Besides the religious festivals there are some festivals, which showcase the cultural wealth of the state, which is again represented vibrantly in myriad colors and forms. Then there are a host of festivals, which are linked, with the life style of the people and are celebrated with equal pomp and show.
Some of the popular festivals of Karnataka are as follows:
One of the main Hindu festivals of Karnataka is Dussehra. The rulers of the Vijayanagar Dynastyused to celebrate this festival in a much extravagant manner. In the following years the celebration became a tradition.
It is the day when people celebrate in devotion to Lord Ganesha. The festival is celebrated over a period of 10 days; it begins on the fourth day of the waxing moon period and ends on the 14th day in the month of August or September. This festival is observed in the honor of the elephant-God Lord Ganesha who is believed to the remover of all obstacles and bestowed of prosperity and success. The main sweet dishe of this fiesta is the Modakwhich is a dumpling that is made from rice/wheat flour and stuffed with coconut, jaggery, dried fruits etc.
This festival is held in the first week of November and the people of Hampi, once the capital of Vijayanagara, indulges themselves in the cheerful spirit with a collection of cultural performances. In this festival, the Kannadigas show their talent in dance, art and music. There are also other activities like fireworks and puppet which is an eye catcher for tourists everywhere.
This is a festival celebrated one day before Ganesh Chaturthi as a day to honor to goddess Gowri, mother of Lord Ganesha. It is a day celebrated not only in Karnataka but throughout India to praise the Goddess for her power to bestow strength and courage on the people.
In the state of Karnataka, Makar Sankranti is a day of goodwill and friendship. This festival is a celebration of the occasion of the 'ascent' of the sun to the north (Uttarayana). Sesame Ladoos and sugar drops are distributed among the masses as a symbol of the need to be generous and kind to everyone.
Pattadakal Dance Festival
The Pattadakal dance festival is organized every year on a very huge scale by the Karnataka Government in the month of January to honor and commemorate of all its celebrated temples. The Pattadakal village is situated 20 km from Badami in Karnataka. It is a world heritage centre and notably recognized for its many well-constructed temples as it was the second capital of the chalukya kings.
A very significant Jain festival is held once in 12 years in the town of Shravanabelagola in Karnataka. As this festival begins, the devotees shower blessed holy water on the people comes to join the festival. Then, the statue is bathed with milk, sugarcanejuice, saffron paste and powder of sandalwood, turmeric and vermilion. The Jain nuns climb up the Vindhyagiri hills to reach the huge statue. Offerings made to the statue are petals, gold and silver coins, precious stones.
It is the New Year's Day for the Hindus of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Telanganastates of India. The day is observed by drawing multicolored patterns on floor called kolamulus (Rangoli), mango leaf decorations on doors called toranalu (Kannada: Toranagalu), buying and giving gifts such as new clothes, giving contributions to the poor, extraordinary bath followed by oil treatment, preparing and sharing a particular food called pachadi, and visiting Hindu temples.
Kambala festival is a conventional buffalo race organized yearly in Dakshin Kannada and Udupi district of Karnataka by the agricultural communities. It is held between November and March. Duos of buffaloes are tied to a plough and are made to run through a field of mud, anchored by a farmer.
The festival of Karaga is celebrated in the Darmaraya temple in Bengaluru. It is observed on the full moon day of the month of Chaitra, which is the first month according to the Hindu calendar. This popular festival is observed in the honor of Draupadi, the wife of the Pandavas, the famous characters of the great epic Mahabharata.
Habba in Kannadavocabulary means festival. The garden city is always filled with lively people who love celebrations. Bengaluru Habba is a recurring event that lasts for 10 days every year. Artists from all over the world, come together for this grand celebration.
Bheemana Amavasya is a festival celebrated in South India, mostly in parts of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. It is celebrated on the new moon day of the ‘ashadha’ month of the Hindu calendar.
Hoysala Mahotsava (Belur - Helebid)
This magnificent dance festival is held at Belurand Helebid. The splendidly sculpted temples of Hoysala with their grace and splendor make the venue perfect for this much-awaited cultural feast. This popular festival is celebrated in the third month of the English calendar, March.
Dakkebali is a form of snake devotion, called Nagaradhane, held at Padubidri in Udupi district, Karnataka. The festival is held once in every two years when the Paryaya festival at nearby Udupi does not occur.
The Vairamudi festival of Karnataka is a widely popular and a much-awaited occasion and takes place in the month of March. This festival is observed in the honor of Lord Cheluvarayaswamy who is adorned with the diamond-studded crown brought from the Mysore palace. The whole area is decorated with lights especially the temples of Raya Gopura Tirunarayana, Bhuvaneshwari and Yoganarasimha.
This is a religious festival celebrated in the Coorg or Kodagu district of Karnataka and is celebrated in the month of October every year. It is universally believed that Goddess Kaveri appears on this day in the sudden rush of the water in the small tank there. The entire region indulges in the festive mood and spirit of the day.
This state festival of Karnataka is celebrated on the first day in the month of November according to the English calendar. This grand day marks the formation of the state of Karnataka. The people treat themselves with excessive indulgence in various cultural performances.
Kanakadasa Jayanthi is a festival cerebrated by people of Karnataka in broad and Kuruba Gowda community in particular. It is celebrated every year on the birth anniversary of the great poet and saint Shri Kanaka Dasa. In honor to the great saint, the Government of Karnataka has declared the birthday of Kanaka Dasa as a state holiday.
Theppotsava is the floating festival organized each year when the lake Kolarammana Kere overflows. Theppotsava is not just restricted to Kolar town but is celebrated in about all the towns and villages of Karnataka with a standing body of water. Theppotsava is a large fiesta that usually indicates good rains and crop season. It's a way of expressing thankfulness to the rain Gods and in general to the lake for holding the water which is very precious in water-scarce regions.