Karnataka is a state in the south-west region of India. It is geo-politically bordered by Andhra Pradesh to the east, Tamil Nadu to the south-east, Maharashtra to the north, Goa to the north-west, Kerala to the south-west, and the Arabian Sea and the Laccadive Sea to the west.
Originally, it was the State of Mysore. After India’s independence, the Maharaja of Mysore allowed his kingdom’s accession to India. In 1950, Mysore became an Indian state of the same name. It was renamed Karnataka in 1973. Karnataka consists of four main types of geological formations — the Archean complex with granitic deposits, the proterozoic sedimentary deposits, the Deccan trappean deposits, and the tertiary laterites with alluvial deposits.
Karnataka experiences four seasons. The winter in January and February is followed by summer between March and May, the monsoon season between June and September and the post-monsoon season from October till December.
About 38,724 km² of Karnataka is covered by forests which are classified as reserved, protected, unclosed, and private forests. The percentage of forest area (20% of the State’s geographic area) is slightly less than the all- India average of about 23% and significantly less than the 33% prescribed in the National Forest Policy. The two main rivers—the Krishna and the Kaveri with their tributaries—flow through Karnataka eastward into the Bay of Bengal.
According to the 2011 census of India, the total population of Karnataka is 61,130,704 of which 50.9% are male and 49.1% are female. The population density is 275.6 per km² and out of it, 34% of the people live in urban areas. The literacy rate is 76% with 83% of males and 68% of females. As for religion, the Hindus are 83%, Muslims 11%, Christians 4%, Jains 0.8%, Buddhists 0.7%—with the remainder belonging to other religions.
The government of Karnataka is headed by the Chief Minister who is chosen by the ruling party or coalition members of the Legislative Assembly for a five-year term. The titular head of the State is the Governor appointed by the President of India on the advice of the Central Government. The State elects 28 members to the Lok Sabha, and 12 members to the Rajya Sabha of the Indian parliament.
Politics in Karnataka has been dominated by three political parties—the Indian National Congress, the Janata Dal (secular), and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
The capital and the largest city of Karnataka is Bangalore. Kannada is the most widely spoken and official language of the State. Konkani, Tulu, and Kodava are other prominent regional languages. As a whole, it has a rich legacy of literature covering diverse branches of Jainism, Veershaivism, Vaishnavism and modem literature. All of the State’s languages are patronised and promoted by governmental and quasi-governmental bodies. The Kannada Sahitya Parishad, the Kannada Sahitya Akademi is the organisations for the promotion of Kannada, while the Karnataka Konkani Sahitya Akademi, the Tulu Sahitya Akademi and the Kodava Sahitya Akademi promote their respective languages and literature.
As for the economy, nearly 56% of the workforce in Karnataka is engaged in agriculture and related activities. And much of the agricultural output is dependent on the south-west monsoon. However, Karnataka is the manufacturing hub for some of the largest public sector industries in India, including Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, National Aerospace Laboratories, Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited, etc. Many of India’s premier science and technology research centres such as ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization.) and Central Power Research Institute are headquartered in Karnataka. Various multinational software companies are successfully running their business in Bangalore. Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Limited is an oil refinery located in Mangalore. Karnataka also leads the nation in biotechnology. A majority of the silk industry in India is also headquartered in Karnataka.
Besides good roadways, Karnataka has a railway network with a total length of approximately 3,089 kilometres. Air transport in Karnataka, as in the rest of the country, is still a fledgeling but fast-expanding sector with Bangalore, Mangalore, Hubli, Hampi, Belgaum, Bellary and Mysore airports. Karnataka has 11 ports including the New Mangalore Port, a major port and ten other minor ports.
Sports in Karnataka is not neglected. One of the most popular sports is cricket. Anil Kumble, former captain of the Indian test team and spin legend, is the highest wicket-taker for India in international cricket. Notable sportsmen from Karnataka include Prakash Padukone who won the All England Badminton Championships in 1980 and Pankaj Advani who has won three world titles in cue sports by the age of 20. Sports like kho kho and kabaddi are played mostly in Karnataka’s rural areas.
Karnataka hosts numerous spots of geographical and historical interest for tourists. There are ancient sculptured temples and caves, modem cities, scenic hill ranges, unexplored forests and endless sea-beaches. Gol Gambuz at Bijapur is the second largest pre-modern dome in the world after the Byzantine Hagia Sophia. The districts of the Westen Ghats and the southern districts of the State have popular eco-tourism locations. Thus Karnataka has been ranked as the fourth most popular destination for tourism among the States of India.