29 Things To Do In Karnataka

Things To Do In Karnataka

Karnataka, a vibrant state in southern India, is a treasure trove of cultural heritage, natural beauty, and exciting adventures. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a nature lover, or an adventure seeker, Karnataka has something to offer everyone. From the bustling urban life of Bengaluru to the tranquil hills of Coorg, from the ancient ruins of Hampi to the pristine beaches of Gokarna, the state’s diverse attractions promise a memorable experience. This blog post delves into the top things to do in Karnataka, guiding you through the must-visit destinations and unique activities that make this state a remarkable travel destination.

Things To Do In Karnataka

  1. Explore Bengaluru

Bengaluru, also known as Bangalore, is the capital city of Karnataka. It’s a vibrant metropolis known for its IT industry, green spaces, and cultural heritage. Start your exploration at the Lalbagh Botanical Garden, which features a variety of tropical plants and a stunning glasshouse. Visit Cubbon Park, an oasis of greenery in the heart of the city, perfect for a leisurely stroll or a picnic.

The city is also home to numerous historical landmarks. The Bangalore Palace, with its Tudor-style architecture, offers a glimpse into the opulent lives of the Wodeyar dynasty. Another must-visit is the Vidhana Soudha, an architectural marvel that houses the state legislature.

For tech enthusiasts, a visit to the many tech parks and innovation hubs is a must. Don’t forget to indulge in Bangalore’s burgeoning food scene, from traditional South Indian dishes to international cuisine. The city also boasts a vibrant nightlife, with numerous pubs and bars, especially in areas like MG Road and Indiranagar.

  1. Visit Mysore Palace

Mysore, often called the City of Palaces, is renowned for the majestic Mysore Palace. This historical palace, an architectural masterpiece, is a blend of Hindu, Muslim, Rajput, and Gothic styles. The intricate carvings, exquisite paintings, and beautiful stained-glass windows make it a visual delight.

The palace is especially spectacular during the Dussehra festival, when it is illuminated with thousands of lights. Inside, you’ll find a treasure trove of royal memorabilia, including paintings, jewelry, and costumes. Don’t miss the ornate durbar hall, where the Maharajas once held court.

After exploring the palace, take a stroll in the surrounding gardens and visit the nearby Chamundi Hill, home to the Chamundeshwari Temple. The hill offers a panoramic view of Mysore and is a popular spot for both tourists and locals.

  1. Hampi: The Ancient City

Hampi, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a must-visit for history enthusiasts. This ancient city, once the capital of the Vijayanagara Empire, is a vast open-air museum of ruins. The Virupaksha Temple, with its towering gopuram, is the oldest and most significant temple here.

Explore the sprawling complex of the Vittala Temple, known for its musical pillars and the iconic stone chariot. The Hampi Bazaar, which was once a bustling marketplace, is now a fascinating stretch of ruins. Another notable site is the Lotus Mahal, a beautiful pavilion that exemplifies Indo-Islamic architecture.

Don’t miss the Elephant Stables and the Queen’s Bath, which showcase the grandeur of the Vijayanagara Empire. Hampi’s rugged landscape, dotted with boulders, is also a great place for rock climbing and photography. End your day with a sunset view from Matanga Hill, offering a breathtaking panorama of the ruins.

  1. Coorg: The Scotland of India

Coorg, also known as Kodagu, is a picturesque hill station known for its coffee plantations, lush greenery, and pleasant climate. Dubbed the Scotland of India, Coorg offers a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Start your visit with a tour of a coffee plantation. Learn about the coffee-making process and sample some freshly brewed coffee. The Abbey Falls, surrounded by spice plantations and coffee estates, is a popular spot for nature lovers.

Another highlight is the Namdroling Monastery, one of the largest Tibetan settlements in South India. The monastery’s golden temple is a sight to behold, with its vibrant murals and statues. For wildlife enthusiasts, a visit to the Nagarhole National Park is a must. The park is home to a variety of animals, including tigers, elephants, and leopards.

