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Karnataka

Karnataka

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Karnataka Situated in the southern part of India, the province of Karnataka spreads over the Deccan Plateau. At 300B.C., it had formed the southern tip of Mauryan empire. Its boundaries enlarged or receded swaying to the drum beats of history & today it accounts for a sixteenth area of India & has a population of about 45 million. Its language is Kannada & its people are known askannadigas. The three distinct regions are a narrow coastal area along Arabian Sea; high hills, the Western Ghats; & sprawling plains towards the east.

The name of the land Karnataka has come from `Kari-nadu` meaning the land of black soil say the scholars, & some others hold that `Karunadu` also means beautiful country; either way the land is celebrated as beautiful throughout its ancient literature.

The water-soaked western strip across the Arabian sea is humid & warm in summer, water-soaked in monsoon, profuse with coconut grooves & paddy fields criss crossed by strips of silvery streams & sparkling stretches of sand.

The hilly uplands of Malnad, One of the wettest regions of the world, where the bamboo flourishes wild & areca, teak, rosewood & matti are grown. It is also the home of the stately gaur & langur. In its southern reaches frequent kheddas are held to capture roaming groups of elephants. Also the swift deer & the deadly tiger, whose eyes burning bright in forest night roam animatedly in the forests.

The east of the ghats is strikingly bare. This elevated stretch is supposed to be the oldest land on the earth where ancient rocks of earth are seen jutting in & out odd shapes. Rivers like Cauvrey, Sharavathi & Ghataprabha pass through upgraded valleys & resulting in water-falls & occasional rapids. The torrental fall of these rivers have been harnessed to generate hydro-electric power in an area where black coal is scarce.

Karnataka popularly known for Carnatic Music through out the World has given much more to the World than Carnatic Music, a unique form of Classical Music patroned by many across the continents. Karnataka with all its Richness in Culture and Traditional Grandeur is also one of the fastest growing States in terms of Industries and Facilities. Karnataka is also known as the Capital of Agarbathi (Incense Sticks), Arecanut, Silk, Coffee and Sandal Wood. All this is apart from the fact that it has been the Culture Center for hundreds of years and its testimony stands spread across the State pulling millions of Tourists from all parts of the World to Karnataka. Whose richness and hospitality can only be felt and never explained better

Tourism in Karnataka 
By virtue of its varied geography and long history, Karnataka hosts numerous spots of interest for tourists. There is an array of ancient sculptured temples, modern cities, scenic hill ranges, unexplored forests and endless beaches. Karnataka has been ranked as the fourth most popular destination for tourism among the states of India.[103] Karnataka has the second highest number of nationally protected monuments in India, second only to Uttar Pradesh,[104] in addition to 752 monuments protected by the State Directorate of Archaeology and Museums. Another 25,000 monuments are yet to receive protection.

The districts of the Western ghats and the southern districts of the state have popular eco-tourism locations including Kudremukh, Madikeri and Agumbe. Karnataka has 25 wildlife sanctuaries and five national parks. Popular among them are Bandipur National Park, Bannerghatta National Park and Nagarhole National Park. The ruins of the Vijayanagara Empire at Hampi and the monuments of Pattadakal are on the list of UNESCO's World Heritage Sites. The cave temples at Badami and the rock-cut temples at Aihole representing the Badami Chalukyan style of architecture are also popular tourist destinations. The Hoysala temples at Belur and Halebidu, which were built with Chloritic schist (soap stone) are proposed UNESCO World Heritage sites.[106] The Gol Gumbaz and Ibrahim Rauza are famous examples of the Deccan Sultanate style of architecture. The monolith of Gomateshwara at Shravanabelagola is the tallest sculpted monolith in the world, attracting tens of thousands of pilgrims during the Mahamastakabhisheka festival.

Jog after mansoon.

