Golden Chariot Destinations


Bengaluru, officially recognized as Bangalore, serves as the capital of the Indian state of Karnataka. Boasting a population exceeding ten million, it stands as a megacity, ranking as the third most populous city and the fifth most populous urban agglomeration in India. Situated in Southern India on the Deccan Plateau, Bangalore's elevation surpasses 900 meters (3,000 feet) above sea level, marking the highest point among India's major cities.

The historical narrative of Bangalore unveils a succession of South Indian dynasties – the Western Gangas, the Cholas, and the Hoysalas – who ruled the region until 1537 CE. It was during this period that Kempé Gowdā, a feudal ruler under the Vijayanagara Empire, established a mud fort, considered the cornerstone of modern Bangalore. The Marāthās later seized control in 1638, ruling for nearly five decades until the Mughals sold the city to the Wadiyar dynasty of the Mysore Kingdom. Following British victory in the Fourth Anglo-Mysore War (1799), administrative control was returned to the Maharaja of Mysore, transforming Bangalore into the capital of the Princely State of Mysore within the British Raj.

In 1809, the British relocated their cantonment to Bangalore, leading to the development of a new town outside the old city, governed as part of British India. Post India's independence in 1947, Bangalore became the capital of Mysore State, retaining its status when the state of Karnataka was established in 1956. The once-independent urban entities of Bangalore – the city and cantonment – merged into a single urban center in 1949. The city's Kannada name, Bengalūru, was officially declared in 2006.

Often hailed as the "Silicon Valley of India" or the "IT capital of India," Bangalore plays a pivotal role as the country's leading information technology (IT) exporter. Headquarters of prominent Indian technological organizations such as ISRO, Infosys, Wipro, and HAL are located in the city. Boasting demographic diversity, Bangalore stands as the second fastest-growing major metropolis in India. It hosts esteemed educational and research institutions, including the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Indian Institute of Management Bangalore (IIMB), National Institute of Fashion Technology, Bangalore, National Institute of Design, Bangalore (NID R&D Campus), National Law School of India University (NLSIU), and the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS). Additionally, the city is home to state-owned aerospace and defense organizations like Bharat Electronics, Hindustan Aeronautics, and the National Aerospace Laboratories, alongside the Kannada film industry.


Nanjangud is located on the right bank of the Kapila or Kabini River, a tributary of the Cauvery River. Also known as Garalapuri, Nanjangud is renowned for the colossal Nanjundeswara or Srikanteswara temple. The name Nanjunda refers to Shiva, who ingested Halahala or poison, transforming into Vishakanta or Shrikanta. The deity is hence called Nanjundeswara and Srikanteshwara, known for healing the ailments of devotees.

During the rule of the Muslim leader Hyder Ali Khan, the temple gained significance, with him referring to God Nanjunda as 'Hakim Nanjunda.' Hyder Ali believed in the deity's healing powers after his beloved elephant's eye ailment was cured with the holy water (theertha) from the temple. Often referred to as the Dakshina Kashi or Varanasi of the South, Nanjangud had close associations with both Hyder Ali and Tippu Sultan.

Legend has it that Sage Gauthama installed a Linga, the idol form of Shiva, in this sacred place. The Sangam, where the Kapila and Gundlu rivers converge nearby, is known as "Parashurama Kshetra." The grand Nanjundeswara or Srikanteswara temple, constructed by the Gangas in the 19th century, features numerous minor shrines, including Narayana with consorts, Chandikeswara, Parvathi, Natya Ganapathi, and others.

Nanjundeswara's Rathotsava or the car festival, the 'big Jathra,' and the 'chikka Jathra' are celebrated with grandeur. The chariot festival occurs twice a year, accompanied by cultural programs, temple illumination, and a vibrant floating festival known as Theppotsava. Nanjangud Rasabaley, a popular variety of banana, has contributed to the town's fame across the region.

An essential center in Nanjangud is the Raghavendra Math, situated on the road to the right of the Nanjundeswara temple. Established at the close of the 15th century, the math has been led by revered gurus like Sudheendra Thirtha and Raghavendra Thirtha. It houses a valuable collection of Sanskrit manuscripts and copper plates. Temple Timings: Weekdays: 6:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m & 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Sunday: 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.


Situated in the southern expanse of the Deccan Plateau, Mysuru boasts an undulating tableland adorned with granite outcrops and embraced by verdant forests. The climate here is temperate, offering warmth and coolness throughout the year. Winters bring a refreshing chill with minimum temperatures hovering around 15 degrees Celsius, while summers remain tolerable with maximum temperatures reaching approximately 35 degrees Celsius. Mysuru experiences a monsoon season from June to September, contributing to an average annual rainfall of about 86 centimeters.

