by Dr. Venugopal Menon


Originally known as the princely State of Mysore, Karnataka was formed on 1st November 1956 and is located in the South-Western region of India. It is just another paradise where the Western Ghats directly plunge into the Arabian sea.

Karnataka is also one of the oldest regions of India where its age-old culture, conservative traditions, and orthodox heritage are kept preserved. The spread of its tourist attractions galore, from the majestic hill stations like Kodagu (Coorg -the Scotland of India), its national parks or Jog Falls, its archaeological sites of Hampi or Sravanabelagola, Chamundeswari Hills, Mysore palace or Brindavan gardens, the list goes on. Its capital city of Bangalore is called the Silicon Valley of India, Mysore being famous for its silk and sandalwood, while the state has earned its name through its culinary delights of Bisi Bele Bhath and Mysore masala dosa.

As with the states’ age-old culture, Karnataka is famous for its several festivals throughout the year. The Kambala Festival, Hampi Festival, Pattadakal Festival, Makar Sankranti, Ganesh Chathurthi, and several others, some of which have been already included elsewhere in this article.


Kambala Festival:

(November to March)

This is an annual buffalo race held for two days, organized in southern Karnataka and Udipi districts by the farming communities. More than a hundred buffaloes are specially groomed, decorated, and exhibited before the festivals and are made to race on tracks in the paddy fields and guided by the farmers. Kamba means muddy and kala means field. The event has become an organized rural sport, with elaborate planning and scheduling as the competition is held in many places. There are many types of Kambalas and the winning buffaloes are rewarded. In recent years, there have been protests from animal lovers and cases have been filed and fought even in the Supreme court.


Hampi Utsav:


The Vijaya Utsav, more commonly known as the Hampi Utsav, is a cultural extravaganza, held during the first week of November, for 3 days. The celebrations are usually packed with a grand finale pomp procession, fireworks, dance puppet shows, and music shows. The festival is a celebration of the cultural richness of the region. Recently, a lot of adventure sports have been included in the schedule like rural sports, water sports, and rock climbing. Entry is free and the state sponsors all programs. An otherwise low profile town, the festival makes it a center of attraction for thousands of tourists who visit every year to experience the festivities.

Since the Vijayanagar reign, the festival has been a part of the life of Hampi’s locals. With a colorful and lively ambiance, the festival is conducive to an overflow of happiness and joy. The festival is celebrated in the ruins of the ancient city of Hampi. The region relives the past of the Vijayanagar Empire and its ancient and medieval grandeur during these three days of celebration.