Karnataka is a southern state of India. The Arabian Sea surrounds it on the west, Goa on the northwest, Maharashtra on the north, and Telangana on the northeast. In the east is Andra Pradesh, in the southeast, is Tamil Nadu, and in the south is Kerala.
It used to be called the state of Mysore, but in 1973, the state was renamed as Karnataka. Bangalore, also called Bengaluru, is India’s city and a major centre for information technology. It is the first digital city in the world and the fourth biggest technology cluster in the world. People also call the state the hub of Asia for information, research, and new ideas.
Karnataka is known for its traditions and beautiful landscapes, such as Mysore, Hampi, and Pattadakallu.
Karnataka Has a Rich Cultural History
The history of Karnataka goes back to the Prehistoric time. Karnataka is said to be one of the four Dravidian states that were part of the culture in the Indus Valley. The Dravidic city-state was taken over by Aryans from central Asia, who made it more civilized and made it their home.
Archaeologists found objects from 5000 B.C.E. in many prehistoric sites. These sites are mostly in the valleys of rivers like Krishna, Bhima, Malaprabha, and others.
In 1836, a British officer in the Bellary region, which was then part of the Madras government, found ash mounds at Kupgal and Kudatini. This was the start of prehistoric studies in India. Later finds have shown that there was a stone-age man and that Karnataka has many prehistoric sites.
The prehistoric culture in Karnataka is known as the “hand-axe culture.” It is similar to the culture in Africa but different from the prehistoric culture in North India.
Ragi grain is often found in places from the past in Africa and Karnataka. People who lived in Karnataka before 1500 B.C. knew how to use iron tools, which have been found in the area.
Before joining the Mauryan Empire under Emperor Ashoka in the third century B.C.E., much of Karnataka was part of the Nanda Empire.
For 400 years, the Satavahana Dynasty was in charge. After Satavahana fell, the Western Ganga Empire came into being and set up its own political identity.
A long time ago, there was a kingdom that used the Kannada language to run its government. After that, there were other big and strong kingdoms called the Badami Chalukyas, Rashtrakuta Dynasty, and Western Chalukya Empire. They ruled over a big area in Deccan and lived in Karnataka.
Western Chalukya kept the unique art, architecture, and Kannada literature, which started to be known as Hoysala Arts in the 12th century.
In the 11th century, the Chola Empire controlled most of southern Karnataka. Before the 12th-century Hoysala Empire came to power. Chola and Hoysala were fighting over who would take control of the area.
After the first thousand years, Hoysala got better at fighting. At this time, literature was doing well, which led to the creation of Kannada literature and the building of statues and churches.
As the Hoysala Empire grew, it also took over some of what is now Andra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. At the beginning of the 14th century, the Vijayanagara Empire grew and fought off the Muslim invasion of the south.
In the fight at Talikota in 1565, the Islamic Sultanate defeated the Vijayanagara Empire. Aurangzeb, the Mughal emperor, gave the order to surround Bijapur. The kings of Bahmani and Bijapur supported Indo-Islamic architecture and Urdu and Persian writing. At that time, Gol Gumbaz had become the most important part of his design.
Under Chhatrapati Shivaji, the Marathas took over parts of Karnataka. After that, northern Karnataka was controlled by Nizam, the Maratha Empire, the British, and the Mysore Kingdoms of Hyderabad. After Wodeyar II died, Haider Ali, who was in the Mysore army, took charge of the area.
After he died, his son Tipu Sultan, also known as the “Tiger of Mysore,” took over. After Tipu Sultan died in the Fourth Anglo-Mysore War, Mysore became part of the British Raj.
After India was freed, the Wodeyar Maharaja permitted his empire to become part of India. Mysore became an Indian state in 1950, and the previous Maharaja became the state’s leader in 1975. As a result of the Eki Karana movement, parts of the states of Coorg, Madras, Hyderabad, and Bombay were added to the state of Mysore. In 1973, the name of Mysore State was changed to Karnataka.
Culture of Karnataka
Karnataka has a deep cultural history shaped by many different empires. Literature, architecture, folklore, music, painting, and other kinds of art in Karnataka greatly affect the people. There are a lot of old buildings and monuments to see, as well as art from the Mauryan Empire.
Here, you can see the stone figure of Bahubali, a Jain saint from the 10th century. The Chalukyas and the Pallava Empire also had an effect.
The people of Karnataka come from many different places and have many different cultures and races. At the same time, most of the people who live here are from Kannadiga. They live in perfect peace with their neighbours (the Marathas, the Andras, the Tamils, and the Malayalis) and are unafraid of them.
The people of Karnataka are great hosts. They have a simple way of life and stick to their beliefs, unique habits, and beautiful culture.
Languages of Karnataka
Kannada is the official state language of Karnataka. However, other languages like Urdu, Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam, Marathi, Tulu, Konkan, and Hindi are also spoken. Most intelligent people can also speak English and Hindi.
Karnataka culture has many different faiths, but Hinduism is the most common. During the first thousand years, the Buddha faith was among the most popular in places like Gulbarga and Banvasi in Karnataka. A camp for Tibetese refugees is also in Karnataka. Many groups in Karnataka also follow Jainism, Christianity, and Islam.
Karnataka’s culture is based on dance, music, folk art, theatre, and literature. Karnataka has a lot of dances for ceremonies. Karnataka is a great trove of different dance styles. All folk dances and ritual dances are called Kunithas.
One of these dances is the Dollu Kunitha, where drums and singing go together. The Mysore style of Bharatanatyam is India’s oldest and most well-known form of classical dance. Kuchipudi and Kathak are two other popular classical dances of Karnataka.
Yakshagana is one of the hardest kinds of dance. It doesn’t have a script, so how it’s done relies only on how good the artists are. The Siddi community’s Damman dance is another amazing traditional Karnataka dance.
