Education in Karnataka

Karnataka is known for its well-structured educational system. With a high total literacy rate of 75.60%, this state is also famed for recruiting a maximum number of teachers in all levels of education. In Karnataka, there are three types of schools, government schools, government-aided schools and unaided private schools.

Karnataka to upgrade 5,000 government schools - Education Today News
English and Kannada are the two main instruction mediums in most of these schools. The syllabus taught in schools can be CBSE, ICSE, NIOS or state syllabus. After completing secondary education students take the SSLC test for getting admission in two years long Pre-University Course. The Karnataka Examination Authority holds a Common Entrance Test for admissions in major undergraduate courses such as Engineering, Medical, Dental and Technology.
Karnataka also has several reputed institutions for higher education such as Indian Institute of Science, Indian Institute of Management, National Law School of India University and Indian Institution of Technology (IIT), Dharwad. Read more about Education in Karnataka.

Dharmasthala Temple- Of History and Art

The Dharmasthala Temple is a beautiful, historic temple that is 8 centuries old. It is dedicated to the Hindu God, Lord Shiva and is situated in the famous Dakshin Kannada district of the temple town of Dharmasthala.
Dharmasthala Temple
Gateway of Dharmasthala. Image courtesy Dushan 7k

Dharmasthala Temple – An Overview

The Dharmasthala Manjunatha Temple although dedicated to Lord Shiva, is very unique in nature. Besides the primary deity, there are other idols like Dharma Daivas and Shakti or Ammanavaru as well as the four Guardian Spirits of Lord Dharma such as Kalarkayi, Kanyakumari, Kalarahu and Kumaraswamy.

Quick Facts about Dharmasthala Temple                                   

  • Main Deity: Lord Shiva
  • Best time to Visit: Between October and February
  • Temple Timings: 6.30 am -2.00 pm & 5.00 pm – 8.30 pm
  • Entry Fee: Free
  • Address: Sri Kshetra Dharmasthala, Dakshina Kannada, Dharmasthala- 574216 (MAP)

Dharmasthala Temple – History

There is an interesting story associated with the temple. The area was ideally in a village called Kuduma in Belthangady. The famous Jain Bunt chief – Birmanna Pergade, used to reside in his house Nelliadi Beedu along with his wife, Ammu Ballalthi.
Dharmasthala Temple
Dharmasthala Temple. Image courtesy Naveenbm
As legend has it, one fine day, the four guardian angels of Lord Dharma masked themselves as human beings and entered the house. They were on a quest of Dharma preaching and propagation and received a very warm welcome in return. They even requested the chieftain to vacate the house, which the former accepted. Finally, they ended up making separate shrines for the 4 Daivas as well. A lot of this communication happened over dreams, and finally, dreams turned into reality.
After Pergade made the shrines, Brahman priests were invited to conduct the rituals, who then asked Pergade to construct a Shivalinga right next to the Daivas. The temple was later constructed around these significant structures.

Dharmasthala Manjunatha Temple – Family History

Birmanna Pergade and Ammu Ballalthi, the makers of the temple ideally, are the hereditary trustees of this temple. Different positions or designations are assigned to each member. While the eldest member acts as the Chief Administrator or Dharma Adhikari, he earns the title of the Heggade. He is entrusted with the duties of solving disputes of revolving around criminal and civil cases. This has been going on for twenty years now and currently, Veerendra Heggade is the Chief Administrator.
Dharmasthala Temple, Ettina Bhuja Trek , Charmadi Ghat Trek , Dharmasthala Temple. Photographer Vedamurthy J
Dharmasthala Temple. Image courtesy Vedamurthy J

Dharmasthala Manjunatha Temple – Code of Conduct

The devotees are expected to conform to certain rules to pay respect to the sentiments associated with the temple. The men are supposed to remove their shirt and vest. While the ladies are not allowed to enter the temple wearing nighties, the men cannot enter wearing half pants.
Children below two years cannot enter the Sanctum Sanctorum. The following is allowed: offering food or annadana, giving free medicine or aushadhadana, helping the needy or abhayadana and providing education or vidyadana.

Dharmasthala Temple – Things to Do

Engage in Festivals

A number of festivals are celebrated at the place including the Ganesha festival, Diwali and Navarathri. Besides this, during the summer month of April, the Pattanajae Jatre is celebrated just before monsoons. One of the major festivals includes Laksha Deepothsava or the Festival of Lights towards the end of the year. It is accompanied by a number of cultural activities.

Climb a Famous Hill

The trip to the region is incomplete without heading to the Badinede Betta hill. The famous shrine and dwelling place of the four Dharma Daivas is atop the hill. The climb is totally worth it.

