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India States - Karnataka

India Taj Mahal. Karnataka is one of the four southern states of India. The modern state of Karnataka came into existence with the passage of the States Reorganisation Act (1956), with the incorporation of districts under the dominion of Bombay, Hyderabad, Madras state and Coorg within the existing state of Mysore State. Karnataka's capital, Bangalore, is the only city in the state with a population of more than 6 million. Other major cities include Mysore, Mangalore, Hubli-Dharwad, Davanagere, Bellary and Belgaum. Kannada is the official language of the state. Karnataka is the 8th largest Indian state by area and 9th largest by population.

Neolithic habitation and celts dating back to the 2nd century BCE were first discovered in Karnataka in 1872. Megalithic structures and burial grounds were discovered in 1862 in the regions of Kodagu and Moorey Betta hills. By the third century BCE, most of Karnataka was part of the Mauryan Empire, ruled by Emperor Ashoka. In the first millennium CE, Karnataka was ruled by a series of Jain/Vaishnavite/Hindu Dynasties such as the Kadambas, the Ganga Dynasty and the Chalukyas and Rashtrakutas. The Kannada Empire was expanded and consolidated by the Hoysala Empire and further by the Vijayanagara Empire, before the Mughal Conquest in the 18th century. The rule of the state changed hands from the Wodeyars to Haidar Ali and Tipu Sultan before being incorporated into the British Raj, at the turn of the 19th century. Karnataka lies in the Deccan Plateau and borders with Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. The state has a long standing border dispute with Maharashtra over the status of the district of Belgaum, and a dispute with Tamil Nadu over the release of water from the Kaveri River that flows through both states. A large proportion of Karnataka's economy, India's fifth largest, is agrarian. Bangalore, the fifth largest city in India, accounts for 35 percent of India's software exports, and is also a major base for public sector manufacturing industries. Karnataka is the only exporter of sandalwood in India. Bangalore also has the most amount of tourism of the region. The Kolar Gold Fields (KGF) was once the only producer of gold in the country. The gold mines in KGF are now closed.

Jog falls of Shimoga District is one of the highest waterfalls in Asia. Karnataka is famous for its waterfalls. Some well known ones are Magod falls, Lalgulli falls, Sathodi falls, Unchalli falls, Lushington falls, Shivaganga falls, Ulavi falls, Iruppu falls, Shivanasamudra falls, Balmuri falls, Gokak falls, Abbe falls, Achakanya falls, Chunchanakatte Falls, Hebbe falls, Kallathigiri falls, Vajrapoha falls, Sogal falls, Godchinamalaki falls etc. In fact the waterfalls of Karnataka and Kudremukh National Park are listed as must see places in Michael Bright's 1001 Natural Wonders of the World, by Barrons Educational Series Inc., published by Quinted Inc., 2005. Some well known caves in Karnataka are Yana caves and Kavala caves and Syntheri rocks in Uttara Kannada district, Sugriva's cave in Hampi holds similarity to the descriptions of 'Kishkinda' in the epic Ramayana, hundreds of caves in Basava Kalyana in Bidar district.

India Tourism.Karnataka is blessed with over 300kms of pristine coastal stretch. Nethrani Island of Uttara Kannada is well known for coral reefs. St. Mary's Island, a few kilometers from Udupi is famous for its basalt rock formations. Sunny beaches at places like Maple, Murdeshwara, Maravanthe, Gokarna, Kumta are complimented by spectacular mountains slightly to the east. Agumbe, Kodachadri hills, Kemmangundi, are just a few of many hill stations that straddle the coast providing tourists the best of sun and greenery. Unlike many crowded hill stations in South India, the hill stations of Karnataka are still mostly undiscovered and pristine.

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