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The name Karnataka is derived from Karunadu, literally lofty land. The history of Karnataka dates back to the period of epics. The capital of Bali and Sugreeva, 'Monkey Kings' of the Ramayana is said to have been Hampi in the Bellary district. In the 4'th century BC, a local dynasty Satavahana came to power and his dynasty's rule lasted nearly 300 years.
With the disintegration of the Satavahana dynasty, the Kadambas came to power in the north, and the Gangas in the south of the state. The gigantic monolithic statue of Gomateswarais considered to be the monument of the Ganga period. The Chalukyas of Badami (500 to 735 AD) ruled over a wider area, from the Narmada to the Kaveri from the days of Pulikeshi II (609 to 642 AD) who had even defeated Harshvardhana of Kannauj.
This dynasty created fine monuments at Badami, Aihole and Pattadakal, both structural and rock-cut. Aihole has been one of the cradles of temple architecture in the country. The Rastrakatas (753-973 AD) of Malkhed who succeeded them levied tribute on the rulers of Kannauj successively in the so-called Age of 'Imperial Kannauj'. Kannada literature developed in this period. Outstanding Jain scholars of India lived in their court. The Chalukyas of Kalyana (973 to 1183 AD) and their feudatories, the Hoysalas of Halebidu built fine temples, encouraged literature and fine arts. Noted jurist Vijnaneshwara (work-Mitakshara) lived at Kalyana.
The great religious leader Basaveshwara was a minister at Kalyana. Vijaynagar empire (1136 to 1646 AD) fostered indigenous traditions and encouraged arts religion and literature in Sanskrit, Kannada, Telugu and Tamil. Overseas trade flourished. The Bahamani Sultans (Capital-Gulbarga, later Bidar and Bijapur) Adilshahis raised fine Indo-Saranic buildings and encouraged Urdu and Persian literature.
Advent of the Portuguese resulted in the introduction of new crops (tobacco, chillies, potato etc.). After the fall of Peshwa (1818 AD) and Tipu (1799 AD) Karnataka came under the British. After independence, the new united Mysore State was created in 1956 and was renamed Karnataka in 1973 AD.
Major Tourist Attractions in Karnataka: Badami, Bangalore, Bijapur, Hampi, Manglore, Mysore etc.
Karnataka is the 8th largest state (by area) and 9th (by population) in the Union of India. Located on the lower West coast of India, it is one of the most industrialized states in India. Karnataka Shares it borders with Andhra Pradesh in the east, Tamil Nadu and Keraka in the south, Arabian Sea and Goa in the west and Maharastra in the north.
Karnataka is a land of fragrance - fragrance of enchanting perfume of sandal and agarbathis, the aroma of fresh roasted coffee beans, the head fragrance of the Mysore Mallige and thousands of roses blossoming. Ancient sculptured temples, magnificent palaces, ornate buildings and colourful festivals blend beautifully with the evergreen forests, golden beaches, orange groves and garden cities to form this exquisite land.
Bangalore, the capital goes by many names -- the Garden City of India, India's Manhattan and Silicon Valley. One of the most industrialized cities of the country, its pleasant climate makes it the seat of much commercial and cultural enterprise. Rich in Sandalwood, Rosewood and Silk.
It has a lot to offer than a day or two of sight seeing. Bangalore came into its own after it was converted into the summer capital of Mysore by Tipu Sultan. The Wodeyars also contributed in the city's beautification. Bangalore, is undoubtedly the trump card of Karnataka.
Karnataka possesses a rich cultural heritage. The folk theatre has an ancient and rich tradition, the two principal forms being Yakshagana and the puppet theatre.
'Yakshagana' is akin to Kathakali of Kerala in the choice of its elaborate costumes and vigorous dancing. 'BhootadaKunita' (Dance of the Divine Cult), 'Nagamandala' and the demon dance are some quaint rituals prevalent only in Dakshina Kannada coastal area.
Sravanabelagola, near Mysore, has a giant 1,000-yr-old stone statue of Bahubali, the Jain saint. Huge monolithic Jain statues are peculiar to the Kannada culture.
There are many wildlife destinations in Karnataka - Bandipur Wildlife, Dandeli Wildlife, Kabini Wildlife, Nagarhole Wildlife etc
Karnataka is famous for its aesthetic craftsmanship in sandalwood and rosewood. Eye-catching items of furniture, in-lay work, coffee tables, wall hangings etc. are worthwhile purchases. Rich silks, wooden toys, leather puppets, Bidriware and other artefacts make ideal mementos.
Time to Visit, Karnataka
Best time to visit Karnataka is September to February