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Entertainment in Karnataka


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Entertainment in Karnataka

Despite being a conservative state, there are a myriad of entertainment sources in the state of Karnataka. While the urban cities consist of modern recreation centers, the small towns and picturesque hill stations have a charm of their own, which prove to be the perfect getaway for tired souls.

With a wide range of chic pubs, lounges and discotheques, the capital city of Bengaluru is often termed as the “Entertainment Capital of India”. Moreover, many up market areas such as Athena, Guzzlers Inn and Tuscan Verve serve as popular hangouts in the city.

For tourists who love nature, the state of Karnataka is heavily endowed with lots of lush greenery and scenic spots. From Waterfalls, Wildlife Sanctuaries to Theme Parks, this state has it all. Adventure lovers can look forward to trekking at the mountainous range of Western Ghats.

Movie Halls in Karnataka

Cinema halls in BangaloreJust like the rest of the country, people in Karnataka also love watching movies of all languages. There are numerous movie halls across the state where you can watch the latest films. Here are some popular cinema theaters in Karnataka:

Some of best movie theaters in Bengaluru include Urvashi Cinema, PVR Cinemas, Cinepolis, Fun Cinemas, Fame Cinemas, Ajanta, Rockline Cinemas, INOX Leisure Ltd, Cinemax, Vision Cinemas, Innovative Multiplex and Manoranjan Theatre.

Some popular movie theaters in Bellary include Bala Picture House, Nataraj Cinemas, Shiva Cinemas, Ganga Cinemas, Uma Cinemas and Prabath Cinemas.

Gayatri Theater, Krishna Theater, Jai Bharat Theaters and Lakshmi Theaters are some of the popular cinema halls in Tumkur. Some popular movie theaters in Mangalore include Big Cinemas, Central Talkies, Central Theater, Platinum Theater, Jyothi Theater, Cineplex, Cinepolis, Fun Cinemas, Ashoka Talkies and Geethanjali Theater.

Geetanjali Theater, Kalpana Theater, Alankar Cinema, Vedio Cinema, Ashirwad Theater and Diana Theater are some popular cinemas in Udupi in the state of Karnataka.

Check out the list of cinema halls in some of the major cities of Karnataka: Bengaluru | Mangaluru | Shivamogga | Dharwad

Drama and Theater in Karnataka

The state of Karnataka is known for its rich performing arts and group of actors with a fascinating variety of theater Companies. Theater has been present in the state since the ancient times and has been developing ever since. Most of the theater and drama in the state is based on mythological facts and rituals. Due to the wide range of diversity present in Karnataka, all the theater companies have tremendous opportunities over here.

Drama and theatre in Karnataka
Members of the Ranga Shankara during a stage performance in Bengaluru

Nataka Mandali, a renowned theater company that emerged during the 20th century in the state. It is known for its spectacular acts and performances with brilliant quality. Moreover, it is also the first modern commercial theater in the state. However, with time this company started becoming extinct and another theater group called Ranga Shankara started carrying forward its legacy.

This theater company is among the prominent and well-known theater companies in the state of Karnataka. Located in JP Nagar of South Bengaluru, Ranga Shankara is run by the Sanket Trust. The company promotes theater belonging to all languages and follows the policy of at least one play a day for six days a week (except Mondays). The Annual Theater Festival of this company brings a wide variety of plays from across the country. More than 2700 performances are carried out during the festival with many plays in Kannada language, along with 20 other languages as well.

Besides Ranga Shankara, there are many other theater companies in the state that also organize various festivals to gain the attention of the masses. These plays reflect the major concern of the society along with mythological, historical, political and social aspects. Furthermore, these theater groups continuously try to influence the population through their acting style, writing skills and dramatization.

Modern Theater in Karnataka started developing around the year of 1918 and since then many famous personalities including T.P. Kelaram, A.N. Krishna Rao, Girish Karnad, Lankesh and K.S. Karanth have been born from this state who have contributed a lot to the Kannada theater.

