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Exploring Karnataka’s Enchanting UNESCO Tourist Heritage Destinations

23 Oct 2023

The world had over 960 million international tourists in the year 2022, almost 70% of the pre pandemic levels, amongst this over 40% showed inclination towards, history, culture and ancient civilisation as part of their bucket list to cover tourist’s destinations with the above mentioned theme.  The state of Karnataka has much to offer, and tourists who are culturally inclined would certainly like to explore and see the journey of ancient Karnataka through the ages.  

UNESCO recognised sites are those tourist places, which has ancient history as its theme, and the benefit of the background information is passed on to future generations. The motivating factor in preserving such sites and monuments is preserving our past for the future. Basically, what UNESCO does is to safe guard and preserve such places of historical and cultural importance to prevent it from decay and destruction. 

Karnataka has had a feather in the cap, as three heritage sites have been included in the list of UNESCO heritage sites. A peep into their rich heritage can be found below:-

Chennakeshava Temple- Belur:

Being one of the newer entities as a recognised world heritage site, and houses the Chennakeshava temple which is also known by the name of Keshava, Kesava or Vijaynarayana temple. This temple is situated in the Hassan district and is approximately 35Kms from Hassan town and 220Kms from Bangalore. It was in 1117 CE that the temple was envisaged and constructed over the next 103 years! It will be interesting to note that 3 generations of the royal family were involved in the construction of the temple, and the pioneer of the temple was King Vishnuvardhana.

Hoysaleshwara Temple- Halebid:

The next temple listed for UNESCO recognition is the Hoysaleshwara temple or simply the Halebid temple. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. This temple uses soft stone called chloritic schist which has the advantage to cut through to accommodate intrinsic carvings. It was the capital of the Hoysala kings.  Here too King Vishnuvardhana was the chief to conceive the idea to build this temple spread around a manmade lake. The temple construction was spread over 40 years from 1121 CE to 1160 CE.    

Keshava Temple Somnathpur:

Nestled on the banks of the river Cauvery at a place known as Somnathpura is a Vaisnava temple. It is believed that an Army king under Narasimha III named Somnatha Dandanayaka helped in the construction of the temple in 1258 CE.  It is roughly 40 Kms from Mysore city. This historical site has numerous small shrines, all inter connected with pillar corridors. The architecture of that era has been uniquely designed with star shaped structure, super imposed on a square matrix to the house the main deity. The three forms of Lord Vishnu find a place in this temple which are Kesava, Janardhana and Venugopala. Of these the statue of Lord Kesava is missing. Another interesting feature was that the temple had friezes of Hinduism depicted on the walls with the scriptures of Mahabharatha, Ramayana and Bhagawata Purana displayed in pictorial form.   

Karnataka has 3 other UNESCO sites which have been covered in some of the previous blog, they are:  

  1. Hampi – Group of monuments
  2. Pattadakal
  3. Western Ghats

Karnataka has 6 UNESCO sites.

How can Skyway Tours assist a traveller:?  

Skyway has business operations spread over the whole of Karnataka. They have researched all the destination spots and will be able to give useful insight to all the UNESCO related historical and cultural tourists’ sites. Thus, they can be banked upon for help in organsing the tour. For information you could buzz Ms. Geeta on Mobile No.9845170525 Or Ms. Dakshayini on Mobile No.9845144118 to ascertain the details.

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