Feb 23, 2019

What to see in Haveri district?

Haveri district came into being on 24.08.1997, it was carved out of Dharwad district. Situated centrally within Karnataka state, it is surrounded by Dharwad, Gadag, Bellary, Davangere, Shimoga and Uttara Kannada districts. Haveri-Davangere district border is marked by Tungabhadra river. The district's terrain is mostly flat, black soil fields for miles on. Haveri district economy is mostly agriculture based. The only large industry is Harihar Polyfibers on Tungabhadra river bank at Kumarapatnam.

History of this area dates back to pre-historic period, evidences have been found along Tungabhadra and Varada rivers. The largest known ashmound in Karnataka is found on Tungabhadra left bank. The district home to some of most beautiful temples built by ancient dynasties like Chalukyas and Rastrakutas. To name a few temples and their places.. Tarakeshwara at Hangal, Kadambeshwara at Rattihalli, Someshwara at Haralahalli, Nagareshwara at Bankapur, Mukteshwara at Choudayanapura, Siddheshwara at Haveri, Eeshwara at Galaganath, Jain Basadi at Yalavatti, Sarveshvara at Naregal, Santeshvar at Tilavalli, and Siddarameshvara at Niralgi. Haveri district was under Nawabs as well, who have left their own marks, the note worthy being the Baobab trees at Savanur. Haveri district is the birth place of several well known people like Shishunala Sharif, Kanakadasa, Sarvagnya, Hanagal Kumara Shivayogi, Wagish Panditaru, writer Galaganatha, Ganayogi Panchakshari Gawai, Dr. V K Gokak to name a few.

Eshwara Gudi, Galaganatha | Siddeshwara temple, Haveri
Someswara Gudi, Haralahalli | Nagareshwara Gudi, Bankapur

