Splendours of Northern Karnataka

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  • 9 Days 8 Nights
  • 700 Kms
  • Bengaluru International Airport
  • Bengaluru International Airport

Tour Intensity

Activity

Best Season

Tour Overview

Karnataka, the south Indian state is often referred as ‘One State with Many worlds’; describing how various communities and cultures has thrived together on this land. Karnataka has seen the rise and fall of many powerful dynasties such as Chalukyas, Hoysalas, Vijayanagara, Adil Shahi and Bahamanis over many centuries. As a result, Karnataka offers a  blend of myriad cultures, interesting history, unique cuisines, distinctive art and architecture, varied traditions and rich heritage for the discerning traveller. The landscapes too are diverse as Karnataka is blessed with lush green Western ghats that runs through it, beautiful beaches along the western coast, dense forests in the south and a rocky dry landscape in the north.

Splendours of Northern Karnataka takes you on a journey through the highlights of the region spanning over culture, history, architecture, textile, cuisine and temples. Northern Karnataka was home to some of the prominent and influential empires such as Vijayanagara and Chalukya. Listen to stories of Vijayanagara dynasty, which was one of the wealthiest empires in the world in the 16th century with Hampi as its capital. We explore Hampi, considered to be the world’s largest open-air museum, apart from being a UNESCO world heritage site. You will stroll through the rock-cut cave temples of Badami and the exquisitely carved temples of Pattadakal, another UNESCO world heritage site. From food to clothing to traditions to dialect, the tour slowly opens the door to different cultures and lifestyles of the people in this part of the state. Apart from the medieval monuments, enjoy the unique cuisines and local sweets as we traverse through Bijapur and Belgaum. The tour is interspersed with visits to wildlife sanctuaries and adventures at Dandeli to keep the outdoor enthusiast excited.

Soak in the history, learn the cultures, relish the dishes and gaze at the monuments as you weave your way through the splendours of this unique land.

Who can do this tour 

Low Intensity:

This is a drive based tour and the journey will be covered in a comfortable air conditioned vehicle. However, there will be short walks exploring places of interest. The day’s activities will mostly start post breakfast and the evenings are at leisure. On an average we will be covering about 2 – 3 hrs driving and over 80+ KMS.

The tour covers the popular architectural and historical attractions of Northern Karnataka, which is also known for its unique culture, communities and cuisine. It is ideally suited for anyone who wants to leisurely explore the culture, lifestyle and history of this region.

Physically, this is a leisurely and low intensity tour

Itinerary

We start day one from Bengaluru, and we fly into our first stop on the itinerary, Hampi. Hampi,  a UNESCO world heritage site, is considered to be a vast open-air museum, scattered with ruins from the 16th century the then capital of Vijayanagara empire, one of the wealthiest empires in the world at that time. We visit temples, palaces, stepped wells, stables and magnificent sculptures here apart from going on a sunrise trek and visit a sloth bear sanctuary. From Hampi, the trail leads us to Badami known for its rock-cut cave temples, which dates to the 6th century. We also cover the neighbouring temples at Aihole and Pattadakal, which is a UNESCO world heritage site. We then drive to Bijapur, which was ruled by the Adil Shahi dynasty in the 16th century, and has numerous monuments from that era. Our next stop is Belgaum, known for its unique sweets and is a haven for North Karnataka cuisine, which we explore during our stay. From Belgaum, we head to the forests of Dandeli, an excellent spot for bird watching, wildlife sighting and white water rafting. Post that, we drive to the last pit stop at Hubli from where we take a flight back to Bengaluru.

Day 1 : Fly to Hospete and drive to Hampi

“Namaskara” Welcome to Bengaluru, the capital of Karnataka. Meet your Unventured tour hosts who will introduce you to this tour across Northern Karnataka exploring the culture, history and architecture of this region. We fly to Hospete and then drive to Hampi, a short distance away. Check into a heritage hotel, listen to the stories and history of Hampi and rest for the day.

Dinner and overnight in Hampi.
Drive Distance: 13 Kms
Accommodation Type: Heritage Hotel

Highlights:

· Meet and greet your fellow travellers and tour host
· Tour Briefing

Day 2: Explore the marvels of Hampi

Post breakfast, we venture out to explore the ruins of Hampi. Hampi was the capital of the renowned Vijayanagara empire in the 16th century, which was considered the wealthiest kingdom in the world during that period. The boulder-strewn landscape of Hampi by the Tungabhadra river is dotted with numerous temples, palaces, sculptures and other ruins, making it the world’s largest open-air museum. While Virupaksha is an active temple; Vittala, Achyutaraya, Hazara Rama and Hemakuta and not functional, but are adorned with magnificent sculptures and carvings which we explore one after the other listening to stories related to them. The stone chariot in Vittala temple is the most decorated piece of architecture in Hampi. Post lunch, we visit the other prominent structures such as Mahanavami Dibba, Pushkarni- a stepped pond, palaces of kings and queens, elephant stables and various other ruins through the day. The day would be a moderately active one with short walks across these monuments.

