Welcome to Karnataka

At its nerve centre is the capital Bengaluru (Bangalore), a progressive city famous for its craft beer and restaurant scene. Heading out of town you'll encounter the evergreen rolling hills of Kodagu, dotted with spice and coffee plantations, the regal splendour of Mysuru (Mysore), and jungles teeming with monkeys, tigers and Asia’s biggest population of elephants.

If that all sounds too mainstream, head to the counter-cultural enclave of tranquil Hampi with hammocks, psychedelic sunsets and boulder-strewn ruins. Or the blissful, virtually untouched coastline around Gokarna, blessed with beautiful coves and empty sands. Or leave the tourist trail behind entirely, and take a journey to the evocative Islamic ruins of northern Karnataka.

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Karnataka activities

$33 Private & Custom Tours

Bangalore Private Full-Day Tour

You will be picked up by your English-speaking driver/guide at 9am from your Bangalore City area hotel. Your first stop will be ISKCON Temple Bangalore, a neo-classical style temple that's a happy blend of tradition and modernity. It offers a truly commendable experience to visitors and devotees from a spiritual, architectural and general perspective.Next, you'll proceed to Tipu Sultan Fort and Palace, a two-story palace built entirely of teak wood that has been converted into a museum. It houses exquisitely carved pillars, arches and balconies.Head over to the Lalbagh Botanical Garden, home to over a thousand species of plants. Here, you'll also find a glass house inspired by the Crystal Palace of England that was built to commemorate the visit of the Prince of Wales.You'll have lunch at a local restaurant (at own expense) before proceeding to visit Bangalore Palace, which was built by Rev. Garrett, the first principal of the Central High School in the city that is now known as Central College. Next, we'll drive past High Court, Cubbon Park, Vidhana Soudha and Attara Kacheri to take a look at the magnificent buildings.Afterwards, you'll visit the oldest Bull Temple, a fine example of the Dravidian-style architecture. It is said that the temple is dedicated to a sacred Hindu demi-god, Nandi who was a close devotee and attendant of Shiva. Finally we'll visit Gavi Gangadhareshwara Temple that was dedicated to Lord Shiva and houses a unique image of Agni the God of Fire.At approximately 5pm, you'll arrive back at your hotel in Bangalore City area hotel where the tour will end.

$90 Cultural & Theme Tours

Mysore Palace, Srirangapatna Private Tour from Bangalore

Around 6:15am, your private chauffeur and professional guide will pick you up from your hotel in Bangalore. Settle into your comfortable private vehicle for the approximate 4-hour drive to Mysore, renowned as the ‘City of Palaces.’ En route, stop in the old city of Srirangapatna, which was briefly the capital of the Mysore state during the rule of Tipu Sultan. Located just 8 miles (14 km) from Mysore on an island in the Kaveri River, Srirangapatna is home to the Dariya Daulat Palace (Summer Palace), set amid the gorgeous gardens of Daria Daulat Bagh. Visit the palace, built in 1784, which houses a museum dedicated to the sultan. See memorabilia, European paintings and Persian manuscripts on exhibit. Your guide will enlighten you about the royalty that lived here and point out unique architectural features, including open corridors with pillars made of teakwood, and outer walls displaying frescoes of battle scenes and portraits. After your visit, enjoy a sumptuous lunch at a local restaurant and then continue your journey to Mysore. Upon arrival, visit the centrally located Mysore Palace (Amba Vilas Palace). This former residence of Wodeyar Maharaja of Mysore has been converted into a museum that displays paintings, jewelry, royal costumes and other items that were once owned by the Wodeyars. Hear stories about the royal families who ruled Mysore for more than seven centuries! The impressive 3-story granite palace boasts several important halls and chambers under pink marble domes and expansive arches. Enter the Ambavilasa hall through a rosewood doorway inlaid with ivory to view stained glass ceilings and a mosaic floor of semi-precious stones. See Indian and European sculptures and ceremonial objects as well as 19th- to 20th-century dolls on display in the Gombe Thotti (Doll’s Pavilion). You’ll gaze in wonder at the marriage hall (Kalyana Mantapa) where peacock motifs decorate an octagonal-shaped pavilion in geometric patterns.Admire the intricate and richly carved interior as you explore the palace and marvel at its opulence. Your guide will point out features of this fine example of Indo-Saracenic architecture  – a blend of Hindu, Muslim, Raiput and gothic styles – and help you appreciate the artistic heritage of this important monument. After your tour, relax on the 4-hour drive back to your Bangalore hotel by private vehicle. Feel free to request that your guide stop for dinner (own expense) along the way.

$19.45 Transfers & Ground Transport

Bangalore Bengaluru Kempegowda Airport Premium Lounge Access

Relax before your departure from Bengaluru Kempegowda International Airport at a Plaza Premium Lounge. Head to the domestic or international departure terminal and enjoy superior services at either facility, open 24 hours daily.Each Plaza Premium Lounge provides ultimate comfort and convenience while you’re waiting for your next flight. Depending on the amount of time you need, choose one of three pass options: three hours, six hours or 12 hours. Enjoy flawless customer service plus splendid facilities that allow you to rest and relax. A wide selection of food is available at the food counter, tapas bar and patisserie. (See details under Itinerary below.)Plaza Premium Lounge (Domestic Departures)This five-star lounge provides comfortable seating, delicious and unique food counters, a beverage bar (alcoholic drinks at own expense) and business center facilities with high-speed Wi-Fi. Purchase a massage to relax and unwind at the integrated airport spa.Plaza Premium Lounge (International Departures)This state of-the-art lounge boasts a beautiful interior design with a garden-inspired motif and welcoming ambience. Enjoy exciting choices of food and beverages, or purchase alcoholic drinks from the bar. Enjoy showers, computer workstations with high-speed internet, and international newspapers and magazines. Additional spa and massage services are available at additional expense.Click on ‘View Additional Info’ for the Plaza Premium Lounge location map.

