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Banavasi is the oldest town in the Karnataka state. It has grown up around the Madhukeshwara Temple built in the 9th century and dedicated to Lord Shiva ,the supreme God in Shaivism, a major branch of Hinduism. The town once was the capital of the Kadamba rulers, an ancient royal dynasty of Karnataka.They established themselves there in A.D. 345 and ruled South India for at least two centuries.

Kadambotsava is the famous cultural festival of Banavasi (Uttara Kannada District).