The cultural tapestry of Karnataka is rich with folk arts and traditions. Varied forms of folk art, including singing, drama, dance, and puppetry, thrive in the rural landscapes of Karnataka. During festivals, particularly the grand Dasara celebration, these artists journey to Mysuru to showcase their talents. Once performing before royalty, today, they enliven the streets of Mysuru and designated areas during Dasara. The city's inclusive ethos, fostered over centuries, has resulted in the evolution of the distinctive "Mysuru Style" across various artistic realms such as painting, architecture, music, and poetry.

Mysuru stands as a testament to harmonious coexistence among diverse religions for centuries. Even during its cultural zenith under the Vijayanagar Empire and the Wadiyars, the rulers promoted all religions without bias. This regal patronage gave rise to the unique "Mysuru Style," leaving an indelible mark on painting, architecture, music, and poetry. While the city has embraced modernity, it has admirably retained its traditional charm, epitomized during the ten-day Dasara festivities, drawing global tourists to witness this cultural spectacle. Renowned worldwide for sandalwood and rosewood artifacts, stone sculptures, incense sticks, ivory inlay work, and exquisite silk sarees, Mysuru has also emerged as a significant IT hub in Karnataka, ranking second in the state for software exports.


Halebeedu, formerly known as Dwarasamudra, served as the ancient capital of the Hoysalas, located just 17 km from Belur. Over a dominion of nearly 200 years, the Hoysala dynasty left an indelible mark on South India, erecting magnificent temples, both Hindu and Jain. In the 14th century, the Hoysalas faced defeat at the hands of Alauddin Khilji and Muhammad Tughlak, resulting in the looting of immense wealth and the downfall of the city, which earned it the name "old house/old ruins." Despite the devastation, a few temples, including those in Halebeedu, survived the ravages of time, showcasing some of the most remarkable stone sculptures.

Hoysaleshwara Temple

The Hoysaleswara Temple stands as an architectural marvel on a star-shaped base, adorned with eight rows of friezes featuring elephants, lions, horses, and floral scrolls. Carved with intricate details, the walls depict Hindu deities, sages, stylized animals, birds, and scenes from the lives of Hoysala kings. The outer walls display imagery from epics like the Ramayana, Mahabharatha, and Bhagavad Gita, elegantly capturing Indian epics. A massive Nandi, richly adorned with stone ornaments, graces the Nandimantapa in front of the temple. Inside, there are exquisite carvings, including highly polished lathe-turned pillars.

Other Temples: Apart from the Hoysaleshwara Temple, Halebeedu is renowned for the Kedareshwara Temple and multiple Jain temples, with the former built by King Veera Ballala II and Queen Ketaladevi. Museum: The archaeological museum within the Halebeedu Temple complex, maintained by ASI, houses over 1500 sculptures and artifacts from the Hoysala era. Visiting Hours: 6:30 AM to 9 PM.


Chikmagalur, often referred to as the "Coffee Land of Karnataka," is a picturesque hill station nestled in the Western Ghats of southern India. This charming town is renowned for its lush green landscapes, rolling hills, and vast coffee plantations that add to its scenic beauty. The region's pleasant climate, with cool temperatures throughout the year, makes it an ideal getaway for nature lovers and those seeking a tranquil retreat.

Apart from being a haven for coffee enthusiasts, Chikmagalur offers a range of attractions, including the Baba Budangiri Hills, known for its challenging trekking trails and the sacred Dattatreya Peetha. Mullayanagiri, the highest peak in Karnataka, provides breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding valleys and hills.

Chikmagalur is also rich in biodiversity, featuring wildlife sanctuaries like Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary, where one can spot diverse flora and fauna in their natural habitat. The region's cultural heritage is reflected in ancient temples like the Kodanda Ramaswamy Temple and historical sites like the Hiremagalur Fort.

For adventure seekers, Chikmagalur offers opportunities for activities such as trekking, camping, and bird watching. The serene lakes like Hirekolale and coffee estate stays further enhance the overall experience of visitors.

In essence, Chikmagalur beckons travelers with its tranquil ambiance, natural beauty, and a perfect blend of adventure and relaxation, making it a popular destination for those seeking an escape into the lap of nature.


Hospet, located in the Bellary district of Karnataka, India, is a historic town with cultural richness and proximity to significant heritage sites. The town serves as the gateway to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Hampi, renowned for its ancient ruins and temples. Hampi, the capital of the Vijayanagara Empire, lies just across the Tungabhadra River from Hospet.