$59 Cultural & Theme Tours

Bangalore Private Palaces Tour including Tipu Sultan's Palace

After hotel pickup by private vehicle, your knowledgeable guide will transport you to Bangalore Fort, located opposite the city market in Bangalore. Initially constructed by Kempe Gowda – Bangalore’s founder – in 1537, the fort was rebuilt and expanded by Hyder Ali and his son Tipu Sultan, the emperor of Mysore, in the 18th century. As you privately tour Bangalore Fort with your guide, hear anecdotes about its historical role in the sultan’s resistance to British rule. Admire the Islamic style of the gate's intricately carved arches, and glimpse the well-preserved 16th-century Ganapathi Temple within its courtyard, where Hindu devotees pay homage to Lord Ganesh.Visit Tipu Sultan's Palace, a two-story teakwood palace completed in 1791 by the sultan as a summer retreat. Adorned with pillars, arches and balconies, it resembles the Daria Daulat Palace in Srirangapatanam. In the palace museum, marvel at the clothing and crown of Tipu Sultan as well as silver vessels given by a general to Hyder Ali.Your guide will accompany you to Bangalore Palace, built by a Wodeyar king in the Tudor style. Ogle Gothic windows, foiled windows, battlements and turrets. Walk through picturesque gardens leading to the main entrance, and view exquisite floral motifs, cornices and relief paintings that decorate the elegant palace walls and ceilings. Then, head to the Bangalore Palace gallery to see historical photos and elegant carvings on display before your guide delivers you back to your Bangalore hotel.

$55 Cultural & Theme Tours

Rich Culture of Bangalore Day Tour

Learn about the culture and history of Bangalore, one of South India’s most vibrant cities, on this 7-hour private tour beginning at your hotel between 8:30am and 9am. Your local guide will first introduce you to the ISKCON Sri Radha Krishna Temple, one of the largest Hare Krishna temples in the world. You’ll next visit Tipu Sultan's Summer Palace and museum, an example of Indo-Islamic architecture that was originally built from solid teak, including intricately carved pillars and balconies. Your tour continues at the Lalbagh Botanical Gardens, home to more than 1,000 plant species and the Glass House, a conservatory modeled after London’s former Crystal Palace. After a leisurely stroll, you’ll enjoy an included buffet lunch at a popular restaurant. Drive past the Bangalore Palace, the High Court, Cubbon Park, and Vidhan Sabha where the Karnataka legislature meets. Your guide will explain the significance of Bull Temple dedicated to Nandi, and the Gavi Gangadhareshwara Temple dedicated to Shiva. Your tour will conclude at about 4pm with an included transfer to your hotel.

$59 Private & Custom Tours

8-Hour Custom Private Tour of Bengaluru

Bengaluru (Bangalore) is the capital of India's southern Karnataka state. The city is the centre of India's high-tech industry and is also known for its shopping, green spaces (as it is also known as the "The Garden City) and night-life.Start your private tour after meeting your guide and personal chauffeur at your hotel. Enjoy the services of a comfortable air-conditioned car for 8 hours (or 80 kms) within Bengaluru city limits. This tour allows you to plan your day according to your interest. You private guide will be delighted to provide his/her expert input and also make suggestions for local eateries where you can savour South Indian dishes for lunch (at own cost). Below are a few suggestions to start:Bangalore Palace is a majestic palace that is enclosed by beautiful gardens and located in the heart of the city. Its architecture features a wooden structure with intricate carvings and is quite similar to medieval castles, reminiscent of the royal culture.Sri Radha Krishna Temple offers a sizable cultural complex and is one of the largest ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness) temples in the world. Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath offers 13 museums that feature rare collections, such as Mysore paintings, leather puppets, Russian artists, and various sculptures.Venkatappa Art Gallery is a great stop for art lovers. It features sculptors, paintings, and a good collection of artifacts. There are pieces of art belonging to 2000 BC until the medieval period.Visvesvaraya Industrial and Technological Museum is one of the prime attractions in Bangalore. It is a great option for children as it features many interactive exhibits.Lal Bagh Botanical Garden, previously known as the Rose and Cypress garden, got it's name from the red roses that bloomed year-round in this garden. It is considered as one of the most diverse botanical gardens in South Asia and was built back in the year 1760.Dodda Basavana Gudi (the Nandhi Temple), also known as Bull Temple, this is an ancient site, known to be biggest temple dedicated to Nandi in the world.Tipu Sultan's Summer Palace's walls of feature beautiful floral motifs and is a prime example of Indo-Islamic architecture. The name of this palace was derived from the ruler back 1791, Tipu Sultan, as this used to be his summer residence. Vidhana Soudha counts amongst one of the most impressive as well as the most magnificent buildings in Bangalore. It rises to a height of almost 46 m and is mainly famous for housing the Legislative Chambers of the state government.

Karnataka in detail