Coorg is also known for its local cuisine. Don’t miss trying the traditional pandi curry (pork curry) and bamboo shoot curry. For adventure seekers, Coorg offers activities like trekking, river rafting, and quad biking.

  1. Wildlife Safari in Bandipur National Park

Bandipur National Park, part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, is one of India’s premier wildlife sanctuaries. Spread over 874 square kilometers, it’s home to a rich variety of flora and fauna. The park is famous for its population of tigers and elephants.

Embark on a wildlife safari to spot these majestic creatures in their natural habitat. The park also houses leopards, sloth bears, Indian rock pythons, and several species of birds. Early morning and late afternoon safaris offer the best chances to see wildlife.

In addition to safaris, Bandipur offers opportunities for bird watching and nature walks. The park’s diverse ecosystems include deciduous forests, grasslands, and scrublands, making it a haven for nature enthusiasts.

  1. Beach Bliss in Gokarna

Gokarna, a small temple town on the Arabian Sea, is a hidden gem known for its pristine beaches and relaxed vibe. Unlike the more commercialized beaches of Goa, Gokarna offers a peaceful retreat for beach lovers.

Om Beach, named for its shape that resembles the Hindu symbol Om, is the most popular beach here. It’s ideal for swimming, sunbathing, and beach sports. Kudle Beach, with its golden sands and clear waters, is perfect for a tranquil day out.

For a more secluded experience, visit Paradise Beach or Half Moon Beach. Both require a short hike or boat ride to reach and offer stunning views and a serene atmosphere. Don’t miss the Mahabaleshwar Temple, a significant pilgrimage site dedicated to Lord Shiva.

Gokarna is also a great place to try water sports like kayaking and snorkeling. The laid-back town has several beachside cafes where you can relax with a drink and enjoy the sunset.

  1. Chikmagalur: Coffee Land of Karnataka

Chikmagalur, known as the Coffee Land of Karnataka, is a charming hill station that offers stunning landscapes and a cool climate. It’s famous for its coffee plantations, which produce some of the best coffee in India.

Take a guided tour of a coffee estate to learn about the coffee-making process, from bean to cup. Don’t forget to sample some freshly brewed coffee. Chikmagalur is also home to several beautiful waterfalls, including the Hebbe Falls and Kalhatti Falls, which are perfect for a day trip.

The Mullayanagiri peak, the highest point in Karnataka, offers breathtaking views of the surrounding hills and valleys. It’s a popular spot for trekking and photography. The Baba Budangiri range, known for its caves and trekking trails, is another must-visit.

Chikmagalur’s serene environment and scenic beauty make it an ideal destination for nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts alike. The town’s cool climate and lush greenery provide a perfect backdrop for a relaxing getaway.

  1. Jog Falls: The Majestic Waterfall

Jog Falls, located on the Sharavathi River, is one of India’s highest and most spectacular waterfalls. The falls are divided into four distinct cascades – Raja, Rani, Roarer, and Rocket – which together create a stunning spectacle.

The best time to visit Jog Falls is during the monsoon season, when the water flow is at its peak, and the falls are at their most magnificent. The surrounding area is lush and green, adding to the beauty of the falls.

There are several viewpoints from where you can enjoy different perspectives of the falls. The Watkins platform offers a panoramic view, while the bottom viewpoint requires a trek down, providing an up-close experience of the roaring falls.

Jog Falls is not just about the waterfall. The surrounding area offers opportunities for trekking, bird watching, and photography. The nearby Linganamakki Dam and the Sharavathi Valley Wildlife Sanctuary are also worth exploring.

  1. Adventure Sports in Dandeli

Dandeli, located on the banks of the Kali River, is a paradise for adventure enthusiasts. The town offers a range of thrilling activities, making it a popular destination for adrenaline junkies.

White-water rafting on the Kali River is the most popular activity in Dandeli. The river’s rapids provide an exhilarating experience for both beginners and seasoned rafters. In addition to rafting, you can enjoy kayaking, canoeing, and river crossing.

