Backpacking Karnataka: rivers, ruins, modern cities & beaches
Home to the silicon capital Bangalore, Karnataka is a sprawling canvas, painted with beaches, a superior tourism industry, and friendly people. In recent times, it has come of age to be known as a traveller’s haven.
Spice farms are abundant here while coffee lovers live in an endless steaming trance of quality home grown brews. In addition to its other lyres, temples of Karnataka top the list of Indian temples, unique in character, ancient and often crumbling, and highly revered. Tropical bazaars (marketplaces) alive with a festive and colourful buzz line each city and town. The best time to visit Karnataka is from October to February.
Places to see:
Hampi: Romantic river hamlet of Hampi with its 60 cc motorcycles (which must be pushed up steeper slopes) cobalt skies, tumbling ruins & anti-gravity boulders and paddy fields, is traveller’s haven, and few leave India without a visit.
Belur & Halebid: Cut rock temples here are a treat for history lovers.
Coorg: When you heard about the spices of India, the best quality ones are grown in the uniquely fertile earth of Coorg. READ MORE
Gokarna: Cleaner, uncluttered, more pristine version of Goa; a beach town with chilled out beaches, locals who don’t regard tourists as a wad of $ bills; and a favorite backpacker destination. A day at Om Beach, couple more at Kudlee, and then trek to Paradise and take the boat back.
Karnataka has ancient, riverside towns, with areas specifically dedicate to backpackers, shores and sea side beached, old ruins and modern metropolis cities. A combination of what Karnataka offers, along with its quiet and peace loving inhabitants, makes it an ideal place for backpackers.
My love affair with Karnataka
Backpacking Karnataka, a land of ancient ruins by rivers, modern cities and beaches, is a rewarding experience. I have spent a great number of weeks though numerous visits in Hampi, Gokarna and Coorg. In fact, one of my early backpacking trips, even before 2011, was to Gokarna. I spent two months at Kudlee, writing, swimming and eating pineapples. Something I found there, added fuel to my travel bug. In 2016, I went back to Kudlee, to find it completely changed. A little bit of commercialization had changed the entire look of the beach. Some variation in water level even altered the landscape of the beach. Due to the lower water level, the beach was bigger, and a stream of high tide water caught in a low half moon shaped belt caused a stream to form at the head of the beach. Shack owners had built bridges over this stream, which decorated with hundreds of tiny light bulbs, came alive at night. And much as I was thrilled at being back, I realised here, ‘you can’t go home’.