History and Geography
Karnataka has a written history of more than 2,000 years. Apart from it being subjected to the rule of the Nandas, Mauryas, and the Shatavahanas, Karnataka came to have indigenous dynasties like the Kadambas of Banavasi and the Gangas from the middle of the 4th century AD. Gomateshwara monolith at Sharvanabelagola was installed by a Ganga minister Chavundaraya. The Chalukyas of Badami (500-735 AD) ruled over a wider area, from the Narmada to the Kaveri from the days of Pulikeshi II (609-642 AD), who even defeated Harshavardhana 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 Rashtrakutas (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 during this period. Outstanding Jain scholars of India lived in their court. The Chalukyas of Kalyana (973 to 1189 AD) and their feudatories, the Hoysalas of Halebidu built fine temples, encouraged literature and fine arts. Noted jurist Vijnaneshwara (work: Mitakshara ) lived at Kalyana. Great religious leader Basaveshwara was a minister at Kalyana. Vijayanagar Empire (1336-1646) fostered indigenous traditions and encouraged arts, religion and literature in Sanskrit, Kannada, Telugu and Tamil. Overseas trade also flourished during their rule. The Bahamani Sultans (Capital: Gulbarga, later Bidar) and the Bijapur Adilshahis raised fine Indo-Saracenic buildings and encouraged Urdu and Persian literature. Advent of the Portuguese resulted in the introduction of new crops (tobacco, maize, chillies, groundnut, potato, etc.). After the fall of the Peshwa (1818) and Tipu (1799), Karnataka came under the British control. Christian missionaries introduced English education and printing during the 19th century. Revolution in transport, communication and industries was evident, making way for the emergence of the urban middle-class. Mysore dynasty helped industrialisation and cultural growth. Freedom Movement was followed by the movement for the unification of Karnataka. After Indian independence, the new united Mysore State was created in 1956, and was renamed Karnataka in 1973.
Karnataka lies to the south of Goa and Maharashtra, to the west of Andhra Pradesh, to the north-west of Tamil Nadu and to the north of Kerala. It has a sea-coast of nearly 400 km (300 km with inundations).
Karnataka has numerous Tourist attractions. The former princely capital Mysore with the Brindavan Gardens and Srirangapattana nearby, Sharavanabelgola with the famous monolithic statue of Gomateshwara (57 ft high), Belur, Halebid and Somnathpura with the famous Hoysala monuments; Badami, Aihole and Pattadkal for the 1,300 year old rock-cut and structural temples; Hampi, the famous open air museum (ancient Vijayanagar); Gulbarga, Bidar and Bijapur, renowned for their Indo-saracenic monuments; Dakshina Kannada, Udupi and Uttara Kannada Districts for beautiful beaches; Mangalore and Krwar for ports; Chitradurga, Bidar, Basavakalyan and Gulbarga with attractive forts; Bandipur National Park, Bannerghatta National Park are the play ground of Wild Life; Ranganthittu, Kokkre Bellur, Mandagadde, Gudavi, Attiveri are the famous bird sanctuaries; Jog, Sathodi, Shivanasamudra, Mogod, Gokak, Abbey, Unchalli. Irupu, Hebbe, Kalhatti are the mesmerising Falls; Madikeri, Kemmannugundi, B.R. Hills, Nandi Hills, Kudremukh, Kodachadri are the Picturesque Hill Stations. Dussehra, Hampi, Chalukya, Kadamba, Hoysala, Kodagu, Karaga festivals, are depicting art and culture of Karnataka. Kabini River Lodge, K. Gudi, Cauveri Fishing Camp, D handeli Wilderness Camp, Devbagh are the unique Eco-Tourism projects of Karnataka. Gokarna, Udupi, Dharmashala, Melukote, Gangappura, Saundatti, Kollur, Sringeri, Horanadu, Kalasa, Kukke Subramanya, Yediyur, Koodalasangama, Ulvi, Nanjangud are famous pilgrimage centres. Tourism Department has identified 215 tourist spots in the State. The capital city of Bangalore is also a tourist attraction with its famous huge granite structure. Vidhana Soudha and the beautiful Cubbon Park, and Lalbhag. Hampi and Pattadakal have been declared as World Heritage sites.
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