The enchanting perfume of sandal and agarbattis (incense sticks), the aroma of fresh, roasted coffee beans, the heady fragrance of the "Mysore Mallige" and a thousand roses blooming..... Karnataka is truly a land of fragrance. A land that has all the ingredients of a great holiday site. A relaxed length of the Arabian Sea coastline, the majestic rocks of the Deccan, thick, lush tropical forests, an unimaginable variety of trees, plants, flowers, animals and birds. And above all, a sense of history and culture that is all pervasive.
The State consists of a narrow coastal strip backed by the monsoon-drenched Western Ghats and a drier cooler interior plateau that turns arid in the far north. It's a major producer of coffee, spices and betel nut and supplies 60% of the country's silk.
A multitude of religions, cultures and kingdoms have unrolled across the terrain of Karnataka, beginning in the 3rd century BC when Chandragupa Maurya, India's first great Emperor retreated to Sravanbelgola after he renounced worldly ways and embraced Jainism. In the 6th century, the Chalukyas built some of the earliest Hindu temples near Badami. All later South Indian temples stemmed from their designs. Other important dynasties, such as the Cholas and the Gangas, have also played their part in Karnataka's history, but it was the Hoysalas, who ruled between the 11th and 14th centuries and who left the most vivid evidence of their presence. They were followed by the Vijayanagar rulers with their capital at Hampi and then by the Wodeyars of Mysore. The Wodeyars ruled Mysore until Independence when they were pensioned off. They were enlightened and progressive rulers, so popular with their subjects that the Maharaja became the first governor of the post-Independence state. The boundaries of Mysore state were redrawn on linguistic grounds in 1956 and the extended Kannada-speaking state of Greater Mysore was established. This was renamed Karnataka in 1972.
Karnataka is a state of charming contrasts, with the modern blending harmoniously with the old. It has, also, some of the most magnificent monuments, temples, palaces and beaches in the country.