Coordinates: 12°58′N 77°30′E / 12.97°N 77.50°E / 12.97; 77.50
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Hampi virupaksha temple.jpg
From top, left to right:
The map of India showing Karnataka
Location of Karnataka in India
Coordinates: 12°58′N 77°30′E / 12.97°N 77.50°E / 12.97; 77.50
Country India
RegionSouth India
Before wasMysore State
Formation1 November 1956
State Legislature
 • CouncilKarnataka Legislative Council (75 seats)
 • AssemblyKarnataka Legislative Assembly (224 seats)
National ParliamentParliament of India
 • Rajya Sabha12 seats
 • Lok Sabha28 seats
High CourtKarnataka High Court
 • Total191,791 km2 (74,051 sq mi)
 • Rank6th
 • Length750 km (470 mi)
 • Width400 km (200 mi)
460 m (1,510 ft)
Highest elevation1,925 m (6,316 ft)
Lowest elevation−1 m (−3 ft)
 • TotalNeutral increase 61,130,704
 • Rank8th
 • Density320/km2 (800/sq mi)
 • Urban
 • Rural
Demonym(s)Kannadiga (gender neutral)
Kannadati (feminine)
Karnataka Formation Day
SH IN-KA.png
State highway of Karnataka
KA SH1 - KA SH188
List of Indian state symbols

Karnataka (/kərˈnɑːtəkə/; ISO: Karnāṭaka, Kannada pronunciation: [kɐˈɾnäːʈɐkɐ], also known as Karunāḍu), formerly Mysore State /mˈsɔːr/, is a state in the southwestern region of India. It was formed as Mysore State on 1 November 1956, with the passage of the States Reorganisation Act, and renamed Karnataka in 1973. The state was part of the Carnatic region in British terminology. Its capital and largest city is Bengaluru (Bangalore).

Karnataka is bordered by the

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 nādu, meaning "elevated land". Karu Nadu may also be read as karu, meaning "black" and nadu, meaning "region", as a reference to the black cotton soil found in the Bayalu Seeme region of the state. The British used the word Carnatic, sometimes Karnatak, to describe both sides of peninsular India, south of the Krishna.[16]

With an antiquity that dates to the paleolithic, Karnataka has been home to some of the most powerful empires of ancient and medieval India. The philosophers and musical bards patronised by these empires launched socio-religious and literary movements which have endured to the present day. Karnataka has contributed significantly to both forms of Indian classical music, the Carnatic and Hindustani traditions.

The economy of Karnataka is the fifth-largest of any Indian state with 20.5 trillion (US$260 billion) in gross domestic product and a per capita GDP of 305,000 (US$3,800).[8] Karnataka has the fifteenth-highest ranking among Indian states in Human Development Index.[9]


UNESCO World Heritage Site

Karnataka's pre-history goes back to a

Indus Valley civilisation ca. 3300 BCE.[18][19]

Prior to the third century BCE, most of Karnataka formed part of the

Talakad as its capital.[22][23]

These were also the first kingdoms to use

Chola Empire at the turn of the 11th century.[34] The Cholas and the Hoysalas fought over the region in the early 12th century before it eventually came under Hoysala rule.[34]

At the turn of the first millennium, the

Vijayanagara empire with its capital, Hosapattana (later named Vijayanagara), on the banks of the Tungabhadra River in the modern Bellary district. Under the rule of Krishnadevaraya, a distinct form of literature and architecture evolved.[39][40] The empire rose as a bulwark against Muslim advances into South India, which it completely controlled for over two centuries.[41][42] In 1537, Kempe Gowda I, a chieftain of the Vijayanagara Empire, widely held as the founder of modern Bangalore, built a fort and established the area around it as Bengaluru Pete.[43]

In 1565, Karnataka and the rest of South India experienced a major geopolitical shift when the Vijayanagara empire fell to a confederation of Islamic sultanates in the

North Canara and South Canara, especially from Bardes, Goa, as a result of food shortages, epidemics and heavy taxation imposed by the Portuguese.[49]