Music & Art Forms
The state of Karnataka has a special place in Indian traditional music because it has both Karnataka (Carnatic) and Hindustani styles. It’s the only state where you can find Hindustani music from the north and Carnatic music from the south.
Karnataka has given us great musicians like Bhimsen Joshi, Mallikarjuna Mansur, Kumar Gandharva, Basavaraj, and Puttaraj Gowai. Some have won the Kalidas Samman, Padma Bhushan, and Padma Vibhushan awards.
Festivals of Karnataka
Some of the most colourful events happen in Karnataka. Mysore’s biggest holiday is called Nada Habba, which celebrates Dussehra.
Karnataka also celebrates Makara Sankranti, the Harvest holiday, Ganesh Chaturthi, Nagapanchami, Basava Jayanti, Deepavali, and Ramzan. Ugadi, the Kannada New Year, is the second most important holiday.
Kambala is a two-day event that includes an epic buffalo race. Kambala season usually begins in November and ends in March.
People in Karnataka dress differently in each area. Panchey or Lungi, Angi, and Peta are the main Kannadiga men’s clothes. The Panchey or Lungi is tied below the waist. An Angi is a traditional shirt, and a Peta is a turban worn in the Mysuru or Dharwad way. Shyla is a long piece of fabric that is carried over the shoulder.
Female costumes, including saree, are made in a special way called Tope Teni, which is used to make IIkal saris. Mysore silk sarees are also very well-known. Salwar Kameez is very common in cities.
Langa Davani is what young women usually wear. Kasuti is a type of embroidery work often used on clothes and outfits. Jeans are famous among young people, and you can also find new-age khadi/silk printed with different kinds of art.
There are many different kinds of food in Karnataka. From the strict vegetarian dishes of Udipi to the non-vegetarian gourmets of Kodava, the food in Karnataka will make your mouth water.
Karnataka is known for serving many different kinds of dosa and sambhar. Karnataka’s main food is rice. Kannadiga Oota (meal) is usually served on a banana leaf and includes rice, sambhar, pickle, ghee, dessert, and other curry-based foods.
Bisi Bele Bhaat, Neer dosa, Mangalorean fish curry, and Kori Gassi (chicken curry) are all popular foods. People eat rotis made of wheat, jowar, and ragi. Chikkadikai (Kannada), ballar (Hindi) is a famous vegetables in Karnataka.
For dessert, people use milk, noodles, sugar, coconuts, jaggery, and dry fruits. Some famous desserts in Karnataka are the different kinds of Payasas Pedas, Kesari Bhath, and Chiroti.
Crafts and Arts
Karnataka is known for its wood cutting, ivory carving, stone carving, doll making, and sandalwood crafts.
Works made of wood, especially rosewood and sandalwood, are very popular. Art made of ivory is common in the state. People all over the world like Mysore paintings. Karnataka is also home to a unique art form: silk spinning.
People in Mysore have been doing the art of making silk for a long time. Bidriware, made on metal plates, is one of the rarest arts from Karnataka.
Traditional Hindu weddings
A Kannada wedding is pretty much the same as a Hindu wedding. Nandi Pooja is done before a wedding to ensure everything goes well without problems. A Kannada wedding is where God chants prayers, and peace grows from the inside.
There are many places to visit in Karnataka, each with its own story.
Karnataka has a relatively short coastline but India’s most beautiful beach. The state is in the forest, pavilion, temple, cave, beach, riverbank, lake, coffee farms, waterfalls, ruins, and other places between the west coast and the Deccan Plateau.
The state is known for its historic places, hills, wildlife sanctuary, and world heritage sites. Bangalore is at the head of the fast economic and technological development.
Some historical places in Karnataka are Mysore, Aihole, Bijapur, Badami, Hampi, Hassan, Mangalore, and Pattadakal.
Hampi was once the historical capital of the powerful Vijayanagar Empire in India. The Mysore Palace is very popular with tourists and is the second most visited place after the Taj Mahal. There are also many other palaces and buildings to see in India such as the Bangalore Palace, Tipu Sultan Mahal, and Lalita Mahal.
We also see the famous Islamic history of Bijapur, Bidar, Gulbarga, Raichur, and other parts of the state. With its round dome, Bijapur is the world’s second-largest pre-modern dome. Hampi and Pattadakal are both World Heritage Sites in Karnataka. Tipu Sultan also built the Bellary Fort to protect his people.
Karnataka is also known for the waterfalls in the Shimoga area, which have Asia’s second-largest waterfall. Malpe, Kup, Mervendhe, Karwar, Gokarn, Mudeswar, and Surendalk, all in Karnataka, have many well-known beaches. Karnataka is an absolute paradise for climbers. You can climb at Yana in Uttar Kannada, Chitradurga Fort, Ramnagar in Bengaluru, Shivgange in Tumkur, and Tekal in Kolar.
The state has many hilly areas like Agumbe, Kodachadri, Baba Budgari, Kemmanguandi, and Kudremukh. There are also other hill towns nearby such as Mullanagiri, Pushpagiri, Nandi Hill, Kundadari, Tadi, Amol, Talakavari, Mahaswara Hill, Himavad Gopalaswamy Island, and Amberguda.
There are many special places where animals are protected, called wildlife sanctuaries and national parks. Some examples of these places include Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary, Dariji Lazy Bear Sanctuary, Peacock Sanctuary in Banakpura, and many more. These places are important because they help to keep animals safe and healthy.
Karwar, Gokarna, Murudeshwar, Malpe Ullal, and Mangalore are famous places near the sea. There are three things you should see: the special lights at Mysore Palace during Dussehra, the elephant march at the Hampi festival, and the bull race at the Kambala festival.