Hospet itself holds historical significance as it was established by Krishna Deva Raya, one of the most illustrious rulers of the Vijayanagara Empire. The Tungabhadra Dam, a major irrigation project, is situated near Hospet and adds to the town's importance.

Tourists visiting Hospet often explore the Hampi ruins, which include impressive structures like the Virupaksha Temple, Vijaya Vittala Temple, and the Stone Chariot. The town's surroundings are marked by unique rock formations, boulders, and a landscape that transports visitors back in time.

Hospet is well-connected by road and rail, making it a convenient base for those exploring the historical marvels of Hampi and the surrounding areas. The town provides a glimpse into the Vijayanagara heritage while offering modern amenities for travelers.


Goa, a coastal state located on the western coast of India, is renowned for its stunning beaches, vibrant culture, and rich history. Known as India's smallest state by area, Goa packs a punch with its diverse attractions and laid-back atmosphere. Famous for its pristine sandy beaches that stretch along the Arabian Sea, Goa attracts tourists from around the world seeking relaxation, water sports, and vibrant beach parties. Some of the most popular beaches include Baga Beach, Calangute Beach, Anjuna Beach, and Palolem Beach, each offering its own unique vibe and activities.

Aside from its beaches, Goa boasts a rich cultural heritage influenced by its colonial past, evident in its architecture, cuisine, and festivals. Visitors can explore colonial-era churches like the Basilica of Bom Jesus and Sé de Santa Catarina, as well as ancient forts such as Fort Aguada and Chapora Fort.

Goa's culinary scene is a fusion of Indian, Portuguese, and coastal influences, offering an array of delectable seafood dishes, spicy curries, and traditional sweets. The state's markets and street food stalls provide an opportunity to savor authentic Goan flavors and experience the local way of life.

In addition to its natural beauty and cultural heritage, Goa is also known for its vibrant nightlife, with beach shacks, clubs, and bars buzzing with activity well into the night. The state's festivals, including the vibrant Carnival and Shigmo, offer a glimpse into its colorful traditions and celebrations.

With its picturesque landscapes, rich history, and lively atmosphere, Goa remains a favorite destination for travelers seeking sun, sand, and a taste of vibrant Indian culture.


Kanchipuram, often referred to as the "City of a Thousand Temples," is a historic city located in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Renowned for its ancient temples, vibrant silk sarees, and significant cultural heritage, Kanchipuram is a pilgrimage site and a cultural hub.

The city boasts a rich history dating back to the Pallava dynasty in the 6th century. It served as their capital, and numerous temples were constructed during their rule. Some of the notable temples in Kanchipuram include the Kailasanathar Temple, Ekambareswarar Temple, and Varadharaja Perumal Temple. These temples showcase remarkable Dravidian architecture and intricate stone carvings, attracting devotees and history enthusiasts alike.

Kanchipuram is also celebrated for its silk weaving industry, producing exquisite Kanchipuram silk sarees that are highly coveted for their quality and craftsmanship. The vibrant silk fabrics feature intricate designs and patterns, making them a symbol of traditional South Indian attire.

The city's cultural significance extends to its festivals, with various religious and cultural events taking place throughout the year. The Panguni Uthiram festival, celebrated at the Ekambareswarar Temple, is a major annual event drawing devotees and tourists alike.

Surrounded by lush greenery, Kanchipuram offers a peaceful and spiritual atmosphere. Its serene surroundings, coupled with the architectural marvels and cultural richness, make it a must-visit destination for those interested in exploring the historical and religious heritage of South India.


Mahabalipuram, also known as Mamallapuram, is a historic town situated on the Coromandel Coast of the Bay of Bengal in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, India. Renowned for its UNESCO World Heritage-listed monuments, Mahabalipuram is a captivating blend of ancient history, stunning architecture, and coastal beauty.

The town's history dates back to the 7th century during the reign of the Pallava dynasty. Mahabalipuram served as a bustling seaport and an important trade center with maritime connections to various countries. The rulers of the Pallava dynasty left an indelible mark on the town through their architectural marvels, many of which still stand today.

The Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram includes intricately carved temples, rock-cut caves, and exquisite sculptures that showcase the skill and artistry of the Pallava artisans. The iconic Shore Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva and overlooking the Bay of Bengal, is a prime example of the Dravidian style of architecture. The Five Rathas, monolithic structures resembling chariots, and the famous Arjuna's Penance, a massive bas-relief carved on two huge boulders, are among the other notable attractions.