Jog Falls are one of the highest waterfalls in IndiaThe waterfalls of Karnataka and Kudremukh National Park are listed as must-see places and among the "1001 Natural Wonders of the World".[108]. Jog Falls is India's tallest single-tiered waterfall with Unchalli Falls, Magod Falls, Abbey Falls and Shivanasamudra Falls among other popular waterfalls. Several popular beaches dot the coastline including Murudeshwara, Gokarna and Karwar. In addition, Karnataka is home to several places of religious importance. Several Hindu temples including the famous Udupi Krishna Temple, the Marikamba Temple at Sirsi , the Sri Manjunatha Temple at Dharmasthala and Sharadamba Temple at Sringeri attract pilgrims from all over India. Most of the holy sites of Lingayats, like Kudalasangama and Basavana Bagewadi, are found in northern parts of the state. Shravanabelagola, Mudabidri and Karkala are famous for Jain history and monuments. The Jaina faith had a stronghold in Karnataka in the early medieval period with Shravanabelagola as its most important center.

Recently Karnataka has emerged as a hot spot for health care tourism. Karnataka has the highest number of approved health systems and alternative therapies in India. Along with some ISO certified government-owned hospitals, private institutions which provide international-quality services have caused the health care industry to grow by 30% during 2004-05. Hospitals in Karnataka treat around 8,000 health tourists every year.

Music & Dance

Karnataka has the second largest numbers of inscriptions in the whole of India. Beginning from the Asokan edicts(B.C.300) to the inscriptions of the Rajas of Vijayanagar, they are legion. "Hero-stones" and sculptured panels proliferate throughout the land. Karnataka is popularly , perhaps rightly, known as the birth place of Indian music. The most unique feature of Karnataka is that this is the only province where both the main styles of Indian Music (Karnatak and Hindustani) prevail side by side. While in the north of Tungabhadra, is wedded to the Karnatak system. The term Karnatak music does not mean music of this state, but denoted a broad tradition with distinctive features of articulation and grammar which regin supreme in all the four southern states- Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

Karnataka has also played a very significant part in the development of lakshana(theory). It may appear paradoxical that some of the great stalwarts of the Hinidustani tradition today are from north Karnataka. Mansoor, Bhimsen, Joshi, Rajguru, Hangal, to name a few, are top notch artisits in the Hindustani style. As for Karnataka music, even in the post-Tyagaraja period, under the patronage of the WodeyarsSadashiva Rao, Muthiah Bhagavatar and the incomparableVasudevacharya composed hundreds of Keertanas of exquisite beauty. 

Old Mysore is know, as the beehive of Vynikas. The legendary Veene Sheshanna who was one of the greatest Vynikas played on half a dozen other instruments too. It is said of him that if you gave him a log of wood and a thick rope he would produce melodies out of them. He was also a great composer (Vaggeyakara)as he produced more than 50 incomparable compositions of his own (swara Jathis, Varnas, Keerthanas and bejwelled, ornagte, lilt-laden Tillanas of titillating quality), Bidaram Krishnappa was a musician par-excellence. His disciple T.Chowdaiah, the famed 7-stringed violinist was considered a genius of the music world. To sing at Mysore was a stamp of respectability and even famed northern musicians Nattan Khan, Fiaz Khan, Abbas Khan, Barakatula Khan, Gohar Jan and Indubala were eager to perform at Mysore durbart. Ustad Vilayat Hussian Khan stayed for a decade in Mysore as a guest of the durbar. They were all Asthan-Vidwans. As regardsMusicology(lakshana) the greatest number of texts were contributed by Kannadigas whose domain extended even to Akbar`s durbar.Someswara, Sarangadeva, Kallinatha, Ramamatya, Adilshah (Emperor of Bijapur) Pundarika Vitala( in Akbar`s durbar) and even Govinda Dikshita and Venkatamakhi (though they were in Tanjore durbar) to mention a few outstanding musiclogists who were ofKarnataka origin. Many of their texts are basic to both systems of music. Their roots lay here in Karnataka.