Dinner and overnight at Hampi.
Drive Distance: Kms
Accommodation Type: Heritage Hotel

Highlights:

· Walk about and explore the ruins of Hampi

DAY 3: Sunrise trek and Sloth bear sanctuary

The day starts very early with a hike up Anjanadri hill to view sunrise and the amazing landscape of Hampi, Tungabhadra river and its surroundings. A steep climb of 500 steps lead up to the summit of this hillock. Legend says that the monkey god Hanuman was born here and there is a small shrine dedicated to him. Enjoy the views and the rising sun, and we then head down for breakfast. Anjanadri hill is located in Anegundi, across Tungabhdra river, and we later explore this place known for its serene setting, ancient forts and quaint café’s. Post a short rest and lunch at the hotel, we drive to Daroji sloth bear sanctuary late in the afternoon to sight sloth bears in the wild.

Dinner and overnight in Hampi.
Drive Distance: 72 Kms
Accommodation Type: Heritage hotel

Highlights:

· Sunrise trek up Anjanadri hill
· Explore Anegundi
· Visit Daroji Sloth bear sanctuary

DAY 4: Drive to Badami

Today after breakfast we drive to Badami, the capital of the Chalukyan dynasty that ruled this region from 6th to 8th century. Badami gets it name from the almond (badam) coloured landscape that’s predominantly seen here. Post checking in and lunch later, we stroll through the cave temples of Badami which were built by cutting into the rocks and also listen to stories related to them. Supported by pillars, these rock cut cave temples have magnificent carvings sculpted on the walls apart from the shrines. While three caves are dedicated to Lord Shiva, the fourth one is a Jain cave. Enjoy the views of the surrounding landscape, the sparwaling Agasthya Theertha lake and the Bhoothanatha temples which we visit later. We then walk along the waterbody and explore the north fort which houses numerous ruins such as granaries, treasury, watch tower and temples. The path that leads up the fort is flanked by bouldrs and is an intersting trail. This is a great place to hone your photography skills as well.

Dinner and overnight in Badami.
Drive Distance: 140 KMs
Accommodation Type: Heritage Hotel

Highlights:

· Visit the rock cut cave temples
· Explore Bhootanatha temple and lake
· Explore the North fort

DAY 5 : Visit the temples of Pattadakal and Aihole

Post breakast we drive to Pattadakal, the second capital of Chalukyas, and also a UNESCO world heritage site lined with stupendous temples built between the 7th and 9th centuries. We listen to stories of these temples which are adorned with carvings of tales from Hindu epics, Ramayana and Mahabharata. From Pattadakal we head to Aihole, which is widely believed to be the cradle of Dravidian temple architecture. We stroll through some of the magnificent temples in this region which were built as early as 6th century. We visit the horse shoe shaped Durga temple dedicated to goddess Durga, popular for its extensive carvings on walls, ceilings and pillars. Also on our itinerary are some of the other temples inside the complex such as Lad Khan temple, known for its interesting design. Ravanphadi cave temple and Hucchimalli temple complex are some of the other attractions in Aihole we visit before driving to Kamatagi. This region of Karnataka is also known for the uniquely designed Ilkal sarees and we visit one of the weavers society at Kamatagi to understand more about the sarees along with a short interaction with the weavers. We then drive back to Badami.

Dinner and overnight in Badami.
Drive Distance: 87 KMs
Accommodation Type: Heritage Hotel

Highlights:

· Visit UNESCO heritage site at Pattadakal
· Visit the temples of Aihole
· Visit a local weaving about Ilkal saree weaving

DAY 6 : Drive to Bijapur

We drive to Bijapur today, deeper into the heart of North Karnataka. Well known for its numerous monuments, Bijapur is a land steeped in history from the medieval period, ruled by the Adil Shahi dynasty in the 14th century with multicultural influences. The region was later taken over by the Mughals in the 17th century and then lay neglected for long. However, the city is sprinkled with magnificent monuments and we explore Gol Gumbaz first, the most famous monument in Bijapur. Listening to its history, we stroll through Gol Gumbaz, which is the largest unsupported dome in India and the fourth largest in the world. Built in the 17th century, Gol Gumbaz is known for its engravings, motifs, the acoustics inside, minarets and tombs. We then head to Ibrahim Rouza, a beautiful twin domed monument, which is believed to have inspired the renowned Taj Mahal. Explore the extensive carvings, Persian engravings and beautiful arches of the mausoleum and the mosque. The 16th-century Malik-e-Maidan canon is our next attraction for the day. Believed to be the most massive medieval canon in the world, the fifty five tonne canon made of bell metal has beautiful engravings in Persian. We then have a session with the gypsy like “Lambani” tribe, an ethnic nomadic tribe in this region to learn about their culture, art and embroidery works. Bijapur is also known for its sweets such as “Kardantu” which we will relish later in the day.

