of the state is in the Bayaluseeme region, the northern part of Karnataka which is the second-largest arid region in India. The highest point in Karnataka is the Mullayanagiri hills in Chickmagalur district which has an altitude of 1,929 metres.

Karnataka experiences four seasons. The winter in January and February is followed by summer between March and May, the monsoon season between June and September and the post-monsoon season from October till December.

Meteorologically, Karnataka is divided into three zones — coastal, north interior and south interior. Of these, the coastal zone receives the heaviest rainfall, followed by Agumbe in the Shivamogga. Raichur and Bidar are the hottest and coldest areas of the state respectively. 20% of the state’s geographic area is covered by forests. The forests are classified as reserved, protected, unclosed, village and private forests. The state is observably a very green area, enhanced by the Western Ghats that run through its western border and provide Karnataka with a rich natural heritage.

Years of History
6 Crore

By virtue of its varied geography and long majestic history, Karnataka hosts numerous spots of interest for tourists, in an extensive variety of interests. There is an array of ancient sculptured temples, modern cities, scenic hill ranges, unexplored forests and endless beaches. Karnataka has been ranked as the fourth most popular destination for tourism among the states of India. Karnataka has the second highest number of nationally protected monuments in India, second only to Uttar Pradesh, in addition to 752 monuments protected by the State Directorate of Archaeology and Museums. Another 25,000 monuments are yet to receive protection.

The districts of the Western Ghats and the southern districts of the state have popular ecotourism locations including Kudremukh, Madikeri and Agumbe. Karnataka has 25 wildlife sanctuaries and five national parks. Popular among them are Bandipur National Park, Bannerghatta National Park and Nagarhole National Park.

The state is a perfect destination for those seeking a peek into art and architectural history. Karnataka has a rich collection of sites that stand as proof for its cultural richness. The ruins of the Vijayanagara Empire at Hampi and the monuments of Pattadakal are on the list of UNESCO's World Heritage Sites. The cave temples at Badami and the rock-cut temples at Aihole representing the Badami Chalukyan style of architecture are also popular tourist destinations. The Hoysala temples at Belur and Halebidu are proposed UNESCO World Heritage sites. The Gol Gumbaz and Ibrahim Rauza are famous examples of the Deccan Sultanate style of architecture. The monolith of Gomateshwara Bahubali at Shravanabelagola is the tallest sculpted monolith in the world, attracting tens of thousands of pilgrims during the Mahamastakabhisheka festival that takes place once in 12 years. There are other Bahubali statues in Karkala, Venur and Dharmasthala as well.

Karnataka also beholds the wonders of the nature in forms other than forests. The waterfalls of Karnataka and Kudremukh are listed as must-see places and among the "1001 Natural Wonders of the World". Jog Falls is India's tallest single-tiered waterfall with Gokak Falls, Unchalli Falls, Magod Falls, Abbey Falls and Shivanasamudra Falls among other popular waterfalls.

The coastline of Karnataka is the pride of the state, with its own tourist destinations, food, and folklore. Several popular beaches dot the coastline, including Murudeshwara, Gokarna, Malpe and Karwar.

In addition, Karnataka is home to several places of religious importance. Several Hindu temples including the famous Udupi Sri Krishna Matha, the Marikamba Temple at Sirsi, the Sri Manjunatha Temple at Dharmasthala, Kukke Subramanya Temple and Sharadamba Temple at Shringeri attract pilgrims from all over India. Most of the holy sites of Lingayatism, like Kudalasangama and Basavana Bagewadi, are found in northern parts of the state. Shravanabelagola, Mudabidri and Karkala are famous for Jain history and monuments. Jainism had a stronghold in Karnataka in the early medieval period with Shravanabelagola as its most important center for teaching, learning and spiritual enrichment.

Recently Karnataka has emerged as a hot spot for health care tourism. Karnataka has the highest number of approved health systems and alternative therapies in India. Along with some ISO certified government-owned hospitals, private institutions which provide international-quality services have caused the health care industry to grow by 30% during 2004-05. Hospitals in Karnataka treat around 8,000 health tourists every year, including mental and physical illnesses. Some of medical science’s rarest challenges were also resolved by the able hands of doctors of Karnataka with its resources in the medical field.


Air transport in Karnataka, as in the rest of the country, is still a fledgling but fast expanding sector. Karnataka has Airports at Bangalore,Mangalore, Belgaum, Hubli, Hampi, Bellary and Mysore with international operations from Bangalore and Mangalore airports.

Karnataka has a railway network that sustains the internal as well as external railroad requisites of the state, connecting it with the vast Indian railways. Coastal Karnataka is covered under the Konkan railway network which was considered India's biggest railway project of the century. Bangalore and Hubli are extensively connected with inter-state destinations.

Karnataka has 11 ports, including the New Mangalore Port, a major port and ten minor ports, of which three were operational in 2012. The New Mangalore port was incorporated as the ninth major port in India on 4 May 1974.

The assortment of National and State highways is also well maintained and a major means of transport in Karnataka. The KSRTC, the state public transport corporation, transports an average of 2.2 million passengers daily and employs about 25,000 people.

Popular places in side Karnataka