Ballari (Bellary) Information
Bellary is a historic city in Bellary District in Karnataka state, India. This district is endowed with some minerals rich regions. Iron and manganese ores are found in Sandur. This place marked by gregarious hills is also noted for its temples. Hampi the capital of the Vijayanagar ruler’s hosts ruined monuments which recount the tale of ravaging war. Hampi abounds in architectural and tranquil temples. The monuments here are a mixture of ruined, partially ruined and still intact structures. The Vittala Temple hare has been listed among the elite list of World Heritage Monuments. There have also een excavations which have yielded interesting artefacts throwing light upon the events of the past. The place Kishkindhya which has references in the great epic Ramayana forms a bridge between the ‘Puranic’ and the modern days. There is also a temple dedicated to Lord Rama.
There are several legends explaining how Bellary got its name. The first is that a few devout traveling merchants halting in Bellar, could not find a Shiva Linga for their worship. They then installed a balla (a measuring cup or seru used to measure grain) upside down as a Shiva Linga and worshiped it. Eventually, that place was turned into a temple dedicated to Balleshwara or Shiva, which became distorted to Malleshwara', and thus Bellary derives its name from this temple.
The second legend is that the city is named after Indra, the king of Gods, who slew a Rakshasa (demon) named Balla who lived nearby. Balla-ari means 'enemy of Balla' (ari – enemy in Sanskrit). The third legend derives the city's name from the old Kannada word Vallari and Vallapuri.
This temple can still be found in the fort area of the city, and an annual festival and fair dedicated to Shiva is conducted at the temple premises even today.
Area wise this district with an expanse of 8,419 sq km is the 9th largest in Karnataka. The population according to the 2001 census is 16,56,000.
The headquarters of this district, also called Ballari is situated about 306km on the northwest of Bengalooru. Two rocky hills are found in the outskirts of the city and one of them called Balahari has a temple on it. The city also offers other interesting sights. There is a magnificent fort encompassing a hill, built by the Vijayanagar rulers. Among the places of worship, a temple dedicated to Goddess Durgamma and two huge Mosques can be seen. There is also a Government Medical College.
Numerous neolithic archeological sites have been discovered around Bellary, such as the ash mounds at Sanganakallu, Budhihal, Kudithini, Tekkalakote, Hiregudda and Kupgal. The Sanganakallu settlement, spread over an area of 1,000 acres (4.0 km2), is one of the largest neolithic complexes known around Bellary.
Some of the events in the Ramayana have been related to places around Hampi, the celebrated capital of the Vijayanagara empire.
Historically, the Bellary area has been known by many names, such as Kuntala Desha, Sindavadi-nadu and Nolambavadi-nadu.
Bellary was ruled in succession by the Mauryas, the Satavahanas, the Pallavas, the Kadambas, the Badami Chalukyas, the Rashtrakutas, the Kalyani Chalukyas, the Southern Kalachuryas, the Sevuna Yadavas, and the Hoysalas, and also ruled briefly by the Cholas during the wars between Kalyani Chalukyas and the Cholas.
After the Sevuna Yadavas and the Hoysalas were defeated by the Islamic sultanates of Delhi, the Vijayanagara Empire arose under Harihara I and Bukka I, who dominated the Bellary area. Bellary itself was ruled by the family of Hande Hanumappa Nayaka, a Palayagara of the Vijayanagara rulers. After the fall of the Vijayanagara empire, the Hande Nayakas of Bellary were successively subsidiary to the Adilshahi sultanate, the Mughals, the Nizam, Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan, and finally the British Empire after the Nizam ceded a large part of the southern Deccan to the British East India Company. The Hande Nayakas ceased to be rulers of Bellary after Major Thomas Munro disposed of the palayagars of the ceded districts and established the Ryotwari land revenue system.
