Karnataka is the biggest state in South India and sometimes the large distances make extensive touring difficult and demanding.
But if you have the time to properly explore this part of India there is much to see and many unique heritage sites and scenic gems. This tour takes in historic Mysore, the fabulous Hoysala temples at Halebid and Belur, the vast Hampi area, former capital of the Vijayanagar empire, and further, even more remote sites from earlier epochs....
Day 1 - Bangalore - Mysore
You’ll be met on arrival at Bangalore airport and introduced to your driver. Depart immediately (or after a meal near the airport) and drive around 4 hours to historic Mysore. As the road to Mysore is a divided highway throughout, night driving on this route is okay if you arrive at night. Overnight in Mysore
Day 2 & 3 - Mysore
With two full days around Mysore you’ll be able to visit all the city’s major highlights including the Sultan’s Palace, Chamundi Hill temples, the famous fruit, flower and vegetable market and more. Two great half-day excursions can be undertaken as well- Srirangapatnam has a rich history as a strategic stronghold of Tipu Sultan who ruled this area in the late 18th century and from here withstood the British Army over a long period. In another direction from the city is Somnathpur, a wonderful example of Hoysala dynasty temple building. You’ll also have time for a heritage walk or cycle ride while you are in Mysore. Two more nights in Mysore
Day 4 - Mysore - Shravanabelagola - Belur - Halebid - Hassan
Morning start your drive towards Shravanabelagola, an important and one of the oldest Jain pilgrimage spots in India. The chief attraction of this sacred city is the 17m tall monolithic statue of Lord Gomateshwara, also known as Bahubali, which is said to be one of the tallest and most elegant statues of the world. Later proceed to Hassan and visit Belur and Halebid temples in the afternoon. Overnight in Hassan
Day 5 - Hassan - Hospet
Full-day drive to Hampi. Accommodation in Hampi itself is very limited so most people prefer to stay in nearby Hospet or Anegundi, a village on the opposite bank of the river to Hampi. Overnight in Hospet.
Day 6, 7 & 8 - Hospet - Hampi – Hospet
The vast archaeological site at Hampi is best experienced over at least 2 Days - allow more if you have time. Hampi is now a sleepy town with a single central bazaar and a slowly increasing number of tourists, but during the heyday of the Vijayanagar Empire in the 15th century it was the capital of much of south India. An almost incomprehensibly large site, Hampi encompasses temples, wells, palaces, rock-cut temples, bazaars and even a set of elephant stables- this vast area cannot really be done justice to with words. Our recommendation here is to engage a guide for the first day, then explore on your own by bicycle or on foot (your driver is available of course) to take in more of the beautiful and remote parts of Hampi. Three more nights in Hospet
Day 9 - Hospet - Aihole - Pattadakal – Badami
Continue the drive north today and head to Badami, with visits en route to Aihole and Pattadakal. Aihole has over 100 temples, mostly Hindu but also Buddhist and Jain, dating from the 4th to the 12th century CE. Nearby Pattadakal is slightly more compact, and the temples more refined. These ancient sights can be explored with a guide over a few hours, but again, if you have time, it is worth spending more time here. Overnight in Badami
Day 10 - Badami
In the morning, visit the cave temples of Badami. Perched atop a flight of 200 steps, the temple complex consists of four ancient rock-cut caves replete with carved pillars and bracket figures. Of the four temples three are Brahmanical temples while the fourth one is a Jain cave. The third cave temple, dedicated to Lord Vishnu, stands out among the lot for its sheer size and sculptural elegance. Later visit Badami fort, which is led by an uneven steep and winding flight of steps between caves 2 and 3. Also visit the 5th century Agasthya Tirtha Lake and Bhoothanatha and Malegitti temples. Overnight in Badami
Day 11 - Badami - Hubli Depart
In the morning drive to Hubli and fly from here to Mumbai, Chennai or Bangalore for further travel or international departure.