Karnataka is a state in south western region of India. It was formed on 1 November 1956, with the passage of the States Reorganisation Act. Originally known as the State of Mysore, it was renamed Karnataka in 1973.The capital and largest city is Bangalore (Bengaluru). Karnataka is bordered by the Arabian Sea and the Laccadive Sea to the west, Goa to the north west, Maharashtra to the north, Telangana to the North east, Andhra Pradesh to the east, Tamil Nadu to the south east, and Kerala to the south west. The state covers an area of 191,976 square kilometres (74,122 sq mi), or 5.83 per cent of the total geographical area of India. It is the seventh largest Indian state by area. With 61,130,704 inhabitants at the 2011 census, Karnataka is the eighth largest state by population, comprising 30 districts. Kannada is the most widely spoken and official language of the state.


Karnataka’s pre-history goes back to a paleolithic hand-axe culture evidenced by discoveries of, among other things, hand axes and cleavers in the region.Evidence of neolithic and megalithic cultures have also been found in the state. Gold discovered in Harappa was found to be imported from mines in Karnataka, prompting scholars to hypothesise about contacts between ancient Karnataka and the Indus Valley Civilisation ca. 3300 BCE.Prior to the third century BCE, most of Karnataka formed part of the Nanda Empire before coming under the Mauryan empire of Emperor Ashoka. Four centuries of Satavahana rule followed, allowing them to control large areas of Karnataka. The decline of Satavahana power led to the rise of the earliest native kingdoms, the Kadambas and the Western Gangas, marking the region’s emergence as an independent political entity. The Kadamba Dynasty, founded by Mayurasharma, had its capital at Banavasi; the Western Ganga Dynasty was formed with Talakad as its capital.These were also the first kingdoms to use Kannada in administration, as evidenced by the Halmidi inscription and a fifth-century copper coin discovered at Banavasi.These dynasties were followed by imperial Kannada empires such as the Badami Chalukyas,the Rashtrakuta Empire of Manyakheta and the Western Chalukya Empire,which ruled over large parts of the Deccan and had their capitals in what is now Karnataka. The Western Chalukyas patronised a unique style of architecture and Kannada literature which became a precursor to the Hoysala art of 12th century.Parts of modern-day Southern Karnataka (Gangavadi) were occupied by the Chola Empire at the turn of 11th century.The Cholas and the Hoysalas fought over the region in the early 12th century before it eventually came under Hoysala rule.At the turn of the first millennium, the Hoysalas gained power in the region. Literature flourished during this time, which led to the emergence of distinctive Kannada literary metres, and the construction of temples and sculptures adhering to the Vesara style of architecture.The expansion of the Hoysala Empire brought minor parts of modern Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu under its rule. In the early 14th century, Harihara and Bukka Raya established the Vijayanagara empire with its capital, Hosapattana (later named Vijayanagara), on the banks of the Tungabhadra River in the modern Bellary district. The empire rose as a bulwark against Muslim advances into South India, which it completely controlled for over two centuries.
In 1565, Karnataka and the rest of South India experienced a major geopolitical shift when the Vijayanagara empire fell to a confederation of Islamic sultanates in the Battle of Talikota.The Bijapur Sultanate, which had risen after the demise of the Bahmani Sultanate of Bidar, soon took control of the Deccan; it was defeated by the Moghuls in the late 17th century.The Bahamani and Bijapur rulers encouraged Urdu and Persian literature and Indo-Saracenic architecture, the Gol Gumbaz being one of the high points of this style.During the sixteenth century, Konkani Hindus migrated to Karnataka, mostly from Salcette, Goa,while during the seventeenth and eighteenth century, Goan Catholics migrated to South Canara, especially from Bardes, Goa, as a result of food shortages, epidemics and heavy taxation imposed by the Portuguese.In the period that followed, parts of northern Karnataka were ruled by the Nizam of Hyderabad, the Maratha Empire, the British, and other powers.In the south, the Mysore Kingdom, a former vassal of the Vijayanagara Empire, was briefly independent.With the death of Krishnaraja Wodeyar II, Haidar Ali, the commander-in-chief of the Mysore army, gained control of the region. After his death, the kingdom was inherited by his son Tippu Sultan.To contain European expansion in South India, Haidar Ali and later Tippu Sultan fought four significant Anglo-Mysore Wars, the last of which resulted in Tippu Sultan’s death and the incorporation of Mysore into the British Raj in 1799.The Kingdom of Mysore was restored to the Wodeyars and Mysore remained a princely state under the British Raj.As the “doctrine of lapse” gave way to dissent and resistance from princely states across the country, Kittur Chennamma, Sangolli Rayanna and others spearheaded rebellions in Karnataka in 1830, nearly three decades before the Indian Rebellion of 1857. Other uprisings followed, such as the ones at Supa, Bagalkot, Shorapur, Nargund and Dandeli. These rebellions — which coincided with the Indian Rebellion of 1857 – were led by Mundargi Bhimarao, Bhaskar Rao Bhave, the Halagali Bedas, Raja Venkatappa Nayaka and others. By the late 19th century, the independence movement had gained momentum; Karnad Sadashiva Rao, Aluru Venkata Raya, S. Nijalingappa, Kengal Hanumanthaiah, Nittoor Srinivasa Rau and others carried on the struggle into the early 20th century.After India’s independence, the Maharaja, Jayachamarajendra Wodeyar, allowed his kingdom’s accession to India. In 1950, Mysore became an Indian state of the same name; the former Maharaja served as its Rajpramukh (head of state) until 1975. Following the long-standing demand of the Ekikarana Movement, Kodagu- and Kannada-speaking regions from the adjoining states of Madras, Hyderabad and Bombay were incorporated into the Mysore state, under the States Reorganisation Act of 1956. The thus expanded state was renamed Karnataka, seventeen years later, in 1973.In the early 1900s through the post-independence era, industrial visionaries such as Sir Mokshagundam Visvesvarayya born in Muddenahalli, Chikballapur District played an important role in the development of Karnataka’s strong manufacturing and industrial base.



