Home India Destinations A Guide to the Fantastic Karnataka Culture and Tradition

A Guide to the Fantastic Karnataka Culture and Tradition

Karnataka Culture and Tradition
Source: Freepik

When it comes to Karnataka culture and tradition, not enough can be said in praise of it. Generally, when we talk about tourism in south India, Karnataka is overlooked in favor of the beaches of Goa, the temples of Tamil Nadu, or the backwaters of Kerala. But not many travelers realize that Karnataka offers all these in abundance and a lot of other attractions as well! The ruins at Hampi are among the most significant historical landmarks in not just Karnataka but the country itself. Also, how can one forget that Karnataka is the famed IT hub of India? Keep reading to know about the fascinating Karnataka culture and tradition.

Heritage of Karnataka:

Karnataka is among the historically rich regions in India. The Karnataka culture and tradition remain incomplete without a mention of the state’s rich heritage. The ruins of the erstwhile Vijayanagar Empire at Hampi are a must-see for history enthusiasts around the world! Hampi is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has ruins that bear witness to the reign of various dynasties which persevered for over 300 years. Visit and explore ruins of powerfully built structures that once stood tall. You will find ruins of temples, palaces, forts, and several other historical structures at Hampi.

Art and Culture of Karnataka:

Art is among the things that make the culture of Karnataka stand out. In fact, you can look up Karnataka culture images online and find some of the most mesmerizing artworks ever. Karnataka artists use wood, paper, and cloth among other materials as a base for their fabulous paintings. The popular Mysore-style artworks are, typically, depictions of the royal family, mythical scenes, or various legends. The artists of Karnataka use a particular gesso paste which works as a protective layer over the paintings and has kept them undamaged even after a century.

Also important to note when it comes to Karnataka culture and tradition in art is the fact that the state has over 50 tribes residing here. This has given rise to spectacular tribal art forms. One such art form is the Hase Chitra mud painting which is presently being revived on a large scale. Even if you’re visiting the state on last minute flights for work purposes, take a bit of time out to explore the fascinating art forms of Karnataka.

Music and Dance Forms of Karnataka:

One of the most important things that make Karnataka culture and tradition stand out is that this is the one state where north Hindustani music and the south Carnatic music flourish together. The folk music of Karnataka is absolutely blissful to listen to. Among the most prominent and skilled music composers is Purandara Dasa who has more than 740,000 Sanskrit and Kannada songs to his credit.

Yakshagana, one of the most difficult dance forms ever, has no script and is performed solely on the artists’ spontaneity and improvisations. About five centuries old, the art form takes place only in sophisticated Kannada and not even a single word in any another language is used. Another amazing Karnataka traditional dance is the Dammam dance form of the Siddi community.

Languages of Karnataka:

Language is an important part of Karnataka culture and tradition. Almost 30 percent of the state has been taken over by the Kannadigas. The rest of Karnataka has been occupied by the Tuluvas, Konkanis, and Kodavas. Almost 74 percent of people (or Kannadigas) in Karnataka speak Kannada as a native language. Other languages spoken here are Tulu, Konkani, Kodava, and Urdu. While Kannada is recognized as a linguistic language by experts and the Indian government and is the administrative language of the state, Hindi and English are spoken here as well. So be assured that language will not be a barrier when you visit the state on cheap economy or business class flights.

Customs, Religions, and Traditions in Karnataka:

While there is a good mix of ethnicities in Karnataka, the maximum number of people residing here are Kannadigas. Commonly referred to as Rangbhoomi, theater culture is a vital part of Karnataka culture and tradition. Another intriguing tradition of Karnataka is that during festive occasions, it is common for experts to sing about or narrate important stories, battles, and other legends. The people of north Karnataka have a tradition of worshipping spirits which are generally referred to as Bhootas. When it comes to weddings, the Karnataka culture and tradition are pretty much similar to that of a typical Hindu wedding. Nandi Pooja is done pre-wedding to ensure the ceremony goes smoothly without any glitches.

Karnataka Culture Dress:

Karnataka culture dress varies from one region to another as different districts are inhabited by different tribes. So the north Karnataka traditional dress will be different than the one worn in other parts of the state. The Kodavas believe they have descended from the legendary Alexander the Great and their attire is a distinct differentiator. Women folk in rural Karnataka typically wear Ilkal saris woven using a unique technique known as Tope Teni. These saris are in huge demand every wedding season. Mysore silk is also among the most famous cloth items across the country and is a must-buy when visiting Karnataka. The dhoti or panche is the traditional wear for men folk in Karnataka. In southern Karnataka, the traditional headwear is known as Mysore Peta. However, in the northern parts, the turban-style pagadi or pataga is preferred.

Karnataka Culture Food:

Food is one of the most important aspects of Karnataka culture and tradition. While Karnataka is famous for the varieties of dosa and sambar it serves, the state cuisine is peppered in flavor when it comes to both non-vegetarian and vegetarian food items. However, a typical Kannadiga meal is made up of sambar, rice, ghee, pickle, dessert, and a few other curry-type dishes. Popular dishes you can try include bisi bele bhaat, neer dosa, Mangalorean fish curry, and kori gassi (a type of chicken curry).

Karnataka Work Culture:

When it comes to occupation, the Karnataka culture and tradition is as diverse as it is in terms of dance, dressing, or art forms. Cattle rearing and farming are among the major occupations of people in rural Karnataka. Those settled in the coastal regions focus majorly on fishing. Also, Karnataka has some of the oldest and largest gold mines in India. Therefore, a lot of people are employed in the Kolar gold fields and other mining industries. Hand-carving and other art related to it is also an important form of traditional work in Karnataka. Capital city Bengaluru is a prime IT hub and serves as the headquarters or branches of reputed firms such as Infosys, Wipro, Google, MindTree, Microsoft, and American Express among others.

Karnataka Festivals and Fairs:

One of the most important festivals in Karnataka is the Kambala, an epic buffalo race. An annual two-day festival, this is an integral part of the rural community and is considered as much a sport as it is a tradition. Tracing its roots back almost 800 years, Kambala draws a massive crowd each year. Even if you happen to be holidaying in another Indian state, book cheap flights to Bengaluru and come to Karnataka when this fascinating festival is held. Other festivals celebrated widely and forming an important part of Karnataka culture and tradition include Ugadi, Mysuru Dasara, and the Kannada New Year. Visit and be a part of as many of these amazing festivals as you can!

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