In the period that followed, parts of northern Karnataka were ruled by the

Haidar Ali, the commander-in-chief of the Mysore army, gained control of the region. After his death, the kingdom was inherited by his son Tipu Sultan.[52] To contain European expansion in South India, Haidar Ali and later Tipu Sultan fought four significant Anglo-Mysore Wars, the last of which resulted in Tippu Sultan's death and the incorporation of Mysore into the British Raj in 1799.[53] The Kingdom of Mysore was restored to the Wodeyars and Mysore remained a princely state under the British Raj.[52]

As the "

Aluru Venkata Raya, S. Nijalingappa, Kengal Hanumanthaiah, Nittoor Srinivasa Rau and others carried on the struggle into the early 20th century.[55]


Mokshagundam Visvesvarayya, played an important role in the development of Karnataka's strong manufacturing and industrial base.[57][58]


The state has three principal geographical zones:

  1. The coastal region of
  2. The hilly Malenadu region comprising the Western Ghats
  3. The
    Bayaluseeme region comprising the plains of the Deccan Plateau

The bulk of the state is in the

Lakshadweep Sea. A large number of dams and reservoirs are constructed across these rivers which richly add to the irrigation and hydroelectricity power generation capacities of the state.[citation needed

Karnataka consists of four main types of geological formations

lateritic, black, alluvio-colluvial, forest and coastal soils.[64]

About 38,284 km2 (14,782 sq mi) of Karnataka (i.e. 16% of the state's geographic area) is covered by forests.[65][66] The forests are classified as reserved, protected, unclosed, village and private forests.[65] The percentage of forested area is slightly less than the all-India average of about 23%,[65] and significantly less than the 33% prescribed in the National Forest Policy.[67]


Karnataka experiences four seasons. The winter in January and February is followed by summer between March and May, the

Hosanagara taluka in Shimoga district were the rainiest cities in Karnataka, situated in one of the wettest regions in the world.[70]

The state is projected to warm about 2.0 °C (4 °F) by 2030. The monsoon is set to provide less rainfall. Agriculture in Karnataka is mostly rainfed as opposed to irrigated, making it highly vulnerable to expected changes in the monsoon.[71] The highest recorded temperature was 45.6 °C (114 °F) in Raichuru district. The lowest recorded temperature was 2.8 °C (37 °F) at Bidar district.[72]

Flora and fauna

Photo of olive-winged bird with sky-blue head/vest.
The state bird, Indian roller

Karnataka is home to a variety of wildlife. It has a recorded forest area of 38,720 km2 (14,950 sq mi) which constitutes 12.3% of the total geographical area of the state.

Kudremukh and Nagarhole.[75] It also has 27 wildlife sanctuaries of which seven are bird sanctuaries.[76][73]

Wild animals that are found in Karnataka include the

Emblica officinalis, Vitex altissima and Wrightia tinctoria. Wildlife in Karnataka is threatened by poaching, habitat destruction, human-wildlife conflict and pollution.[75]


There are 31 districts in Karnataka. Each district (

talukas), which are governed by sub-commissioners (talukdars); sub-divisions comprise blocks (tehsils/hobli), which are governed by block development officers (tehsildars), which contain village councils (panchayats
), town municipal councils (purasabhe), city municipal councils (nagarasabhe), and city municipal corporations (mahanagara palike).

Sl. no. Divisions Capital Sl. no. Districts Capital
Kitturu Karnataka
Belgaum 1 Bagalkot
2 Belgaum Belgaum
3 Dharwad Dharwad
4 Gadag Gadag-Betageri
5 Haveri Haveri
6 Uttara Kannada Karwar
2 Bangalore Bangalore 8 Bangalore Urban Bangalore
9 Bangalore Rural Bangalore
10 Chikkaballapura Chikkaballapur
11 Chitradurga Chitradurga
12 Davanagere Davanagere
13 Kolar Kolar
14 Ramanagara Ramanagara
15 Shimoga Shimoga
16 Tumakuru Tumkur
3 Kalyana Karnataka Kalabuargi 17
18 Bidar Bidar
20 Koppal Koppal
21 Raichur Raichur
22 Yadagiri Yadagiri
23 Vijayanagara Hospet
4 Mysore Mysore 24 Chamarajanagara Chamarajanagar
25 Chikmagalur Chikmagalur
26 Dakshina Kannada Mangalore
27 Hassan Hassan
28 Kodagu Madikeri
29 Mandya Mandya
30 Mysore Mysore
31 Udupi Udupi


