Karnataka is one of the well-known states in South West India. Originally, it was known as State of Mysore but was renamed Karnataka in the year 1973.
Bangalore is the largest city, and also the capital of this state. The state is surrounded by Laccadive Sea and Arabian Sea in the west, Maharashtra in the northern side, Goa in the north-west side and Andhra Pradesh and Telangana in the eastern side. It is also surrounded by Kerala in south-west and Tamil Nadu, in the south-east side. Karnataka is the 9th largest state in India by population. The state has 30 districts. Kannada is the official and extensively spoken language of this state. Other languages that are spoken in this state are Konkani, Tulu and Hindi.
The area of the state is 191,976 square km. It is the 8th largest state in India by area. According to the 2011 census, the population of the state is 61, 130,704. It is a popular destination in the southern part of India among the tourists. The main religion in this state is Hindu. In addition, there are also other religions that constitute the population. It includes Muslims, Christians, Jains and Tibetan Buddhists. The two river systems in this state are Krishna on the north and Kaveri in the south. Several etymologies are suggested for naming this state. However, the state derives its name from the two words Karu and Naru that means ‘elevated land’.
Karnataka is one of the four southern states of India. Bordered by the Arabian Sea on the west, it is surrounded by Goa, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. The state has three main regions: the coastal plains abutting the sea; the Western Ghats running parallel to the coastline; and the inland plains of the Deccan Plateau. One of the most industrialised states in India, Karnataka also produces 90% of India’s gold, almost 60% of its coffee and a significant amount of raw silk and sandalwood products.
Bangalore (now called Bengaluru) in southeast Karnataka is the capital as well as the biggest city. Bangalore has more than 50% of software companies in the country based in it and is called the Silicon Valley of India. It is also famous for its pubs and gardens and has a pleasant climate through the year. South of Bangalore is the city of Mysore, the erstwhile capital of the Wodeyar kings. The festival of Dussehra, with caparisoned-elephant processions being its main attraction, is celebrated in October-November.
At Hampi in central Karnataka, are the ruins of the capital of one of South India’s largest historical empires the Vijaynagar Empire (14th-16th century); the 16th-cenury Vittala Temple is a World Heritage site. The towns of Belur and Halebid are in the south, famous for their 12th-century temples built by the Hoysala dynasty. Sravanbelgola is also in south Karnataka and is host to probably the world’s tallest monolithic statue a 17-m high image of a Jain deity built in the 10th century. The village of Badami in the north is famous for its ancient cave temples built between the 6th and 8th centuries.
Madikeri is the main town of the hilly tracts of southwestern Karnataka called the Kodagu (Coorg) region. The area has a number of spice and coffee plantations and is good for trekking. Popular spots here are the Jog Falls and Kudremukh. Further south are the Bandipur and Nagarhole National Parks.
The western coastline of the state along the Arabian Sea has a number of beach towns including Mangalore, Karwar, Gokarna, Malpe and Marwanthe.