Karnataka Revealed

Take the road less travelled as we go in search of South India's spectacular temples, jaw-dropping landscapes and fascinating wildlife on an inspiring and meaningful journey discovering the many splendors of Karnataka. 

HIGHLIGHTS

Stay in luxurious and boutique hotels

Enjoy an immersive experience of the stunning archaeological sites

Marvel at the stunning wildlife of Karnataka

ITINERARY

DAY 1: ARRIVE BANGALORE / BELGAUM / BADAMI (Wed & Sat)

Arrive at Bangalore's Kempegowda Intl Airport (Bengaluru) where after immigration formalities, transfer on for your domestic flight to Belgaum where you will be met and begin a 3hrs drive to the ancient city of Badami where we arrive at the Heritage Resort Badami for check in, dinner and time for rejuvenation. 

Overnight: Heritage Resort Badami

Meals: Dinner

DAY 2: BADAMI & THE CHALUKYAN TEMPLES / HAMPI

We begin our discovery of Karnataka exploring Badami in the morning. Set in beautiful countryside amongst red sandstone hills, Lakes and peaceful farmlands, the small rural village of Badami was once a capital city of the Chalukyan Empire which ruled much of central Deccan between the 4th and 7th Centuries A.D. Four of the cave temples were cut into the hillside in the early 6th Century where we enjoy a visit admiring its different dedications. A short distance away is the Buddist Temple near the ancient artificial Bhuthanatha Lake; the 7th century Mallegitti Sivalaya Temple one of the finest examples of the early southern style. Statues of Vishnu and Shiva decorate the outer wall while animals frizes appear along the plinth above the caves; Jabulinga Temple dating from 699 has three chapels dedicated to the trinity and fine carvings. The North Fort Temples include mainly 7th century work and give us insight into Badami history. 

Thereafter, a short drive takes us to Pattadakal, situated on the banks of the Malaprabha River, is the second capital of the Chalukyan kings between 7th and 8th century and the city where the kings were crowned. Most of the temples cluster at the foot of the hill and display a succession of styles of the southern Dravida temple architecture as well as North and South India traditions. With the exception of one, all the temples are dedicated to Shiva. We then head on to Aihole, the first Chalukyan capital, with some of the most important late Chalukyan temples dedicated to Jain divinities. Mentioned in the inscriptions as Ayyavole of Aryapura. It is regarded as the cradle of Hindu Temple architecture; most of its 125-odd temples were built
between 6th and 8th centuries. In an area called Morera Angadigalu, excavations have unearthed large number of prehistoric sites: temples, pottery pieces, pre-Chalukyan bricks and the bases of structures. 

Finally, we head on a 3hr drive to Hampi arriving at the incredible Evolve Back Hampi

Overnight: Evolve Back Hampi

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 3: HAMPI

Enjoy a full day in the incredible UNESCO-listed ancient monuments of Hampi, once the seat of the great Vijayanagara Empire and the centre of Hindu rule for 200 years from its foundation in 1336. The Vijayanagar city ruins the Village of Hampi are one of the most fascinating historical sites in south India. The superb ruins are set in a beautiful Landscape – a hill country with enormous boulders. Extremely wealthy, Greater than Rome, they held a monopoly of trade in spices and cotton. This site was chosen for Strategic reasons, but the
craftsmen excelled in adopting an ingenious style to blend in architectural masterpieces with the barren and rocky Landscape. Most of the sites are 16th Century and build during the 20-year reign of Krishna Deva Raya.


