Karnataka Information

Karnataka is the eight largest states in India.  It is situated on the Western edge of the Deccan plateau.  It is surrounded by Maharashtra and Goa on the North, Andhra Pradesh on the east and Tamil Nadu and Kerala on the South.  It opens out on the Arabian sea in the west.  Karnataka occupies three natural regions like the coastal strip, the sahyadris and the Deccan Plateau.  They are known in Kanada as Parchima Kararali, Malnad and Maldan respectively.

One of the four states of South India, Karnataka, is described as the true home of unequal splendid earnestness. In a 7-century Tamil work, Shilappadikaram, people of this land of great fortune are referred to as Karunatakars.  Ancient records also tell about its popularly used name Kuntala and Banavasidesha.

Karnataka has chains of mountains, the highest being the Mullayyana Giri.  The Sahyadri is covered by evergreen forests.  They drop abruptly towards the Arabian Sea, thus forming a natural barrier between the plateau and the coastal regions.  The plateau region is drained by the two principal rivers namely the Krishna and the Kavari.  The average elevation of Plateau is about 610 metres above sea-level with mountains, plateaus and a lush coastal region, Karnataka is indeed a land of great geographical diversity.

The word Karnataka is derived from Karu (elevated) and nadu (land).  The state is a bizarre landscape with log range of Western Ghats, rising in the Nilgiri hills to over 2500m and a long coastline (360km) by the Arabian Sea. Three rivers originate in the soaring Western Ghats, Cauvery,Tungabhadra and the Krishna. Snugly located on the Deccan Plateau, sloping to the east, the state is surrounded by Maharashtra and Goa in the north, the states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu in the south, Andhra Pradesh in the east and the Arabian Sea in the west.  The Western Ghats with beautiful forests has thundering waterfalls and wildlife parks.  To the east lies the famous Mysore. In the north, outcrops of granite stone interspersed with tiny patches of bright green paddy break the monotony of this otherwise barren part of the state.

We know that the Mauryas ruled over the major part of what is now Karnataka in third century BC.  The satarahanas ruled Karnataka for nearly 300 years after the Mauryas.  They were followed by a series of dynasties including the kadambas, the Gangas and the Pallavas. After the 13th century, the Vijayanagar Empire flourished.  This was a period of great wealth and prosperity of the region.  The Vijayanagar Empire started to decline by the end of 16th century and the Moguls then dominated the region until the British took control in 1799.  When India became independent Karnataka was known as Mysore state.  There was some reorganization of territories in 1953 and 1956.  Modern Karnataka came into existence as a state of the Indian union in 1973.

Studded with numerous shrines of Hindu and other religious faiths like Jain, Muslim and Christian, all bear testimony to the rich cultured heritage of the state.  The famous dynasties like Chalukyas, Rashtrakutas, Hoysalas, the Vijayanagar kings, Nayakas and Wodiyars, ruled over this land and have left their mark through glorious monuments that take you centuries back in time.  The majestic ruins of the last great Hindu empire of Vijayanagar at Hampi with its fine stone sculptures of Gods, demons, dancers, and animals will just amaze you.  The exquisite temple complex at Pattadakal is also a World Heritage Site besides Hampi.  The cave temples of Badami, the rock cut caves of Aihole, the Gol Gumbaz in Bijapur, and the colossus gomateshwara Statue at Sravanabelagola provide evidence of the state's fascinating historical heritage.

