The origins of Karnataka emerge through the mists of antiquity. Celebrated in lore and legend, an array of dynasties that marched through this land is thrilling. The grandiloquent temples, the sturdy Indo-Arabic edifices, the Gomata colossus stretching itself to the very sky in all its naked glory, transport one into a historic dream sequence. It is here the Vedantic trio radiated through their lofty teachings and Basava preached for a life of good conduct and self-surrender and Haridasas pleaded for
spiritual vision in celestial songs celebrating the glory of bhakti. It is also a land filled with aroma of Jasmine & Sandalwood and has mines producing gold.
Through the mists of antiquity enveloping the origins of Karnataka, we find that it was celebrated in lore and legend. It is claimed as the birthplace of puranic heroes, Parasurama and Hanuman. The earliest references to this land were made in Mahabharatha, Ramayana and Jain legends. Its two thousands years of history reveals a profuse growth of its language, literature, art and culture. The first poetical classic Kavirajamarga of emperor Nrupathunga describes the land as stretching between Godavari and Cauvery. The area has shrunk now but his description of the people as - "valiant fighters, poets, rulers - beautiful, gentle, noble, virtuous, proud, fierce, wise and of superior intelligence" is amply borne out by history.

Array of Dynasties
The historian is thrilled by the array of dynasties that marched their armies to battle and ruled over this land. The Chalukyas, Kadambas, Rastrakutas, Hoysalas, Gangas, Vijayanagar Rajas, Hyder, Tippu and the Wodeyars have left their king-sized footprints on its sands. The chroniclers of art note with delight the exquisite Chalukyan carvings of the Badami - Aiyhole - Pattadakal temple complex, as cradles of temple architecture. The bejewelled and ornate sculptures of Hoysala temple at Belur, Halebid and Somanathpur are poems in stone. It is here the skilled artists have treated stone like ivory and executed filigree work of greatest finesse.

The massive carvings of Vijayanagar Temples at Hampi with their florid exuberance is another facet

image of the same craft.The over-ornate and voluptuous dancers carved out of stone at the Halebid and Belur temples almost burst out graces of Indian dancing. The sturdy, monumental Ibrahimrousa in Bijapur, the layered fort which contains mystery of the whispering echoes at Golgumbaz - the biggest dome ever constructed, are the last words in decorative magnificence. They are among the finest specimens of Indo-Saracenic architecture. The serene strength of the Gomata monolith standing aloft stretching up to the very sky in all its naked glory is an embodiment of renunciation. The smile that lights its masculine face washes away all the worries that pester our mundane existence.



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