The name Karnataka is derived
from Karunadu, literally, lofty land. As much of Karnataka
is high plateau land, the name is fully justified. The
history of Karnataka goes back to the period of the
Coastal Karnataka is about 65 km broad at its widest. A
dozen rivers flow through this coastal strip in swift
abandon, their banks swollen during the three monsoon months
(July – September) of torrential rain.
As varied as the land are its people. In Karnataka's
southern corner, amidst the hills and valleys of Coorg, live
the tall and sinewy Kodagu people whose picturesque costumes
are in striking contrast to the simpler lifestyle of the
people on the coast.
Karnataka, with its capital at Bangalore, is home to a
fascinating legacy of richly carved temples, imposing
mosques and trappings of a royal past. Mysore, the capital
of the erstwhile princely state, has a profusion of palaces
and museums. Nearby Srirangapatnam is linked to the memory
of one of the old state's best-known rulers – Tipu
Somnathpur, a few miles away, has a magnificently carved
temple. Belur and Halebid have between them a series of
carved stone temples. For perfection of finish, wealth of
detail and sheer artistry, they are unrivaled specimens of
the art of temple sculpture. Hassan, with a comfortable
hotel, makes the perfect base from which to explore the
riches of Belur and Halebid. Also a short distance away,
Shravanbelagola is famous as the pinnacle of the sculptor's
art. A figure 120 meters tall has been carved out of a
single piece of granite in 183 AD.
Area: 191,791 sq km
Languages: Spoken Kannada
People: Per Sq. km 275
Fairs and Festivals
Mysore Dassara as it is famously
called is a 10-day long festival. On the day of Dussehra, a
procession of caparisoned elephants carrying the idol of
goddess Chamundi is taken through the city. The festival is
celebrated in a grand style with scores of cultural
performances in the great Durbar Hall of the Maharaja's
While most parts of India celebrate Dussehra in
commemoration of Lord Rama's victory over the demon-king
Ravana, Karnataka celebrates it in honour of Goddess
Chamundeswari who killed the great demon, Mahishasura.
Pattadakal dance Festival
Pattadakal, ancient capital of the Chalukya's celebrates
dance festival against the backdrop of the temples.
Celebrated in the Dharmaraya temple in Nagarathapet in
April. Karaga is an earthen pot covered with flowers, which
is carried on the head by a priest dressed like a woman.
Sword brandishing devotees known as Veerakumars on a moonlit
night follow the priest in a procession. The festival
celebrates the incarnation of primordial power.
Hampi Dance & Music Festivals
The magnificent ruined city of Hampi, once the capital of
Vijaynagar Empire, comes alive once again during this lively
festival of dance and music, held in the first week of
Art and Handicraft
These highly skilled artisans engraved and inlaid their
traditional Iranian designs on to a metal alloy composed of
lead, copper, zinc and tin, which they blackened and
In both design and decoration, the artifacts were heavily
influenced by typical Islamic features of the time. The
resulting effect of the swirling silver floral motifs framed
by geometric patterns and set against black background has
since become the hallmark of Muslim metal work in India.
Mysore is one of the main centers of incense manufacture in
India. The incense sticks are hand-made usually by women and
children and a good worker can turn out at least 10000
sticks in a day.
The incense sticks are made with thin slivers of bamboo,
which is dyed red or green at one end. Then the sandalwood
putty paste is rolled onto the stick. The sticks are then
dipped into small piles of powdered perfume and laid out to
harden in the shade