May 20, 2017

What to see in Koppal district?

Koppal District came into being on April 1, 1998, it was carved out of Raichur District. The district consists of 4 Tluqas namely Koppal, Gangavathi, Kushtagi & Yelburga with Koppal city as the district HQ. Koppal city was known as 'Kopana Nagara' as recorded in an ancient inscription called Chandravalli Shasana. Around this histrocial town are spots of great historical importance.. Gavisiddeshwara Matha, Malae Malleshwara Devasthana, Jain tombs near Gavimath, two minor edicts of Emperor Ashoka, prehistoric dolmens on Indrakeela Parvatha, Koppal fort and Bahadhur Banda fort. In fact Koppal district itself is a treasure trove of temples, forts and prehistoric artifacts such as megalithic tombs, rock paintings and inscriptions. Vijayanagara's original capital Anegundi is part of this district. In short, Koppal can easily captivate any tourist with historical interest.

Geographically, Koppal district is mixture of plain land on the eastern side and hilly terrain on the western side. Along its southern and western borders runs river Tungabhadra. Close to Koppal city flows Hirehalla, one of the tributaries of Tungabhadra. The plain lands are of two types- red soil and black soil. Agriculture is the chief source livelihood, farmers produce traditional crops such as jowar, cotton, maize and pulses. With plenty of rocky hills, granite quarrying is quite active though it threatens and destroys places of archaeological importance. Besides agriculture and quarrying, there are handful of factories near Koppal.

Then there's one jewel that has to be mentioned- the standup comedian Pranesh of Gangavati town. Pranesh is popular among the Kannada speaking population for his fun-filled speeches. He popularity is local, national and international.

Here's what Koppal has..

acrobatic rocks of Chikkasoolekere, tombs of Hirebenekal, painted wooden
sculptures at Kanakachala Narasimha Devasthana at Kanakagiri and
prehistoric paintings of Onake Kindi near Anegundi

Kanakachala Narasimha Devasthana at Kanakagiri, Itgi Mahaedva temple,
unknown temple at Itgi and Gavimath

