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Karnataka festivals,culture and their cuisine

Art and Culture

From its exuberant art and culture of multilingual ethnicity, astounding dance
forms, mesmerising music, sophisticated heritage, zealous festivities, elegant
clothing and delectable cuisine Karnataka has a plethora of historical secrets,
interwoven within a rich and varied culture. It is a major tourist attraction with
cities like Bangalore, the scenic Coorg, the lesser known hill town of
Chikmagalur, and heritage sites like Hampi, which attract countless people
every year. Karnataka offers a little something for everyone, be it a history
enthusiast, a nature lover, or someone looking to immerse oneself in its cultural
heritage. It is home to various tribes, the unique Siddi community, many Tibetan
refugees, the anthropological enigma that is the Kodava community and others,
who contribute to its own unique culture.

Karnataka has a rich Cultural heritage. The lineages of Indian rulers, like,
Mauryas, Chalukyas, Hoysalas have left behind their embossments in various
elements of culture of Karnataka. Diverse religion and languages has added up
to the ethnic grandness. Apart from Kannadigas, Karnataka is home to Tuluvas,
Kodavas and Konkanis. Minor populations of Tibetan Buddhists and Siddhi
tribes plus a few other ethnic groups also live in Karnataka. Karnataka's art
forms encompass huge ambit of majestic festivals, music, drama, and royal
cuisine. The vivid diversity exists in cultural aspects in terms of Cultural dress,
traditional dance forms, social and cultural history, culture food, language and
slangs. The traditional folk arts cover the entire gamut of music, dance, drama,
storytelling by itinerant troupes, etc. Yakshagana, a classical folk play, is one of
the major theatrical forms of coastal Karnataka. Contemporary theatre culture in
Karnataka is one of the most vibrant in India with organizations like Ninasam,
Ranga Shankara and Rangayana active on foundations laid down by the Gubbi
Veeranna Nataka Company. Veeragase, Kamsale and Dollu Kunitha are popular
dance forms. Bharatanatya also enjoys wide patronage in Karnataka.
Both Carnatic Music and Hindustani music proliferated in this region. Karnataka
is a unique place where both Hindustani and Carnatic singers flourish. North
Karnataka is predominantly famous for Hindustani music and South Karnataka
is well known for Carnatic music.

Carnatic music: With the rise of Vaishnavism and the Haridasa movement
came Karnataka composers like Purandaradasa, whose Kannada language
works were lucid, devotional and philosophical and hence appealing to the
masses. Other haridasas of medieval times were Kanakadasa, Vyasatirtha,
Jayatirtha, Sripadaraya, Vadirajatirtha etc., who composed several devara nama.
One of the earliest and prominent composers in South India was the saint, and
wandering bard of yore Purandara Dasa. Though historians claim Purandara
Dasa composed 75,000 - 475,000 songs in Sanskrit and Kannada, only a few
hundred of them are known today. He was a source of inspiration to the later
composers like Tyagaraja. Owing to his contribution to the Carnatic Music he is
referred to as the Father of Carnatic Music (Karnataka Sangeeta Pitamaha)
Purandaradasa codified and consolidated the teaching of Carnatic music by
evolving several steps like sarali, jantai, thattu varisai, alankara and geetham
and laid down a framework for imparting formal training in this art form. Later in
the 17th and 18th centuries, the haridasa movement would once again
contribute to music in Karnataka in the form of haridasas such as Vijaya Dasa,
Gopaladasa, Jagannathadasa who are just a few among a vast galaxy of
devotional saints.

Hindustani: Karnataka has achieved a prominent place in the world of

Hindustani music as well. Several of Karnataka's Hindustani musicians have
bagged the Kalidas Sanman, Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan awards.
Some famous performers are Gangubai Hangal, Puttaraj Gawai, Pt. Bhimsen
Joshi, Pt. Mallikarjun Mansur, Basavaraj Rajguru, Sawai Gandharva and Kumar

Paintings involved not only the act itself but the entire process, from making
one's colours to watching as they come to life. Paper, wood, cloth, etc. were
some of the materials artists used as a base for their paintings. Brushes weren't
made from synthetic materials but were made from the original hair of animals
like camels, goat, and squirrel. The Mysuru style of paintings usually are
representations of legends, mythical scenes, and the royal family. This style of
painting from Karnataka is known for its simplicity and intricate detailing across
the country. The artists used a particular gesso paste, consisting of zinc oxide
and gum, which formed a protective layer on the painting, which has kept them
undamaged even after 150 years.

Karnataka is home to 50 different tribes, each having their traditions and

customs. Tribal art is another indigenous art form. Hase Chitra mud painting is
an art form emerging from the Shimoga and Karwar districts and is currently
being revived.