Rank District City Population (2011)
Bangalore Urban
Bangalore 10,456,000
2 Dharwad
3 Mysore Mysore 920,550
4 Belagavi Belgaum 610,350
5 Kalaburagi Kalaburagi 543,147
Dakshina Kannada
Mangalore 484,785
7 Davanagere Davanagere 435,128
Vijayapura 330,143
10 Shimoga Shimoga 322,650
11 Tumakuru Tumkur 305,821

According to the 2011 census of India,[79] the total population of Karnataka was 61,095,297 of which 30,966,657 (50.7%) were male and 30,128,640 (49.3%) were female, or 1000 males for every 973 females. This represents a 15.60% increase over the population in 2001. The population density was 319 per km2 and 38.67% of the people lived in urban areas. The literacy rate was 75.36% with 82.47% of males and 68.08% of females being literate.[79]

In 2007 the state had a birth rate of 2.2%, a death rate of 0.7%, an infant mortality rate of 5.5% and a maternal mortality rate of 0.2%. The total fertility rate was 2.2.[80]

Karnataka's private sector speciality health care competes with the best in the world.[81][82] Karnataka has also established a modicum of public health services having a better record of health care and child care than most other states of India. In spite of these advances, some parts of the state still suffer from the lack of primary health care.[83]


  Hinduism (84.00%)
  Islam (12.92%)
  Christianity (1.87%)
  Jainism (0.72%)
  Buddhism (0.16%)
  Sikhism (0.05%)
  Other (0.02%)
  Not religious (0.27%)
Vishnu image inside the Badami Cave Temple Complex number 3. The complex is an example of Indian rock-cut architecture

Dvaita or Dualistic school of Hindu philosophy – one of the three most influential Vedanta philosophies. Madhvacharya was one of the important philosophers during the Bhakti movement. He was a pioneer in many ways, going against standard conventions and norms. According to tradition, Madhvacharya is believed to be the third incarnation of Vayu (Mukhyaprana), after Hanuman and Bhima. The Haridasa devotional movement is considered one of the turning points in the cultural history of India. Over a span of nearly six centuries, several saints and mystics helped shape the culture, philosophy, and art of South India and Karnataka in particular by exerting considerable spiritual influence over the masses and kingdoms that ruled South India.[citation needed

This movement was ushered in by the Haridasas (literally "servants of Hari") and took shape in the 13th century – 14th century CE, period, prior to and during the early rule of the Vijayanagara empire. The main objective of this movement was to propagate the Dvaita philosophy of Madhvacharya (Madhva Siddhanta) to the masses through a literary medium known as

Melkote. He came to Karnataka in 1098 CE and lived here until 1122 CE. He first lived in Tondanur and then moved to Melkote where the Cheluvanarayana Swamy Temple and a well-organised matha were built. He was patronised by the Hoysala king, Vishnuvardhana.[84]

In the twelfth century,

Lingayat faith which today counts millions among its followers.[85]


Jain philosophy and literature have contributed immensely to the religious and cultural landscape of Karnataka.[citation needed

Mauryan relics at Sannati in Kalaburagi district in 1986 has proven that the Krishna River basin was once home to both Mahayana and Hinayana Buddhism. There are Tibetan refugee camps in Karnataka.[citation needed


Balipadyami are the other major festivals of Karnataka.[citation needed


Kannada language

Languages of Karnataka (2011 census)[89]

  Kannada (66.46%)
  Urdu (10.83%)
  Telugu (5.84%)
  Tamil (3.45%)
  Marathi (3.29%)
  Tulu (2.61%)
  Lambadi (1.59%)
  Hindi (1.43%)
  Konkani (1.29%)
  Malayalam (1.22%)
  Others (1.99%)

classical languages of India. Urdu is the second largest language, spoken by 10.83% of the population, and is the language of Muslims outside the coastal region. Telugu (5.84%) is a major language in areas bordering Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka as well as Bangalore, while Tamil (3.45%) is a major language of Bangalore and in the Kolar district. Marathi (3.29%) is concentrated in areas of Uttara Kannada, Belgaum and Bidar districts bordering Maharashtra. Lambadi is spoken by the Lambadis scattered throughout North Karnataka, while Hindi is spoken in Bangalore. Tulu (2.61%), Konkani (1.29%), and Malayalam (1.27%) are all found in linguistically diverse Coastal Karnataka, where a number of mixed and distinct dialects such as Are Bhashe, Beary Bhashe, and Nawayathi are found. Kodava Takk is the language of Kodagu.[89][90][91]

