North Karnataka is a treasure trove of history. And if you haven’t discovered its historical beauty, now is a great time to start! From the temples at Pattadakal to the elegant Bahamani Tombs of Bidar, there’s plenty to discover and marvel at. We find you the ten Historical places in North Karnataka that history and architecture lovers will adore.
10 Places In Karnataka For The History And Architecture Lover
The earliest known capital of the Chalukyas, Aihole came into prominence in the 5th century CE. Over the centuries, Aihole came to be the home of around 125 temples, many of which still stand today. The Durga Temple complex is one of the most famous sites in the town. The Dravidian-style temple was part of a fortification (hence the name Durga which translates to fortress or protector). You also need to drop by the Lad Khan Temple which is one of the oldest temples dedicated to Lord Shiva. The stone grids here are decorated with floral designs and patterns that make it a beautiful sight.
Distance from Bangalore: 446 kms (approx.)
Driving Time: 7 hours 45 minutes
Right at the city’s centre stands the Belgaum Fort. The Ratta Dynasty that was around during the 13th century started the construction of the fort around that time. While here, you can also visit the Kamala Basati Temple. A Jain temple, Kamala Basati structure features black, basaltic stones and houses a Neminath idol that’s also in black stone. Also, make it a point to visit the nearby district of Halasi that was once the capital of the Kadamba dynasty and is studded with many monuments which is one of the must-visit Historical places in North Karnataka.
Distance from Bangalore: 505 kms (approx.)
Driving Time: 8 hours (approx.)
Located on a hilltop, Bidar stands at the edge of Karnataka. Do check out Bidar Fort — a grand monument that sits on the Deccan Plateau. A short drive from town, you can stop by the Bahamani Tombs — massive, domed structures that hold the remains of the Bahamani kings. The delicately painted tomb of Ahmad Shah Bahman, in particular, will leave a mark on you. The sprawling Madrasa of Mahmud Gawan (a university built in the 15th century) and the Barid Shahi Tombs should also be on your itinerary.
Distance from Bangalore: 689 kms (approx.)
Driving Time: 10 hours (approx.)
Bijapur’s most famous monument is the Gol Gumbaz. The final resting place of Mohammed Adil Shah, Gol Gumbaz is easily recognisable thanks to its circular dome. You can also spend an entire day at the Bijapur Fort that’s home to many monuments. There’s the Jamia Masjid, that includes 2,250 tiles resembling prayer mats (as ordered by Aurangzeb). There’s also Ibrahim Rauza (the tomb of Ibrahim Adil Shah II and his wife). And the Malik-e-Maidan, where you can gawk at one of the largest medieval cannons ever made.
Distance from Bangalore: 525 kms (approx.)
Driving Time: 9 hours (approx.)
Part of the Haveri district, Hangal was once ruled by Hoysalas and also the Kalalyani Chalukyas. Both these kingdoms built many temples in the town that add to the list of Historical places in North Karnataka. There’s the mid-12th century Tarakeshwara Temple. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the temple’s walls present scenes from the Ramayana. The pillars are covered in traditional motifs and there’s also a domed ceiling. You can also witness such intricate detailing at the Billeshwara Temple.
Distance from Bangalore: 370 kms (approx.)
Driving Time: 6 hours (approx.)
A renowned temple town, Hampi has been recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The capital of the erstwhile Vijayanagar Empire, Hampi was once a wealthy city with roadside bazaars that sold precious stones like they were peanuts. The Virupaksha Temple (one of the rare temples here where prayers are still offered), the stone chariot at the Vittala Temple complex, the massive elephant stables, the Lotus Mahal, and the abandoned bazaars are all worth exploring.
Distance from Bangalore: 343 kms (approx.)
Driving Time: 6 hours 15 minutes (approx.)
Travel all the way back to the 6th century at the famed Cave Temples at Badami. A fine example of rock-cut architecture, these temples were commissioned by the Badami Chalukyas. Carved out of sandstone, the temples feature intricate sculptures of Nataraja, Vishnu, and Bahubali. There’s also the Bhutanatha Group of Temples, that sits at the edge of the Badami Tank. Built between the 7th and 11th centuries, these temples showcase stunning, carved details like a shrine to Vishnu, the Shiv Ling, and images of Ganga and Yamuna.
Distance from Bangalore: 448 kms (approx.)
Driving Time: 8 hours 10 minutes (approx.)
All across the district of Gadag, you’ll find a sprinkling of historic monuments including several Jain and Buddhist structures. In the town of Gadag itself, you can discover the beauty of the Trikuteshwara Temple complex that includes the Saraswathi Temple. It’s ornate pillars and walls showcase Chalukyan architecture. Nearby, the town of Lakkundi too is known for its gorgeous temples that have been mostly fashioned out of greenschist (instead of the usual sandstone). The Brahma Jinalaya, a Jain temple, is the most famous here.
Distance from Bangalore: 431 kms (approx.)
Driving Time: 7 hours (approx.)
A short distance from Badami and Aihole, Pattadakal is a UNESCO World Heirtage site. In the 7th century, the Badami Chalukya kings began building a series of temples here. There are around 10 temples now and they showcase different architectural styles. Sitting amidst an ornate prakaram (temple compound), the Virupaksha temple is the largest here and also the most embellished. The 9th century, Jain Temple too is noteworthy because of its showcase of Dravidian architecture and its many sculptures.
Distance from Bangalore: 443 kms (approx.)
Driving Time: 8 hours (approx.)
In the past, Gulbarga has been ruled by various kingdoms — from the Rashtrakutas to the Mughals. The modern city is a great place to discover Islamic architecture. Sitting atop a desolate hill, the Chor Gumbad is a victory monument that’s adorned by patterned leaves, stucco scrolls, minarets, and a large dome. Nearby, you can also visit the Gulbarga Fort. Within its boundaries, is a historical mosque and the tomb of Khwaja Bande Nawaz, that’s built in Indo-Saracenic style.
Distance from Bangalore: 639 kms (approx.)
Driving Time: 9 hours 40 minutes (approx.)