Elephants are large mammals of the family Elephantidae and the order Proboscidea. Two species are traditionally recognised, the African elephant (Loxodonta africana) and the Asian elephant (Elephas maximus), although some evidence suggests that African bush elephants and African forest elephants are separate species (L. africana and L. cyclotis respectively). Elephants are scattered throughout sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and Southeast Asia. Elephantidae is the only surviving family of the order Proboscidea; other, now extinct, members of the order include deinotheres, gomphotheres, mammoths, and mastodons. Male African elephants are the largest extant terrestrial animals and can reach a height of 4 m (13 ft) and weigh 7,000 kg (15,000 lb). All elephants have several distinctive features, the most notable of which is a long trunk or proboscis, used for many purposes, particularly breathing, lifting water and grasping objects.

Indian roller

The Indian roller (Coracias benghalensis), is a member of the roller family of birds. They are found widely across tropical Asia stretching from Iraq eastward across the Indian Subcontinent to Indochina and are best known for the aerobatic displays of the male during the breeding season. They are very commonly seen perched along roadside trees and wires and are commonly seen in open grassland and scrub forest habitats. It is not migratory, but undertakes some seasonal movements. The largest populations of the species are within India, and Several states in India have chosen it as their state bird.



Sandalwood is the name of a class of woods from trees in the genus Santalum. The woods are heavy, yellow, and fine-grained, and unlike many other aromatic woods, they retain their fragrance for decades. Sandalwood oil is extracted from the woods for use. Both the wood and the oil produce a distinctive fragrance that has been highly valued for centuries. Consequently, species of these slow-growing trees have suffered over-harvesting in the past century.


Nelumbo nucifera, also known as Indian lotus, sacred lotus, bean of India, or simply lotus, is one of two species of aquatic plant in the family Nelumbonaceae. The Linnaean binomial Nelumbo nucifera (Gaertn.) is the currently recognized name for this species, which has been classified under the former names, Nelumbium speciosum (Willd.) and Nymphaea nelumbo, among others. (These names are obsolete synonyms and should be avoided in current works.) This plant is an aquatic perennial. Under favorable circumstances its seeds may remain viable for many years, with the oldest recorded lotus germination being from that of seeds 1,300 years old recovered from a dry lakebed in northeastern China.