Dandeli’s dense forests are perfect for trekking and jungle safaris. The Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary is home to a variety of animals, including tigers, leopards, and elephants. The sanctuary also offers bird watching opportunities, with over 200 species of birds.

Other adventure activities in Dandeli include zip-lining, rappelling, and mountain biking. For a more relaxed experience, you can go fishing or take a coracle ride on the river. The town’s natural beauty and adventurous spirit make it a must-visit for thrill-seekers.

  1. Explore Belur and Halebidu

Belur and Halebidu are twin towns famous for their exquisite Hoysala architecture. The Chennakesava Temple in Belur and the Hoysaleswara Temple in Halebidu are masterpieces of intricate carvings and sculptures. These temples, built during the 12th century, showcase remarkable craftsmanship and artistic detail. The temple complexes are adorned with elaborate friezes, depicting scenes from Hindu mythology, daily life, and nature. A guided tour of these historical sites provides insight into the Hoysala dynasty’s rich cultural heritage. Don’t forget to explore the nearby Jain temples and the beautiful gardens that surround these architectural marvels.

  1. Trek to Kudremukh

Kudremukh, meaning ‘horse face’ in Kannada, is a mountain range and a national park in Karnataka. Known for its lush greenery, rolling meadows, and biodiversity, Kudremukh offers a fantastic trekking experience. The trek to the peak is moderately challenging, taking you through dense forests, sparkling streams, and grasslands. Along the way, you can spot various flora and fauna, including endemic species of plants, birds, and butterflies. The view from the summit, with its sweeping vistas of the Western Ghats, is breathtaking. Kudremukh is also home to several waterfalls and caves, adding to the adventure.

  1. Discover Badami Caves

Badami, the capital of the early Chalukya dynasty, is renowned for its rock-cut cave temples. The four main caves are dedicated to Hindu deities, with one cave dedicated to Jainism. These caves are carved into the red sandstone cliffs and feature intricate carvings, sculptures, and frescoes. The highlight is the colossal sculpture of Vishnu in his various avatars and the elaborate carvings depicting scenes from Hindu mythology. The Agastya Lake, located below the caves, adds to the scenic beauty of the place. Badami, along with the nearby towns of Aihole and Pattadakal, forms a significant historical and architectural circuit.

  1. Relax at Udupi

Udupi, a coastal town, is famous for its Krishna Temple and its unique cuisine. The Udupi Sri Krishna Matha is a renowned pilgrimage site, attracting devotees from all over the country. The temple’s architectural beauty and spiritual ambiance make it a must-visit. Udupi is also known for its pristine beaches like Malpe and Kaup. Malpe Beach, with its golden sands and clear waters, is perfect for a relaxing day out. You can also take a boat ride to St. Mary’s Island, known for its unique basalt rock formations. Don’t miss tasting Udupi cuisine, which includes delicacies like dosa, idli, and various sweets.

  1. Experience the Cultural Heritage of Bijapur

Bijapur, now known as Vijayapura, is a city rich in historical and architectural treasures. The Gol Gumbaz, with its massive dome and whispering gallery, is Bijapur’s most famous landmark. This mausoleum of Sultan Mohammed Adil Shah is an architectural marvel and offers a fascinating experience. Another notable structure is the Ibrahim Rauza, known for its stunning minarets and beautiful gardens. Bijapur also boasts several other historical sites, including the Jami Masjid, Malik-e-Maidan cannon, and the Gagan Mahal. Exploring these sites offers a glimpse into the grandeur of the Adil Shahi dynasty.

  1. Roam Around the Ruins of Aihole

Aihole, often referred to as the cradle of Indian temple architecture, is an ancient town with over 100 temples. The Durga Temple, known for its apsidal structure and intricate carvings, is the most famous. The Lad Khan Temple, one of the oldest, showcases early Chalukyan architecture. The Meguti Jain Temple, located on a hill, offers panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. Aihole’s temples are renowned for their diverse architectural styles and historical significance, making it a fascinating destination for history buffs and architecture enthusiasts.