Karnataka Tourism Information

There are destinations for adventure enthusiasts with an abundance of wildlife and national parks, sports like fishing, rafting, canoeing, windsurfing and rock climbing.  The hill stations of the state like Coorg, Chikmagalur and others have a unique charm with coffee plantations, waterfalls and trekking trails surrounded by dense forests.  The unspoilt beaches like Karwar and Malpe dotting its vast coastline and scores of temples are quite inspiring. The festival, Mysore Dasara lasting for 10 days and the varied art forms bespeak of the state's rich and vibrant cultural background.  Silk, sandalwood, spices and coffee, this land boasts of a multitude of charming contrasts.  Its exquisite handicrafts, ethic gold and silver jewellery, finger licking cuisine and its touching hospitality lend it a unique touch.  The booming capital, Bangalore, as one of South Asia's most cosmopolitan and progressive cities is a major IT hub and abounds in pubs and nightclubs.  The seat of the erstwhile Maharajas, Mysore, with its magnificent palaces, majestic bukldings and gardens is the leading tourist destination. Hospitality is exceptionally well endowed with hotels belonging to national and international chains, exclusive business hotels and sufficient budget accommodation.  Convention, conference and communication facilities are at par with the best in the world.  Resturants everywhere offer a microcosm of traditional Indian, local and world's cuisine.  Popular brands of liquor and beer can be bought over the counters at all places in Karnataka.  Modern medical facilities are available in abundance and in fact, Karnataka has emerged as the centre for super specialty medical services and healthcare.  There are educational institutes of international repute in the state.  You are assured of your personal safety in this clean and safe state.

The new Bengaluru international Airport is a state of the art facility that is the country’s first green field into the national airport.  Green field airports are those that are built from scratch in a new location. Bengaluru International Airport is surrounded by some of the most eco friendly settlements and no development will be allowed on the natural river valleys in the area. Bengaluru is the fifth largest city in India.  It is located 1000 metres above the sea level and has a refreshing climate.  Bengaluru is a perfect blend of natural beauty man made marvels and technology.   It is often called the silicon valley of India, because of the large number of software companies that have set up shop and operate out of state art facilities. 

Bengaluru plays host to international class conferences, workshops and exhibitions devoted to the software cause. Mysore is often called the city of palaces.  It was the capital of the former rulers of Mysore state and contains many architectural gems.   Mysore is the second largest city in the state of Karnataka and it is famous for the festivals that take place during the Dassera every year.  Besides its numerous palaces and royal building.  Mysore city is also known for proximity to several other places of interest such s srirangapatna, Krishnaraja sagar Dam and Shivarasamudra falls.  In addition to its many attractions, Mysore city is also famous for its sandal wood products. Karnataka has a district culture that reflects its glorious past and vibrant present.  In dance, art, sculpture, literature and classical music.  Karnataka leads the way.  It has the oldest literary tradition among the Dravidian languages.  Evidence of this is found in the 9th century treatise on poetry called the kavirajamarga where reference are made to earlier writings the three gems of Kannada literature are the poets pampa, ponna and Ranna.  They lived during the 10th and 12th centuries.

Climate

Karnataka is south of the Tropic of Cancer.  The high ranging Sahyadri belt especially Medikeri and Chikmagalur receives heavy rainfall, averaging about 5000mm annually by the southwest monsoon during June-September.  The coastal belt in the Western Ghats constituting Mangalore, Udupi and Karwar is also subjected to heavy rainfall, about 1500mm in June and July alone.  The region east of the Western Ghats comprising mainly of Mysore, Bangalore, Hassan Chikmagalur, Dharwad, Belgaum gets an average annual rainfall of 1500-2500mm.  The southern plateau region, the district of Chitradurga, entire Kolar and part of Tumkur is almost a dry area receiving average rainfall of about 1200mm annually.  The northern region of Belgaum, Gulbarga, and Dharwad is subjected to an average rainfall between 600mm in the east and northeast to 100mm in the west.  On the coastal side and the Ghats, it is highly humid.

Areas located over an altitude of 1000m above sea level are noticeably pleasant and in winter (November-January), hills stations at a height of 2000m and above experience from at night. Temperature rise to 40°C at times in April-June in the central and northern part of the state, the vast plane region towards the east from the Ghats but fall slightly afterwards.  In the coastal region, it feels really sticky after the monsoon rains though temperatures fall considerably.  The region especially around Bangalore and Mysore temperatures rise to the high to 33°C-35°C during March-May but the night temperature is pleasant enough throughout the year.  The mean winter temperature across the state is around 26°C-29°C.