Mangaluru and Bengaluru are the only two cities in the state that have International flights operating from their airports. Bengaluru International Airport BIAL is host to 9 domestic airlines and 19 international airlines and Lufthansa, British Airways, Air France, Singapore Airlines and Malaysia Airlines, connecting the city to almost 50 destinations across India and the world. With Bengaluru being the ‘IT capital’ of India, the air traffic to this city has increased manifold.Mangalore International Airport on the other hand connects 7 international destinations which includes Dubai, Bahrain, Qatar, Dammam, Kuwait, Abu Dhabi, Muscat and domestic destinations like Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Calicut, Chennai. Mangalore International Airport has recorded 21% annual growth in passenger traffic making it the 2nd fastest growing airport in the country.Belgaum Airport is the Oldest Airport in North Karnataka .Belgaum Airport has Domestic flights to Bangalore and Mumbai.Hubballi Airport also has domestic air services to Bangalore. Besides these, there are airports at Bellary Airport and Bidar Airport that do not have any air service. In addition, there are private airstrips at Sedam Airport, Koppal Airport and Harihar Airport.Kalburgi Airport, Bijapur Airport and Shivamogga Airport, built under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) model, was opened for commercial use by July 2013.

The total length of rail track in Karnataka is 3089 km For a long time after independence, the railway network in the state was under the Southern and Western railway zones which were headquartered at Chennai and Mumbai respectively. The South Western Zone, headquartered at Hubballi was created in 2003 thus fulfilling a long-standing demand of the state. Several parts of the state now come under this zone with the remaining being under Southern Railways. Coastal Karnataka is covered under the Konkan railway network, a project that is regarded as one of the feats of Indian engineering and included the construction of a bridge of length 2,023 metres (6,637 ft) across the river Sharavathi at Honnavar and a tunnel of length 2,960 metres (9,711 ft) at Karwar. Bengaluru, the capital city, is extensively connected with inter-state destinations while other important cities and towns in the state are not so well-connected.The train connectivity within Karnataka has improved since K.H.Muniyappa,Member of Parliament from Kolar constituency has been the Union Minister of State for Railways.Karnataka has 1 major port; the New Mangaluru Port and 10 minor ports; Karwar, Belekeri, Tadri, Honnavara, Bhatkal, Kundapur, Hangarkatta, Malpe, Padubidri and Old Mangaluru.The construction of the New Mangaluru Port was started in 1962 and completed in 1974. It was incorporated as the 9th major port in India on 4 May 1974. This port handled 32.04 million tonnes of traffic in the fiscal year 2006-07 with 17.92 million tonnes of imports and 14.12 million tonnes of exports.This was actually a slowdown in traffic at this port compared to the previous fiscal year mainly due to the reduction in iron ore exports from the Kudremukha Iron Ore Company limited. The port also handled 1015 vessels including 18 cruise vessels during the year 2006-07.The sector of Inland water transport within the rivers of Karnataka is not well-developed.
Among the network of roads in Karnataka, 3973 km. of roads are National Highways.[8] Karnataka also has state highways of length 9829 km. The road from Bengaluru to Mysuru (State Highway 17) is also well maintained and equal to the standard of a National Highway.

The public bus transport in Karnataka is managed by the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC). It was set up in 1961 with the objective of providing adequate, efficient, economic and properly coordinated road transport services.It operates 5100 schedules using 5400 vehicles covering 1.95 million kilometres and an average of 2.2 million passengers daily. About 25000 people are employed in KSRTC.For better management of public transport, KSRTC was bifurcated into three Corporations viz., Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation, Bengaluru on 15th Aug 1997, North-west Karnataka Road Transport Corporation, Hubballi on 1st Nov 1997 and North-East Karnataka Road Transport Corporation, Gulbarga on 1st Oct 2000. The reservation system is networked and computerised and tickets can be availed at designated kiosks in towns and cities. An online reservation system called AWATAR has also been devised by KSRTC using which travellers can reserve tickets online. KSRTC plies various categories of buses viz. Airavat Club-Class (high-end luxury Volvo, Scania, Mercedes-Benz multi-axle AC buses),Airavat (high-end luxury Volvo and Mercedes Benz AC buses),Ambaari(Corona AC and non AC Sleeper buses), Rajahamsa Executive (Deluxe buses built on Leyland, Eicher and Tata chassis), Karnataka Vaibhav (Semi-Deluxe buses built on Leyland, Eicher and Tata chassis), Karnataka Saarige (Bus service linking rural areas to major settlements as well as the cheapest alternative for inter-city or town routes. The buses are built on Tata and Leyland chassis). Grameena Sarige is another initiative by KSRTC to provide bus service to the rural populace of the state.



