The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary







Date of formation November 1, 1973
Capital Bangalore
Official Language Kannada
Governor T. N. Chaturvedi
Chief Minister Dharam Singh
Area 192,000 kmē
 - Total
 - Density

55,868,200 (2004)

Literacy rate:
 - Total
 - Male
 - Female

Urbanization: 33.98%
GDSP per capa $1,669

Karnataka (ಕರ್ನಾಟಕ in Kannada) is one of the four southern states of India. Before 1973, the state was known as Mysore state, as it was formed out of the former Kingdom of Mysore in 1950, and enlarged in 1956 to include the Kannada-speaking regions of neighboring states. Karnataka's capital Bangalore is the only city in the state with a population of more than 1 million. Other major cities include Mysore, Mangalore, Hubli-Dharwad, Bellary and Belgaum. Kannada is the official language of Karnataka. As of 2001, it is one of 10 Indian states with a population greater than 50 million.



Karnataka is bordered by the Arabian Sea to the west, Goa to the northwest, Maharashtra to the north, Andhra Pradesh to the east, Tamil Nadu to the east and southeast, and Kerala to the southwest.

The state has three principal physical zones;

  • The coastal strip, between the Western Ghats and the Arabian Sea, which is lowland, with moderate to high rainfall levels.
  • The Western Ghats, a mountain range inland from the Arabian Sea, rising to about 900m average height, and with moderate to high rainfall levels.
  • The Deccan Plateau, comprising the main inland region of the state, which is drier and verging on the semi-arid.

There are several suggested etymologies for the name Karnataka. The most reasonable one is that it comes from "karu" + "nadu" meaning "elevated land". It is interesting to note that Karnataka has one of the highest average elevations of Indian states at 1500 feet.


see article Districts of Karnataka


Due to the linguistic basis for the formation of the Indian states, language is a very important part of a state's identity. The predominant language of this area is Kannada, which is its official language. Other languages include Kodava Takk, Tulu and Konkani, as well as the languages of the surrounding states: Marathi, Telugu, Tamil and Malayalam.


Karnataka is one of more industrialised states in India. Its capital Bangalore is a hub for IT services in India. 90% of India's gold production comes from Karnataka. Recently there has been a lot of activity in the extraction of Manganese ore from the districts of Bellary and Hospet .


The history of Karnataka dates back to the period of epics. The capital of Vali and Sugriva, 'Vanara Sena' of the Ramayana, is said to have been Hampi in the present day Bellary district. Hidimbasura of Mahabharatha, a cruel and fierce demon, is said to have lived in present day Chitradurga district of Karnataka, who was then exterminated by Bhima who came there along with the other Pandavas and their mother Kunti during the Vanavaasa . Stone transcriptions from the period of Ashoka are the oldest available archaelogical evidence.

In the 4th century BCE, a local dynasty called Satavahana came to power, and its rule lasted nearly 300 years. With the disintegration of the Satavahana dynasty, the Kadambas came to power in the north, and the Gangas in the south of the state. The gigantic monolithic statue of Gomateswara is considered to be the monument of the Ganga period. The Chalukyas of Badami (500 to 735) ruled over a wider area, from the Narmada to the Kaveri from the days of Pulikeshi II (609 to 642) who had 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) of Malkhed who succeeded them levied tribute on the rulers of Kannauj successively in the so-called Age of 'Imperial Kannauj'. Kannada literature developed in this period. Outstanding Jain scholars of India lived in their court. The Chalukyas of Kalyana (973 to 1183) and their feudatories, the Hoysalas of Halebidu built fine temples, encouraged literature and fine arts. Noted jurist Vijnaneshwara (work-Mitakshara) lived at Kalyana. The great religious leader Basaveshwara was a minister at Kalyana. The Vijayanagar empire (1136 to 1646) fostered indigenous traditions and encouraged arts religion and literature in Sanskrit, Kannada, Telugu and Tamil. Overseas trade flourished. The Bahmani sultans of Gulbarga (later capitals were Bidar and Bijapur) and the Adil Shahi sultans of Bijapur raised fine Indo-Saracenic buildings and encouraged Urdu and Persian literature. After the fall of Maratha Peshwa (1818) and Tipu Sultan of Mysore (1799) Karnataka came under the British.

After Indian independence, the Wodeyar Maharaja acceded to India. In 1950, Mysore became an Indian state, and the former Maharaja became its rajpramukh, or governor. After accession to India, the Woyedar family was provided with a pension by the Indian state until 1975, and members of the family still reside in part of their ancestral palace in Mysore.

On November 1, 1956 or Rajyotsava Day (Formation Day), Mysore State was enlarged to its present boundaries, incorporating the state of Coorg and the Kannada-speaking portions of neighboring Madras, Hyderabad, and Bombay states, with an elected Chief Minister and state assembly. On November 1 1973 the name of the state was changed to Karnataka.

Natural areas

Karnataka is home to several national parks, including Bandipur National Park in Mysore District, Bannerghatta National Park in Bangalore District, Nagarhole National Park in Mysore and Kodagu districts, Kudremukh National Park in Dakshina Kannada and Chickmagalur districts, and Anshi National Park in Uttara Kannada District.

There are also a number of wildlife sanctuaries and nature preserves. Jog falls of Shimoga District is the second highest waterfalls in the World.

See also

External links

Last updated: 05-13-2005 07:56:04