Kannada features a rich and ancient body of

Kannada script and its literature. The Halmidi inscription, the earliest attested full-length inscription in the Kannada language and script, dates from 450 CE, while the earliest available literary work, the Kavirajamarga, has been dated to 850 CE. References made in the Kavirajamarga, however, prove that Kannada literature flourished in the native composition metres such as Chattana, Beddande and Melvadu during earlier centuries. The classic refers to several earlier greats (purvacharyar) of Kannada poetry and prose.[95]

Cheppudira M Poonacha, The Chief Minister of erstwhile Coorg State

Kuvempu, the renowned Kannada poet and writer who wrote Jaya Bharata Jananiya Tanujate, the state anthem of Karnataka[96] was the first recipient of the

Jnanpith award.[97][98]

Tigalari script, is the oldest surviving Tulu text.[101] Tigalari script was used by Brahmins to write Sanskrit language. The use of the Kannada script for writing Tulu and non-availability of print in Tigalari script contributed to the marginalisation of Tigalari script.[citation needed

Kodava Alphabets Poster which is being used across Kodagu
to create awareness among the masses.

In Karnataka Konkani is mostly spoken in the Uttara Kannada and Dakshina Kannada districts and in parts of Udupi, Konkani use the Devanagari Script (which is official)/Kannada script( Optional ) for writing as identified by government of Karnataka.[102][103]

The Kodavas who mainly reside in the Kodagu district, speak Kodava Takk. Kodagu was a separate State with its own Chief Minister and Council of Ministers till 1956. Two regional variations of the language exist, the northern Mendale Takka and the southern Kiggaati Takka.[104] Kodava Takk has its own script, Karnataka Kodava Sahitya Academy has accepted Dr IM Muthanna's Script which was developed in 1970 as the Official Script of Kodava Thakk. English is the medium of education in many schools and widely used for business communication in most private companies.[citation needed]

Dr IM Muthanna, Developed Script for Kodava Thakk
in 1970

All of the state's languages are patronised and promoted by governmental and quasi-governmental bodies. The Kannada Sahitya Parishat and the Kannada Sahitya Akademi are responsible for the promotion of Kannada while the Karnataka Konkani Sahitya Akademi,[105] the Tulu Sahitya Akademi and the Kodava Sahitya Akademi promote their respective languages.[citation needed]

Government and administration

Karnataka has a

parliamentary system of government with two democratically elected houses, the Legislative Assembly and the Legislative Council. The Legislative Assembly consists of 224 members who are elected for five-year terms.[106] The Legislative Council is a permanent body of 75 members with one-third (25 members) retiring every two years.[106]


district and session courts in each district and lower courts and judges at the taluk level.[citation needed

Politics in Karnataka has been dominated by three political parties, the Indian National Congress, the Janata Dal (Secular) and the Bharatiya Janata Party.[111] Politicians from Karnataka have played prominent roles in federal government of India with some of them having held the high positions of Prime Minister and Vice-President. Border disputes involving Karnataka's claim on the Kasaragod[112] and Solapur[113] districts and Maharashtra's claim on Belagavi are ongoing since the states reorganisation.[114] The official emblem of Karnataka has a Ganda Berunda in the centre. Surmounting this are four lions facing the four directions, taken from the Lion Capital of Ashoka at Sarnath. The emblem also carries two Sharabhas with the head of an elephant and the body of a lion.[citation needed]


Karnataka had an estimated GSDP (Gross State Domestic Product) of about US$115.86 billion in the 2014–15 fiscal year.[115] The state registered a GSDP growth rate of 7% for the year 2014–2015.[116] Karnataka's contribution to India's GDP in the year 2014–15 was 7.54%.[115] With GDP growth of 17.59% and per capita GDP growth of 16.04%, Karnataka is on the 6th position among all states and union territories.[117][118] In an employment survey conducted for the year 2013–2014, the unemployment rate in Karnataka was 1.8% compared to the national rate of 4.9%.[119] In 2011–2012, Karnataka had an estimated poverty ratio of 20.91% compared to the national ratio of 21.92%.[120]