Here are some popular theater companies the state of Karnataka that one must definitely visit:

Spandana Theaters
952, “gubbi” 6th Cross, 5th Phase, 5th Stage, BEML layout,
Rajarajeshwari Nagar, Bangalore - 560 098
Phone: 080-28602345

Jagriti Theatre
Whitefield, Bangalore
Phone: +91 80 41242879

Ranga Shankara
36/2, 8th Cross, II Phase, J P Nagar, Bangalore 560 078
Phone: +91-80-26592777, +91-80-26493982

Karnataka Nataka Academy
Registrar Karnataka Nataka Academy, Kannada Bhavan,
J C Road, J C Road, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560002
Phone: 080 2223 7484

Ninasam Foundation
Phone: 08183-265 646

Also check out prominent drama and theatre shows from following cities: Bangalore | VijapuraMangaluru

Folk Theater in Karnataka

The Folk Theater in the state emphasizes on the rich culture and heritage of Karnataka in the form of dancing. Also known as “The Village Theater”, “The Rural Theater” and “The People’s Theater”, this type of theater in Karnataka mainly focuses on the nation’s past and also forms the foundation for amateur and professional theater in the urban areas.

Folk theatres in Karnataka
Artists dressed as local deities perform at a folk theatre in Karnataka

The Folk Theater of Karnataka thrives on the cultural achievements of the people. The music, dance and drama of this theater is gravely protected and preserved by the village people of the state. Some prominent examples of this kind of theater are Yakshagana and Sannata.

Folk Theater in Karnataka can be experienced at:

Centre for Folk Performing Arts
: Udupi
Phone: 0820-252 1159/ 0559

Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath
: Bangalore
Phone: 080-2226 1816, 2226 3424

Nrityagram Dance Village
080-2846 6313/ 6314

Art Galleries in Karnataka

Karnataka boasts of an exquisite collection of art and crafts in the state. These arts do not only reflect the rich cultural heritage of the state but also depict the amount of effort and time taken by various artisans, artists and sculptors. Here are some popular art galleries in Karnataka that one must visit:

National Gallery of Modern Art, Bengaluru
Situated in the esteemed property of Manikyavelu Mansion, National Gallery of Modern Art is one of the most popular and significant art galleries in the entire state of Karnataka. Spread over 3.5 acres, the Manikyavelu Mansion was once home to the royal family of Mysore. During the sixties, the mansion was taken over by the State Government who transformed it into a modern art museum in 1989.

Art Galleries in Karnataka
People inside the national museum of Modern Art in Bangalore / source

Also See: Arts in Bangalore

The gallery consists of a superb collection including the National Treasure belonging to the 18th century. Apart from that, one can also find miniature paintings, ancient ganjifa cards and paintings by many renowned artists such as Amrita Sher Gil, Gaganendranath Tagore, Ravindarnath Tagaore, Binodh Bihari Mukerjee, M.F. Hussain, K.K. Hebbar, Yusuf Arrakal, Ravikumar Kashi and Achutan Kudlur.

Venkatappa Art Gallery, Bengaluru
This art gallery exhibits more than 600 paintings from all over the world. It is divided into two parts, where one part showcases sculptures from Mathura and Khajarao School of Art and the other part is dedicated to sculptures by the ancient Indus Valley Civilization.

Moreover, the art gallery is also known for its 20th century landscape paintings by various artists including K. Venkatappa and his panoramic view of Church Hill, Ooty Lake, Nilgiri Mountains and so on. On the first level of the gallery, paintings by famous artists such as M. F. Hussain, Hariram, Rekha Rao, Hanumaiah, Vasudev and N. S. Bendre are displayed.

Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath, Bengaluru
Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath is another popular art gallery in Bengaluru, which known for its rare folk art collection. Also known as ritual art, this kind of art is a part of the social rituals of the tribes. One can view various forms of folk art over here including leather puppets of Karnataka, Pithoras made by Rathwa, Worli Paintings of Maharashtra, Naga Wooden Sculptures, Kathis of Gujrat, Gond Tribal Paintings, Kantha Textile Art, Meena Tribal Paintings and much more.

Jaganmohan Palace Art Gallery, Mysore
The art gallery over here consists of one of the largest collections of relics and artifacts belonging to South India. Various paintings by prominent artists such as Raja Ravi Varma, whose famous paintings depicting different scenes from Hindu mythology are also displayed here. There are over 2000 paintings over here belonging to various styles of Indian paintings including Mysore, Shantiniketan and Mughal.

