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Karnataka is an state in South West India. The state was created by the unification of Karnataka on 1 November 1956, with the passing of the 'States Reorganisation Act'; this day is annually celebrated as Karnataka Rajyotsava (Formation Day). It is the land of Kannadigas, Tuluvas, Konkanis and Kodavas. Originally known as the State of Mysore, it was renamed Karnataka in 1973.

Karnataka is bordered by the Arabian Sea to the west, Goa to the northwest, Maharashtra to the north, Andhra Pradesh to the east, Tamil Nadu to the southeast, and Kerala to the southwest. The state covers an area of 191976 km2 (74,122 sq mi) , or 5.83% of the total geographical area of India. It is the eighth largest Indian state by area, the ninth largest by population and comprises 30 districts.

Kannada is the most widely spoken and official language of the state.The two main river systems of the state are Krishna and its tributaries (Bhima, Ghataprabha, Vedavati, Malaprabha, and Tungabhadra) in the north, and the Kavery/Cauvery river and its tributaries (Hemavati, Shimsha, Arkavathi, Lakshmana Thirtha and Kabini) in the south. Both these rivers flow eastward and fall into the Bay of Bengal.

Though several etymologies have been suggested for the name Karnataka, the generally accepted one is that Karnataka is derived from the Kannada words karu and nĝdu, meaning elevated land. Karu nadu may also be read as Karu (black) and nadu (region), as a reference to the black cotton soil found in the Bayaluseeme region of Karnataka. The British used the word Carnatic (sometimes Karnatak) to describe both sides of peninsular India, south of the Krishna River.