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The Golden Chariot Train Destinations

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Karnataka is nature's kaleidoscope at its best. Lush green forests. Cool blue seas. Virtually endless plains. And hills that almost touch the sky. Add to these list timeless temples, fascinating festivals, ageless monuments, peerless palaces and proud people. Whether you seek excitement, solitude, romance or faith, Karnataka has a world awaiting to be discovered. Welcome to the state of Karnataka.

Golden Chariot Train DestinationsThe capital of Karnataka is known as the Garden City because of its salubrious climate and greenery. Perched 3,250 feet above sea level, temperatures seldom exceed 30oC (88oF). Founded by Kempegowda, a powerful chieftain, the city is unique with its rich cultural heritage that coexists with its modern day technological and industrial achievements. Today Bangalore is popularly known as India's Silicon Valley.

Beautiful city of Mysore, is known for its fine craftsmanship in wood, ivory, sandal-wood and for its silk. Visit the Maharaja's Palace, which is lavishly decorated in a mixture of styles. Also visit the Zoological Garden, Mysore Arts & Crafts centre and then proceed to the Chamundi Temple on a hill above the city. Visit Sriringapatnam from this small Island fortress - town straddling the river Cauvery came the two brilliant Muslim leaders Hyder Ali and his son Tipu Sultan, who ruled a powerful empire comprising much of Southern India for 40 years.

Tipu Sultan - The Tiger of Mysore- became the most dreaded foe of the British in the south, and inflicted two punishing defeats on the forces of East India Company before at last being overcome in 1799. Tipu was killed and his town razed, but his elegant Summer Palace, or Daria Daulat Bagh remains intact; the British kept it for their own use. Later Duke of Wellington, lived here for a spell while serving as governor of Mysore.

Rajiv Gandhi National Park, Nagarhole (Kabini), the hunting retreat of the Mysore Maharajas, is definitely the perfect destination for wildlife lovers in South India. The excitement starts with a safari into the heart of the park, where you are sure to spot wild animals in their natural habitat. Some of the popular sightings are elephant, gaur, sambar, chital, wild boar and the more exclusive predators like tiger and leopard. A bird watcher's paradise, the park is home to over 300 species of birds, many of which are endemic to these jungles.

Halebid and Belur driving through lush tropical landscapes. Built in the 12th & 13th Century in the super baroque style, these temples are carved of stone and are truly magnificent. As one architect and critic said "These friezes carved with a minute elaboration of detail are one of the most marvellous exhibitions of human labour to be found even in the patient East". The temple at Belur is famed for its profusely ornamented exterior, and the one at Halebid for its sculptured figures and open air museum. Also visit the colossal monolithic Jain statue, 57-ft high, which stands on top of a steep bare hill.

Golden Chariot Train DestinationsOnce known as Dwarasmudra, the capital of the Hoysala empire between the 11th & 13th centuries. Today it is known for its exquisite Chennakeshava temple built in the 12th century - the only living temple of this region. It is one of the finest examples of Hoysala art & architecture. Made of local soap stone, easy to detailed carving, the stone hardens and turn into vibrant black with time and oxidation. The façade of the temple is filled with intricate sculptures and frenzies. Elephants, episodes from the epics, sensuous dancers, they are all there awe-inspiring.

The temples of Halebid - like those of Belur bear mute testimony to the rich, cultural heritage of Karnataka. The Hoysaleswara temple, dating back to the 12th century, is astounding for its wealth of sculptural details. The walls of the temple are covered with images of Gods & Goddess, animals, birds and dancing girls - yet no two facets of the temple are the same. The magnificent temple is guarded by a Nandi Bull.

Hampi, the seat of the famed Vijayanagara empire was the capital of the largest empire in post-Moguls India, covering several states. The Vijayanagara empire stretched over at least three states -Karnataka, Maharashtra, and Andhra Pradesh. The destruction of Vijayanagar by marauding Moghul invaders was sudden, shocking and absolute. The ruins of Hampi of the 14th Century lies scattered in about 26 sq. km area, amidst giant boulders and vegetation.

Badami is picturesquely situated at the mouth of a ravine between two rocky hills. The exquisite sculptures and the rust red sandstone cliffs of Badami tell many a tale of yore. The first sculptural embellishment to dazzle the eye is the 18 armed Nataraja striking 81 dance poses. Badami once the former second capital of the Chalukya dynasty. Here the cave temples are hewn out of solid rock, in a magical setting of hills above a lovely reservoir.

Famous as the cradle of Indian temple architecture - has over 125 temples, all intricately carved and rich in detail. The oldest temple here, is perhaps the 5th century Lad Khan. The Durgigudi is particularly interesting and unique, being circular in shape and surmounted by primitive gopuram. The Hutchmall temple, the Ravalpadi cave temple, the Konti temple complex, the Uma Maheshwari temple, the Jai Meguthi temple and the two-storied Buddhist temple are the other attractions at Aihole.
Golden Chariot Train Destinations
It has 10 major temples representing early Chaalukyan architecture. It lies on the banks of the river Malaprabha and used to be the place where the Chalukyan Kings (7 to 9 century) were crowned. The oldest temple in this group is the Sanghmeshwara. The Mallikarjuna temple has pillars depicting the birth and life of Krishna. The largest of the temples, the Virupaksha has sculptures and panels depicting scenes from the epics, the Ramayana and Mahabhararta. The Papanath temple in the northern style has impressive carvings on pillars and on the ceiling.

Also known as "Pearl of the Orient" and a "Tourist Paradise", the state of Goa is located on the western coast of India in the coastal belt known as Konkan.
The magnificent scenic beauty and the architectural splendors of its temples, churches and old houses have made Goa a firm favourite with travellers around the world. But then, Goa is much more than just beaches and sea. It has a soul which goes deep into unique history, rich culture and some of the prettiest natural scenery that India has to offer.




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