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Originally known as the State of Mysore, it was renamed Karnataka in 1935. The capital and largest city is Bangalore (Bengaluru).
Karnataka is bordered by the Arabian Sea to the west, Goa to the northwest, Maharashtra to the north, Telangana to the northeast, Andhra Pradesh to the east, Tamil Nadu to the southeast, and Kerala to the south.
With an antiquity that dates to the paleolithic, Karnataka has been home to some of the most powerful empires of ancient and medieval India.
Kannada, one of the classical languages of India, is the most widely spoken and official language of the state alongside Konkani, Tulu, and Sanskrit.
In the early 14th century, Harihara and Bukka Raya established the Vijayanagara empire with its capital, Hosapattana (later named Vijayanagara), on the banks of the Tungabhadra River in the modern Bellary district.
The empire rose as a bulwark against Muslim advances into South India, which it completely controlled for over two centuries.
Literature flourished during this time, which led to the emergence of distinctive Kannada literary metres, and the construction of temples and sculptures adhering to the Vesara style of architecture.
The expansion of the Hoysala Empire brought minor parts of modern Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu under its rule.