Karnataka, the eighth largest state in the Indian Union, is a veritable treasure trove of tourist delight. Discover a dazzling array of ancient sculpted temples and cities that are a splendid legacy to some of the finest achievements in Indo-Islamic architecture. Friendly people, scenic hill ranges, unexplored forests, sparkling features and breathtaking waterfalls. A kaleidoscope of exciting experience to delight the senses.
A wondrous destination, a land as fragrant as the sandalwood trees grown in abundance here. A place that has all the ingredients for a great holiday- a pleasant "hill station" climate, an incredible choice of shopping delights including silks, spices and handicrafts; a well-established network of hotels, motels and lodges and an environment network where English, Kannada and Hindi are spoken with equal ease. Every place in Karnataka has something to offer.
Ranked among the fastest growing cities in South Asia, Bangalore the capital of Karnataka, is one of India's most attractive and enjoyable cities, blessed with a salubrious climate and dotted with beautiful parks, avenues and building which have earned it the sobriquet, the "Garden City".
Bangalore is multifaceted modern marvels, historical monuments, bustling shopping plazas, a race course and golf courses. Called the Silicon Valley of India for its growing software industry, Bangalore harbours a diversity of interests such as the ruins of Vijaynagar, sculptures of Belur and Halebid, the mausoleum Gol Gumbaz at Bijapur, the golden sands of Karavalli, the proud hills of Kodagu, the forests of Bandipur, Nagarhole and Bannerghatta and Chikmagalur with its mountains and coffee plantations, Majestic Mysore and the world's tallest free-standing monolith, of Bahubali, at Sravanabelagola.
Bangalore is also home to several magnificent buildings. The most handsome is the Vidhana Soudha, a four-storeyed, spacious granite structure in the Neo-Dravidian style. For those with an interest in history, the Fort of Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan, the great warrior kings of Karnataka, is the place to visit. Originally a mud and brick structure built by Kempegowda, it was rebuilt in the 18th century by Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan.
Close to the fort is their Summer Palace. From buildings to gardens.. Lalbagh displays a remarkable harmony between nature and history. Laid out more than 200 years ago by Hyder Ali, it is today one of the finest botanical gardens in India. Iskcon Temple is a futuristic temple with a "first of its kind" multimedia presentation on the Bhagvad Gita. The Bull Temple, Sri Gavi Gangadhareshwar Temple. For lovers of water sports, Bangalore has Ulsoor Lake and the Sankey Tank.
Bannerghatta (21 kms) Numerous wild animals roam freely in this densely forested hilly area- an ideal picnic spot for wildlife.
Whitefield (16 kms) A popular retreat for Inidan and foreign tourists who flock to visit the Ashram set up by philosopher-educationist, Sri Satya Sai Baba.
Nrityagram Dance Village India's only village foe classical dances.
Nanadi Hills(60 kms) This hill station is a paradise located 4,850 feet above sea level.
The seaside town of Mamallapuram, a beautiful beach spanning 20kms has some of the greatest specimens of the Pallava architecture and sculpture. Monolithic rock cut temples and modest sized mandapams, gigantic open air relief carved into the mammoth cropping of granite that covers this charming town.
A world Heritage site this is a quiet unspoilt place which can be covered during a day's outing. But it needs full two days to really enjoy the charming sculptures contained within the ten madapams (temples) and the gigantic sculptural panel on the rock and the shore temple against the backdrop of the lashing waves of the Bay of Bengal.
These ground wealth of the pallavas are attributed to Narasimha Varman I (630-680 AD) and Narasimha Varman II (700-726 AD) - the former also known as 'Mamalla' or the great wrestler that lent the name of this port city as Mamallapuram.
Among the master piece bas - relief the "Arjuna Penance" (9m high and 27m wide canvas) is the site to commence the city sightseeing. It shows Arjuna, the hero of the epic Mahabharta standing in penance to seek Lord Shiva's blessing and a weapon to make him invincible. The majestic pair of elephants with their young ones and many small shrines around unique sculpture on the rock face are very enchanting Mandapams depicts the stories of Lord Krishna, Vishnu, Mahisasuramardini (Durga), Trinity (of Shiva, Vishnu, and Brahma), Pandavas etc. These mandapams are located around this masterpiece of Pallava art.
On the other end(South side) there are five chariots in stone called 'Rathas'. These are carved out of a single rocks, and are great artistic creations. These are devoted to Draupadi, Arjuna, Bhima, Dharmraja, Nakula and Shadeva. These are of great delight for lovers of art and pilgrimage for the sculptors. The impressive shore temple is one of the best example of the rock cut temples of Pallava architecture. The wealth of sculptures is educative and reminds the great patronage the Pallavas had offered for the flourishment of art and artist at the time; how artist who made the stone pulsate with life passion. The fascinating carved friezes gracefully portraying different woods, grace, beauty and monuments.
No, doubt, there is a great sanctity about its being declared as world heritage Monument. Mamallapuram is 45kms east of Chennai and easily approachable by car/coach, varied accommodation are available from the Gulf and major countries of the world.