North Karnataka or Uttara Karnataka mostly comprises of the semi-arid plateau from 300 to 730 meters. It gets water supply from Krishna River and its tributaries the Ghataprabha, Bhima, Tungabhadra, and Malaprabha. Located within the Deccan thorn scrub forests it further extends into eastern Maharashtra. Here are the 14 best travel destinations that you can visit in North Karnataka:
The World Famous Hampi
Hampi in Bellary District once was the capital of the esteemed Vijayanagara Kingdom. According to foreign visitors who visited India in the 15th and 16th centuries, Hampi was much bigger than Rome. The Mughal invaders destroyed it in 1565 and all its ruins are scattered near the south of the Tungabhadra river. Hampi is famous for the monolithic 29-foot tall Narasimha installed by Krishnadevaraya in 1529. It is also the place identified as Kishkindha from the times of Ramayana.
It was the second capital of the erstwhile Chalukya empire located on the Malaprabha river. The architecture includes temple from 7th and 8th century out of which four temples are built in the South Indian style followed by Dravidians. Four temples are in the Nagara North Indian style whereas only one temple, the Papanatha temple represents a mix of both styles. Some of the oldest temples in the region are Mallikarjuna, Sangameshwara, and Virupaksha temples.
3. Badami Fort, Badami
Badami Fort on the top of a hill is located in the Bagalkot district at a distance of 2 km from the town of Badami. Built by the Chalukya King Pulakeshi around 543 AD, the fort is one of the significant heritage structures of the country. After the Pallavas destroyed the fort in 642 AD, Tipu Sultan rebuilt the fort and its several structures.
4. Durga Temple, Aihole
This beautiful temple has a mythological significance. Also called the “cradle of Hindu rock architecture” mythology says that after killing all the Kshatriyas on the earth, Parashurama washed his axe stained with blood in this place. The temple is currently maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India and is built in Dravidian and Nagara architectural style.
5. Lad Khan Temple, Aihole
It is a temple of Lord Shiva with a cave-type architecture and is one of the prominent heritage sites of North Karnataka. The name of this temple constructed in Panchayatana style is quite misleading. According to a tale, a Prince Lad Khan lived in this temple for some time and hence the structure is now called by his name.
6. Huchimalli Gudi, Aihole
Built in the 7th century AD, the temple is home to Lord Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva shrines. The sanctum includes pradakshinapatha and a rekhanagara tower matching the Northern style. The external walls have lattices.
7. Gol Gumbaz, Bijapur
This mausoleum of King Mohammed Adil Shah, the Sultan of Bijapur is located in Bijapur now known as Vijayapura. Its construction started in 1626 and took 30 years to complete. Built in the style of Deccan architecture, the place derives its name from Gol Gombadh which means circular dome.
8. Bidar Fort, Bidar
Situated in the city of Bidar, the Bidar Fort is home to more than 30 monuments. In 1427, Sultan All-Ud Din Bahman from the Bahmanid Dynasty shifted his capital to Bidar from Gulbarga and built this fort. However, there is a lot of confusion regarding the origin of the fort.
9. Jama Masjid, Gulbarga
Built by Muhammad Shah I in 1358-75, the Jama Masjid in Gulbarga commemorates the place as the capital of the Sultanate of Bahmani kingdom. The mosque is one of the best architectural mosques in entire South Asia with the arches resembling the interiors of Great Cathedral-Mosque in the Spanish city of Cordoba. Another such mosque exists in Hyderabad.
10. Mahadeva Temple, Ittagi (Koppal)
The temple is located in the town of Ittagi in the Yalburga taluk of Koppal district. It was built by a commander named Mahadeva who was in the army of Western Chalukyas. The temple is about 64 km to the west of Hampi and is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is an age-old temple which unfolds many untold stories and the architectural glory of Karnataka kings.
11. Jharani Narasimha Temple (Bidar)
Karnataka is full of surprises when it comes to caves, temples, and treks. Narasimha Jharni is one such temple which you must visit. Since the previous entry was considered inauspicious, an entry road is being made to facilitate the influx of devotees into the cave. One can always see bats hanging from the ceiling of the cave and flying through as well. These bats have, however, not harmed anyone till date. The temple has been air-conditioned to ensure that there is fresh air at all times, and a percolation system has been set up to utilize the water emanating from the spring.
12. Kudala Sangama
Being an important pilgrimage destination for Lingayats, the place is located at a distance of 15 km from the famous Alamatti Dam in the district of Bagalkot. Kudala Sangama is known for its Aikya Mantapa or the holy Samadhi of Basavanna and a linga which is believed to be self-born (swayambhu). It is indeed an incredible place to visit and the very air of it is filled with divinity and meditativeness.
13. Yellamma Temple (Saundatti)
Sri Renuka Yellamma temple is one among the most popular pilgrimage destinations of South India. It is located at a distance of about 5 km from a town named Sanundatti. There’s entire lore of mythology and history attached to this temple. It is on a hilltop which earlier was known as Siddachal Parvat and now called as Yellammana Gudi.
14. In And Around Belgaum or Belagavi
Belagavi rests in the foothills of the Western Ghats, well known for its dense forests, rivers, and hills. The city has been voted as one of the top weekend getaway spots by youngsters and alike. One has a lot of things to do in and near Belgavi – Gokak Falls, Godchinamakali falls, Jamboti hills, Kalsa – Surat Trek, and Amboli Ghat.
So, this was about the Travel destinations in North Karnataka. There are so many other places but these are the popular and lesser-known ones which you should not miss at all.