Heritage & Architecture

Karnataka boasts a rich history marked by the footprints of a multitude of regions, cultures and kingdoms.  The profusion of historical monuments across the state evokes memories of the grandeur of a bygone era.  No wonder then that Karnataka has been called the 'Cradle of Stone Architecture' in India.  The magnificent temple architecture of the Chalukyas in Karnataka derives much from its northern Hindu relations.  The early temple architecture is evident in the exquisite temples at Aihole, Badami and Pattadakal. The 12-century Hoysala style of architecture finds expression in the temples of Halebidu, Belur and Somnathpur.  The quality of the stone craftsmanship was at its peakduring this period.  Temples at Hampi mark the 15th century Vijayanagar period.  The areas of Karnataka once in Nizam's domain have some excellent Indo-Saracenic monuments at Bidar and Gulbarga.  The stately forts, domes and minarets of Bijapur seem to be inspired by the austere style of the Turkish rulers.  The Mysore Palace designed by the English architect Henry Irwin is a signature of the ancient capital of Tipu sultan and the Wodiyars.  Of these many other peerless wonders, sites at Hampi and Pattadakal are the renowned world Heritage Sites.

Carnatic music is different from that of the Hindustani music.  The stringed tanpura, the mridangam, the ghatam violins usually accompany a vocal music recital.  Karnataka has a particularly rich cultre of the folk theatre.  The most famous forms are yakshangana, which features a single narrator and Bayalata, which has multiple narrative voices.   The lesser known forms are the Dasarata and sannata and Dodatta.  A very famous craft of Karnataka is bidriware. Originally produced in the town of Bidar this metal craft is made by inlaying silver or gold in blackened metal.  Is it any wonder then that Karnataka is considered to be a cultural treasure house.

The Hoysalas were a race of warriors who found time to allow their art to flourish despite regular military campaigns. What remains of this once-powerful dynasty are beautiful temples, usually commissioned to commemorate their victories or covenants made with their gods. Situated at the edge of the Western Ghats, the existing temples of the once-powerful cities of Belur and Halebid are often referred to as the “Jewel Boxes” of Hoysala architecture, and are comparable with the religious monuments of Khajuraho (in Madhya Pradesh) and Konark (in Orissa). The artists who created these compact, assiduously sculpted temples demonstrated enormous regard for the rules of proportion, and went to extreme lengths to ensure absolute spatial precision. Exterior temple walls are invariably covered in detailed sculpted decoration, while inside you will discover hand-lathe-turned filigreed pillars and figures with moveable jewelry, also carved from stone. The gods paraded at these temples are over 8 centuries old, yet continue to impress with the vigor with which they carry out their superhuman duties, slaying demons and moving mountains, while celestial maidens admire their reflections in eternally reflecting mirrors. In quite a different vein, the living pilgrimage center at Sravanabelagola is where you will find the world’s tallest monolithic sculpture. The statue of Gomateswara, a naked ascetic saint, is the object of one of the biggest Jain pilgrimages in the country— lacking any decoration whatsoever, yet awesome in its sheer grandeur. To see these highlights of Karnataka’s religious heritage, you have to veer off the main drag a little. Fortunately, if you’re pressed for time, it is possible to cover all three destinations with ease in a single day.

Karnataka Temples Architecture

The old tradition of art and culture in Karnataka is revealed in the architectural forms of its numerous exquisite temples.  The cultural strains migrating from the north are manifestedin its art and architecture.  The illustrious rules particularly the great Chalukyas of the Vijayanagar Empire have left behind incredible monuments in the form of temples.

Although the history of Indian religious development is very old but the development of temple styles in the south was a late starter.  Most of the existing temples of today have myths associated to justify their existence in the eyes of devotees.  The story will generally include the miraculous discovery of the site and adventures of the deity and how the sorrows of those who worshipped here were mitigated and the boons granted.  The Hindu temple architecture repeatedly expresses these  beliefs shared by the millions of visiting pilgrims.  Karnataka's role as a border territory was illustrated in the exemplary architecture of the Chalukyas, who derived much from its neighbouring kingdoms of the north.

