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State of India - Karnataka
QUICK FACTS Climate (Degree C.): Summer Max: 35. Min: 28. Winter Max: 25 Min: 14 | Best Season: November - April | Languages Spoken: Kannada, Tamil, Urdu, Hindi and English | Capital: Bangalore

Known as the Karunadu (elevated land) in the ancient times, Karnataka boasts a diverse flora and fauna, making it a tourist's paradise. The state's long and colourful history, and the many forts, temples, mosques and churches make Karnataka a great place to explore. Apart from that, it has also been the culture centre for hundreds of years. Its testimony stands spread across the state pulling millions of tourists from all parts of the world to Karnataka.

Geography of Karnataka:
Flanked by the soaring Western Ghats in the east and blessed by the blue waters of the Arabian Sea in the west, Karnataka has a 320 kms long coastline dotted with unspoilt beaches and scores of temples. It is surrounded by Maharashtra in the north, Andhra Pradesh in the east, Tamil Nadu and Kerala to the south. The State is divided into four physiographic regions viz. Northern Karnataka Plateau, Central Karnataka Plateau, Southern Karnataka Plateau and Karnataka Coastal Region.

History of Karnataka:
The history of Karnataka is engrossing and enriching. It can be traced back to as early as the pre-historic times of the Stone Age. A stone axe unearthed at an excavation site near Raichur confirms this fact. Later the Maurya rulers have placed a significant role in the history of Karnataka followed by the cultural influence of Chalukyan kings. The ruins and architectural splendour of Aihole, Pattadakal, Badami, Halebi, Belur are live testimonies to the contribution of Hoysalas, Bahamani, Adil Shahi kings, Sattavahanas, Nandas, Pallavas and Ganga rulers who have made contributions in the history and culture of Karnataka. The Vijayanagara Empire was one of the greatest of all medieval Hindu empires, headed by Krishnadevaraya, the greatest warrior ruler of Karnataka. Vijayanagar flourished in prosperity for a long time till the Wodeyars of Mysore came into the picture. The Wodeyar rulers lost their capital to one of their own army generals, Haider Ali. However Haider Ali and his son Tipu Sultan later succumbed to the British attacks and Karnataka came under the governance of the British Empire till India gained independence.

Tourist Places of Karnataka:
Karnataka has all that it takes to charm the tourists of varied interests and preferences. For the wildlife enthusiasts Karnataka offers Bandipur, Nagarhole, Dandeli forests and the Ranganathittu Bird's Sanctuary. For the enthusiasts of arts & architecture, it can't get better than the temples of Aihole, Badami and Pattadakal in Bijapur and the temples of Halebed, Belur, Somanathapura, Hampi. For the nature lovers you have the scenic hill stations of Nandhi Hills, Kemmannagundi. With its long coastline Karwar, Ullal, Malpe and Maravanthe are famous beach destinations. Last but definitely not the least is the City of Palaces, Mysore, which has been witness to thousands of tourists each year. With all these manifold attractions a visit to Karnataka State is always memorable.

Fairs & Festivals of Karnataka:
Mahamastakabhisheka is one of the most revered events taking place in Karnataka which is held every 12 years. The festival is dedicated to Lord Bahubali in which monks bathe the world's largest monolithic statue with water and milk. Vijaya Utsav also known Hampi Festival and Rajyotsava Day celebrated on the 1st of November every year are one of the important festivals of Karnataka State. Vairamudi Brahmotsava, Deepavali, Vaikunta Ekadashi, Ganesha Chaturthi, Gowri Festival, Dussehra, Yugadi, Karaga are the other festivals of Karnataka.

Cuisine in Karnataka:
The cuisine of Karnataka has been influenced by its three neighbouring South Indian states, as well as Maharashtra in the North. The most famous product of the Karnataka cuisine is Udupi which has come up with the most popular dishes of India like the Rave Idli, Mysore Masala Dosa and Maddur Vade. The non-vegetarian meal in Karnataka generally consists of meat and fish. However unlike the cuisine of the North India or Hyderabad, cooking meat is a simple affair in Karnataka. The Mangalore coast specializes in varieties of seafood, which are prepared in the same way as in the rest of the coastal areas. While on your tour to Karnataka you must typical dishes of Karnataka like the Bisi bele bath, Saaru, Vangi Bath, Ragi rotti, Akki Rotti, Khara Bath, Kesari Bath, Davanagere Benne Dosa, Ragi mudde, and Uppittu. Among sweets, Mysore Pak, Dharwad pedha, Chiroti which are popular choices.

Shopping in Karnataka:
Karnataka is known as the capital of Agarbathi (Incense Sticks), Arecanut, Silk, Coffee and Sandal Wood. It produces 90% of India's gold, almost 60% of its coffee and a significant amount of raw silk and sandalwood products. So we can undoubtedly claim that shopping in Karnataka is an exhilarating experience with quality products at reasonable prices. There are a number of Government Emporium and exclusive private shops all over the state of Karnataka for your shopping spree. While making your shopping list, you must add the Sandalwood carvings or cosmetic products of Mysore. The state also boasts of amazing handicrafts by the rural artisans, old antiques, silk and cotton weaves, metal and stone work. Metal crafts of Bidar, Mangalore, Sravanbelgola and Nagamangala are specifically noteworthy. Besides Mysore Paintings and Bidriware are also worth mentioning. Shopping tours to Gulegudda in Karnataka offers you a wide range of Ilkal saris, Lambani jewelry and Kinnala paintings. So make your choice!