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 time.
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
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.