Nearly 56% of the workforce in Karnataka is engaged in agriculture and related activities.

southwest monsoon as only 26.5% of the sown area is irrigated.[122]

Karnataka is the manufacturing hub for some of the largest


The state has also begun to invest heavily in solar power centred on the Pavagada Solar Park. As of December 2017, the state has installed an estimated 2.2 gigawatts of block solar panelling and in January 2018 announced a tender to generate a further 1.2 gigawatts in the coming years: Karnataka Renewable Energy Development suggests that this will be based on 24 separate systems (or 'blocks') generating 50 megawatts each.[123][124][125]

Since the 1980s, Karnataka has emerged as the pan-Indian leader in the field of IT (

Silicon Valley of India.[128][129][130]

Karnataka also leads the nation in biotechnology. It is home to India's largest biocluster, with 60% of the country's biotechnology firms being based here.[131][132][133] The state has 18,000 hectares of land under flower cultivation, an upcoming industry which supplies flowers and ornamental plants worldwide.[134][135]

Seven of India's banks, Canara Bank, Syndicate Bank, Corporation Bank, Vijaya Bank, Karnataka Bank, ING Vysya Bank and the State Bank of Mysore originated in this state.[136] The coastal districts of Udupi and Dakshina Kannada have a branch for every 500 persons—the best distribution of banks in India.[137] In March 2002, Karnataka had 4767 branches of different banks with each branch serving 11,000 persons, which is lower than the national average of 16,000.[138]

A majority of the silk industry in India is headquartered in Karnataka, much of it in Doddaballapura in Bangalore Rural district and the state government intends to invest 700 million (equivalent to 1.2 billion or US$15 million in 2020) in a "Silk City" at Muddenahalli in Chikkaballapura district.[139][140][141]


Air transport in Karnataka, as in the rest of the country, is still a fledgling but fast expanding sector. Karnataka has airports at

Shimoga and Bijapur airports are being built under the UDAN Scheme.[144][145][146][143]

Karnataka has a railway network with a total length of approximately 3,089 km (1,919 mi). Until the creation of the South-Western Railway Zone headquartered at Hubballi in 2003, the railway network in the state was in the Southern Railway zone, South-Central Railway Zone and Western Railway zone. Several parts of the state now come under the South Western Railway zone with 3 Railway Divisions at Bangalore, Mysore, Hubli, with the remainder under the Southern Railway zone and Konkan Railway Zone, which is considered one of India's biggest railway projects of the century due to the difficult terrain.[147] Bangalore and other cities in the state are well-connected with intrastate and inter-state destinations.[citation needed]

Karnataka has 11

Coastal Karnataka.[151][152] The port of Mangalore is among the 4 major ports of India that receive over 25 international cruise ships every year.[153]

The total lengths of

National Highways and State Highways in Karnataka are 3,973 and 9,829 km (2,469 and 6,107 mi), respectively.[154][155]

The state transport corporations, transports an average of 2.2 million passengers daily and employs about 25,000 people.[156] The Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) and The Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) headquartered in Bangalore, The Kalyana Karnataka Road Transport Corporation (KKRTC) headquartered in Gulbarga, and The North Western Karnataka Road Transport Corporation (NWKRTC) headquartered in Hubballi are the 4 state-owned transport corporations.[citation needed]


The diverse linguistic and religious ethnicities that are native to Karnataka, combined with their long histories, have contributed immensely to the varied cultural heritage of the state. Apart from Kannadigas, Karnataka is home to

K V Subbanna, Prasanna and others.[157] Veeragase, Kamsale, Kolata and Dollu Kunitha are popular dance forms. The Mysore style of Bharatanatya, nurtured and popularised by the likes of the legendary Jatti Tayamma, continues to hold sway in Karnataka, and Bangalore also enjoys an eminent place as one of the foremost centres of Bharatanatya.[158]

Karnataka also has a special place in the world of

Basavaraja Rajaguru, Sawai Gandharva and several others hail from Karnataka, and some of them have been recipients of the Kalidas Samman, Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan awards. Noted Carnatic musicians include Violin T. Chowdiah, Veena Sheshanna, Mysore Vasudevachar, Doreswamy Iyengar and Thitte Krishna Iyengar.[citation needed