In 1808 AD, the ceded districts were split into the Bellary and Kadapa districts, and in 1867 AD the Bellary Municipal Council was created. Further, in 1882 AD, Anantapuram district was carved out of the Bellary District. The Maratha princely state of Sandur was surrounded by Bellary district.
As of 1901 AD, Bellary was the seventh largest town in Madras Presidency, and one of the chief military stations in southern India, garrisoned by British and native Indian troops under the British Indian Government. The town included a civil railway station to the east of the Bellary Fort, the cantonment and its railway station on the west, the Cowl Bazaar and the suburbs of 'Bruce-pettah' (currently spelt Brucepet) and 'Mellor-pettah', named after two British officers once stationed in the town. The industries in the town included a small distillery and two steam cotton presses. The steam cotton-spinning mill established in 1894 had 17,800 spindles and employed 520 hands.
On 1 October 1953 AD, the Bellary district of Madras State was divided on a linguistic basis. Areas with a significant Kannada speaking population were transferred to Mysore state, which later became Karnataka state. Areas of the district with a significant Telugu speaking population were merged into the Anantapuram and Karnulu districts in what would later become Andhra Pradesh state. Bellary city itself, with large numbers of both Kannada and Telugu speakers, was included into Mysore state after protracted debate and controversy.
This scenic hill fringed region in a sumptuous valley has natural riches of iron and manganese ores. There is a massive fort which nestles a marvellous palace. This fort is a fabulous monument left behind by the famous Maratha rulers.
The gregarious hill range is graced by wonderful temple twins dedicated to Lord Kumaraswamy and Goddess Parvathi. Ideally located in serene surroundings these tranquil temples contain awesome elements of art and sculpture. Captivating rose gardens form part of the temple environs.
The Post-Graduate centre of the Kalburgi University is situated on the picturesque Nandi hills. About 16km from Sandur is Ramanadurga or Ramgad.
There is a wonderful temple here, dedicated to Lord Rama, on the cosy hill resort. This temple commemorates the historic personality Kumara Rama who fought till death, against the sultans of Delhi.
Situated at an altitude of 467m above sea level, founded by Harihara I also known as Hukka, and Bukka the Telugu princes. Hampi was the capital of the historically largest Hindu empire- ‘The Vijayanagara Empire’. ‘Vijayanagara’ literally means ‘The City of Victory’. The reign of the famous ruler Krishnadevaraya in the early 16th century is noted as the golden era. During this period the empire extended from the south of the mighty rivers Krishna and Tungabadra to the Bay of Bengal in the east and the Arabian Sea in the west. There was marked growth in the fields of literature, arts, architecture and also military warfare. However, this glorious empire was ravaged by the combined army of five rulers of Bidar, Bijapur, Golconda, Ahmednagar and Berar in the later middle part of the same century. Priceless monuments of the hard built city were crushed and the entire kingdom was thrown to ruins. But certain vestiges of the wonderful historic monuments, which have stood the foray, do exist even today. And now, the city stands as a reliquary of the prestigious remnants of the great Vijayanagara empire.
This temple on the south of the sacred river Tungabadra, located in scenic hilly surroundings is the largest among the ruins. It was built between 1530 and 1542. This wonderful temple is noted for its largeness. There is a capacious hall in front of the temple.
Dussehra Dibba (or) Vijaya Bhavani
This architecturally wonderful temple was raised by the distinguished ruler of Vijayanagara, Krishnadevaraya, as an act of thanks-giving to the ultimate Supreme Being, after his conquest of Orissa. The temple structure is decorated with exquisite carvings. There is also an embellished dais on which festivals like the Dussehra were celebrated. The remarkable reliefs depict gutfully marching soldiers, beautiful damsels in various dancing postures, horses and elephants. From the top section of the temple, the ruins of the once-magnificent palace can be seen.