Hampi festival

It is during the month of January that Hampi architectural ruins spring back to
life and bring people together to celebrate the grand extravaganza, Hampi
Festival. Hampi, a spectacular town was once the capital of the glorious
Vijayanagar Empire.
"Vijay Utsav" alias the Hampi festival is commemorated from the times of
Vijayanagar reign. The festival is organized and hosted with enthusiasm and
zeal by the Karnataka tourism. Main attraction of the festival is Kannadigas
dance, drama, fireworks, puppet shows, spectacular parades, and musical
instruments like drums and pipes, the same way it used to be in the colonial era.
Through dance, music, drama and processions, organizers try to bring back the
charm of the bygone era. Hampi festival is commemorated for three days. In the
initial two days, dance and musical events take place. The third day of the
festival is dedicated to a spectacular Jumbo Savari or an elephant march.
During the third day, one can see elephants carrying howdahs, passing through
the main streets of Hampi. Designed puppet shows and firework display are the
other things that are put together for the festival
Hampi Festival or Hampi Utsav is also popular as Vijaya Utsav and has been
very old for Vijayanagar reign. It is beautifully organized by the Government of
Karnataka on a large scale, and its main draw includes traditional Kannadigas
dance, drama, fireworks, puppet shows, spectacular parades, and musical
instruments like drums and pipes are played to renew the brilliance of yesteryear.
It is a cultural event of UNESCO World Heritage Site, Hampi, presenting
elephants, as well as local lads and horses wearing spectacular outfits pointing
out military fashion of the Golden Era. All are placed below the red, yellow, blue
and white cloth Gopuras along the lanes of Hampi village. Besides, pay a
special visit to the adjoining Virupaaksha temple, earlier known as the Raja
Marga, is situated at the distance of two kms, and is also tastefully bedecked
thought the festive time like the Vijayanagar theme. Nevertheless, collect some
fond memories of the performances by classical Indian dancers and carnatic
vocalists in several avenues.

The celebrations for the Hampi festival that is happening in Karnataka include
various kind of programs, that continue to keep up their spirit really very high
giving them an opportunity to rejoice and relief the glory of their land. The
celebrations include dance, drama, music and the last but not the least colourful
puppet shows. not just that there are also beautiful Fireworks at the display that
light up to the sky and spectacular profile processions being carried out,
recreating the splendour of Hampi. This three day cultural extravaganza is one
of the most popular festivals and Karnataka event today.
The Hampi festival is generally believed to be a three day long carnival, and is
generally believed to be one of the biggest arranged made by the Karnataka
government. This is a festival that is generally inaugurated by the chief minister
of Karnataka and the admission is completely free for all the visitors. Recently
the district administration of Hampi has told that the festival might go
international, and could be stretched for a period of five days from the existing
period of three days.
The Cuisine
Kambala festival

Kambala festival brings the season of splash, speed, and power. More than 150
pairs of buffaloes are groomed specially for the festival, and are pegged against
each other for the prize money. On the first day, a parade of participating
farmers and buffaloes is organized and soon after the race begins. There are
different beliefs related to the origin of the festival. Some believe that the festival
is dedicated to Lord Kadri Manjunatha, an incarnation of Lord Shiva and to
make him happy for a good harvest. Other believes that the festival was initiated
by the farmer community of Karnataka. The festival also has a historical connect,
as per the facts racing tradition was started by Hoysala Kings to see if buffaloes
can be trained or used in wars.

Kambala is traditionally a simple sport which entertains rural people of the

area.The kambala ractrack is a slushy paddy field,and the buffaloes are driven
by a whip-lashing farmer.
Traditional kambala was non-competitive, and the pair was run one by one. In
modern kambala, the contest generally takes place between two pair of
buffaloes. In villages such as Vandaro and Choradi, there is also a ritualistic
aspect, as farmers race their buffaloes to give thanks for protecting them from
Historically, the winning pair of buffaloes was rewarded with coconuts and
bananas. Today, winning owners earn gold and silver coins.Some organising
committees award an eight-gram gold coin as first prize.In some competitions,
cash prizes are awarded.

Kambala has become an organised rural sport, with elaborate planning and
scheduling to accommodate competietions at different places.A "Kambala
Committee" arranges races in several categories describing the outfitting of the
buffaloes. Typical categories are:
Negilu (ನನನನನನ: plough), in which the buffaloes are tied to an apparatus
resembling a plough, but lighter.
Hagga (ನನನನ: rope), in which a rope is tied directly to the buffaloes.
Adda halage (ನನನನ ನನನನ: cross wooden block), where the driver stands on a
plank on top of the buffaloes.
Kane halage (ನನನ ನನನನ: round wooden block), where the driver places one
leg on the wooden block.
Categories may have junior and senior divisions.
Kambala draws large rural crowds, as it has done for the last three hundred
years.People bet on the buffaloes, and one can witness more than 20,000
spectators in a well-organised Kambala, egging on and cheering the buffaloes to
complete the race.
In some places, night races are arranged under floodlights.
The buffaloes developed for the race are carefully fed and some owners have
even built separate swimming pools for competing buffaloes.
Pattadakal Dance Festival

Pattadakkal Dance Festival is an annual dance festival which is held annually in

Pattadakkal, a small town located in the southern state of Karnataka, India. This
event is organized by the Government of Karnataka in the month of January.
Dancers perform at the backdrop of the world famous Pattadakal temples.
Constructed during the 7th and 8th century, these temples are recognized as
World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. If you are a classical dance connoisseur or
for that matter any type of dance lover, this is one dance festival that you must
not miss.

