Art and culture of Karnataka

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
A Yakshagana artist.
Percussion instruments of Karnataka being played at Janapada Loka.

The southern state of Karnataka, in India, has a distinct art and culture. The diverse linguistic and religious ethnicity that are native to state of Karnataka combined with their long histories have contributed immensely to the varied cultural heritage of the state. Apart from Kannadigas, Karnataka is home to Tuluvas, Kodavas and Konkanis who also consider themselves as Kannadigas. Minor populations of Tibetan Buddhists and Siddhi tribes plus a few other ethnic groups also live in Karnataka. 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.


Karnataka is the only Indian state where both Hindustani and Carnatic singers flourish. North Karnataka is predominantly famous for Hindustani music and South Karnataka is well known for 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,[1] only a few hundred of them are known today.[2][3] He was a source of inspiration to the later composers like Tyagaraja.[4] Owing to his contribution to the Carnatic Music he is referred to as the Father of Carnatic Music (Karnataka Sangeeta Pitamaha)[3][5][6] Purandaradasa codified and consolidated the teaching of Carnatic music by evolving several steps like sarali, jantai(Janti), thattu varisai (Thattu Varise), alankara and geetham (geethe) and laid down a framework for imparting formal training in this art form.[7] 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.[8][9][10][11]


Karnataka has achieved a prominent place in the world of Hindustani music as well. Several of Karnataka's Hindustani musicians won the Kalidas Sanman, Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan awards. Some famous performers are Gangubai Hangal,[12] Puttaraj Gawai, Pt. Bhimsen Joshi,[13] Pt. Mallikarjun Mansur,[14] Basavaraj Rajguru,[15] Sawai Gandharva[15] and Kumar Gandharva.[16]Karnatak also has some good tabla artists. Some of them are. Pt. Ravindra Yavagal, Pt. Udayraj Karpur, Pt. Raghunath Nakod,. There are Harmonium exponents like: Pt. Rambhau Bijapure, Pt. Vasant Kanakapur



Yakshagana a form of dance drama is one of the major theatrical forms in coastal Karnataka. A fusion of folk and classical tradition makes Yakshagana a unique form of art which includes colourful costumes, music, dance, singing, and most importantly dialogs composed on the fly. Award winning performers include Shambhu Hegde, Chittani Ramachandra Hegde. Yakshagana and Dollu Kunitha are two of the popular dance forms of Karnataka. Gamaka is a unique music form based on Karnakata Sangeetha.


The Bengal renaissance, along with the general influence of Ravi Varma school of painting, influenced the Mysore school of painting. King Krishnaraja Wodeyar III patronised famous painters including Sundarayya, Tanjavur Kondayya and Alasinrayya. King Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV patronised K. Venkatappa, Keshavayya, Y. Nagaraju, Y. Subramanya Raju, Paavanje and Kamadolli. The Chamarajendra Technological Institute (CTI—currently modified into Chamarajendra Academy of Visual Arts—CAVA), Jaganmohan Art Gallery and Venkatappa Art Gallery are reminders of this heyday.[17] Chitrakala Parishat is an organisation in Karnataka dedicated to promote visual arts, particularly the folk and traditional art.

Utsav Rock Garden which is located in Gotagodi Village, Shiggaon Taluk, Haveri District, Karnataka. It includes innumerable sculptures depicting rural life of Karnataka and also wide array of creative and modern paintings. Cultural Tourist Center near Hubli

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Moorthy, Vijaya (2001). Romance of the Raga. Abinav publications. p. 67. ISBN 978-81-7017-382-3. 
  2. ^ Madhusudana Rao CR. "Sri Purandara Dasaru". Dvaita Home Page ( Archived from the original on 30 November 2006. Retrieved 2006-12-31. 
  3. ^ a b Owing to his contributions to carnatic music, Purandaradasa is known as Karnataka Sangita PitamahaDr. Jytosna Kamat. "Purandara Dasa". Kamats Potpourri. Archived from the original on 8 December 2006. Retrieved 2006-12-31. 
  4. ^ Jackson, William J. (1982). "Tyagaraja". Journal of the Music Academy, Madras. LIII: 88. 
  5. ^ Madhusudana Rao CR. "Sri Purandara Dasaru". Dvaita Home Page. Archived from the original on 30 November 2006. Retrieved 2006-12-31. 
  6. ^ S. Sowmya, K. N. Shashikiran. "History of Music". Srishti's Carnatica Private Limited. Archived from the original on 2 February 2007. Retrieved 2006-12-31. 
  7. ^ Iyer (2006), p93
  8. ^ Madhusudana Rao CR. "Haridasa Lineage". Dvaita Home Page ( Archived from the original on 9 June 2007. Retrieved 2007-06-01. 
  9. ^ Madhusudana Rao CR. "Yathidasa Lineage". Dvaita Home Page ( Archived from the original on 29 May 2007. Retrieved 2007-06-01. 
  10. ^ Arthikaje. "The Haridasa Movement". History of Karnataka. Archived from the original on 16 April 2007. Retrieved 2007-05-31. 
  11. ^ Rao, Madhusudana C.R. "History of the Haridasas". Archived from the original on 10 June 2007. Retrieved 2007-06-02. 
  12. ^ Mandar Vaidya. "Sawai Gandharva Music Festival". Sawai Gandharva Music Festival, Golden Jublee Year. Retrieved 2007-07-08. 
  13. ^ "Genius of Indian Classical, Pt. Madhav Gudi. Music". Musical Archived from the original on May 28, 2007. Retrieved 2007-06-08. 
  14. ^ "Genius of Indian Classical Music". Musical Retrieved 2007-06-08. 
  15. ^ a b "Genius of Indian Classical Music". Musical Retrieved 2007-06-08. 
  16. ^ "Genius of Indian Classical Music". Musical Retrieved 2007-06-08. 
  17. ^ Kamath (2001), p283