A Comprehensive List of Notable Karnataka Ratna Award Winners (2024 Updated)

Embark on a journey through the annals of Karnataka’s illustrious history as we delve into the “List of Karnataka Ratna Award Winners.”

This prestigious honor celebrates individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the state’s cultural, social, or economic landscape.

From pioneering leaders to visionary artists and exceptional achievers, the Karnataka Ratna recognizes excellence across diverse fields.

Join us as we pay homage to these distinguished awardees, exploring their remarkable accomplishments and the indelible impact they have left on Karnataka’s heritage and progress.

Through their exemplary endeavors, they continue to inspire generations and enrich the cultural tapestry of the region.

Karnataka Ratna Award Winners List 

Serial No Name Notable Contributions
1 Kuvempu Renowned Kannada poet and Jnanpith Award recipient
2 Dr. Rajkumar Iconic Kannada actor and Padma Bhushan awardee
3 S. Nijalingappa Prominent Congress Party politician and Chief Minister
4 C. N. R. Rao Distinguished chemist with global recognition
5 Devi Shetty Acclaimed cardiac surgeon and healthcare entrepreneur
6 Bhimsen Joshi Renowned Hindustani classical vocalist and Bharat Ratna
7 Shivakumara Swami Humanitarian and founder of Sri Siddaganga Education Society
8 Dr. J. Javaregowda Eminent Kannada writer and scholar
9 Dr. Veerendra Heggade Philanthropist and hereditary administrator of Dharmasthala Temple
10 Puneeth Rajkumar Accomplished Kannada actor and National Award recipient

1. Kuvempu

Kuppali Venkatappa Puttappa was born on the 29 December 1904. He died on 11 November 1994. He is popularly known by his pen name Kuvempu. Kuvempu was an Indian poet, playwright, novelist and critic. He is widely regarded as the greatest Kannada poet of the 20th century. He was the first Kannada writer to receive the Jnanpith Award.


2. Dr. Rajkumar

Singanalluru Puttaswamaiah Muthuraj was born on 24 April 1929 and died on 12 April 2006. He is better known by his stage name, Dr. Rajkumar. He was an Indian actor and singer who worked in Kannada cinema. He was honoured with the Padma Bhushan in 1983 and the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 1995.

Dr. Rajkumar

3. S.Nijalingappa

Siddavanahalli Nijalingappa was born on 10 December 1902 to a middle-class family in Haluvagalu. He died on 8 August 2000. He was an Indian independence activist, Congress Party politician, and lawyer who served two terms as the Chief Minister of Karnataka (then Mysore State) between 1956 and 1958 and from 1962 to 1968.


He was the 4th Chief Minister of the state of Karnataka. He played an important role not only in the Indian freedom movement but also in the Karnataka Unification movement.

4. C.N.R.Rao

Chintamani Nagesa Ramachandra Rao was born on 30 June 1934. He is an Indian chemist who has worked mainly in solid-state and structural chemistry. He has honorary doctorates from 83 universities worldwide and has authored 1,770 research publications and 53 books.

He is described as a scientist who had won all possible awards in his field except the Nobel Prize. He was the youngest lecturer when he joined the Indian Institute of Science in 1959.


5. Devi Shetty

Devi Prasad Shetty was born on 8 May 1953 in a village in the Dakshina Kannada district, Karnataka, India. He is an Indian entrepreneur and cardiac surgeon who is the chairman and founder of Narayana Health, a chain of 21 medical centres in India. He has performed more than 16,000 heart operations.

Devi Shetty

In 2004, he was awarded the Padma Shri, the fourth-highest civilian award, followed by the Padma Bhushan in 2012, the third-highest civilian award by the Government of India, for his contribution to affordable healthcare.

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6. Bhimsen Joshi

Bhimsen Joshi was born on 4 February 1922 in a Kannada[7] Deshastha Madhva Brahmin family. Bhimsen Gururaj Joshi is also known by the honorific prefix Pandit.

He was one of the greatest Indian vocalists from Karnataka in the Hindustani classical tradition. He is known for the khayal form of singing and his popular renditions of devotional music.

Bhimsen Joshi

Bhimsen Joshi, a legend, belongs to the Kirana Gharana tradition of Hindustani Classical Music.

In 1998, he was awarded the Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship, the highest honour conferred by Sangeet Natak Akademi, India’s National Academy for Music, Dance and Drama.

Subsequently, he received the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian honour, in 2009.

7. Shri. Sri Shivakumara Swamiji

Shivakumara Swami was born on 1 April 1907 in Veerapura, a village near Magadi in the erstwhile Kingdom of Mysore (in the present-day Ramanagara district of Karnataka state).

He was an Indian humanitarian, spiritual leader and educator. He also founded the Sri Siddaganga Education Society. In 2015, he was awarded by the Government of India the Padma Bhushan, India’s third-highest civilian award.

Shri. Sri Shivakumara Swamiji

8. Dr. J. Javaregowda

Devegowda Javaregowda was born on 6 July 1915 in the Chakkere village in the Channapatna taluk of Ramanagara district in Karnataka state. He, known as De Ja Gou or Javaregowda, was an Indian Kannada writer, folklorist, researcher, scholar and academic. He was a disciple of authors T.N. Srikantaiah and Kuvempu.

Dr. J. Javaregowda

He had received Pampa Prashasti (1998), Padma Shri (2001) and the Karnataka Ratna (2008) awards for his contributions to literature and education. He became a centenarian in 2015 and died on 30 May 2016.

9. Dr. Veerendra Heggade

Veerendra Heggade was born the eldest son of Dharmadhikari Ratnavarma Heggade and Rathnamma Heggade (née Shetty). He belongs to the Pergade dynasty of Tulu Lineage, the hereditary trustees of the famous Sri Dharmasthala Manjunatha Swamy temple in the South Kannada district of Karnataka.

Dr. Veerendra Heggade

He is an Indian philanthropist and the hereditary administrator/Dharmadhikari of the Dharmasthala Temple. He succeeded to the post at 19, on 24 October 1968, the 21st in his line. He has received multiple awards for his numerous contributions. He was awarded the Karnataka Ratna award for 2009, the highest civilian award in Karnataka.

10. Puneeth Rajkumar

Puneeth Rajkumar was born in Chennai to the matinee idol Dr. Rajkumar and Parvathamma Rajkumar on 17 March 1975. He was their fifth and youngest child. When Puneeth was six years old, his family moved to Mysore. He, colloquially known as Appu, was an Indian actor, playback singer, television presenter, and producer who worked primarily in Kannada cinema.

Puneeth Rajkumar

He was a lead actor in 29 films as a child; he appeared in many films. He won the National Film Award for Best Child Artist for his role of Ramu in Bettada Hoovu.

He also won the Karnataka State Award for Best Child Artist for Chalisuva Modagalu and Eradu Nakshatragalu. Karnataka Government has announced the State’s highest civilian award, Karnataka Ratna, for Puneeth, posthumously in November 2021.


The roster of Karnataka Ratna Award Winners represents a tapestry of excellence spanning various domains. From the literary genius of Kuvempu to the cinematic legacy of Dr. Rajkumar, each recipient has left an indelible mark on Karnataka’s cultural landscape.

The contributions of individuals like S. Nijalingappa, C. N. R. Rao, and Devi Shetty have significantly shaped the state’s political, scientific, and healthcare sectors.

Furthermore, the spiritual guidance of Shivakumara Swami and the philanthropy of Dr. Veerendra Heggade underscore the humanitarian values ingrained in Karnataka’s ethos.

Together, these luminaries exemplify the essence of Karnataka Ratna, enriching the state’s heritage and inspiring future generations.

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