India has so much to see, with cultural riches such as historic cities and ancient temples. Karnataka is one of our favourite states, so perfect for a relaxing holiday in the warmth of the south. When you stay at the Village Ways ‘Spice House’ in Hulgol, Karnataka, we can arrange fascinating trip, with one of our guides, to a group of 12th Century temples in Shimoga district. This involves a three hour round trip drive from Hulgol, and the journey is well worth it. You pass through forest to Banavasi and its famous temple, which is a popular destination for domestic tourists. You continue south over the Deccan Plateau, with its extensive farmlands: fields of rice, pineapple, ginger and maize, and neat, circular rice straw ricks scattered among the fields. The small rural town of Kotipura is s good place to stop for a drink of fresh King Coconut juice at the roadside.
Kartabeshwar temple, built in 1100 AD, stands amid neatly-tended lawns and ornamental shrubs, well-managed and maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India under the supervision of Mr Chandeepak.
The site is clean and peaceful, with few visitors. Of particular interest are the internal circular stone columns that were originally shaped on a lathe. The carved bull (‘nandi’) at the entrance has a serene and welcoming expression.
After a wander around to admire the intricate external stone carving, your next short drive takes you to the Ballegave temple. This is similar to Kartabeshwar but has an small museum and shady trees, under which one can partake of picnic lunch. The Rameshwar Temple, at Koppagadda, has lathe-turned columns that have been intricately carved in bas relief. For keen temple-lovers there are other sites of the same era reasonably close, which one can visit before the return to Hulgol and the comfort and good food of the Spice House.