Here are four artificial temples and one natural cave temple of the 5th century, which inspired all subsequent Hindu empire temple buildings, in the south. Of these, two are dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu, one to Shiva, one is a Jain temple and the natural cave is a Buddhist temple.
Belur was the capital of the Hoysala Empire before it was shifted to Halebid. The Chennakeshava (a form of Krishna) temple here is built on a star shaped plan and stands in a walled courtyard surrounded by smaller shrines and columned hallways. The quantity of sculptural decoration is staggering and it took 103 years to complete this temple, which deserves all admiration.
This pleasant garden town was once the capital of the Adil Shahi dynasty and has some remains of the Deccan’s Muslim architecture from the period 15th to the 17th century. The serene grace of the monuments in this city is in contrast to the sculptural extravaganza of the Chalukyan and Hoysala temples.
Coorg and Chickmagalur
Cradled in the seductive charms of the Western Ghats, these are some of the loveliest districts of Karnataka. It is a thick wooded region with coffee and tea plantations, orange groves and rice fields.
The ancient capital of the Hoysala dynasty has beautiful temples amidst picturesque hilly land. The Hoysaleshwara temple is full of intricately carved sculptures and has two shrines one dedicated to Shiva and the other to Santaleshwara. The sculptures, which have a fluid quality, include Brahma on Hansa (goose), Krishna holding up the hill Govardhana and Vishnu striding the world in three steps.
Vijaynagar at Hampi was once the capital of one of the largest Hindu empires in India. The ruins of the imperial city of Vijaynagar are spread over a vast area of about 26km². A walk through the former fortified urban or royal area is an unforgettable experience as is a visit to the Virupaksha temple with its 52m high gopurams.
Karwar a quite port town lies south of Goa. The Kalinadi River estuary has some of the finest stands of mangrove and you will find some of the most beautiful beaches of western India.
Mangalore has lots of beautiful beaches and great scenic spots nearby. The places that can be visited in Mangalore are St. Aloysius Chapel, Mangala Devi Temple and Ullal beach. Around Mangalore, there are many interesting places, which are worth a visit like Katil, Moodabidri, Karkala, Udupi and Malpe Beach.
Former capital of the princely state, Mysore is Karnataka’s second largest city. It is the city of royal Palaces, sandalwood and silk. Places of visit are the “City Palace”, the Chamundi Hills and the bustling colourful bazaars. The Brindavan Gardens, the Ranganthittu Bird Sanctuary, the famous temple at Somnathpur as well as the Bandipur, Mudumalai Wild Life Parks and the Cauvery Fishing Camp are places around Mysore worth visiting.
This village, on the banks of the Malaprabha River, was for three centuries the royal commemorative site for the Chalukya dynasty. The main groups of monuments stand together in a well – maintained compound, close to the village. The most important temple, Virupaksha, is decorated with sculptures that narrate the episodes from the Hindu epics of the Ramayana and Mahabharatha.
One of the oldest and most important Jain pilgrimage centers. Shravanabelagola is known for the large 17m high monolithic statue of Lord Gomateshwara situated on the summit of the Indragiri hill. This statue represents complete oblivion to the external. The creepers entwining the limbs and an expression of peaceful repose symbolize this. Once in every 12 years a ceremony is held where the statue is anointed with milk, curd, ghee, saffron and gold coins (the next celebration will be held in 2018).
Located 35km from Mysore, with the famed Keshava Temple, is a splendid example of Hoysala architecture. Somnatha – a general in the army of the Hoysala ruler, Narasimha III, constructed it in 1268. The shrines are laid in a star formation set in a rectangular courtyard. Though all the carvings are exquisite, the outstanding ones are that of Lakshmi-Vishnu on Garuda, Indra-Sachi on an elephant and a dancing Ganesha.
The Vidyashankara temple at Sringeri combines the architectural features of Hoysala and Dravidian dynasties. There are 12 zodiac pillars in the shrine, which are so arranged that the rays of the sun fall on the corresponding pillars. In front of the temple are stone lions, with stone spheres inside their mouths that can be rotated. An interesting feature is the carps on the banks of river that passes the temple complex, which one can feed by hand.