Up until 1973, Karnataka was known as the State of Mysore. Karnataka derives its name from the words ‘karu’ and ‘nadu’, of the local Kannada language, to mean ‘elevated land’ or ‘black region’, referring to the state’s black soil. After the Palaeolithic Age, Karnataka became home to many powerful empires of ancient and medieval India spanning from the 4th to the 16th century, such as the Kadamba Dynasty of Banavasi, the native Chalukya Dysnasty and the Hoysalas Empire, to name a few.
Karnataka is prominent for its historical role in the arts and crafts that have shaped modern day India. The state is thought to be the only state in which classical Indian Carnatic music flourished alongside Hindustani music forms. The Bengali Renaissance socio-cultural movement and the influence of Raja Ravi Varma, a 19th century Indian painter from the old Kingdom of Travancore highly influenced the distinct South Indian painting style known as Mysore School of Painting.
Karnataka is a leading state in an array of industries and sectors. The state’s capital of Bangalore is a hub for aeronautics and heavy electricals manufacturing, also including India’s top science and technology centres, such as Indian Space Research Organization and Central Food Technological Research Institute. Bangalore has even earned the nickname of ‘Silicon Valley of India’ since the rise of the information technology and biotechnology sector in the 1980s. The town of Doddaballapura and the city of Mysore are the headquarters for the production and export of mulberry silk.
Master craftsmen of the town of Ilkal weave traditional Ilkal sarees from this wild silk. To this day, ancient weaving teachniques for Ilkal sarees are still used in their production, which have received a Geographical Indication (GI) tag for its authentic production techniques and exclusivity to the state of Karnataka. Up to 40% of Ilkal’s population come from a lineage of Ilkal saree weavers who are experts at the saree’s unique production method of preparing a warp for every single saree. The result is the joining of the saree’s body warp with its pallu warp, Ilkal saree’s peculiar yet intricate characteristic.