The town's coastal setting adds to its charm, with the picturesque Shoreline adorned with stone carvings and the rhythmic sound of waves creating a serene ambiance. The beach also features the famous Krishna's Butter Ball, a large balancing rock that seems to defy gravity.

Apart from its historical significance, Mahabalipuram offers a tranquil escape with its scenic beauty, making it a popular destination for tourists, history enthusiasts, and art lovers alike. The vibrant cultural scene, local crafts, and traditional dance performances further enhance the allure of this ancient coastal town.


Thanjavur, also known as Tanjore, is a city located in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Renowned for its cultural and historical significance, Thanjavur has earned a distinct place in the heritage of South India.

The city is most famous for the Brihadeeswarar Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage site built by the Chola dynasty during the 11th century. This magnificent temple is a masterpiece of Dravidian architecture, known for its towering vimana (temple tower), intricate carvings, and the colossal Nandi (bull) statue. The temple complex reflects the grandeur and artistic achievements of the Chola period.

Apart from the Brihadeeswarar Temple, Thanjavur is home to several other significant temples, including the Gangaikonda Cholapuram and Airavatesvara Temple, both UNESCO-inscribed Chola temples showcasing remarkable architectural brilliance.

The city is also renowned for its contributions to classical arts, particularly Carnatic music and Bharatanatyam dance. Thanjavur is the birthplace of many legendary classical musicians and dance exponents. The Saraswathi Mahal Library, established during the Nayak dynasty, houses a vast collection of ancient manuscripts and is a testament to the city's cultural richness.

Thanjavur is famous for its unique style of painting, known as Tanjore painting, characterized by rich, vivid colors, gold leaf, and embedded precious and semi-precious stones. This traditional art form has its roots in the region and continues to be a cherished craft.

The city's significance extends beyond its cultural and artistic heritage. Thanjavur is an important agricultural center known for its fertile plains and the cultivation of the iconic Thanjavur paddy, a unique rice variety.

Thanjavur stands as a living testimony to the glorious history and cultural heritage of South India, attracting history enthusiasts, art connoisseurs, and pilgrims alike.


Chettinad, centered around Karaikudi in the Sivaganga district of Tamil Nadu, is renowned for its rich cultural heritage and distinctive cuisine. This region is known for its opulent Chettinad mansions, adorned with intricate Athangudi tiles, and reflects the affluent lifestyle of the Chettiar community. The mansions boast spacious courtyards, antique furniture, and grand architecture.

Chettinad cuisine, famous for its spicy and flavorful dishes, is a gastronomic delight. The region is particularly known for its use of aromatic spices and unique cooking techniques. Karaikudi, the largest town in Chettinad, serves as a gateway to explore this cultural and culinary treasure.

Apart from its cultural and culinary allure, Chettinad is also recognized for the skilled craftsmanship in creating traditional Chettinad cotton sarees, adding to the region's vibrant cultural tapestry. With its distinctive charm, Chettinad invites travelers to delve into its heritage, relish its delectable cuisine, and appreciate the intricate craftsmanship that defines this cultural gem in Tamil Nadu.


Cochin, also known as Kochi, is a vibrant city on the southwest coast of India in the state of Kerala. Often referred to as the "Queen of the Arabian Sea," Cochin has a rich history as a major trade and commerce center. Influenced by various cultures and religions, the city boasts diverse architecture, including colonial-era buildings, ancient temples, and synagogues. Fort Kochi, with its Chinese fishing nets and historic streets, is a highlight. The Mattancherry Palace and Jewish Synagogue showcase the city's historical and cultural significance. Cochin's backwaters offer a serene escape, complemented by nearby beaches like Cherai Beach. As a bustling economic hub and major port, Cochin's tourism thrives on its unique blend of history, culture, and natural beauty, attracting visitors worldwide.


Cherthala, located in the Alappuzha district of Kerala, India, is a charming town nestled along the serene Vembanad Lake. Known for its picturesque backwaters and lush green landscapes, Cherthala offers a tranquil escape. The town is renowned for its coir industry, and you can witness the traditional coir-making process here. Marari Beach, near Mararikulam, is a pristine stretch of golden sands and clear waters, perfect for a relaxing beach getaway. Cherthala also boasts historical sites like the St. Mary's Syro-Malabar Catholic Forane Church, adding a cultural touch to the scenic beauty. With its unique blend of coastal beauty and cultural heritage, Cherthala welcomes visitors seeking a peaceful retreat in the lap of nature.