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home > recommended index > recommended karnataka

Recommended states - Karnataka (KA)

This page gives some background info on places to go and things to see in the state of Karnataka for backpackers and budget travellers, plus shortened "quick reference" versions of the full listings for some of the recommended places within the state. These in turn are linked to the full description and local information for that place (one place per page).

On this page:
AnkolaJog FallsKalinadi reservoirMurdeshwarUdipi

All states reviewed by us are: Goa, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, or visit the recommended section's index page

See the bottom of the page for a description of the rationale behind the recommended section.

 Karnataka (KA)
state capital: Bangalore
 population: 52.9 million location: South West Coast of India
 popup quick ref statistics on Karnataka
state description: Situated in the south of India, this big state with a total area of 191,791 square km has a coast line of a little over 300 km or so between Goa and Kerala. What we have seen of it makes it one of our favourite Indian states. People are extremely friendly and helpful, and the peace and quiet of the forested Western Ghats is a relaxing antidote to the party atmosphere of Goa or the eternal village of the Keralan coast. Landscapes are beautiful with either huge hilly forest covered areas or long white palm fringed beaches, of which the Government is spoiling some 40 odd km by building Asias largest naval base near Karwar.
 season: October to March, rest of the year fairly hot
 tourist spots: Mysore (which a lot of travellers wax lyrical about), Hampi with its ancient temple ruins, India's IT metropolis Bangalore and the beaches of Gokarn
related: South West Coast gallery
our  listings: AnkolaJog FallsKalinadi reservoirMurdeshwarUdipi (full entry, one place per page)

 recommended places in Karnataka

recommended recommended graphic
 state: Karnataka location: between Karwar & Gokarn, off NH17
 info date: Feb 2002 size: small town
 season: Oct - Mar transport: bus, possibly train, best your own
 hotels: a few good for: motor bike tours

Ankola is a typical small town near the coast and makes a good overnight stop and a good base to explore the coastline, if you have your own transport. Just a few kilometres away from the town through the village of Bhelakeri is a huge flat... more (full Ankola listing)

 Jog Falls
recommended recommended graphic
 state: Karnataka location: app. 60 km east of Honavar, NH206
 info date: Feb 2002 size: not even a village
 season: Oct - Mar transport: bus
 hotels: several good for: all travellers

If you want to see the waterfall at its best go during or just after the monsoon. In February it looks a bit pathetic. The area around it with it's many forests and the Swarna Nadi river is worth a visit though. Jog Falls is also a good demonstration of... more (full Jog Falls listing)

 Kalinadi reservoir
recommended recommended graphic
 state: Karnataka location: along the border with S.E. Goa
 info date: Feb 2002 size: none
 season: Oct - Mar transport: your own, no buses
 hotels: none good for: motorbike tours

Just after crossing into Karnataka from Goa, and passing through the chain of hills that divides the states on a short and tortuous stretch of NH4 (possibly tarmaced hundreds of years ago by the look and feel of it, destroyed by thousands... more (full Kalinadi reservoir listing)

highly recommended highly recommended graphic
 state: Karnataka location: app. 40 km south of Honavar
 info date: Feb 2002 size: village
 season: Oct - Mar transport: bus
 hotels: several good for: all travellers

Murdeshwar is a fishing village that appears to be completely dedicated to the civil construction moghul RK Shetty; he rebuilt the Mhatobar Shri Murdeshwar temple about 20 years ago, which is supposed to be "very old" (the standard 5,000 years... more (full Murdeshwar listing)

 Udipi (Udupi)
recommended recommended graphic
 state: Karnataka location: appr 60 km north of Mangalore
 info date: Feb 2002 size: town
 season: Oct - Mar transport: bus, train
 hotels: several good for: all travellers

A pleasant town on the way down the coast, Udipi (or Udupi) is popular amongst Indian pilgrims for its Krishna Temple. It's nice enough to just sit around the temple area or near the temple pool and watch the world go by; waiting for some elephants to trundle... more (full Udipi listing)