Visit the Museum

Manjusha Museum , Dharmasthala Temple
Manjusha Museum. mage courtesy NGowthami k
The Manjusha Museum is situated very close to the temple is a storehouse of armors, swords, old cameras, vintage car from Sri Veerendra Heggade’s collection etc.

How to Reach Dharmasthala Temple

The Dharmasthala Temple can easily be accessed from different points through various modes of transport.

By Road

Dharmasthala is about 300 kilometers from Bangalore and roughly 65 kilometers from Mangalore. It can be reached by road or through buses plying to Dharmasthala at frequent intervals.

By Rail

The railway station closest to the temple is that of Mangalore. People can board the train form Mangalore or Bangalore Railway Station.

By Air

The closest airport to the Dharmasthala Manjunatha Temple is Mangalore Airport at about 60 odd kilometers and Kempegowda International Airport at about 300 odd kilometers.

Gomatagiri in Mysuru district’s Bettadoor

Gomatagiri in Mysuru district’s Bettadoor is popular for its mini Gomateshwara (also known as Bahubali) statue. The 6 meter high monolithic statue at Gomatagiri is said to be 700 years old and forms an important Jain centre of worship in the district.
Gomatagiri – EESANJE / ಈ ಸಂಜೆ
Gomatagiri, the hill on which Gomateshwara statue is located is about 50 meters high from ground level.

Key highlights of Gomatagiri:
Annual Celebrations:
Once a year Gomatagiri statue is treated with ‘Abhisheka’ or pouring of divine objects. This Maha Masthakabhisheka celebration usually falls in the month of September
Views: Offers panoramic view of the surrounding- parts of Mysuru city, KRS can be seen at a distance
Statue carved in granite, using a single piece of stone during the Vijayanagara rule. Similar in design to Gomateshwara in Shravanabelagola but smaller in size (6 meters vs 17 meters)
Gommatagiri - Wikipedia

Nearby: KRS Dam (20 kms), Balamuri falls (18 kms), Arabithittu wildlife sanctuary (15 kms) are some of the places to visit along with Gomatagiri.

How to reach: Gomatagiri is 153 kms from Bengaluru and 22 kms from Mysuru. Mysuru airport is 32 kms away and Mysuru city is the nearest railway station. From Mysuru Gomatagiri can be reached by hiring a taxi.

Stay: Mysuru city (22 kms from Gomatagiri) has budget hotels and luxury resorts across all categories.

Carnatic Music, also known as Karnataka Sangeetha is a form of music unique to South India.

Carnatic Music, also known as Karnataka Sangeetha is a form of music unique to South India. While north India follows Hindustani music, southern states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu and Kerala are known for Carnatic Music performances.

Carnatic music for beginners | Udemy

Elements of Carnatic Music

  • Sruti: Musical pitch
  • Swara: Tone assigned to a specific musical note.
  • Raga: A formulae of musical notes. Different Ragas carry various sequences of musical tones and any given song conforms to a specific Raga. 
  • Taala: A predetermined sequence of rhythms
The Carnatic Tradition — Tribes

Major instruments used in Carnatic Music

  • Tamboori
  • Mridanga
  • Violin
  • Harmonium
  • Flute
  • Ghatam
  • Veena
Carnatic music performance often involves a small team consisting of a main singer (vocalist), assisted by other singers and musical instrument players. Listening to the melodious songs, rythms and musical tunes will be a soul enriching experience.

Listening to Carnatic music increases brain functions

Where to experience Carnatic Music:

Following are the major ways to identify any upcoming Carnatic music concert in your area
  1. Nada Surabh:
  2. Bengaluru Gayana Samaja:
  3. Narada Sabha:
  4. Sri Rama Lalita Kala Mandira :
  5. Online portals/Apps: Most ticketed commercial musical events in Bengaluru are often listed on online portals such as Book My Show or All Events to name a few.  
  6. Local Newspaper/Online search: To identify any advertised cultural event in your area that might include Carnatic Music performances
Carnatic Music – Ragas From South India | RitiRiwaz
Multiple music festivals conducted from time to time, such as Ramanavami Global Music Festival, Purandara Dasara Aaradhane, Chalukya Utsava, music concerts held as part of Dasara celebrations and Bengaluru habba are great opportunities to listen to excellent Carnatic music performances by renowned vocalists.