Pattadakal, locally pronounced as Pattadakallu in local language, venue of the

dance festival is located the banks of the river Malaprabha; it was the capital of
the Chalukya rulers. The town has several small and big temples, several of
them dedicated to lord Shiva. These temples feature both North Indian and
South Indian styles at the same place. You can also see some enchanting
architecture styles that have been used in constructing these temples.
Pattadakal Dance-Festival celebrates the magnificence of all the temples
located here. Ten temples are located here together with a Jain shelter which is
flanked by several small pedestals and shrines. Some of the other major
temples on whose backdrop the dance festival is held are -Sangamesvara
Temple - constructed by king Vijayaditya in the 8 century, this temple is
dedicated to lord Siva. The architecture of the temple is a replica of the
wonderful architectural styles maintained by the Chaluyka dynasty.
Virupaksha Temple -built by Queen Lokamahadevi in 745, this temple was
constructed to commemorate her husband King Vikramaditya's victory over the
Pallavas. The temple features several sculptors including those of Nataraja,
Ravananugraha lingodbhava, and Ugranarasimha.
Papanatha Temple -built in 680, this temple features the vesara style of
architecture. Sculptures at the Papanatha temple depict scenes from the
Ramayana and Mahabharata.
Extravagant dance places take place against the backdrop of 10 beautifully
carved Pattadakkal group of temples. The festival is a treat not only for the
dance lovers also for artisans and craftsmen. Artisans from different corners of
India gather and display their best specimens in the exhibition.

Besides having fun and frolic at the three-day extravaganza of dance and music,
you can also enjoy numerous interesting tourist attraction sites that Pattadakal
forwards. Once you have enjoyed and reveled in the spirit of the performance by
renowned artists, who do much to bring back the magic of the bygone era, you
can explore sites like Virupaksha Temple, Sangameshvara Temple, Mallikarjuna
Temple, Kashivisvanatha Temple, Kadasiddhesvara and Jambulingeswara'
temples, Galganatha temple and Jain Temples. Other important monuments
here are the monolithic stone pillar bearing inscriptions, Naganatha temple,
Chandrashekara temple and inscriptions in the Mahakuteshwara temple. If time
permits, you can also visit nearby locations such as Aihole, once the regional
capital of the Chalukyas, and Badami, the capital of Chalukya dynasty. A trip to
these places would bring you closer to some more architecturally wonderful

Ugadi symbolizes the New Year in Karnataka. The term "Ugadi" has its origin
from two Sanskrit words- uga (age) and ādi (beginning): "the beginning of a new
age." People wear new clothes, decorate houses, dance to the rhythm of folk
music and commemorate the beginning a new year. Poetic recitation
competition, chanting mantras in the temple, listening to the future predictions
and a classical music concert is a part of the Ugadi celebration. If one wants to
see the full glory of the festival Ugadi, one should visit the hamlets and villages
of Karnataka.
The day is observed by drawing colorful patterns on floor called kolamulus
(Telugu: Muggulu, Kannada: Rangoli), mango leaf decorations on doors called
toranalu (Kannada: Torana), buying and giving gifts such as new clothes, giving
charity to the poor, special bath followed by oil treatment, preparing and sharing
a special food called pachadi, and visiting Hindu temples.The pachadi is a
notable festive food that combines all flavors – sweet, sour, salty, bitter. In the
Telugu and Kannada Hindu traditions, it is a symbolic reminder that one must
expect all flavors of experiences in the coming new year and make the most of
Ugadi has been important and historic festival of the Hindus, with medieval texts
and inscriptions recording major charitable donations to Hindu temples and
community centers on this day.The same day is observed as a New Year by
Hindus in many other parts of India. For example, it is called Gudi Padwa in
Maharashtra, but sometimes observed a Gregorian day earlier because the
lunar day starts and ends in Hindu calendar according to the position of the
moon. In Karnataka, the festival is celebrated as Yugadi.

The day begins early with ritual showers, rubbing the body with perfumed oil,
followed by prayers.
Preparations for the festival begin a week ahead. Houses are given a thorough
clean.People buy new clothes and Dhoti and buy new items for the festival,
decorate the entrance of their houses with fresh mango leaves.Mango leaves
and coconuts are considered auspicious in the Hindu tradition, and they are
used on Ugadi. People also clean the front of their house with water and cow
dung paste, then draw colorful floral designs.People offer prayer in temples. The
celebration of Ugadi is marked by religious zeal and social merriment.