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The why and what for of the recommended section

Guidebook syndrome
Like most backpackers and independent travellers, we usually travel with a guidebook to get some idea of what we are letting ourselves in for, but over time have become extremely disillusioned with the bland writing, long out of date information and inconsistent opinions these guides usually offer. The air of neutrality and the number of writers with opposing likes and dislikes prevents these "guidebook gurus" from telling you when somewhere isn't worth the effort, or leads you into some dhaba they claim is “the best food in India” while ignoring the place round the corner that sells the Chicken Kiev you’ve been craving for 3 months, just because it doesn't fit their politically correct 70’s veggie world view.

The travellers grapevine
The best recommendations and advice always come from people you meet on the road, and in that spirit we’ve put this section together to let others know of the places we liked - and the ones we didn't, to offer a few basic facts and background to give you a feel for the place and how to get there, plus the date the information was current so you can gauge the accuracy. We have also added a note on the size of the place where it is applicable.

Off the beaten track
While some listings are our impressions of well known backpackers destinations, others are not found in the guidebooks or only rate a bare mention. Many are places we have passed through while touring by motorcycle, and may be rather inaccessible to those travelling by train and bus - or may be only worthwhile as short breaks from the heat and dust of the National Highways. In the same vein, some places are less about arriving than getting there; the landscape, villages and people that are only really accessible if you have your own transport and would not be worth the effort of 3 days on a local bus. To this end we’ve included a “whos it for?” note to give an idea if its worth the effort.

The living "heart of India"
There are many towns and villages in India that lack any obvious sort of tourism pull, yet have an undefinable quality that makes them worth visiting and watching the world go by for a few days. It is often the fact that they are simply very "typical" Indian towns gives them that edge that the pre-packaged experience lacks. They are usually the places that you find while going from A to B; Bhavnagar in Gujarat, Mandi in HP and Mahad in Maharastra fit the bill. These towns and villages - and the people who live there - are the heart and soul of modern India.

Subjective recommendations
We’ve tried as far as we can to be honest in our assessments, but will offer an opinion - good or bad - where we feel it is warranted. At the end of the day, these are very much the impressions of two people who know what they like, and you may have similar or different tastes to us, so please bear that in mind when viewing the information presented.

A note on food and costs
As a guide to the words “expensive” and “cheap” when used to describe hotels or restaurants; we think 100 Rs is cheap for a room, and 500 Rs is expensive; when in touristy areas we will usually spend somewhere around 80 - 100 RS each on a meal, in a major city, more. To put “great food” in context Kirsten is a lover of spicy dhaba food, I wish India was littered with cafes that sold a full (very non veg and chilli free) english fry up of the "heart attack on a plate" variety. We tend to agree somewhere around kebabs.

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 Weblog updates
 India blog 29 Sep 04
 Photo diary 24 Jan 09
 Quick Ref Popups
 See also
 South W Coast gallery
 Karnataka Stats
 name means: lofty land
 location: South West India
 capital: Bangalore
 population: 52.9 mil (2001)
 area: 191,791 sq km
 population density: 276 persons per sq km (2001)
 urban: appr. 25%
 languages: Kannada (66.2%), Urdu (10%), Telugu (7.4%) (1991)
 number of districts: 19
 number of villages: 29,406 (2001)
 religion: 85.4% Hindu, 11.6% Muslim, 1.9% Christian (1991)
 literacy rate: 66.6% (male 76.1%, fem 56.9%) (2001)
 gender ratio: 965 fem to 1000 male (2001)
 child (0-6 yrs) gender ratio: 946 fem to 1000 male (2001)
 main income: IT, software, agriculture, mining
 main season: September - February
 tourist places: Hampi, Gokarna, Jog Falls, Murdeshwar, Mysore
 All recommended
 Recommended index
 Himachal Pradesh
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