Chitrakala Parishat is an organisation in Karnataka dedicated to promoting painting, mainly in the Mysore painting style.[citation needed

Mysore Peta is the traditional headgear of southern Karnataka, while the pagadi or pataga (similar to the Rajasthani turban) is preferred in the northern areas of the state.[citation needed

coastal Karnataka and Kodagu have distinctive cuisines of their own. Udupi cuisine of coastal Karnataka is popular all over India.[citation needed


As per the 2011 census, Karnataka had a

literacy rate of 75.60%, with 82.85% of males and 68.13% of females in the state being literate.[162]


In March 2006, Karnataka had 54,529 primary schools with 252,875 teachers and 8.495 million students,[165] and 9498 secondary schools with 92,287 teachers and 1.384 million students.[165] There are three kinds of schools in the state, viz., government-run, private aided (financial aid is provided by the government) and private unaided (no financial aid is provided). The primary languages of instruction in most schools are Kannada and English.[citation needed]

Literacy rates of Karnataka districts[166]

The syllabus taught in the schools is either of


To maximise attendance in schools, the Karnataka Government has launched a mid-day meal scheme in government and aided schools in which free lunch is provided to the students.[167]

pre-university course, after which they become eligible to pursue under-graduate degrees.[164]

There are 481-degree colleges affiliated with one of the

Indian Institute of Technology in Karnataka at Dharwad.[170] Tulu and Konkani[171] languages are taught as an optional subject in the twin districts of Dakshina Kannada and Udupi.[172]

Christ University, Jain University, CMR University, Dayananda Sagar University, PES University and REVA University are notable private universities in Karnataka.[citation needed]

On 9 February 2022, Karnataka shut its schools for three days after the regional administration-backed schools imposed a hijab ban, leading to widespread protests and violence. Other universities in the state began enforcing prohibitions after Hindu students, supported by right-wing Hindu groups, argued that if hijabs were allowed in classrooms, they should wear saffron shawls. On 5 February 2022, the Karnataka state government advised colleges to guarantee that "clothes which disturb equality, integrity, and public law and order should not be worn" in apparent support of schools' ability to enforce a ban.[173]


The era of Kannada newspapers started in the year 1843 when

Hosa digantha, Karavali Ale are also some popular dailies published from Karnataka.[citation needed


Karnataka occupies a special place in the history of Indian radio. In 1935, Aakashvani, the first private radio station in India, was started by Prof. M.V. Gopalaswamy in Mysore.[176] The popular radio station was taken over by the local municipality and later by All India Radio (AIR) and moved to Bangalore in 1955. Later in 1957, AIR adopted the original name of the radio station, Aakashavani as its own. Some of the popular programs aired by AIR Bangalore included Nisarga Sampada and Sasya Sanjeevini which were programs that taught science through songs, plays, and stories. These two programs became so popular that they were translated and broadcast in 18 different languages and the entire series was recorded on cassettes by the Government of Karnataka and distributed to thousands of schools across the state.[176] Karnataka has witnessed a growth in FM radio channels, mainly in the cities of Bangalore, Mangalore and Mysore, which has become hugely popular.[177][178]


Karnataka's smallest district,

Nike Tennis Academy are also situated in Bangalore. Karnataka has been referred to as the cradle of Indian swimming because of its high standards in comparison to other states.[citation needed

One of the most popular sports in Karnataka is

Karnataka Premier League is an inter-regional Twenty20 cricket tournament played in the state.[citation needed

Notable sportsmen from Karnataka include

cue sports by the age of 20 including the amateur World Snooker Championship in 2003 and the World Billiards Championship in 2005.[185][186]

Bijapur district has produced some of the best-known road cyclists in the national circuit. Premalata Sureban was part of the Indian contingent at the Perlis Open '99 in Malaysia. In recognition of the talent of cyclists in the district, the state government laid down a cycling track at the B.R. Ambedkar Stadium at a cost of 4 million (US$50,000).[187]


Chennakesava Temple is a model example of the Hoysala architecture, later repaired in the 16th century with financial support and grants by the Vijayanagara Emperors.[citation needed