History of Karnataka
called as Karunadu (elevated land) in ancient times. The course of Karnataka's
history and culture takes us back to pre-historic times. The earliest find of
the stone age period in India was a hand axe at Lingasugur in Raichur district.
The Ashoka's rock edicts found in the state indicate that major parts of Northern
Karnataka were under the Mauryas.
Chandragupta Maurya, the great Indian emperor abdicated the throne and embraced
Jainism at Shravanabelagola. Adding new dimensions to the cultural and spiritual
ethos of the land, many great dynasties left their imprint upon the aesthetic
development of Karnataka's art forms. Prominent among them were the Chalukyas,
the Hoysalas and the mighty Vijayanagara Empire. The Chalukyan's built some
of the very early Hindu temples in India. Aihole turned up as an experimental
base for the dynamic creations of architects. The Hoysala's who ruled from the
11th to the 13th century chiseled their way into the pages of glory by building
more than 150 temples, each one is a master piece in its own way.
The amazing dexterity and fluidity of expressions at Somnathpur, Halebid and
Belur open themselves to the wide eyed wonder in one's eyes. Vijayanagara, the
greatest of all medieval Hindu empires and one of the greatest the world over,
fostered the development of intellectual pursuits and fine arts. "The eye
of the pupil has never seen a place like it and the ear of intelligence has
never been informed that there existed anything to equal it in the world"
is what Abdur Razaaq the Persian ambassador had to say about Krishnadevaraya's
Vijayanagara empire with its capital at Hampi fell a victim to the marauding
army of the Deccan Sultan in 1565 A.D. As a consequence of this, Bijapur became
the most important city of the region. This city is a land of monuments and
perhaps no other city except Delhi has as many monuments as Bijapur. The Bahmani
Shahis and the Adilshahis of Bijapur have played a notable part in the history
of Karnataka by their contribution to the field of art and architecture and
also by their propagation of Islam in the state.
Hyder Ali and his valiant son Tipu Sultan are notable figures in the history
of the land. They expanded the Mysore kingdom on an unprecedented scale and
by their resistance against the British, became personages of world fame. Tipu
was a great scholar and lover of literature. His artistic pursuits were also
many and he made rich gifts to the Hindu temples. Tipu Sultan "Tiger of
Karnataka" was killed in 1799 A.D., and the Mysore throne was handed over
to the Wodeyar's. The whole of Karnataka came under the control of the British
in the beginning of the 19th century. The new state was named as new Mysore
and the Maharaja of Mysore was appointed Governor by independent India. This
unified state was renamed as Karnataka on November 1, 1973.
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