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Welcome To Karnataka

Earlier History | Culture of Karnataka | Facts & Figures | Beaches in Karnataka | Cuisines | Festivals | Around Karnataka

Evidences found in Harappa point towards its connection with the present day Karnataka, while on the other hand the findings of the archaeological survey agencies in the state have established beyond doubt the existence of neolithic and megalithic cultures here. All the same, the recorded history begins with the Nanda dynasty ruling over a large chunk of the modern Karnataka before the third century BC. The Nandas were followed by the Mauryas who wielded absolute power over a vast land mass including almost the whole of modern day India. After Mauryas came the Satvahanas who ruled for nearly four centuries.

The first native kingdoms to rise in Karnataka after the fall of the Satvahanas were the Kadambas and the Western Gangas, which ruled independently from Banavasi and Talakkad, the respective capitals of the two dynasties. They were the earliest rulers who gave origin to the indigenous Kannada language and culture, which developed gradually and finally took a definite shape during the regimes of subsequent dynasties and rulers. The next indigenous dynasties to emerge in the region include the Chalukyas of Badami, the Rashtrakutas and the Western Chalukyas who dominated the region for the rest of the first millennium and gave a new height to the diaspora of Kannada language and culture.

The growth of Kannada literature was at its zenith during the time of Hoysalas who gained control of the region just before the end of the first millennium and continued to rule till the rise of Vijayanagara empire in the early part of fourteenth century. The Hoysalas were known for their artistic taste and promoted Vesara style of architecture in the design of sculptures and temples that they built in large number. The Vijayanagara empire, established by Harihara and Bukka Raya, brought the entire Deccan peninsula under its control and remained a master of this region for the next two centuries checking successfully the southward advances of the Muslim rulers from the north.

The fall of Vijayanagara empire in 1565 gave opportunity to the local sultanate rulers and later to Mughals to penetrate deep into the south. The Bahmani Sultanate of Bidar, the Bijapur Sultanate and the Nizams of Hyderabad controlled most of the Deccan including a significant portion of Karnataka, successively. The Mysore kingdom ruled by Woodeyar dynasty remained as a last vestige of the Vijaynagara empire, but soon fell into the hands of Haider Ali and later his son Tippu Sultan. These two were known as great warriors and staunch opponents of the British. The four wars that were fought between these two foes resulted in the final victory of the British, and they restored the kingdom to its original rulers, the Woodeyars. Mysore became a princely state under the sovereignty of the British Raj.

During the freedom struggle, Karnataka became a hotbed of nationalist leaders who kept on rising sporadically against the colonial powers before the great upsurge of 1857. When the first nationwide war of independence broke out in that year, Karnataka had a distinct group of freedom fighters ready to take part in the action. The prominent among them were Bhimarao, Halagali Bedas, Bhaskar Rao Bhave and Venkatappa Nayaka. The freedom movement was carried forward to the next century by the leaders like Karnad Sadashiva Rao, S. Nijalingappa, Nittoor Srinivasa Rau, Aluru Venkata Raya, Kengal Hanumanthaiah and others.

The princely state of Mysore joined the Indian Union when the British left the country, and a new state of Mysore was created. When the states were reorganized on the linguistic basis, Mysore became the homeland for the Kannada speaking people, and many regions from the nearby states having large population speaking that language were merged with this new state. The name of the state was subsequently changed to Karnataka in 1973.


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