The culture of Kanataka is a refl ection of the state’s past. The kingdoms that ruled at different times have left an indelible mark on the lifestyle of the people here. Hence, what we fi nd today is a wonderful amalgamation of cultural traits from the sultans as well as the Hindu kings.
The traditional folk arts cover the entire gamut of music, dance, drama, and storytelling by itinerant troupes, etc. Many poets, musicians, artists, dancers, writers and storytellers have thrived in the state and contributed to its enriching heritage. With museums, libraries and foundations dedicated to preserve the arts and art forms, it is possible to trace the history of the culture of the state and learn deeply about it.
Yakshagana, a classical dance drama, is one of the major theatrical forms of the state while other art forms like Dollu Kunitha, Veera Gaase, Gorava Kunitha, Gombe Aata, and Kamsale are also very popular. The Mysore style of Bharatanatya holds sway in Karnataka and Bangalore also enjoys an eminent place as one of the foremost centres of Bharatanatyam. Moreover, Kuchipudi, Kathak and Odissi have found their place in the mainstream culture.
Karnataka also has a special place in the world of Indian classical music with both Carnatic and Hindustani styles of music. Carnatic music is usually performed by a small ensemble of musicians, consisting of a principal performer (usually a vocalist), a melodic accompaniment (usually a violin), a rhythm accompaniment (usually a mridangam), and a tambura, which acts as a drone through the performance.
Gamaka is another classical music genre based on Carnatic music that is practised here. Kannada Bhavageete is a genre of popular music that draws inspiration from the expressionist poetry of modern poets. Mysore painting is an important form of classical South Indian painting that originated in the town of Mysore.
Mysore paintings are known for their elegance, muted colours and attention to detail. The themes for these paintings are Hindu Gods and Goddesses and scenes from Hindu mythology.
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