Exploring The 6 Richest Heritages Of Karnataka
Exploring the rich heritages of Karnataka is an exciting journey that takes you through a diverse range of historical sites. Each of these heritage sites has its own unique charm and significance. Karnataka’s historical sites range from ancient temples and forts to royal palaces and archaeological wonders.
Here’s a list of some of the must-visit heritage sites of Karnataka:
Hampi is perhaps the most famous historical site in Karnataka and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was the capital of the Vijayanagara Empire in the 14th century. It was one of the most prosperous cities in the whole world, as noted by the European travelers.
Hampi has over 500 ancient monuments, beautiful temples, bustling street markets, bastions, treasury building and captivating remains of Vijayanagar Empire. The architecture is simply stunning. Intricate carvings on the temples, and rock-cut monuments in this now ruined city looks so amazing.
A group of Deccan confederacy of rulers conquered Hampi in 1565 and then the city was pillaged for over six months. Hampi was subsequently abandoned forever.
Virupaksha Temple, Vittala Temple, Lotus Mahal and the ruins of the royal enclosure are must-visit attractions in Hampi. You can also find remains of the old aqueducts, canals and military barracks and stables here. Hampi became a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1986. Archeological Survey of India and other organizations are making several efforts to restore the lost glory of the place.
Hampi is surrounded by boulders of different sizes, and you can climb to the top of them with a little effort to get a stunning view of the entire city and the geography. It is located on the banks of River Tungabhadra.
Badami, formerly known as Vatapi, was the capital of the Chalukya dynasty.
This is situated in Bagalkot District in Karnataka. The site is known for its Brahmanical and Jain cave temples carved out of red sandstone cliffs. These date back to the 6th century and 7th Century.
There are four cave temples here and a lake called Agastya Lake. These are the major attractions here. Under royal patronage, four rock-cut caves of Bramhanical, Buddhist and Jainese religion, were carved into the southern hill. Three structural temples in south Indian style were constructed in the northern hill. The cave –III has an inscription from 578AD, which mention the regent King Mangalesha as the patron.
The Badami cave temples represent some of the earliest known examples of Hindu temples in the Deccan region.
3. Pattadakal and Aihole:
These towns are known for their Chalukyan temples and are collectively a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Aihole is a major archaeological site featuring over 120 stone and cave temples spread along the Malaprabha river valley, in Bagalakote district of Karnataka. These are mostly Hindu temples, but some are Jain temples. One temple is a Buddhist one.
Aihole is some 35km from Badami. For these temples made in different architectural styles Aihole is often called the “Cradle of Indian Architecture”. There are as many as 16 types of free-standing temples and 4 types of rock-cut shrines in Aihole.
Pattadakal, also called Raktapura, on the other hand, is a complex of 7th and 8th century Hindu and Jain temples. The group of temples with intricate carvings showcase a blend of North and South Indian architectural styles. The Hindu temples are generally dedicated to Shiva, but elements of Vaishnavism and Shaktism theology and legends are also present here.
4. Belur and Halebid:
These twin temple towns are famous for their exquisite Hoysala architecture. Both Belur and Halebid (or Halebidu) are situated in Hassan District in Karnataka.
Halebid, called as Dorasamudra by the Hoysala rulers, became the regal capital of the Hoysala Empire in 1060. The forces of Delhi Sultanate looted and ravaged the town in the 14th Century. This brought its decline. Hoysaleswara Temple, known for its intricate sculptures, is the most notable surviving monument in Halebid.
Belur, situated on the banks of River Yagachi, was the capital of the Hoysalas before they made Halebid its new capital. Prominent remains of Hoysala architecture are there in Belur. Most prominent of these is the Chennakesava Temple, a Vishnu Temple, which was originally called Vijaya-Narayana temple by the King. The towering gopuram of the temple is easily visible from a distance.
The oldest temple in Belur, however, is Sankaresvara temple. Also called Shankaralingeshwara temple, this temple is a Shiva temple. This is not completely intact though. Ruins of its mandapa are scattered nearby.
These temples are a testament to the artistic excellence of the Hoysala dynasty.
Bijapur, also called Vijayapura or the “City of Victory,” is famous for its Islamic architecture built during Adil Shahi dynasty rulers.
The Gol Gumbaz, Ibrahim Rauza, and Jama Masjid are remarkable structures that showcase the city’s historical grandeur.
The Kalyani Chalukyas established Bijapur in the 10th–11th centuries and was known as Vijayapura (city of victory). The city passed on to Yadavas after Chalukya’s demise. In 1347, Bahmani Sultanate conquered it. After the split of the Bahmani Sultanate, the Bijapur Sultanate ruled here. Bijapur owes much of its greatness to Yusuf Adil Shah, the founder of the independent state of Bijapur.
Gol Gumbaz is the mausoleum of Sultan Muhammad Adil Shah and features one of the largest domes in the world. It’s an architectural marvel and offers a unique acoustic experience in its whispering gallery.
The Mysore Palace, also known as the Amba Vilas Palace, is a grand royal residence. It is one of the most famous landmarks of Mysore. It served as the official residence of the Wadiyar dynasty.
It’s a symbol of Mysore’s royal heritage and is particularly enchanting when illuminated during the Dasara festival and on public holidays.
It showcases Indo-Saracenic architecture with beautiful interiors, ornate ceilings, courtyards, and a rich history.
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