The cuisine of Karnataka includes many vegetarian and non-vegetarian cuisines. The Kannada Cuisine is one of the oldest surviving cuisines and traces its origin to Iron Age – ragi and is mentioned in the historical works by Pampa Maha Kavi, sushrutha, etc. The varieties of the karnataka cuisine has influenced the neighbouring states like Tamil Nadu, Andhra pradesh, Kerala and Maharashtra. The cuisine also reflects influences from the food habits of many regions and communities from the three neighbouring South Indian states, as well as the state of Maharashtra to its north. Some typical dishes include Bisi bele bath, Jolada rotti, Chapati, Ragi rotti, Akki rotti, Saaru, Idli-vada Sambar, Vangi Bath, Khara Bath, Kesari Bath, Davanagere Benne Dose, Ragi mudde, Paddu/ Gundponglu, koli saaru (chicken curry- Kannada Style), Maamsa Saaru (Mutton Curry – Kannada style), and Uppittu.

Arts and Crafts

Arts and crafts of Karnataka always have been an inseparable part of people’s life. Karnataka is among those states that still employ traditional methods for producing their arts and crafts. In yesteryears as well, Karnataka has been the hallmark of excellence in craftsmanship. This is evident form the numerous temples that are present in Karnataka. They are living examples portraying the skills that the people of that era possessed. The magic of hands has been passed down to the younger generation and that is visible in the paintings and other art works. It is not one place that is excelling in this aspect, almost every part of Karnataka is famous for one thing or the other. Like Mysore is renowned for its paintings and silk apparels whereas Udupi is famous for its metal works.



Karnataka is the only Indian state where both Hindustani and Carnatic singers flourish. North Karnataka is predominantly famous for Hindustani music and South Karnataka is well known for Carnatic music.With the rise of Vaishnavism and the Haridasa movement came Karnataka composers like Purandaradasa, whose Kannada language works were lucid, devotional and philosophical and hence appealing to the masses. Other haridasas of medieval times were Kanakadasa, Vyasatirtha, Jayatirtha, Sripadaraya, Vadirajatirtha etc., who composed several devara nama.Karnataka has achieved a prominent place in the world of Hindustani music as well. Several of Karnataka’s Hindustani musicians won the Kalidas Sanman, Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan awards. Some famous performers are Gangubai Hangal,Puttaraj Gawai, Pt. Bhimsen Joshi,Pt. Mallikarjun Mansur,Basavaraj Rajguru,Sawai Gandharva and Kumar GandharvaYakshagana a form of dance drama is one of the major theatrical forms in coastal Karnataka.


The dances of Karnataka are a reflection of the rich cultural milieu of the state. Dances belonging to both folk and classical genres have a flourishing presence in different parts of the state. While the many indigenous communities of Karnataka have preserved and nurtured their folk dance forms, the state also boasts of a thriving presence of Indian classical dances.The rural areas of Karnataka are a vast repository of colourful folk dances and dance-dramas. Dollu Kunitha dance is unique for its religious aspect and is associated with the worship of the deity of Beereshwara. On the other hand, Yakshagana is a folk theatre that features actors enacting stories from epics and puranas.Classical dances too enjoy a firm foothold in the state of Karnataka. The much-acclaimed dance of Bharatanatyam has taken root in the state in the form of Mysore Bharatanatyam. With its striking facial expressions and graceful hand movements, Bharatanatyam occupies the pride of place in the realm of Indian classical dances.