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Indian Subcontinent >> India >> Karnataka >> Culture of Karnataka

Culture of Karnataka

In dance, art, sculpture, in literature and especially in classical music Karnataka has the oldest literary tradition among the Dravidian languages. Evidence of this is found in the 9th century treatise on poetry called the Kavirajamarga, where references are made to earlier writings. The three ‘gems of Kannada literature’ are the poets Pampa, Ponna and Ranna. They lived between the 10th and 12th centuries.

Carnatic music along with the North Indian Hindustani tradition makes up the body of Indian classical music. It is a distinctly different tradition from that of Hindustani music. The stringed tanpura, the mridangam, the ghatam and violins too usually accompany a vocal music recital.

Karnataka has a particularly rich culture of folk theatre. The most famous forms are Yakshagana, which features a single narrator, and Bayalata, which has multiple narrative voices. Both these may be rustic in flavour but in technique, they are quite sophisticated. Other lesser-known forms are the Dasarata and Sannata and the Dodatta.

Silk, incense, coffee and sandalwood are the major products of Karnataka. A very famous craft of Karnataka is Bidriware. Originally produced in the town of Bidar, this metal craft is made by inlaying silver (or gold) in blackened metal.

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