May 192013
 
Karnataka, in south India, offers a wonderful combination of beautiful scenery, impressive wildlife parks, idyllic beaches and interesting history. Often overlooked in favour of more well known places such as Kerala and Tamil Nadu, Karnataka possesses an air of calm authenticity – at least for the time being.

  • Mysore Palace

    Mysore Palace

  • Mysore flower market

    Mysore flower market

  • Leopard resting in a tree - Kabini river

    Leopard resting in a tree – Kabini river

  • Mysore Palace

    Mysore Palace

  • Festival at Mysore Palace

    Festival at Mysore Palace

  • Lotus Mahal at Hampi

    Lotus Mahal at Hampi

  • Bison resort at Kabini river

    Bison resort at Kabini river

  • Abbey Falls - Coorg

    Abbey Falls – Coorg

  • Coorg

    Coorg

  • Ladies picking cotton, Kabini river

    Ladies picking cotton, Kabini river

  • Orange County, Kabini river

    Orange County, Kabini river

  • Labourer - Mysore

    Labourer – Mysore

  • Nandi Bull - Mysore

    Nandi Bull – Mysore

  • Serving Chai - Coorg

    Serving Chai – Coorg

  • Boulders and ruins at Hampi

    Boulders and ruins at Hampi

    OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

  • Orange County - Coorg

    Orange County – Coorg

  • Kabini river

    Kabini river

  • Farmer near Kabini river

    Farmer near Kabini river

Varied enough to spend an entire holiday exploring and relaxing, or pick some of the highlights and combine with maybe the hill station of Ooty and the rain forest and beaches of northern Kerala. With our vast experience of organising tailor made holidays to south India, we will be able to craft your perfect itinerary.

About

Karnataka is a state of contrasts and variety.  The state capital, Bengaluru (Bangalore) is India’s most developed city and although most famous for its thriving IT economy, also has some interesting modern architecture.  History is found in abundance in Mysore, home of the Maharajahs and at the UNESCO World Heritage site of Hampi, the long since abandoned last capital of the great Vijayanagar Empire.  Nature lovers will adore Coorg with its coffee plantations, lush green valleys, teak wood forests and mountain ranges.  For wildlife enthusiasts, two of India’s most impressive national parks are located in Karnataka; Nagarhole and Bandipur National Parks.

Mysore
P1040157 ‘The jewel of Karnataka’, Mysore was the political capital of the Wodeyar dynasty which ruled Karnataka for some 150 years till the independence of the country from the British. The kings, great patrons of art and culture, developed Mysore as an important centre of religion, education and culture.  The Maharaja’s Palace is one of the largest and most impressive in the country and is particularly magnificent when it is illuminated every Sunday evening.  Mysore hosts the grand annual celebration of Dasara festival, the 10-day festivities that celebrated its 400th anniversary in 2010. 
Coorg
Country walkThe Kodagu region, often referred to as Coorg (the English version of its name), is an extremely picturesque and alluring mountainous area in southern Karnataka, not far from Bangalore and Mysore. The area is renowned for its sprawling coffee estates. Its stunning scenic beauty is captivating. The highlight of a visit to Coorg is undoubtedly a stay amidst the coffee plantations.
Hampi
Lotus MahalOne of India’s top historical destinations, the laid back village of Hampi was once the last capital of Vijayanagar, one of the greatest Hindu empires in India’s history. It has some extremely captivating ruins, intriguingly intermingled with large boulders that rear up all over the landscape. The ruins, which date back to the 14th century, stretch for just over 25 kilometers (10 miles) and comprise more than 500 monuments. An incredible energy can be felt at this ancient place.
Chikmagalur
HoysaleswaraOne of the first and most important coffee growing areas in India, it is possible to stay in a hotel located amongst working plantations. Close by are several important temples and monuments of the Hoysala Dynasty including Halebid & Belur. Chikmagalur can be visited en route from Bangalore to Hampi.
Kabini
Kabini RiverNagarhole & Bandipur National Parks, Karnataka’s two adjacent parks separated by the Kabini River, are amongst the top national parks in India, and are an excellent palace to see elephants close up in their natural habitat. It’s not unusual to see herds of elephants on the river bank. They are a place of unspoilt wilderness, with serene forest, bubbling streams, and a tranquil lake. They can be explored by jeep, elephant back and boat. Visitors can also go trekking.
Gokarna
Om beachGokarna is a small and remote holy town in northern Karnataka, with some of India’s best beaches. It draws both pious pilgrims and hedonistic holiday makers with equal enthusiasm. Go there to get a feel for what Goa was like in its heyday, although time is limited as developers are already seeing the potential of this area.
Bangalore
Bangalore gardensNow officially known as Bengaluru, Bangalore, the capital of Karnataka, is a contemporary, fast growing, and prosperous place that’s home to India’s IT industry. It’s full of young professionals and has a vibrant, cosmopolitan air about it. Although it’s not really a must-visit city in India, many people love Bangalore because it’s full of greenery and interesting buildings. It is likely to be your entry point into Karnataka if arriving by plane.