Hampi Morning Walk:

This walk starts early in the morning by hiking the gentle trail to Matanga Parvata hill for the beautiful sunrise as the sun appears behind the stunning rock hills. Mantanga Parvata is probably the tallest hill in Hampi and has a 360 degrees view of the region with River Tungabadhra flowing between the barren valley and gigantic boulders. To the South is Viroopaksha Temple standing tall. Look anywhere and you will see rocky hills covered with loosely held boulders of vast of plantation farms with tropical trees on the fertile patches spreading far and wide. Walk down to visit the majestic Viroopaksha Temple. This is the only temple here where a deity is worshiped. Walk along the River Tungabadra and stop here for a nourishing breakfast at the charming Mango Tree Restaurant set in a charming orchard along the river front from where you see small boats taking people to the other side and locals bathing and washing clothes. After breakfast take a coracle boat ride to Vithala Temple. Flow of the river has made some interesting carvings of the rocks. Get down from the coracle on the shore of the river and walk to Vithala Temple, a UNESCO world heritage monument, and is famous for its stone chariot in its courtyard with musical pillars. Later take the bridled path to the Bazaar and return to your hotel for lunch and relax.

Hampi Evening Walk:

Starting late in the afternoon this walk takes you through ancient ruins and Temples of Hampi with a small rock top. Start from the Queens Bath, which is at one end of the series of monuments. Follow the signs put up by the Archaeological Department, and walk through the ancient structures comprising Hazara Rama
Temple
, underground Shiva Temple, Mahanavami Dibba, Elephants stables and Lotus Mahal. Come back to the main road and walk towards the little bazaar. Visit Laxminarasimha statue and Krishna Temple and later a short climb brings you to Hemkoota Parvata rock top from where you have lovely sunset views. Soft drinks will be served here. 

Overnight: Evolve Back Hampi

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 4: HAMPI / CHITRADURGA / CHIKMAGALUR

We leave Hampi early today heading south to Chikmagalur. En route, we make a stop in the ancient ruins of Chitradurga, nestled by the side of the Vedavati River. Covered in hills, valleys and rivers, discover the ancient stone fortresses built during the 17th and 18th centuries that had gone through the hands of several rulers and undergone the transformation. The Hidimbeshwar Temple situated within the fort is the oldest among the 20 temples and a 'must see' place. The temple is carved out of a rock and has the influence of the Dravidian culture. After spending some time here, we continue south where we make a scenic stop at the Vani Vilas Sagar Dam, constructed across the River Vedavati, one of the largest in South India in a privileged setting built to provide irrigation needs for farmers. Finally, we will then arrive to the coffee-growing region of Chikamagalur where we spend the next 2 nights in the beautiful setting of The Serai

Overnight: The Serai, Chikmagalur

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 5: CHIKMAGALUR (EXCURSION OF BELUR & HALEBID)

Enjoy a full day excursion today to visit the famous UNESCO World Heritage-listed Hoysala sacred Temples at Belur & Halebid. Built by the Hoysala kings, The 12th century Temples at Belur & Halebid are the cream of what remains of one of the most artistically exuberant periods of Hindu Cultural development. The wealth of sculptural details found on the exterior and interior of these Temples makes them the most outstanding example of Hoysala sculptural art. 

Overnight: The Serai, Chikmagalur

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 6: CHIKMAGALUR / HASSAN / KABINI

This morning, enjoy a guided coffee plantation tour in Chikmagalur - birthplace of Indian coffee where hundreds of years ago, Baba Budan, a Sufi saint smuggled 7 beans from the Arabs, who were aggressively trying to protect their trade. He planted it on a sloping hill in Chikmagalur (now called Baba Budan Giri Hills) and since then there’s been no turning back. Learn from your guide the essence of coffee where you have the chance to pick coffee beans, tasting and consider trekking up to the highest point in Karnataka, the Chikmagalur Mullayangiri peak - almost 2000m high offering jaw-dropping views of thousands of acres of coffee plantations. 

Later, we leave Chikmagalur continuing south to the city of Hassan, derived from the Hindu goddess, Hassanamba where we marvel at its Hoysala Empire's influence. Visit the Lakshminarasimha Temple, a complete example of 13th Century Hoysala architecture dedicated to Vishnu. Thereafter, we make a stop at the Gothic Shettihalli Rosary Church, also known as the "floating church" during the monsoon season where it's partly submerged. Located on the banks of the Hemavathi River, it was constructed in 1860 by French missionaries serving as a religious worship center for the wealthy British estate owners. Later, the government decided to build Gorur dam and the Hemavathi reservoir for better utilization of the flowing river. The construction of this dam in 1960s led to flooding of the Hemavathi reservoir. The church and its surrounding areas were evacuated and later abandoned due to consistent flooding. Ever since, this church gets submerged in water every monsoon. From here, we continue our journey to Kabini, Karnataka's wild eden teeming with a healthy population of tigers and elephants that roam its untamed mountain ranges and valleys. We arrive at the Evolve Back Kabini where we spend the next 3 nights uncovering the fascinating wildlife. 

