Karnataka is 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.
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
The 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.
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,
History of Karnataka - India