Dinner and overnight in Bijapur
Drive Distance: 121 KMs
Accommodation Type: Business hotel

Highlights:

· Explore Gol Gumbaz
· Visit to Ibrahim Rouza
· Interaction with Lambani tribe

DAY 7 : Drive to Belgaum

The day starts early with a drive to Belgaum, and en route, we stop by Gokak to visit the Gokak waterfalls, a beautiful waterfall that can be viewed from a hanging bridge. Belgaum is a prominent city known for an authentic display of North Karnataka culture, cuisine, people and dialect. It’s a long day on the road, and we check into our hotel and relish a North Karnataka meal for lunch. The cuisine in this region is different from other parts of Karnataka with Jowar roti (Millet flatbread), Brinjal curry, Shenga Chutney Pudi (Groundnut powder) and “Pitle” bath (made from gram flour) being some of the popular ones. Later in the evening, we explore the streets of Belgaum to try some of the popular local sweets such as Gokak Kardantu, Dharwad Peda, Belgaum Kunda, Mandige etc.

Dinner and overnight in Belgaum.
Drive Distance: 212 KMs
Accommodation Type: Business hotel

Highlights:

· Gokak falls
· North Karnataka cuisine and sweets

DAY 8 : Drive to the forests of Dandeli

We leave for the forests of Dandeli today and check into a jungle resort. Post a relaxed lunch we go on a jeep safari exploring the Dandeli wildlife sanctuary which is known for its numerous species of birds, bear, jackals and the elusive black panther. Post trying our luck at sighting the animals in the wilderness; we head back for a relaxed evening at the resort.

Dinner and overnight in Dandeli.
Drive Distance: 109 KMs
Accommodation Type: Jungle resort

Highlights:

· Wildlife safari

DAY 9 : River rafting and fly back to Bengaluru

The day starts early with a coracle ride to sight birds and crocodiles. The wildlife sanctuary is known for its hornbill habitats. River Kali meanders through Dandeli and is one of the best destinations for white water rafting in Karnataka (recommended post-monsoon). We go on a session of white water rafting on river Kali which offers some adventurous stretches and rapids. Post breakfast, we drive to Hubli and take a flight back to Bengaluru.

The tour comes to an end with unforgettable memories as your Unventured tour host drops you off at Bengaluru to catch your onward flight. You might be planning some more travels across this beautiful land. Talk to us at Unventured to learn of other different adventures you can take on in South India!

Drive Distance: 74 KMs
Accommodation Type:

Highlights:

· Coracle ride
· River rafting on Kali

Tour Inclusions

The tour explores the culture, architecture and history of Northern Karnataka. This tour is of low intensity, and we cover destinations in a comfortable air-conditioned vehicle. A NOLS (National outdoor leadership school) certified Unventured tour host would accompany you to guide you through this experience.

PREPAREDNESS – PHYSICAL & MENTAL

The tour is a blend of culture, architecture, history, food and wildlife of Northern Karnataka, giving you an insight into this unique region. Information concerning people, culture, currency and introducing the region’s political, historical and cultural structures will be via detailed emails well before the tour begins. This tour is graded low on intensity in terms of physical activities.

Accommodation: Accommodation will be in Heritage Hotels, Business hotels, Jungle resorts and Homestays with good hygienic rooms (offered on a twin-sharing basis) with attached bathrooms.

Transport: We will have a dedicated AC private vehicle at your service through the entire term of the tour. All transfers from the Airport to the hotel will be in comfortable cars or vans.

Meals: All meals on starting from lunch on Day 1, till breakfast on Day 9.

Inclusions

  • Flights from Bengaluru to Hampi and Hubli to Bengaluru
  • Internal transfers to the Airport and hotels
  • Accommodation on all days (Day 1 to Day 8) on twin share basis
  • Clean drinking water (We stay off bottled water for the lack of sustainable methods in disposing of plastic waste in the region. However, you will be given a 1-micron filter bottle and water provided will be purified and filtered drinking water from reliable and clean sources)
  • All entry fee to museums, heritage site, sanctuaries and places of interest
  • White water rafting
  • All guided tour experiences
  • Private AC vehicle for the Group
  • An English speaking NOLS Certified Unventured Guide

Exclusions

  • Flights to and from home destination
  • Meals those not mentioned in the Inclusion
  • Alcohol and aerated beverages
  • Optional Activities
  • Personal expenses
  • Visa Charges/Travel Insurance
  • Filming and Camera charges
  • Those not mentioned in the “Inclusions” section
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