  1. Enjoy the Scenic Beauty of Sakleshpur

Sakleshpur, a hill station in the Western Ghats, is known for its coffee plantations, spice gardens, and scenic beauty. The Manjarabad Fort, built by Tipu Sultan, offers stunning views of the surrounding hills and valleys. The Bisle View Point provides a breathtaking view of the Bisle Reserve Forest and the Giri River. Sakleshpur is also a great destination for trekking and nature walks, with several trails leading through dense forests and coffee estates. The town’s pleasant climate and picturesque landscapes make it an ideal getaway for nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts.

  1. Explore the Cultural Vibrancy of Dharwad

Dharwad, part of the twin cities of Hubli-Dharwad, is known for its cultural heritage and educational institutions. The Dharwad Regional Science Centre is a popular attraction for science enthusiasts. The city is also famous for its classical music, being the birthplace of many renowned musicians. The Unkal Lake, with its scenic beauty and recreational activities, is a great place to relax. The Nrupatunga Betta, a hillock, offers panoramic views of the city and is a popular spot for evening walks. Dharwad’s rich cultural heritage, combined with its educational and recreational facilities, makes it an interesting place to visit.

  1. Visit the Tibetan Monastery in Bylakuppe

Bylakuppe, near Coorg, is home to one of the largest Tibetan settlements in India. The Namdroling Monastery, also known as the Golden Temple, is the main attraction. This beautiful monastery, adorned with vibrant murals and golden statues, offers a peaceful and spiritual experience. The surrounding area is dotted with Tibetan shops and eateries, giving you a glimpse into Tibetan culture and cuisine. Bylakuppe is also known for its serene environment and scenic beauty, making it a great place to unwind and connect with nature.

  1. Experience the Serenity of Kabini

Kabini, located on the banks of the Kabini River, is a popular wildlife destination. The Kabini Wildlife Sanctuary, part of the Nagarhole National Park, is home to a rich variety of wildlife, including tigers, leopards, elephants, and several species of birds. A wildlife safari in Kabini offers thrilling encounters with these animals in their natural habitat. The Kabini River Lodge, a former hunting lodge of the Maharaja of Mysore, offers comfortable accommodation and a rustic experience. Kabini’s serene environment, coupled with its wildlife and natural beauty, makes it a perfect destination for nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts.

  1. Wander Through the Ruins of Pattadakal

Pattadakal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a historical town known for its group of Chalukyan monuments. This site, along with Aihole and Badami, forms the Chalukyan architectural triangle. The temples at Pattadakal represent a unique blend of northern and southern Indian architectural styles. The Virupaksha Temple is the most prominent, known for its intricate carvings and grand architecture. The Mallikarjuna Temple and the Papanatha Temple are other significant structures worth exploring. Each temple in Pattadakal tells a story of its glorious past, making it a must-visit for history and architecture enthusiasts.

  1. Take a Stroll in Brindavan Gardens

The Brindavan Gardens, located near the Krishna Raja Sagara Dam in Mysore, is one of the most beautiful gardens in India. Known for its symmetrical design and well-maintained lawns, the garden is a popular spot for tourists and locals alike. The highlight of the Brindavan Gardens is the musical fountain show, where water dances to the tune of music in a spectacular display of lights and colors. The garden also features numerous fountains, terraces, and topiary works, making it an ideal place for a relaxing evening stroll.

  1. Explore the Heritage City of Bidar

Bidar, located in the northern part of Karnataka, is a city steeped in history. The Bidar Fort, a massive structure with impressive architecture, is the main attraction here. Inside the fort complex, you can explore the Rangin Mahal, Gagan Mahal, and the Solah Khamba Mosque. The Bahmani Tombs and the Madrasa of Mahmud Gawan are other significant historical sites in Bidar. The city is also known for its unique Bidriware, a form of metal handicraft that makes for a great souvenir.