Bharatanatyam has grown strong roots in Karnataka and the Hoysala queen, Shantaladevi, herself was believed to be a great exponent of this art. All the temple towns had a coterie of dancers, (the Devadasi system). Later the Mysore kings patronized this art and there were great performing artists attached to the palace. The names of Jatti Tayamma, Jejamma and Venkatalakshamma (who is still with us) stand out as famous dancers of the Mysore school. This school particularly is noted for its accent on Abhinaya and lasya. Once a preserve of a professional sect, it has been taken up by girls from decent families. A number of teaching institutes have sprung up. We have a number of dancers giving performance in and out of season.

The vigorous revival of interest in this great art doubtless augurs well for the future. There is again a lot of enthusiasm generated in the theatre movement. Amateur troupes have taken over the role of professional companies. Theatre lovers are growing in number and there is a lot of experimentation. Kailasam and Sriranga are the pioneers of the changing theatre scene. Nowdays various plays belonging to different genre are being put on stage and the movement steadily gathering strength.Karnad, Karanth and Kambara have turned out exquisite plays and the theatre today is always ever full.

Fairs and Festivals of Karnataka

With several ancient temples and rich cultural heritage, Karnataka cselebrates various colorful temples. Having a multi-religious population, many festivals are celebrated here.

Dussehra
Dusshera is the main Hindu festival of Karnataka. This ten days festival was celebrated with extravagance by the rulers of Vijayanagar Empire. Later, this became a tradition. The festival was celebrated at Mysore where a Durbar was held for 9 days and on the 10th day a huge procession was taken out with decorated elephants, colorful folks and much more. It is still celebrated in Mysore with great pomp and show.

 

Yugadi
Yugadi is considered as the New Year's Day in Kannada tradition. It falls on the late March or early April and is celebrated all over Karnataka. On this day the dinner is specially prepared and it starts with jaggery and neem leaves. This depicts that life is nothing but a bundle of joys and sorrows.

 

Karaga
This festival is mainly celebrated at the Darmaraya Temple in Bangalore. It is celebrated on the full moon day of Chaitra, the first month of Hindu Calendar. This festival is celebrated in the honor of Draupathi, the spouse of Pandavas, famous religious characters from the great Hindu epic, Mahabharata. 

Rajyotsava Day
The Rajyotsava Day is celebrated on the 1st of November every year. This day marks the formation of the Karnataka State. Apart from this, other state festivals celebrated here are the Coorg festival, Hampi/Vijayanagar festival and the Hoysala festival. These festivals celebrate the rich cultural heritage of Karnataka.

Karnataka has a multi-religious population. Thus, festivals of all religions are celebrated here. Some of the Muslims festivals celebrated here are Eid-ul-Fitr, Eid-ul-Adha, Milad-un-Nabi and Moharrum. Christians residing in the state celebrate festivals like Christmas, Easter, Good Friday etc along with the rest of the nation. Buddhist and Jain festivals like Buddha Poornima and Mahaveera Jayanthi are also celebrated in certain regions of the State.

 

Sri Vithappa Fair
This fair is held in the honour of Vithappa, the deity of the village, Vithappa. It is a three days festival and about 7 to 8 thousand people gather during the fair. This fair has a religious and folk importance. 

The Godachi Fair 
The Godachi fair is held at Godachi village in Ramdurg Taluk of Karnataka. It is held in the month of Kartik This fair is held in the honour of Shri Veerabhadra and it is organized by the government of Karnataka.

Shri Yellamma Devi Fair 
Shri Yellamma Devi fair is held at Saundatti. It is held for about 5 times between October and February. But the Margasira is the biggest one, which is held on the full moon day.

Banashankari Devi Fair
The Banashankari Devi fair is held near Badami. It is an annual fair held in the month of January on the full moon day. This fair lasts for 10 to 12 days. At the fair, villagers buy agricultural items, utensils and other articles of domestic needs.

Some of the other Hindu festivals that are celebrated in Karanataka along with the rest of the country are Makara Samkramana, Sri Ramanavami, Sri Krishna Janmashtami, Ganesh Chaturthi and Deepavali.