Places to Stay

Click on hotel photo or description to go to separate detailed information page 

Mysore
Royal Orchid Metropole
Hotel ExteriorA luxury heritage hotel, Royal Orchid Metropole is steeped in the history and culture of Mysore. It was built by the former Maharajah of Mysore in 1920 as a grand guesthouse for his distinguished British guests. Its imperial arches, imposing pillars and ornate corridors capture the old world charm of this majestic era. The heritage rooms are enormous, full of period style and have wonderful outdoor terraces. The courtyard dining is an absolute delight.
Windflower
Swimming PoolRelax by the natural rock formation outdoor swimming pool or visit the world-class spa that offers over 30 different ways to renew. An impressive multi-cuisine open-air restaurant and wine bar are also available. Windflower Resort & Spa offer silence, space and serenity in the heart of the royal city.
Green Hotel
Green HotelOriginally built for Mysore’s princesses and known as Chittaranjan Palace , this fabulous building has been lovingly restored as a charming, if slightly quirky, hotel. The extensive gardens, with formal lawns, flower borders and shaded pergolas are a beautiful place to relax after sightseeing in Mysore. Most admirably, the Green Hotel has been set up as a model of sustainable tourism, by the Charities Advisory Trust, a UK charity. All profits are distributed to charitable and environmental projects in India.
Coorg
Orange County
Private PoolA Luxury resort set amongst a sprawling coffee plantation, this is the place to stay to immerse yourself in the scenic beauty of Coorg. Villas range from fabulous to utterly indulgent and have amazing views across the local countryside – the view from our infinity pool was across a beautiful paddy field. But the real highlight of staying here is the range of activities and experiences on offer which are themed around Coorg’s unique geography and culture and designed to get you out and about and involved.
Hampi
Hampi’s Boulders
Dinning room
Hampi’s Boulders is just a few miles away from Hampi and built on the bank of river Tungabhadra. It has 16 rooms with a range of architecture and exteriors and open areas designed to give feel for the boulder strew landscape.
Hyatt Place
PoolThis is the only international brand in Hampi and approx. 27 kms from the Hampi ruins. But in terms of rooms, amenities it is the best hotel in Hampi
Heritage Resort
Swimming poolThe Heritage Resort is a brand new hotel built on 9 acres of mango and coconut plantations.
Chikmagalur
Taj Gateway
174422_14030818180018610976The hotel features immaculately-restored colonial architecture with 29 rooms and cottages. Ten rooms have garden and pool views, while the Cottage Rooms offer private balconies that overlook the mountains. The hotel is within close proximity to the Hoysala period temples which offer an in-depth look into medieval Hoysala architecture. Guests can also visit Gomateshwara, Asia’s tallest monolithic statue that stands almost 60 feet tall. Local tours to nearby coffee plantations can also be arranged.
Kabini
Bison
Luxury tentsIf you are looking for an authentic, luxury tented camp experience whilst staying at Kabini, The Bison is the perfect choice. The location is unbeatable on the shores of the Kabini river and on the edge of Nagarhole National Park. Superbly run by Shaaz whose knowledge and enthusiasm of the area are a real bonus to guests, especially on the game drives which are led by him.
Kaav
Looking out over Nagarhole National Park from the viewing deckKaav Safari Lodge, is a newly-opened boutique hideaway which is tucked away along the edge of the Nagarhole Wildlife Sanctuary. Kaav offers an unparalleled opportunity to savour the magic of nature. It has four rooms that open out onto a private deck.
Orange County
Pool and HutsWith architecture inspired by the Hadis or tribal villages, this is a picturesque, luxury resort, with sweeping panoramic views of the Kabini River and the hills and forests beyond.
Gokarna
Swaswara
Blue dome
An idyllic retreat offering a comprehensive program of yoga, meditation and ayurvedic treatments, or simply a haven to relax and unwind. There is no pressure for you to take part in the sessions – you can be as involved or as independent as you like. SwaSwara is situated in the north of Karnataka overlooking the glorious Om beach and a short distance from the town of Gokarna. Minimum stays are 5 nights although we recommend at least one week or ideally an extended stay of two/three weeks in order to fully benefit from this oasis of calm.

Itineraries

We organise itineraries specifically to your requirements. Do as much or as little as you like – the choice is yours. Local English speaking guides will ensure that you make the most of your sightseeing time. A private, air conditioned, chauffeur driven car will transport you between your chosen locations & provides an unforgettable experience in itself!

The tours below are examples of holidays we have sold frequently in the past. However, they can be altered, shortened, extended or added to as you require. Our aim is to devise the best holiday for your needs.

Click on itinerary title to go to separate detailed itinerary page

A Taste of Karnataka   (13 nights)
This tour incorporates the magnificent variety of Karnataka; from the World Heritage site of Hampi and the forts and temples of Chitradurga and Vidyashankara to the markets and palaces of Mysore and the extraordinary biodiversity in the Kabini River area. The tour has a relaxing end with time at an unspoiled beach resort in Northern Kerala.