  1. Visit the Magnificent Shravanabelagola

Shravanabelagola is an important Jain pilgrimage center known for its giant monolithic statue of Lord Gomateshwara (Bahubali). This 57-foot statue is one of the largest free-standing statues in the world and attracts pilgrims and tourists alike. The Mahamastakabhisheka, a grand festival held every 12 years, sees thousands of devotees and visitors flocking to the site. The climb up to the statue involves ascending several steps, but the view from the top and the serene ambiance make it worthwhile.

  1. Discover the Temples of Talakadu

Talakadu is a historically significant site known for its ancient temples buried under sand dunes. The town was once a flourishing city but now holds a mysterious charm with its partially excavated temples. The Vaidyeshwara Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, is the most prominent temple here. Other notable temples include the Pataleshwara, Maruleshwara, and Arkeshwara Temples. A visit to Talakadu offers a unique experience of exploring these ancient temples amidst sand dunes.

  1. Explore the Scenic Beauty of Agumbe

Agumbe, known as the Cherrapunji of South India, is a small village located in the Western Ghats. It is famous for its rainforests, waterfalls, and scenic beauty. The Agumbe Rainforest Research Station is a notable center for biodiversity research and conservation. Visitors can explore the dense forests and enjoy the sight of various waterfalls like Barkana Falls and Onake Abbi Falls. Agumbe is also known for its spectacular sunsets, best viewed from the Sunset Point, offering a panoramic view of the surrounding valleys and hills.

  1. Visit the Pilgrimage Town of Dharmasthala

Dharmasthala, located on the banks of the Nethravathi River, is a famous pilgrimage town. The main attraction here is the Sri Manjunatha Swamy Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple is known for its unique blend of Shaiva, Vaishnava, and Jain traditions. The 39-foot monolithic statue of Bahubali, located nearby, is another significant attraction. Dharmasthala is also known for its annual festival, Laksha Deepotsava, which is celebrated with great fervor and attracts thousands of devotees.

  1. Experience the Royal Heritage of Srirangapatna

Srirangapatna, an island town on the Cauvery River, is known for its historical and cultural significance. The town served as the capital of the Mysore kingdom under Tipu Sultan. The Ranganathaswamy Temple, dedicated to Lord Vishnu, is a major attraction here. The Daria Daulat Bagh, Tipu Sultan’s summer palace, is another notable site, featuring beautiful frescoes and paintings. The Gumbaz, the mausoleum of Tipu Sultan and his father, Hyder Ali, is an architectural marvel with its impressive dome and intricate carvings.

  1. Relax in the Tranquil Ambiance of Nandi Hills

Nandi Hills, located near Bengaluru, is a popular hill station known for its pleasant climate and scenic beauty. The hills offer a perfect getaway from the hustle and bustle of city life. The sunrise view from Nandi Hills is particularly famous, attracting many early morning visitors. The hilltop is also home to the Nandi Temple, dedicated to the bull Nandi, and the Tipu’s Drop, a cliff with historical significance. The lush greenery and cool breeze make Nandi Hills an ideal spot for picnics, trekking, and nature walks.

  1. Marvel at the Architecture of Basaralu Temple

The Mallikarjuna Temple at Basaralu, built in the Hoysala architectural style, is a lesser-known gem in Karnataka. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is known for its intricate carvings and detailed sculptures. The beautifully carved pillars, walls, and ceilings depict various mythological scenes and deities. Despite its smaller size compared to other Hoysala temples, the Basaralu Temple stands out for its artistic excellence and historical significance, making it a must-visit for history and architecture enthusiasts.


Exploring Karnataka is like embarking on a journey through time, nature, and adventure. The state’s rich cultural heritage, stunning landscapes, and thrilling activities cater to all kinds of travelers. Whether you find yourself wandering through ancient temples, trekking up lush hills, or relaxing on serene beaches, Karnataka promises to leave you with unforgettable memories. Each destination and experience highlighted in this blog showcases the diverse beauty and charm of Karnataka. So, pack your bags and set out to discover the myriad things to do in Karnataka, a state that truly has it all.

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