Karnataka Exotic Beaches

Karnataka has a 320 km long coastline, dotted with numerous beaches, that beckon invitingly to those craving for some respite, from the maddening grind of urban life. The serenity and unspoilt charm of the area, coupled with the spontaneity of the coastal folk, and their delectable cuisine is just overwhelming. 

Karwar

Karwar, makes a good starting point, for the voyage of discovering the thrills of the sea, sand and sun. Karwar's idyllic beauty inspired the great Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore, to pen down his first play. Other attractions of Karwar, include the Sadashivgad Hill fort with a Durga temple, the unique Octagonal Church, and the 300 year old Venkataramana Temple, that houses some fine ochre paintings. For wildlife lovers, the Dandeli Game Park is just 157 km away.

  beaches and sea shore of karnataka

Marwanthe
Marwanthe is a unique seaside town, where the West Coast Highway cruises along with the Arabian Sea on one side, and the river Sauparnika rushes against a verdant mountainous backdrop on the other. Sunset casts a breathtaking glow on the surrounding waterscape. Water sports and beach resorts promise an enjoyable holiday here. 

Malpe
Malpe with its sheltered harbour makes a quiet beach retreat, just six kilometers away from Udupi. Right across is St.Mary's Isles, more serene and ideal for picnics can be reached by boat from here.

Murudeshwar

Located amidst idyllic surroundings, Murudeshwar offers, a breath taking view of the sea from the hill by the shore. The beautiful and the clean beach is largely undiscovered and thankfully unspoilt. Atop the hill lies the famous temple enshrining the linga which attracts a lot of devotees and tourists.

 

Mangalore 
Mangalore is the seaport town has Ullal, yet another beach resort, the silvery beaches of which command breathtaking views of the sunset, especially, when viewed through the casuarina groves.

Karnataka Hill Stations

Nandi Hills 
At an altitude of 1468 m above sea level, is the Nandi Hills resort. What used to be the favorite summer getaway of Tipu Sultan, is now a popular picnic spot with its awesome fort, sprawling lawns and two ancient temples. A fantastic, awe-inspiring cliff fall of almost 2000 feet is known as Tipu's Drop, the views from which are simply stupendous. The stone fortress on the hill is of special interest to students of history. 

Kemman Gundi 
Kemman Gundi is one of the exceptionally beautiful Hill stations, and one of the best Trekking spots amidst lush Green Forests.

Madikeri
Mercara is set in the heart of exotic coffee growing country. This little hill township, is the capital of the Coorg district, in Karnataka. Is very close to the birth place of River Cauvery "Talacauvery". 

Biligirirangana Hills 
Biligirirangana hills hosts a wildlife camp here, run by the forest department. Right on top of the hill, at an altitude of 5,091 feet above sea level, stands the Biligiriranganaswamy Temple, from which the resort takes its name.

Kudremukh
Kudremukh is the secluded hill station, is rich in Iron ore deposits. This is one of the perfect Trekker's trail. Kudremekh is also well linked by road to Chikmagalur, Mangalore and Sringeri.

Famous Temples of Karnataka

The State of Karnataka is known for its abundance of tourist attractions and temples. There is a radiance of peace and tranquility that encompasses the temples. Temple complex highlights the rock-cut temples and ancient shrines in Karnataka. These famous Hindu temples have sustained through the adversity of time. 

Temples of Karnataka represents the typical Dravidian style of architecture. Pilgrimage centers such as Mookambika and Udupi nestling on the western ghats showcases the ruins of the once grand Vijayanagar edifices at Hampi. The Hoysala temples marked with a prodigality of complex sculpture, the Ancient Temples built by the Cholas and the Chalukyan Temples attracts thousands of devotees across the globe.

Major Temple Attractions of Karnataka

Bull Temple
Bull Temple is situated in the capital city of Bangalore. The main attraction of the temple is the 4.57-m high and 6.10-m long image of Nandi - the Lord Shiva's bull. This remarkable bull temple is carved out of rock was constructed by Kempe Gowda in the 16th century. 

