The state of Karnataka is located in the southern part of India and is known for its innumerable historical monuments and places that attract tourists from different corners of the country, as well as, the world. These sites, which mostly feature Dravidian architecture or the South Indian temple style, date back to as early as the 6th century and are linked to some of the ancient dynasties and royal families. Flourishing cities like Bengaluru and Mysore have some stunning palaces whereas both Badami and Hampi are famous for their beautiful rock-cut temples. On the other hand, the Halebidu Temples entice travelers with their marvelous architecture. Many of these historical sites pay homage to those kings who have ruled here. If you are a history buff, you would definitely love to visit these top historical places in Karnataka we have specially chosen for you.
1. Hampi Group of Monuments
A UNESCO World Heritage Site today, Hampi is also fondly referred to as the city of ruins. Set within beautiful hill stations and valleys, it is one of the major historical places in the state and is an absolutely delightful place for tourists. Hampi is surrounded by hundreds of stunning temples, ancient monuments, a treasury building, enchanting ruins of the Vijayanagar dynasty, and bustling markets. It is truly a place of delight for any backpacker with hundreds of places to explore and marvel and is like an open museum. Some of the most well-known historical sites to explore in Hampi include the Elephant Stables, Vithala Temple, Lotus Mahal (Chitrangini Mahal), and Virupaksha Temple.
Hampi groups of monuments
Address: Hampi, Karnataka 583239
Website: Hampi groups of monuments
2. Belgaum Fort
Many believe the Belgaum Fort was constructed in the early 13th century by the Ratt Dynasty. Its popularity is as great as Belgavi Fort, and it is one of Belgaum’s most sought-after tourist sites. Its entrance has shrines of Hindu deities like Ganapati and Goddess Durga, while the fort’s architecture is a blend of Indo-Saracenic, Deccan, and Chaulakyan art forms. The Mukhamantaapa leaves are known for their stunning lotus design, leaving the visitors tongue-tied. The fort also has many Jain and Hindu Temples, as well as mosques. Maximize your time in Belgaum District by visiting other attractions such as Godachinamalki Falls, Rajhansgad Yellur Fort, and Gokak Falls.
Address: Belgaum Fort Area, Belgaum, Karnataka 590016
Website: Belgaum Fort
Opening hours: 8am - 6.30pm (daily)
3. Bangalore Palace
One of the most popular tourist destinations in the major city of Bangalore, Bangalore Palace looks absolutely majestic and opulent. The palace is currently owned by the royal family of Mysore. When you visit this grand palace in the city, you will get familiar with the splendor and elegance of one of South India’s most powerful royal dynasties. Bangalore Palace is owned by the Royal Family of Wadiyar and is one of the key historical places in the state of Karnataka.
Address: Vasanth Nagar, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560052
Website: Bangalore Palace
Opening hours: 10.30am - 5.30pm (daily)
Price: 6 USD onwards
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The city of Mysore had the distinction of being the capital of Mysore District from the 14th century to 1956. The Wodeyar dynasty ruled the state for many years. As part of this wonderful walking tour, you will explore the opulent edifices and colorful fancy bazaars and get familiar with the rich cultural heritage of this charming historical city in Karnataka. You will also get an opportunity to sample some of the best southern culinary delights like Masala Dosa and Mysore Pak as well as explore the streets of the city and Mysore Palace. While in this city, you can also add other attractions such as Lalitha Mahal Palace and Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens to your itinerary.
Duration: 4 hours
5. Hoysaleswara Temple
A temple dedicated to the Hindu Lord Shiva, Hoysaleswara Temple is situated in Halebidu, a town in the Hassan District in South Karnataka. The famous Mysore City is around 150 km (93.20 mi) from this ancient temple. It is believed that its construction was started by the ruler of the Hoysala Dynasty in the 12th century. Sadly though, the Hoysaleswara temple was looted badly in the 14th century. Thereafter, the temple fell into ruins. You can easily reach Halebidu as it is only 31 km (19.26 mi) from Hassan and 16 km (9.94 mi) from Belur.