Huli Vesha (Tiger Dance)

Huli Vesha or Tiger faced dance is a dance form unique to coastal Karnataka. Huli Vesha is performed by local youth during the Navratri Festival (the 9 nights long festival which often falls in the month of October).
Be mesmerised by the charm and beat of the 'Tiger Dance'

Huli Vesha is performed to pay tribute to Goddess Durga, whose official animal is tiger. Goddess Durga is often known for her aggressive stance, capable of keeping evil forces away from her devotees. 
The setup: Huli Vesha performance often involves a group of people dressing up in tiger costume- tiger face masks or paintings, tiger stripes on the body, accompanied by yellow or orange coloured shorts. The group moves on the main streets of the town, dancing, accompanied by drums and music, entertaining the public on the way, at times collecting donations from whoever offers the same. During the dance, they make stops and perform some stunts and formations to keep the crowd more entertained.
Huli Kunitha team - Hulivesha - Pili Yesa

Where and when to witness Huli Vesha:

Huli Vesha is seen in all coastal Karnataka towns, such as Mangaluru, Udupi, Kundapura, Moodubidiri, Karkala and so on. While there is no fixed time table and location to spot Huli Vesha performance, there will be a very high probability of witnessing Huli Vesha near temples, city centers and popular public places during the Navratri festival season. Huli Vesha may also be performed during other popular festivals such as Ganesh Chaturthi, Sri Krishna Janmashtami etc. Your local host/hotel staff may alert you about the best possible way to witness Huli Vesha.

Dollu Kunitha is a traditional dance form in Karnataka.

Dollu Kunitha is a traditional dance form in Karnataka. Dollu Kunitha is high on energy and performed all over the state during major festivals and celebrations. It is a popular folk dance associated  with the worship of Sree Beeralingeshwara who is considered as a form of Lord Shiva, originated in the rituals of the Kuruba Gowda community of North Karnataka.
Dollu or drum is associated with Lord Shiva, known for his aggression and fierce dance (bhairava tandava dance) when upset. Shiva is believed to have made a drum from the skin of demons he killed. Shiva’s main devotees, from Kuruba community, celebrate the killing of demons by beating the drums.
The Troupe:
Dollu Kunitha is performed in a group of 10-12 drummers. Both men and women can be part of the Dollu Kunitha team. 
File:Dollu Kunitha (2).jpg - Wikimedia Commons
The Performance:
Dollu Kunitha performance never goes unnoticed, due to high decibel, high energy performance put forward by the troupe. Drum dance is usually performed in a circular or semi-circular fashion with drum holders beating their drums in rhythm, along with singing and accompanying music.
Dollu Kunitha performance demands lots of stamina and endurance to be able to hold the heavy drum for hours and dance with it. Because of this only well built men used to take part in Dollu Kunitha. Of late lighter, smaller size drums are also available, which are suitable for everyone. Villagers and spectators often jump in to dance along with the Dollu Kunitha troupe and indulge themselves.
Where to witness Dollu Kunitha:
Dollu Kunitha is an integral part of various temple festivals, cultural events and celebrations. Karaga festival procession, Mysuru Dasara Jambu Savari, Bengaluru Habba, various temple car festivals often include Dollu Kunitha performances. 

Yakshagana is a traditional folk dance form popular in coastal Karnataka districts.

Coastal Karnataka’s signature folk dance performance

Yakshagana - Wikipedia
Yakshagana is a traditional folk dance form popular in coastal Karnataka districts. 
An operatic form of dance theatre, Yakshagana might be Karnataka’s most famous cultural exports. Its origin can be traced back to the Bhakti movement of the 8th century, though Yakshagana’s earliest clear forms may have originated in the 12th and 13th century. Towards the 18th and 19th the art form seemed to take off in the western regions of Karnataka, drawing inspiration from secular and religious life. Watching Yakshagana performance is a treat to the senses due to the amalgamation of unique costumes, rhythmic music and unique performance involving dialogues, music, dance and action
Yakshagana – India For You

Elements of Yakshagana:

The Act: Each performance typically focuses on a small sub story (known as ‘Prasanga’) from ancient Hindu epics of Ramayana or Mahabharata. The show consists of both stage performances by talented artists and commentary (performed by lead singer or Bhagavatha) accompanied by traditional music. 
The Music: Musical instruments used in Yakshagana include Chande (drums), Harmonium, Maddale, Taala (mini metal clappers) and flute among others. 
The Dress: Costumes used in Yakshagana are very unique and elaborate. Large size head gear, coloured faces, elaborate costumes all over the body and musical beads on the legs (Gejje). Performers need great physique to perform with heavy costume for several hours and also strong voice and acting/dancing skills.
The Troupes: There are several popular troupes (known as Melas) performing Yakshagana throughout the year. Saligrama mela, Dharmasthala Mela, Mandarthi Mela, Perduru Mela are some of the leading names. 
File:Yakshagana Team.jpg - Wikimedia Commons

Experiencing Yakshagana:

Yakshagana performances occur at multiple places in the districts of Udupi, South Canara and North Canara. Check on local media or your host to help identify an upcoming Yakshagana performance near you during your visit to coastal Karnataka districts. 
Some shows are sponsored by local donors; few are performed at government sponsored events while others could be ticketed events. Most events run overnight from sunset to sunrise and patrons get to enjoy the elaborate performance and cultural extravaganza. Do not miss an opportunity to witness one of Karnataka’s unique art forms.