Originally the color of bull Nandi was gray which has now turned black due to the continuos applying of coconut oil by the devotees on the holy bull deity. The charm of the temple is its carving, the statue of the bull has been carved out of a single granite rock. The sculpture attracts thousands of devotees from far and wide areas. The temple is occupied throughout the year with religious ceremony and events held in the temple premises.

 

Badami Cave Temples
Badami is famous for its cave temples - all hewn out of sand stone on the cliff of a hill. Badami arrayed with most picturesque location is worth a visit site. The region is adorned with pristine blue lake, famous ancient temple shrines, museum and above all Hindu and Jain caves, carved out of Sandstone. The largest and most ornamental is the third cave temple dedicated to Vishnu. 

A reservoir thronged with temples dedicated to Vishnu and Shiva (holy deities of Hindu's) is another attraction of the region. Also a must are the Bhutanath temples that lend their name to the lake beneath the cave temples.

 

Markandeshwara Temple at Kallur Near Raichur
Markandeshwara Temple at Kallur is dedicated to Lord Markandeshwara (Shiva). Krishnadevaraya of the Vijayanagar Empire worshipped in these temples along with his family. The Markandeshwara is the oldest temple with exquisitely carved, polished pillars.

 

Mookambika Temple at Kollur Near Mangalore
Mookambika Temple is located in Kollur town near Mangalore. This famous temple is dedicated to the deity Mookambika (Devi). In front of the image of the Goddess Mookambika their is a Jyotirlingam which is of great antiquity.

 

Special features of the lingam - a golden line divides this lingam into two unequal parts and is visible only in the light of reflected sunlight pointed at the lingam. The right portion of this lingam is said to represent Bhrama, Vishnu and Shiva - and the larger left part represents the Godess Kali, Lakshmi and Saraswathi. Adi Sankara the great religious leader had installed the metal image of the Goddess behind the lingam.

Nandi Temples At Nandi Hills Near Bangalore
The Nandi Temple perched on the foothills of Nandi Hills dates back to the period of the Banas, Cholas, Hoysalas and the Vijayanagar Kings. The temple is dedicated to deities Bhoganandiswara, Yoganandiswara (Shiva). The temple received extensive patronage from the Vijayanagar Kings. The pillars and metalwork deserve special mention. 

Narada Temple At Naradagadde Near Raichur
Narada Temple is dedicated to the Divine Sage Narada. This temple is constructed on Naradagadde - one of the most scenic islands on the Krishna River. Due to its exquisite location the temple is not only visited by devotees but also by the travel enthusiast who make their day on the bank of the river.

Pattabhirama Temple At Hampi Near Hospet
Pattabhirama Temple is situated in the city of Hampi. Lord Rama is the holy deity who is worshipped here with full dedication. This majestic temple is known for its splendid architecture that dates back to Vijayanagar period. 

Sravanabelagola At Sravanabelagola Near Mysore
This history of Sravanabelagola goes back to the 3rd century BC. Sravanabelagola near Mysore is famous for a structural marvel - a monolithic statue of Gomateswara rising up to a height of about 60 feet. This majestic statue was erected in the 10th century AD. There are several Jain temples in Sravanabelagola, some of which are built in the Hoysala style.

 

Iskcon Temple
Iskcon temple in the city of Bangalore is one of the most popular and sought after pilgrimage centers in the region. The majestic temple complex, the supreme deities of Lord Krishna, Radha and the spiritual atmosphere makes the pilgrimage one of the most holy sites. This temple attracts people from national and international front every week.

Gavi Gangadhareshvara Temple
The Gavi Gangadhareshvara temple was constructed in the 16th century by Kemoe Gowda. The temple is located inside a rock cave in Gavipuram and is one of the Banglore's oldest temples. The main attractions of the temple are the granite pillars that supports colossal discs symbolizing the sun and the moon. The special feature of the temple is a unique phenomenon of the evening sun's rays passing between Nandhi's horns and falling directly on the linga inside the cave.