Address: Halebeedu, Karnataka 573121
Website: Hoysaleswara Temple
Opening hours: 6.30am - 9pm (daily)
6. Bidar Fort
Located in Karnataka’s Bidar City, Bidar Fort boasts immense historical significance and is known for its architectural magnificence. It is one of the most famous tourist attractions in Karnataka and is a witness to the glorious and rich history of the country. The place is deserted now and yet features opulent historical palaces, museums, fortifications, and bastions among others. Photography is permitted here and admission is free, giving you more reason to get a taste of the history of the powerful Deccan rulers.
Address: Old City Fort Area, Bidar, Karnataka 585401
Website: Bidar Fort
Opening hours: 9am - 5pm (daily)
7. Badami Cave Temples
Badami is a small town situated in the district of Bagalkot in North Karnataka. The place owes its popularity because of the Badami Fort and stunning cave temples, which are historical attractions facing Agastya Lake and surrounded by sandstone cliffs. Out of the four cave temples here, three have been dedicated to the Hindu Gods while the fourth one has been dedicated to the founder of the Jainism religion called Lord Mahavira. While one temple is dedicated to Lord Nataraja, the other two temples have the shrines of Lord Vishnu in them. Marvel at the stunning architecture of these cave temples in Badami, which is now an Indian heritage city.
Badami Cave Temples
Address: Badami, Karnataka 587201
Website: Badami Cave Temples
Opening hours: 9am - 5.30pm (daily)
8. Chennakeshavasvami Temple
Chennakeshavasvami Temple was constructed by the Hoysala Kings and is dedicated to an incarnation of the Hindu God Vishnu called Lord Vijayanarayana. The construction of the temple was done to celebrate the defeat of the Chola rulers at the hands of the kings of the Hoysala dynasty in the famous battle of Talakkad. It took more than 100 years to complete the construction of this magnificent temple. Surrounded by high walls, it also has a vestibule and a sanctum sanctorum. This major attraction also has smaller shrines and many other structures and is a must-visit historical place in Karnataka.
Address: Temple Road, Belur, Karnataka 573115
Website: Chennakeshavasvami Temple
9. Group of Monuments in Pattadakal
History buffs will instantly fall in love with the Group Monuments in Pattadakal. Perfect for the state’s heritage tourism, the famous monuments represent the stunning art scene that flourished during the 7th century and 8th century when the Chaulakya dynasty dominated the region. There are a Jain shrine and nine beautiful Hindu temples as part of this group. The Virupaksha Temple is one of the most striking temples here and was constructed in the 8th century by Queen Lokamahadevi. All the temples here are architectural masterpieces with stunning shapes, sculptures, and carvings.
Group of Monuments in Pattadakal
Address: State Highway 14, Pattadakal, Bagalkot, Karnataka 587201
Website: Group of monuments in Pattadakal
Opening hours: 6am - 6pm (daily)
10. Raja’s Tomb
Also called Raja’s Tomb, Gaddige is situated in Coorg, one of the most charming hill stations in the state of Karnataka. The tomb manifests Indo-Saracenic architecture, a construction style of those times. It houses the mortal remains of the rulers of the Kodava dynasty. The architecture here is a blend of Islamic style and Hinduism. You should also drop in at the nearby burial ground of Biddanda Bopu and his son Biddanda Somaiah. They were two courageous royal officers who died while fighting in the battleground with Mysorean ruler Tipu Sultan, whose summer residence called Summer Palace is an attraction on its own in Bangalore.
Address: 7/731, SH27, Mahadevpet, Madikeri, Karnataka 571201
Website: Raja’s Tomb
Opening hours: 6am - 8.30pm (daily)
Enjoy a captivating vacation in Karnataka
Apart from national parks and wildlife sanctuaries, there are so many beautiful places to visit in the Indian state of Karnataka that you may get confused about. In order to make the job easy, we have chosen these top historical attractions in Karnataka so that you can go back in time, appreciate Indian architecture, and enjoy some of the most mesmerizing monuments and UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the state with your dear ones.
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