Halebeedu : The Hoysaleshwara Temple

The Hoysaleshwara Temple is a historic temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, located in Halebeedu town, which was once the capital city of Hoysala Empire. Halebeedu is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Karnataka.
Hoysaleshwara Temple, Halebidu | Hassan District, Government of ...
History: Halebeedu Hoysaleshwara Temple was built by Chief Architect Ketamala on orders of Hoysala King Vishnuvardhana during his tenure in 12th century. Hoysaleshwara Temple is built on the shores of a man-made lake called Dwarasamudra. Hoysaleshwara Temple was damaged by invading armies of Delhi Sultanate.

Design: Hoysaleshwara Temple is built in Hoysala style architecture, with a Nandi (official vehicle of Lord Shiva) statue guarding the temple from outside. Interiors feature images of flowers and animals, carvings of Hindu epics and sculptures showcasing Shila Balikes (Stone Girls or sculpture of young women in dancing poses)
Halebidu temple | Old Temples
Other temples: Apart from Hoysaleshwara Temple, Halebeedu is also known for Kedareshwara Temple and multiple Jain temples. Kedareshwara Temple was built by King Veera Ballala the second and Queen Ketaladevi. 

Museum: An archeological museum maintained by ASI inside Halebeedu Temple complex houses over 1500 sculptures and artifacts of Hoysala era.

Visiting Hours: Halebeedu Temple complex is open from 6.30 AM till 9 PM.

Places to visit nearby: Beluru Chennakeshava Temple is often visited along with Halebeedu (17 kms away).

How to reach Halebeedu: Halebeedu is 210 kms from Bengaluru and 170 kms from Mangaluru. Banavara is the nearest railway station (30 kms). Halebeedu has good bus service from district head quarter Hasana (33 kms)

Places to stay near Halebeedu: KSTDC runs Hotel Mayura Shantala in Halebeedu right across the temple complex. More options are available Hasana city (33 kms away)

Beluru Channakeshava Temple

Beluru is a historic temple town in South Karnataka, known for Chennakeshava Temple built in Hoysala style architecture. Beluru is situated on the banks of Yagachi river and was capital of Hoysala Dynasty, who ruled South India from 11th Century till 14th century. 
Belur | Belur Temple | Tourist Places to Visit & Tour Packages
Chennakeshava Temple: Beluru Chennakeshava Temple was built in 12th century on orders of King Vishnuvardhana. Chennakeshava is a form of Lord Vishnu. Around the temple, the intricate carvings depict stories from Hindu epics such as Ramayana and Mahabharatha, along with showcasing cultural grandeur during Hoysala tenure. Chennakeshava Temple is open daily from 7.30 AM till 7.30 PM. 

Nearby: Halebeedu (20 kms), Mullayyanagiri Peak (50 kms), Shettihalli Church (55 kms), Yagachi Dam (4 kms) and Sakaleshpura (35 kms) are some attractions that can be visited along with Beluru. 
बेलूर - विकिपीडिया
Visit: Beluru is 220 kms from Bengaluru and 155 kms from Mangaluru. Mangaluru is also the nearest airport. Hasana junction 40 kms away is the nearest railway station. Bus services are available to reach Beluru from Hasana city. Beluru and surrounding areas are best explored in a taxi/own vehicle. 

Stay: KSTDC runs the hotel Mayura Velapuri, 500 meters from Beluru Chennakeshava Temple complex. Hasana city, 40 kms from Beluru has more stay options.

Durga Temple Aihole

Aihole is a historic site along the Malaprabha river valley in North Karnataka housing over 120 temple structures built in 4th century AD. Aihole is a delight to visit for those who love archeology, ancient temples and history.
File:8th century Durga temple exterior view, Aihole Hindu temples ...
Why visit Aihole:

Durga Temple: Durga Temple is the primary attraction in Aihole and most spectacular representations of Aihole Temples. Durga Temple complex houses an archeological museum and art gallery.

Ladkhan Temple showcases iconography from Shaiva, Vaishnava and Shakti traditions of Hinduism. 

