Kannada University, the long cherished cultural dream of the people of Karnataka, came into existence in 1991 to take up comprehensive research on all aspects of Karnataka and Kannada. The University is located at Hampi, a renowned World Heritage Centre in Karnataka, is the pride of India.
The Kannada University, since its inception, is striving to incorportate into the academic world, local knowledge system (desi/indigenous knowledge system) which were hitherto neglected by the academia. As part of such an objective, the University established the Department
of Tribal Studies on 1.7.1994 with a view to undertake a comprehensive study of tribal lore and tribal people.
The objective of the Tribal Studies Department is to conduct an extensive research into the lives of the Tribes in Karnataka. The Department apart from conducting ethnographic, field work based documentation and analysis of the socio-economic life of the tribes, records and publishes their knowledge and literature which is available only in the oral form. The Department
has published a series of oral epics thus collected, which has won the appreciation of the academic world. The Department is housed in a mini-campus called Giri-Seeme (Hilly-region) modeled on tribal culture.
Kannada University is located near Hampi, an historical place. The very name HAMPI evokes mythological and historical memories. People lived here since the Stone-age as it is evident in the cave paintings left here by the Stone-age people for posterity. Historically this place has been the abode of many religions – Buddhism, Jainism, Virashaivism, Vaishnavism, Islam and many popular religious cults like Huligemma cult, Galemma cult, Mylaralinga cult, Balabasava cult which exist to this day. This has been an important place for many kingdoms like Hoysalas, Sindhs, Kapilas, not to speak of the Vijayanagara kingdom which originated here and reigned over most part of South India for more than three centuries. Vijayanagara Kingdom has also been the icon of Kannada identity and has inspired the Karnataka unification movement, symbolically representing unified Karnataka. Hampi has also been the abode of many a well-known Kannada poets like Harihara, Raghavanka, Kumaravyasa and Purandaradasa. Hampi is the treasure house of Indian architecture and has been recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Center.
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