Karnataka is a state in South West India. It was created on 1 November 1956, with the passage of the States Reorganisation Act, which is celebrated annually as Karnataka Rajyotsava (English: Formation Day). Originally known as the State of Mysore, it was renamed Karnataka in 1973. It is the land of the Kannadigas, Tuluvas, Konkanis and Kodavas. The capital and largest city is Bangalore, also known as Bengaluru, which is at the forefront of the rapid economic and technological development that India is experiencing.
Karnataka is bordered by the Arabian Sea and the Laccadive Sea to the west, Goa to the north west, Maharashtra to the north, 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 eighth largest Indian state by area. With 61,130,704 inhabitants at the 2011 census, Karnataka is the ninth largest state by population, comprising 30 districts. Kannada is the most widely spoken and official language of the state.
The two main river systems of the state are the Krishna and its tributaries, the Bhima, Ghataprabha, Vedavathi, Malaprabha, and Tungabhadra, in the north, and the Kaveri and its tributaries, the Hemavati, Shimsha, Arkavati, Lakshmana Thirtha and Kabini, in the south. Both these rivers flow eastward into the Bay of Bengal.
Karnataka also has a special place in the World of Indian classical music with both Karnataka[ (Carnatic) and Hindustani styles finding place in the state and Karnataka has produced a number of stalwarts in both styles. While referring to music the word 'Karnataka', the original name given to the South Indian classical music does not mean the state of Karnataka.
The Haridasa movement of the sixteenth century contributed seminally to the development of Karnataka (Carnatic) music as a performing art form. Purandara Dasa, one of the most revered Haridasas, is known as the Karnataka Sangeeta Pitamaha ('Father of Karnataka a.k.a.Carnatic music'). Celebrated Hindustani musicians like Gangubai Hangal, Mallikarjun Mansur, Bhimsen Joshi, Basavaraja Rajaguru, Sawai Gandharva and several others hail from Karnataka and some of them have been recipients of the Kalidas Samman, Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan awards.
Adi Shankaracharya chose Sringeri in Karnataka to establish the first of his four mathas (monastery). Shri Madhvacharya (1238–1317) was the chief proponent of Tattvavāda (Philosophy of Reality), popularly known as Dvaita or Dualistic school of Hindu philosophy - one of the three most influential Vedānta philosophies. Madhva was one of the important philosophers during the Bhakti movement. He was a pioneer in many ways, going against standard conventions and norms. According to tradition, Madhvācārya is believed to be the third incarnation of Vāyu (Mukhyaprāṇa), after Hanumān and Bhīma.
The Haridasa devotional movement is considered as one of the turning points in the cultural history of India. Over a span of nearly six centuries, several saints and mystics helped shape the culture, philosophy and art of South India and Karnataka in particular by exerting considerable spiritual influence over the masses and kingdoms that ruled South India.
Karnataka's smallest district, Kodagu, is a major contributor to Indian field hockey, producing numerous players who have represented India at the international level. The annual Kodava Hockey Festival is the largest hockey tournament in the world. Bangalore has hosted a WTA tennis event and, in 1997, it hosted the fourth National Games of India. The Sports Authority of India, the premier sports institute in the country, and the Nike Tennis Academy are also situated in Bangalore. Karnataka has been referred to as the cradle of Indian swimming because of its high standards in comparison to other states.
One of the most popular sports in Karnataka is cricket. The state cricket team has won the Ranji Trophy six times, second only to Mumbai in terms of success. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore regularly hosts international matches and is also the home of the National Cricket Academy, which was opened in 2000 to nurture potential international players. Many cricketers have represented India and in one international match held in the 1990s; players from Karnataka composed the majority of the national team.
Flora and Fauna:
Karnataka has a rich diversity of flora and fauna. It has a recorded forest area of 38,720 sq km (14,950 sq mi) which constitutes 20.19% of the total geographical area of the state. These forests support 25% of the elephant and 10% of the tiger population of India. Many regions of Karnataka are as yet unexplored, so new species of flora and fauna are found periodically. The Western Ghats, a biodiversity hotspot, includes the western region of Karnataka. Two sub-clusters in the Western Ghats, viz. Talacauvery and Kudremukh, both in Karnataka, are on the tentative list of World Heritage Sites of UNESCO.
The Bandipur and Nagarahole National Parks, which fall outside these subclusters, were included in the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve in 1986, a UNESCO designation. The Indian roller and the Indian elephant are recognized as the state bird and animal while sandalwood and the lotus are recognized as the state tree and flower respectively. Karnataka has five national parks: Anshi, Bandipur, Bannerghatta, Kudremukh and Nagarhole. It also has 25 wildlife sanctuaries of which seven are bird sanctuaries.
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. Karnataka has the second highest number of nationally protected monuments in India, second only to Uttar Pradesh, 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 (soapstone) are proposed UNESCO World Heritage sites. The Gol Gumbaz and Ibrahim Rauza are famous examples of the Deccan Sultanate style of architecture. The monolith of Gomateshwara Bahubali at Shravanabelagola is the tallest sculpted monolith in the world, attracting tens of thousands of pilgrims during the Mahamastakabhisheka festival.
The waterfalls of Karnataka and Kudremukh are listed as must-see places and among the "1001 Natural Wonders of the World". Jog Falls is India's tallest single-tiered waterfall with Gokak Falls, Unchalli Falls, Magod Falls, Abbey Falls and Shivanasamudra Falls among other popular waterfalls.