Other important artists whose work is displayed over here include Rabindranath Tagore, Svetoslav Roerich, Abanindranath Tagore, Nikolai Roerich and Ukil brothers - Ranada Ukil, Barada Ukil and Sharada Ukil.

Also check out: Art Galleries in Mangaluru

Amusement and Theme Parks in Karnataka

The state is also home to a number of theme parks, which can be enjoyed by both adults and children alike. Here are some popular theme parks in the state of Karnataka:

Snow City, Bengaluru
Situated in Fun World Complex in Bengaluru, Snow City is Karnataka’s first and the largest indoor snow theme park, which can be visited throughout the year. Spread over an area of 12,500 square feet, the snow is kept cool by keeping the temperature at below zero degrees. Fun activities such as snow balling, ice sliding, Ice Mountain, snow dance and ball games are available over here for the visitors. The theme park is open on all days between 10 am and 8 pm. Know more

Amusement parks in Karnataka
People having fun at Snow City

Also see: Amusement parks in Bangaluru

Innovative Film City, Bengaluru
Located just 40 kilometers on the outskirts of Bengaluru, Innovative Film City is another popular amusement park in Karnataka with lots of entertainment options for both family and friends. Spread over an area of 58 acres, the park is divided into three parts – Innovative Style, Innovative Studio and Innovative Style. Popular attractions include Dinosaur World, Go-Karting, Aqua Kingdom and Mini-Golf Course. Explore more

Wonder La
Another popular theme park in the state of Karnataka, Wonder La consists of both wet and dry rides for the visitors. The park offers great attractions and entertainment options for both adults and children. From lazy rides like air boats to thrilling attractions such as vertical drop, artificial wave pools and hurricane, this theme park has it all, including a 80 meter high Sky Wheel. Know more

GRS Fantasy Park, Mysore
Comprising of different fun-filled attractions, GRS Fantasy Park is must visit for all age groups. For visitors who love water games, they can go on different rides in Amazonia. If you are in a mood for some sun and fun, visit Planet X and Fun Fort. Know more

Nightlife in Karnataka

With the capital city as Bengaluru, Karnataka has no shortage of options for pubs, clubs and discotheques in the state. Every day there is more than one event happening over here such as the Fire Fly Music Festival, Indian Music Week, Pulse Live, NH7 Weekender and many more.

Also see: Top Music Festivals in Bangalore That You Should Attend

One can even find different types of music over here. From traditional Carnatic and Hindustani Music to EDM, Rock, Alternative and other forms of modern music, Karnataka has it all.

Nightlife in Karnataka
Inside a pub in Bangalore / source

The Nightlife never ends over here. With high-end 8000 square feet air lounges and Karaoke bars, Bengaluru is often known as the Pub City of the Nation. Some popular pubs, clubs and discotheques in Bengaluru include Toit, Sky Lounge, Hard Rock Café, Biere club, Bak Bak Bar, Hint, Guzzlers Inn, The I-Bar, Manchester United Café, Cocoon, Coco Bongo, Peebles, Funky Town and Eclipse. For a full list of pubs, clubs and discotheques in Bengaluru, click here.

Also see: Best bars in Bangalore

Even though it is known as the “The Cultural Capital of Karnataka”, Mysore has an equally famous nightlife as Bengaluru. Some popular bars and hookah bars in Mysore include Mysore Bar, LOBOS Bar, Pelicon Pub, Harsha Bar, Our Bar, High Octane, The Heritage 1905, Scandel, Purple Haze, Maurya Palace and The Elephant Bar.

Similarly, Mangalore is also known for its high quality and vibrant nightlife. One can find a wide variety of clubs, pubs and Resto-bars with good quality of music, food and dance. Some popular pubs and bars in Mangalore include Klub Kainos 4, Café Mojo, Friends Bar, Kavoos Bar and Restaurant, Froth on Top, The Liquid Lounge, Wine Gate, Hollywood Bar and Restaurant and many more. For a full list of pubs and bars in Mangalore, please click here.

Also check out the entertainment and nightlife scenario in other major cities of Karnakata: Bengaluru | Shivamogga | Dharwad | Raichur | Vijapura | Hampi | Hubbali 

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