Also known as the ‘Temple of Pasupati’ the construction of this temple is shrouded in uncertainty. According to a belief it was built in 1509 to commemorate the coronation of Krishnadevaraya. Contradictory to this, another belief says it was built by Krishnadevaraya to commemorate his triumph over the Bijapur and Gajapathy rulers. The huge holy image of Lord Siva in the Sanctum Sanctorum is a sacred monolithic structure. The lord is worshipped as Lord Virupaksha here and hene the name of the temple. The temple also has beautifully sculptured images of various other deities. The huge Mandapa or ‘Hall’ consists of marvellous monolithic pillars with intricate and ethereal artwork. The temple tower called the Bhistappayyana Gopura became the model for all the South Indian Vijayanagara Temple Towers. These are also known as Rajagopuras.
Situated on the banks of the holy river Tungabadra this temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu is one of the extant holy monument of the Vijayanagar Empire, though the temple tower is dilapidated. This architecturally rich temple was built by Krishnadevaraya in the early part of the 16th century. The temple stands on a rectangular courtyard of 152m * 94m. There are as many as 56 sturdy pillars replete with fine artwork. Another spellbinding feature is the huge temple chariot made out of stone. The exquisite ‘Musical Pillars’ which emit musical notes when tapped offer melodious enchantment. A noteworthy point is that the temple has rightfully is that the temple has rightfully entered the list of ‘World Heritage monuments’.
About 2km from here, is an enormous holy statue of Lord Ganesa, on the river bank.
This temple was unearthed during one of the excavations carried out by the British. It is believed that Lord Siva was the presiding deity of the temple which now has no deity. Facing the temple are the scattered remains of a ruined royal guest house. There is another temple in the proximity, dedicated to Lord Siva.
Hazara Ramaswamy Temple
The presiding deity of this temple, Lord Rama was worshipped by the generations of the royal family. The ancient temple is adorned with wonderful carvings which recount ht great epics ad the pillars depict various incarnations of Lord Vishnu. Besides, the orate friezes include images of sacred animals.
This grand edifice which is now an archaeological museum was the resting place of the kings in the past. This museum houses a good number of artefacts which have been unearthed from the excavations which started in 1976 and going on even today. Among the excavated articles, ancient Chinese coins can also be seen. The KSTDC runs a restaurant at the entrance. There is also another archaeological museum at Kamalapuram.
The epic-fame Kishkidha seems to turn the time-scale back to the Puranic era. It is said that the region on the sumptuous banks of the holy river Tungabhadra was the place called Kishkindha mentioned in the great epic ‘The Ramayana’. Kishkindha was the realm of the Anthropoid King Vali in the great epic. The Purana (the epic) asserts that Lord Rama killed the erring and heedless king Vali to do justice to his (vali’s) brother Sughriva, who sought the help of the Lord through Lord Anjaneya. The awesome hills Hrishyamuk, Malyabanta and Matanga found here are referred to in ‘The Ramayana’. There is also a mound where the king Vali is said to have been laid to rest. And obviously there is a temple dedicated to ‘Lord Rama’, the divine Hero of ‘The Ramayana’ and an incarnation of Lord Vishnu.
This twin Temple portrays exquisite artwork of the Chalukyas on the exterior walls. There are 59 polished and gleaming pillars. The ‘Sikharas’ are of a unique style. Another important monument here is the temple complex known as Kalleswara mentioned in an inscription of 1013 AD. The Archaeological Survey of India has set up a sculpture shed near here.
Situated about 7km from Hospet and 20 km from hampi, the beautiful dam which rises to a height of 49m and runs to a length of 500m across the ravishing river Tungabhadra, with its conscientiously laid Japanese style gardens and a captivating horticultural farm makes an enchanting picnic spot. Here, the alluring blossoms refulgent with a spectrum of hues beckon to the curious visitors. Besides, a tower, a net factory and a steel project can also be seen.
The serene reservoir created by the dam spreads over 387 sq km . The benevolent waters of the river not only irrigate over 2 million acres of arable land but also help generate electricity through the hydro-electric power project here. This site can also be visited on a special permission.