More temples: Garudagudi, Chakragudi, Ambigaragudi, Rachigudi, Kuntigudi, Hallibasappa Gudi, Badigargudi, Trimbakeshwar temple, Mallikarjuna Temple, Jyotirlinga Temple are some other major temples. 
Durga temple, Aihole - Wikipedia
Ravana Phadi Cave: Ravanaphadi is a 6th century rock cut cave temple in Aihole housing Shiva and Parvathi. Ravanaphadi is about a km from Durga Temple complex. Extensive artwork featuring Lord Shiva, Parvathi, Ganesha and Vishnu can be seen inside the cave.

Places to visit near Aihole: A visit to Aihole is often clubbed with visit to Pattadakal (14 kms from Aihole) and Badami (35 kms from Aihole)

How to reach Aihole: Aihole is 450 kms from Bengaluru. Hubballi is the nearest airport (140 kms from Aihole). Badami and Bagalakote are the nearest train stations (both 35 kms from Aihole) Aihole has good bus service and road connectivity from Bengaluru and other parts of Karnataka. 

Places to stay near Aihole: Three and four star hotels are available in Bagalakote and Badami towns (both 30-35 kms from Aihole).

The Bangalore Fort or the City Fort

The Bangalore Fort or the City Fort was built by Kempe Gowda who was a chieftain of the Vijaynagar Empire in the year 1537. The fort was initially build as a mud fort but was later reinforced with stone by Haider Ali the ruler of Mysore Kingdom and father of the famous Tipu Sultan. 
The fort was the stronghold of Tipu Sultan during the Mysore wars when Lord Caorwallis lead the attack on the fort. A marble tablet in the fort wall records the spot where the British breached the fort wall leading to its capture in 1791. 

Most of the fort walls fell to ruin and only two of the 26 bastions remain today 

Delhi Gate showcasing Indo-Islamic architecture 

The Ganesha Temple build by Tipu reflects his respect for other religions 

Gignatic wooden door with rows of metal spikes at the entrance, I am guessing the metal spikes were to prevent war elephants from ramming down the fort gate.

The fort lies close to one of the oldest markets in Karnataka the K.R. Market, and its very easy to reach by bus, auto and taxi. Make sure you also visit Tipus Sultans Summer Palace which is about 100 meters away from the fort.


The Hoysala Kings ruled most part of Karanataka, the Southern state of India from 10th to 14th century. These Kings were great patrons of Art, Architecture and commissioned some of the best stone temples ever built.

Chennakesava Temple, Belur

The city of Belur was the capital of the Hoysala kingdom until it was annexed by the Mughal ruler Allauddin Khilji. The Mughals looted and plunders the capital city after which Halebidu was established as the new capital. The temples and monuments of Belur are the best examples of Hoysala architecture and the highlight is the nature of the carvings; so intricate that they look like carvings made on sandalwood rather than stone.
The temples are build on raised platforms and at Chennakesava temple elephants are carved on to the base of the platform.
The charging Elephants at the lower section symbolize strength and stability ,the lions above symbolize courage and valor and the horses above them symbolize speed.

The most famous Hoysala temple was built to commemorate the victory of the Hoysalas over the Cholas in the great battle of Talakkad. It took 103 years and talented workmen to built this magnificent stone temple and is worshiped till date .The interiors of the temple are intricately carved, the strenght of stone has given way to the beauty of idols, ornamental carvings that almost look like metal grill work. The temple was built for Lord Vishnu and Chennakesava literally translates to Handsome Vishnu.

View of the Gopuram an ornate tower at the entrance of the temple. The Gopuram is filled with sculptures of different incarnations of Lord Vishnu and beautiful women. The detailed status is of garuda .

The ornate carvings found in the different Hoysala temples indicate that music and dance were given high importance during this period.

The temples at Belur are carved out of soap stone (steatite), this stone is soft and easy to chisel but attains rock hard firmness when exposed to the atmosphere.

The exterior walls have carvings of every god in the Hindu religion and some from Jainism . The Hoysals were Jains before they converted to Hinduism.

Halebeedu was well fortified with huge boulders and a moat to keep out invaders from the north. The Hoysala empire extended from river Kaveri in the west and Krishna in the east and was enriched by fertile deltas of the rivers.The prosperity and wealth of the Hoysalas kings attracted the forces of the Delhi Sultanate, who invaded and annexed the town in 1311. The invaders took back with them camel loads of gold, silver and precious gems. Halebeedu was attacked a second time in the year 1326 after which the Hoysalas were forced to relinquish their beautiful capital. It was never re-occupied again and the capital was moved to Belure just 16 kms away.

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