3-star hotels at Karnataka heritage sites to boost tourism

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Bengaluru: The Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation (KSTDC) will soon build three-star hotels at four heritage sites across the state's northern region to attract more domestic and overseas tourists, an official said on Saturday.

"As the heritage sites at Hampi, Belur, Badami, and Vijayapura with ancient temples and historic monuments attract hundreds of tourists from across the country and overseas, three-star hotels at these spots will increase the footfall and allow them to stay longer," a KSTDC official told IANS.

With the COVID outbreak and extended lockdown to contain the pandemic stalling tourism since mid-March due to travel restrictions and the absence of public transport, the state tourism department is pulling out all stops to attract more tourists with safety guidelines to safeguard against the virus.

"The state-run engineering consultancy firm Rites would vet the tender process and monitor the hotel project estimated to cost Rs 80 crore," said the official.

As part of the package to make tourists spend more time at the heritage sites and explore their hoary past, the budget hotels will allow visitors to stay closer to the temples and monuments and save commuting time.

"The star hotels will also enable us to offer a complete package to tourists, including transport, stay, food and guides to take them around the sites. Package tours will benefit families and groups as they save on time and logistics," added the official.

Of the four tourist sites, Hampi near Hospet in Ballari district is a Unesco world heritage site, which attracts tourists from across the globe for its grandeur, majestic monuments and holy temples. Located on the banks of the Tungabhadra river, Hampi has many Hindu temples, including the 7th-century Virupaksha temple, near its famous bazaar.

Once the seat of the 14th century mighty Vijayanagara empire, Hampi in the Deccan region also boasts of a carved stone chariot, several temples of various Hindu gods, monuments, elephant stables and gardens.

Hampi is about 330 km northwest of Bengaluru in the southern state.

Belur in Hassan district, about 200 km northwest of Bengaluru, is popular for its Chennakeshava temple built in the Hoysala architectural style.

Along with Halebidu, 16 km away from Belur, the temple towns are a major tourist attraction in the state, dating back to the 11th-14th century Hoysala kingdom.

Badami in Bagalkot district was the capital of the Chalukyas from 540-757 AD and is famous for its rock-cut cave temples.

Located in a ravine near Agastya lake, Badami has been selected for the Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana of the Central government to promote it as one of the heritage cities in the country.

Badami is about 450 km northwest of Bengaluru.

Vijayapura or Bijapur in the state's northwest region is a heritage site, about 530 km from Bengaluru, well known for its historical monuments dating back to the 14th century when the Bahmani Sultanate wrested it from the Kalyani Chalukyas.

During the Adil Shahi dynasty rule in the 15-16th century, historic monuments such as Gol Gumbaz, Bara Kaman and Jama Masjid were built.

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