Overnight: Evolve Back, Kabini

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 7 - 8: KABINI

Spend the next 2 days discovering and admiring the stunning wildlife in Kabini National Park, lying to the North of the Kabini River consists of swampland, most deciduous forest, bamboo forest and open, grassy woodland with abundant wildlife. It is perhaps the best remaining habitats of the Asian elephant in the world
and Gaur, Sambar, Chital, Muntjac, the four –horned antelope, Indian porcupine, pangolin, giant squirrel , flying squirrel, slender Ioris, Langur and bonnet macaque are all seen in the parks. Of the hunters the Sloth bear, Tiger, Leopard the Asiatic wild dog also called dhole, the striped hyena, jackal, jungle cat and rusty spotted cat are found here. Reptiles that can be found at both parks include marsh crocodile, monitor Lizard, rock python and Cobra. Kabini is a haven for wild elephant, haur, deer, monkeys, leopards and tigers as well as host to numerous species of bird. The star of the park however is the Kabini Black Panther where it ventured into the Nagarahole breeding with normal spotted leopards and establishing its territory. 

Overnight: Evolve Back, Kabini

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 9: KABINI / MYSORE / DEPARTURE BANGALORE 

Today, we leave Kabini after another morning game drive with fond memories of the incredible wildlife heading back to Bangalore. En route, we stop in the historic settlement of Mysore visiting the stunning Mysore Palace, spread over 70 acres in the heart of the city where we take a guided tour inside the  main palace building which showcases the grandeur and mesmerizing beauty of Doll's Pavilion, Royal marriage hall, Public & Private Durbar Halls, and lots of stories about the dynasty. Later, proceed to the magnificent Chamundi temple of the 11th Century situated on a hillock. Visit the second largest granite stone sculpture in the world of Bull (Nandi) on this hill. 

Finally, our journey comes to an end where we travel to Bangalore's Kempegowda Intl Airport (Bengaluru) for departure. 

Meals: Breakfast & Lunch

HOTELS

The best hotel in Badami, the Heritage Resort is strategically located cuddled in the serene nature with picturesque mountains, offering comfortable cottages with well-appointed rooms for the intrepid traveller uncovering the exciting temples and landscape of Badami. 

Heritage Resort, Badami

Travel back in time to the glorious days of the 14th century Vijayanagara Empire. Let the stone monuments at Hampi tell you the story of what was once described as “the best provided city in the world”. With stunning rugged forests and boulders forming its backdrop, Evolve Back Kamalapura Palace, Hampi is located just 4 km from this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its fort like entrances, stone-paved boulevards, arched hallways and regal chambers mirror the famed palaces of a bygone but glorious era.

Evolve Back, Hampi

The Serai, Chikmagalur

The Serai Chikmagalur is home to one of the most intoxicating coffee estates in South India connecting to trails through the coffee plantations and has an open network of verandas that displays views of the green landscape. Accommodation is provided in estate villas that are immaculately furnished and designed in contemporary style. Each villa has a private garden that features either a private pool or Jacuzzi for exclusivity.  

Evolve Back, Kabini

Evolve Back’s Spirit of the land philosophy finds its most intimate expression at Kabini, where you are drawn into the vibrant social tapestry of the local Kadu Kuruba tribe. While you discover a vernacular dimension to luxury that’s truly liberating, the resort gives you a wildlife experience like no other. Inspired in design by the Hadis or tribal villages, this picturesque resort of sweeping panoramic vistas, is bordered on two sides by the Kabini River.

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