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Vidhana Soudha, Bangalore, Karnataka
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About Karnataka

Steeped in history and cultural heritage, the southern Indian state of Karnataka offers much more than meets the eye. Don’t be surprised if you just got to know that the state features India’s highest waterfalls – Jog Falls. There are numerous forts, temples and mosques to see in the state. On the one hand it has the world popular IT city of Bangalore, the state capital. On the other, there is the very historical city of Mysore, also the cultural capital of the state. As a preferred travel destination, Karnataka has numerous tourist attractions in store. Shopping for a wide range of items of art and craft also proves to be a wonderful experience in the state. In a nutshell, Karnataka is all geared up to offer you the best of the classic and the contemporary. To enjoy the most, plan your tour to Karnataka between the winter months of September and February.

Major Cities
Also referred to as the ‘Silicon Valley’, the city of Bangalore has earned an unbeatable in the field of IT and software developments. But the coin has another side. The city is widely known for its wonderful gardens and salubrious climate. While in the city, do remember to take back home popular items like sandalwood, rosewood and silk. The city of Mysore draws tourists for its magnificent Mysore Palace and the exuberant Dussehra Festival. Witness the glory of the bygone era by making a visit to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Hampi. Sravanabelagola is popular for its brilliantly carved Jain statues.

Badami, featuring ancient cave temples, is another much frequented city in the state. Also referred to as the Dakshina Varanasi, Belur draws visitors for its elegant temples. Bellary, Gulbarga, Hospet, Belgaum, Coorg and Bijapur are the other important cities of Karnataka.

Historical Background
Visit the Bhimbetka Caves and you will have an idea about how ancient the history of Karnataka is. The history of the state goes back to the prehistoric times. It was at Sravanabelagola that the great Indian emperor Chandra Gupta Maurya embraced the Jain faith. In the bygone eras, the region of Karnataka was under the reign of ancient dynasties like the Chalukyas, the Vijayanagara and the Hoysalas. A visit to historical places in Karnataka will truly be a rich experience.

Culture
In spite of all the modern developments, age-old traditions continue in the state. Art form like Yakshagana (similar to Kathakali dance of Kerala), Bhootada Kunita and Nagamandala (the demon dance) are practiced even today. Festivals also are a part and parcel of people’s life in the state. The state celebrates festivals which are both religious and popular. Popular festivals in Karnataka include Hampi Festival (organized in November every year), Ugadi Festival, Karaga Festival and Dussehra among others.

Wildlife Destinations
The dense forests of the Western Ghats give rise to many national parks. Declared a Project Tiger Reserve back in 1973, Bandipur National Park is the biggest attraction for wildlife lovers arriving in Karnataka. Bird watchers can head straight to Raghunath Bird Sanctuary. Watch Asiatic Elephants from close quarters at Bannerghatta National Park.