edict of peace near Gavimath, Wakandurga hill and lake, Koppal fort
and Irkalgad fort
Click on the links to see & read more about that place.
  1. Acrobatic Rocks of Chikkasoolekere - a precariously balanced natural rock formation near Kanakagiri. The rock formation is quite huge, probably 50' to 60' high. This isn't a tourist attraction but the formation is amazingly beautiful.
  2. Anegundi - the original capital of Vijayanagara kingdom before Hampi. Anegundi is situated on the left bank of river Tungabhadra, at the village you can see ruins of the ancient fort and palace, Even to this day the descendants of Krishnadevaraya live here. Close by are other places of interest such as Krishnadevaraya's tomb, Rishyamukha Betta, Anjanadri Betta, Onake Kindi. Angegundi fort is not limited around the village but covers a vast area encompassing paddy fields and hillocks. At the village is a handicrafts center which manufactures items made of banana fiber.
  3. Anjanadri Betta - Legend says that Lord Hanuman was born here hence this hill is named after this mother Anjanadri. At the summit is a small temple dedicated to mother and son. Tourists throng here to see sunsets.
  4. Ashokan edict of Gavimath - Being part of the Mauryan empire, Emperor Ashoka after embracing Buddhism, had his message of peace inscribed on rocks through out the empire. Readers were appointed to read out the edict to general public. One such inscription is situated on a rock formation near Gavimath.
  5. Ashokan edict of Palki Gundu - The second inscription is on situated under a rock shelter on Indrakeela Parvatha. The rock covering the edict is umbrella shaped and stands on two edges like a cradle hence the name Palki Gundu. Close to this edict are dolmens which local people call Mouryara Mane which means houses of dwarfs. Also on this hill are few other rock shelters which are said to be used by Jain Monks. In one of the shelters, a sculpture of a pair of human feet enclosed within a circle is found.
  6. Bahadur Banda Fort - About 10 kilometers south of Koppal is a fort situated on a rocky hillock. With its proximity to Koppal, this fort might have been Koppal fort's barracks for additional forces. This fort was renovated by Tipu with the help of French soldiers. Even to this day, the fort is in fairly good condition.
  7. Chandaalingeshwara Devasthana, Bilagi - a temple built during Chalukyan times situated in the woods near Hanamasagar. The place generally has a peaceful ambiance except during occasions like full moon, new moon and annual fairs.
  8. Chilakamukhi fort - a small fort near Koppal and Irkalgad fort.
  9. Chintamani Devasthana - situated on the banks of river Tungabhadra, this place is said to be connected to Ramayana, particularly the story of Vali and Sugreeva. After killing Vali, Rama performs penance to rid himself of the sin of killing. Rama is said to have performed penance in a rock shelter besides the Chintamani temple.
  10. Gavisiddeshwara Matha - This is a Lingayath monastery established in the XII Century. Also known as Gavimath, the monastery is situated on a rocky hillock. Within the Matha are few cave shrines. It is said that monks used to meditate inside these caves. The monastery runs several educational institutions and provides boarding & lodging to hundreds of children from surrounding villages.
  11. Hanamasagar fort and Abhinava Tirupati - Hanamasagar town is situated besides a hill. On the hill are ruins of a small fort and a temple dedicated to Lord Venkateshwara. The temple has at least a 400 year history going back to Adil Shahi times.
  12. Hemagudda - this is a large hill with ruins of a fort at the base. On the hill are also ruins of rampart walls and temples. Within the fort walls are temples built during Vijayanagara time.
  13. Huligi - this place is situated on the left bank of river Tungabhadra near Munirabad which in tun is near Hospete. At Huligi is an ancient shrine dedicated to goddess Huligemma. The annual fair of Huligemma Devasthana is quite popular, it attracts huge crowds.
  14. Shivapura fort near Hosa Harlapur - This is a small fort situated on a granite monolith next to the road connecting NH63 and Anegundi. Right besides the hill is Bhorka reservoir and across the lake is the power plant.
  15. Irakalaghad fort - another small fort situated on a rocky hillock on Koppal-Kanakagiri road. The hillock is situated between two villages namely Yelamgeri and Irkalagada.
  16. Indrakeela Parvatha - on the east of Koppal city are four hills. The largest of it is Indrakeela Parvatha. The hill was highly active in prehistoric times. On the hill are dolmen locally known as Moryara Mane. Then there are rock shelters used by Jain monks. Finally there's a large rock which stands balanced on two edges like a cradle which is aptly called Pali Gundu. Below this cradle rock is the minor edict of Emperor Ashoka. Also, at the eastern base of the hill is an ancient shrine called Malae Malleshwara Devasthana.
  17. Mahadeava temple, Iatagi - This is on of the best temples built during the rule of Western Chaluyan rule. It was built by a dhandanayaka ~ commander of Chalukyan army. The temple plan is said to be similar to Amruteshwara Devathana of Annigeri in Dharwad district. Itagi is a small village situated off NH63 between Gadag an Koppal.
  18. Kukanur - Kukanoor is a village known for its temples of Rastrakuta and Chalukyas times. The notabe temples are MahaMaya Devasthana and Navalinga group of temples. The Mahamaya temple has reference in Mahabharata and said to be built before 8th century BCE. Kukanoor is about 7 kms from Itagi.
  19. Jabbalgudda fort - This is a fort nestled in the hill range running parallel to river Tungabhadra. The fort is said to have been built by Kumara Rama (1290–1320), the exiled son of Devaraaya, the ruler of Kampli. He is said to be the younger brother of Hakka and Bukka. The fort is also called as Gandugali Kumara Ramana Kote.
  20. Shri Kanakachala Lakshminarasimha Devastana, Kanakagiri - a temple dedicated to Lord Narasimha built during Vijayanagara times.
  21. Kinnal - this village is renowned for wooden handicrafts. Artisans if Kinnala produce some of the best wooden toys and idols painted in bright colors.
  22. Koppal Fort - the formidable hill built over a rocky hill. The fort probably existed since Chalukyan times but its history is known from Tipu's time. It is said that Mallasarja Desai of Kittur was imprisoned here by Tipu but he manages to escape. Tipu renovated Koppal fort with the help of French engineers to make it one of the strongest forts. In 1790, Tipu lost Koppal fort to British and Nizam forces.
  23. Krishnadevaraya tomb - Usually one doesn't get to hear about Hindu kings' tombs but Sri Krishnadevaraya's tomb has been identified. Its a simple structure situated on a rock in river Tungabhadra near Anegundi village.
  24. Malae Malleshwara temple - an ancient shrine at the western base of Indrakeela Betta. This is where visitors can park vehicles and start the trek to Indrakeela Betta.
  25. Moreyara Mane, the megalithic tombs of Hirebenakal
  26. Onake Kindi - is the most easily reachable prehistoric site with hundreds of rock paintings. The site is situated near Anegundi village, about 7 kms or so.
  27. Pura - this village is known for its Someshwara Devasthana. Within the temple are thousands of Shivalinga hence the name Koti Linga. Pura is about the 8 kms from Tavargera in Kushtagi taluq.
  28. Sanapur Lake - a lake near Anegundi popular for its ambiance.
  29. Shri Kanakachala Lakshminarasimha Devastana, Kanakagiri
  30. Sri Vijayalaxmi Temple and Pampa Sarovara - This ancient group of shrines is situated on the western side of Rishyamukha Betta. Pampa Sarovara has reference in Ramayana. It is said that Rama and Lakshmana took bath in this pond during their Vanavasa, the 13 year exile.
  31. Ranganatha Swamy shrine - this is a cave shrine situated on the face of a hillock near Anegundi.
  32. Huchchappayana Matha - is an ancient monastery. The temple in the Matha is ancient too. It is said that the entire story of Ramayana is shown in the sculptures in this temple. The Matha is about 6 kms from Anegundi village.
  33. Venkatappa Baavi, Kanakagiri - is a royal well and bath house built by King Venkatappa Nayaka.
  34. Wankandurg fort - a small fort situated on a hillock situated next to a small lake. Wakandurga can be visited if you are in the vicinity of Badami.
Amazing, right? A small district has so much to show its visitors.
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2 comments:

Nirdesh Singh said...

Great Post! Please do this for all districts - will help outsiders like me!

Cheers

Nirdesh

siddeshwar said...

Hi Nirdesh, you are no outsider. You've explored parts of Karnataka better than many local folks. We are One :)