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Art & Culture
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Karnataka, known as "the priceless gift of indulgent nature", is a unique blend of a glorious past and a rich present. Karnataka is the sixth largest state in India.It is the only state in India where gold is found.It is the land of silk and sandal, of coffee and cardamom, of the 17m statue of Jain Saint Gomateshwara and of the enchaning sculptural wealth of Belur and Halebid of the historical ruins of Hampi and monuments of Bijapur; it is the land that gave India engineer-statesman Sir M Visvesvaraya and the great generals General Cariappa and General Thimmaiah. To the composite culture of India, the contribution of Karnataka, is in no way inferior to that of any other region of India. In fact, in many fields, Karnataka's contribution far exceeds that of the other regions individually. This is specially so in the fields of are, music, religion, and philosophy.

Karnataka, the "Lofty land" is bounded by Andhra Pradesh in the east, Maharashtra in the north and Tamil Nadu and Kerala in the south. A long coastline hedged by miles and miles of tall, waving, palmgroves frames this pretty land. The majority of the state lies on the Deccan Plateau. Bangalore is the state capital. Karnataka boasts a diverse flora and fauna, which make it a nature tourist's paradise. The state's long and colourful history, and the many forts, temples, mosques, and churches make it a great place to explore.Garden city Bangalore, Jog Falls,the beaches of Karwar and Malpe, Golgumbuz in Bijapur, the stone temples of Belur and Halebid, Mysore Palace, the list is endless.

Art & Architecture

Chalukyan Dynasty from 450 to 650 A.D, made a great contribution to the enrichment of Karnataka in the form of development of architectural wonders, notable amongst them being the temples at Aihole (Brahman temple design), Patta Dakal (North Indian Nagari principle) and Badami. Influence of Jainism of the Jain temples built in Karnataka can be seen at Badami. The contribution of the Hoysala dynasty, four centuries later, in the field of Art and Architecture is no less. For example, temples at Belur, Halebid and Somnathpur, with a star shaped plan of the base and the shrine, bell shaped towers and extensively carved entrance and interiors, became a distinctive hall mark of this dynasty's temples.

Vijaynagar king's contribution to the advancement of Hinduism and distinct from of temple architecture seen mostly in their capital Hampi was no less. The temples of these times, blended with the rocky, boulder-ridden landscape of Hampi. The Muslim influence on Karnataka's art and architecture is no less. One can see features like - domes, minarets etc., in the world's second largest dome the "Gol Gumbaz, fort at Gulbarga, Bidar, Dargaha of Hazrat Khwaja Banda Nawaz Gisudiraz, Gulbarga, Madrasah of Mohammed Gawan & Barid Shahi tomb complex at Bidar, to name a few.

Dance, Drama & Music

Open air folk theatre or "Bayalata" of Karnataka is a famous dance form. This dance is performed at religious festivals and family celebrations. It usually starts at night and continues till the wee hours of the morning. This dance-drama usually has four or five actors/actresses, assisted by a jester. The theme in these is usually mythological but sometimes real life incidents are also highlighted."Doddata" is a less refined dance form than Yakshaganna. In both these dance forms, stories from "Ramayana" and "Mahabharta" are enacted. The costumes are elaborate, the make-up is loud, facial expression are vigorous and are accompanied with loud noises and war-cries.

The People

The total population of Karnataka is 4,49,77,201. The Kannadigas, as they are locally known, are famous for their hospitality and friendly and cultured attitude towards visitors. The people of Karnataka are accommodating, often, to a fault. Violence is a rare phenomenon, for the people are peace loving.

Karnataka possesses a rich cultural heritage. The folk theatre has an ancient and rich tradition, the two principal forms being Yakshagana and the puppet theatre. Sravanabelagola, near Mysore, has a giant 1,000-yr-old stone statue of Bahubali, the Jain saint. Huge monolithic Jain statues are peculiar to the Kannada culture. 'Yakshagana' is akin to Kathakali of Kerala in the choice of its elaborate costumes and vigorous dancing. 'Bhootada Kunita' (Dance of the Divine Cult), 'Nagamandala' and the demon dance are some quaint rituals prevalent only in Dakshina Kannada coastal area.

The Lifestyle :

As major part of the State is rural, the people live a very simple life. The cities however, present a different picture, being more modern, fast and cosmopolitan in nature. Kannada is the main language spoken, read and written. In urban areas, one can get by with the knowledge of English and Hindi.

The Religions

As in most states of India, the population here is predominantly Hindu. Followers of Saivism, Vaishnavism and Veera Saivism form the majority. But all faiths are represented here, and by and large, people live in amity and co-operation. Muslims and Christians are in considerable numbers, while Jainism has struck deep roots in Karnataka. Jains form a sizable section of the population and have become prominent in the business sector. There are also Buddhists and Parsis in the State. Religious tolerance is in the very blood of the Kannadigas, and so conflicts between followers of the different faiths are rare.

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