The shape of the spire in the earlier temples built by the Chalukyas at Aihole, Badami and Pattadakal is a divergence of two styles of Hindu temple.  The contact with the north of India brought along the Nagara style.  One can see the examples in Pattadakal alone where four temples are built on the Nagara principles and six on the south Indian Dravidian lines.  In the north, shikhara or vimana was a smooth pyramidal structure, rising to a rounded top with a sharp end, whereas in the Dravidian line, vimana is more like a stepped pyramid, usually square in plan and had at its top a rounded cupola.  Later a new composite style evolved in the 12 century during the reign of Hoysalas.  The temples had a high star shaped platform, providing in ambulatory around a pillared hall with highly polished lathe turned and intricately carved columns and parallel bands of around the exterior walls.  The Itagi Temple in the Koppal district is a fine example of this style.

The 15 century Vijayanagar empire temples were carved out in harmony with the rocks, the flat roofed halls having numerous distinctive highly sculpted pillars.  These reflected a synthesis of Cholas, Pandyas, Chalukyas and Hoysala styles.  Within the temple complex tere were several shrines to different deities in the courtyard and the one usually to the northewest of the central temple housed the consort of the main deity.  A large pillared open mandapa, Kalyana mandapa, is provided close to the east entrance.  The Vijayanagar temple has a high gateway of granite up to the lintel, and the super structure is of brick, wood and stucco. The tradition of building gopurams in each of the four enclosure walls and the use of horse motifs mark the Vijayanagar temple style.  he finest example is the temple in front of the Virupaksha at Hampi and the temples of Hazara Rama, Vithala and Krishna.

Geography

The state of Karnataka covers an area of 1,91,791 sq km having a lush 320km along coastline.  It likes between 11.5°, 18.5° north latitude, 74°C, and 78.5° east longitude.  With Maharashtra to its north, Kerala and Tamil Nadu to its south, Andhra Pradesh to its east, the state is open to the Arabian Sea to the west.

Topographically the state can be divided into three parts - the coastal region with Mangaloe as a major plateau part, sloping to the east.  Dakshina Kannada, Mangalore and Karwar with its rich paddy fields and coconut plantations are a major constituent of the coastal belt.  The Ghats run from north to south and the height ranges between 610-915m.  To the south, the Nilgiri Hills overlap the Ghats and they rise to a height 1830-2440m above sea level.  Nethravathi, Sharavati and Kali are the prominent rivers emanating from the Western Ghats.  This high ranging region is thickly forested with teak and sandalwood.  Plantations of coffee, areca nut, pepper, and cardamom abound in its evergreen valleys.  This region mainly comprises of the district Kodagu.

The 30-50m wide sub Sahyadriyan range stretches from Nippani in the north to Mysore in the south. Districts of Belgaum, Dharwad, Chikmagalur, Hassan, Mysore and Shimoga are situated in this region. The southern plateau consists mainly of Mandya, Chitradurga, Kolar and parts of Tumkur and Bangalore district and has red soil topography.  This region is known for horticulture.  The northern area has deposits of iron, manganese and limestone.  This region is known also for its crops in pulses and horticulture.  It comprises of the districts of Raichur, Bijapur, Bellary, Gulburga and Bidar.

Rivers

Two major rivers Cauvery, Krishna and their tributaries flow through this state.  These rivers have their origin in the Ghats and reach the sea in the Bay of Bengal.  the tributaries in the north of Krishna and Cauvery in the south like Bhima, Malaprabha, Ghataprabha, Tungabhadra, Kabini, Hemavathi, Shimsha, and the Harangi irrigate the major parts of Karnataka.

The rivers Palar and Pennar irrigating the eastern parts of the state are among other important rivers. Sharavathi and Kalinadi rivers are also prominent.

The Tungabhadra Dam near Hospet and the dams raised on river Krishnaat Alamatti and Narayanpur are among India's biggest projects.

Karnataka General Information

Capital
The capital of Karnataka is Bengaluru.
Districts
There are 27 districts in this state.
Language
The principal languages spoken by this people are Kannada.
State Bird
Indian Roller is this states animal.
State Animal
Indian Elephant is this states animal.
State flower
Lotus is this state flower.