Ash Mound of Hallur | Baobab trees of Savanur
Tarakeshwara Gudi, Hangal | Temple at Kaaradgi
Here's a list of places of historic and tourist interest-
  1. Siddeshwara Devasthana, Haveri - This XI Century CE Chalukyan temple is situated in Haveri city itself. The temple is well maintained, with a well cared for garden, people come here to get some peaceful time.
  2. Kaginelle - Kaginelle is the birth place of the great Kannada poet Kanaka Dasa. Kanaka Guru Peeta has been established here in the poet's honor. Also, there are few ancient temples here. Kaginele is about 13 kms south of Haveri.
  3. Abalur - Abalur is the birth place of Sarvajna, the Kannada poet and philosopher of the XVI Century CE. A memorial has been created in honor of this great person. Also in this village are two ancient temples- Someshwara Gudi and Basaveshwara Gudi -both seems to be built during Chlukyan time. Abalur is about 40 kms from Haveri via Kaginelli and 32 kms from Ranebennur.
  4. Santeshvar temple, Tilavalli - This temple, similar to Tarakeshwara temple of Hangal, was constructed in 1237 CE. Tilavalli village about 21 kms from Haveri via Kaginelle.
  5. Byadgi Chilly Market - Byadgi is a small town known throughout India for its chilly. Byadgi chilly is on par with Gunter chilly. The chilly market is not a tourist attraction as such but the scenes are worth seeing.. heaps of chilly, large patches spread out for drying, women sorting chilly, men filling sacks, weighing  them and finally loading them to trucks. The air is thick with chilly aroma. Something to experience once. Byadgi is equidistant from Ranebennur and Haveri, about 25 kms.
  6. Tarakeshwara Devasthana, Hangal - Tarakeshwara temple was constructed by Kadambas in the IX century, later Kalyani Chalukyas made changes to it. Tarakeshwara is a form of Lord Shiva. Though a small temple, you might have to spend several hours to really take in its beautiful sculptures. Besides, Tarakeshwara temple, there are three other ancient monuments- Veerabhadra, Billeshwara and a Jain temple. The Jain temple is situated within the walls of Hangal fort. Hangal is about 40 kms west of Haveri.
  7. Jain temple abd Billeshwara temple, Hangal - these two temples are much smaller compared to Tarakeshwara temple, worth seeing them while you are at Hangal. You can find them easily, both are within a kilometer.
  8. Nagareshwara Devasthana, Bankapura - Nagareshvara temple, also called Aravattaru Kambada Gudi (temple of sixty six pillars) was built by Western Chalaukya rulers in the XII Century CE. The temple situated within Bankapur fort was pillaged during Bahamani invasion. Thanks to Archeaological department for restoring this marevelous temple. Bankapura is about 24 kms northwest of Haveri, just off NH48. Bankapur fort is also a sanctuary for Indian peacock.
  9. Savanur fort ruins and Baobab trees - Savanur was one of the Muslim kingdoms who's head was known as Nawab. Savanur lost in to the powers of Marathas, Tipu Sultan and finally the British. Savanur was a fortified city, the fort gates and parts of the fort wall can still be seen. Savanur is also known for its three Baobab treesht aged 300 to 400 years. Baobabs were brought to India by the Sufi ascetics from Africa and planted them wherever they settled. The Baobabs are situated within a Lingayath monastery named Doddahunase Matha which runs a boarding school and college. Savanur is about 32 kms north of Haveri.
  10. Santa Shishunala Sharief Saheb memorial - Sharief Saheb (1819 - 1889 CE) was a poet, philosopher and social reformer born and lived at at Shishunala (Shishvinahala) village. His Guru was a Brahmin named Govinda Bhatta. Sharief Saheb was an enlightened being and his poetic compositions were in spoken Kannada, hence popular among common people. His grave on the village outskirts has been converted into a pilgrimage place visited by thousands every year. Shishunala is about 50 kms north of Haveri and about 18 kms from Savanur.
  11. Kaaradgi Eranna Gudi - Kaaradgi is a small village known for its Veerabhadra temple. The original temple has been replaced with a steel and cement structure. However, stone's throw from the temple are ruins of an ancient temple and also a collection of sculptures. The going by the Trikutachala temple's architecture, it seems Chalukyan. Kaaradgi is about 10 kms from Savanur.
  12. Dyamavva Gudi and Havanur fort - Havanur is better known for Dyamavva temple. During the annual fair thousands of goats and chicken are offered to the goddess by the visitors. Havanur is situated in Tungabhadra left bank and a fort existed here with a port for docking boats.
  13. Galageshwara Temple, Galaganatha - Galageshwara Devasthana has a unique design, its pyramidal Shikhara rises from the ground level. It was built by Chalukyan builders. The temple is situated on Tungabhadra left bank. An idol of Mahishasuramardhini in this temple is mind blowing.
  14. Somesvara Devasthana, Haralahalli - Someshwara Gudi was built by Chalukyam builders. This ancient temple is surrounded by agricultural plots and remains hidden. The temple can be easily missed even though it is quite close to the state highway connecting Guttal and Harapanahalli. Haralahalli the left bank of Tungabhadra, about 33 kms east of Haveri.
  15. Mukteshwara temple, Chaudayyadanapura -  Mukteshwara Gudi is another architectural wonder created by Chalukyan builders. The temple is situated on the left bank of Tungabhadra, next to Chaudayyadanapura village. The temple has several large slabs with Kannada inscription.
  16. Sri Chandramauleshwara Temple, Chadapur - Chandramauleshwar Devasthana is another Chalukyan creation. Chadapur is situated on Tungabhadra left bank, close to Chaudayyadanapura. Chadapur is about 38 kms east of Haveri.
  17. Santeshvar temple, Tilavalli - This temple, similar to Tarakeshwara temple of Hangal, was constructed in 1237 CE. Tilavalli village about 21 kms from Haveri via Kaginelle.
  18. Siddharameshvara temple, Niralgi - Siddha Rameshvara Devasthana was built by Kadamba / Kalyani Chalukyan rulers in the XII Century CE. Niralagi is about 46 kms northeast of Haveri and 35 kms from Hubballi.
  19. Sarveshwara temple, Naregal - Sarveshwara temple is a temple with Rastrakuta connection. The temple's sloping roof is something to be seen. Naregal is about 15 kms west of Haveri via Sangur.
  20. Kalmeshwar temple and Rameshwara temple, Balambeed - Balambeed is a small village 25 kms west of Haveri via Sangur and Adur.
  21. Shree Dundibasaveshwara Temple, Akki Alur - Akki Alur is about 30 kms west of Haveri.
  22. Anjaneyaswami temple, Kadaramandalagi - Kadaramandalagi  village is known for its Hanuman temple with a tall Gopura. Kadaramandalagi is about 29 kms south of Haveri and 7.5 kms from Byadgi.
  23. Sangameshwara templem Hole-Anveri - An ancient temple with beautiful sculptures. The temple seems to be built by Chalukyan rulers. Hole-Anveri is situated at the confluence of Tungabhadra-Kumudwati rivers, near Mudenur village. Mudenur is about 16 kms from Harihar and 18 kms from Ranebennur.
  24. Ranebennur Wildlife Sanctuary - An area of 110+ km² has been declared as a sanctuary to protect the endangered animals such as blackbuck, great Indian bustard and Indian wolf. The sanctuary is also home for fox, hare, hyena, jackal, langur, mongoose, pangolin, porcupine, and wild pig. Ranebennur Wildlife Sanctuary is situated 7 kms east of Ranebennur town.
  25. Devaragudda - Devaragudda is a shrine dedicated to Lord Malatesha also known as Mallanna, Jyotiba and Khandoba. The shrine is situated on a hillock near Ranebennur. 
  26. Hallur Ashmound and ruins of fort - Hallur is a small village situated on the left bank of river Tungabhadra. The village is known for its ash-mound which covers an area of almost 30 acres. The ash mound is an treasure trove of prehistoric artifacts- bones, hair, pottery, grinding stones, etc. Sadly the monument has been vandalized badly, village people have hauled away trailer loads and dumped the ash in their fields. A fort existed here which had a port to dock boats. Hallur is about 70 kms south of Haveri and 23 kms from Rattihalli.
  27. Kadambeshwar temple, Rattihalli - Kadambeshwar temple was built in the XII Century by Chalukyan rulers. However Rattihalli was a capital during Kadamba rule. Rattihalli is about 55 kms south of Haveri and 28 kms from Ranebennur.
  28. Aerani fort ruins - Aerani is a small village on the left bank of Tungabhadra. The fort is situated on a hillock ith a good view of the river and the opposite bank. The fort is completely ruined and the hillock is covered with thorny bushes.
  29. Utsav Rock Garden - an open air museum showcasing scenes from North Karnataka's rural life. This garden has 2000+ life size statues. The place is educative, interesting, entertaining and relaxing. It is situated on NH48 between Shiggaon and Tadas cross, about 10 kms.
These are what I've seen and heard of. There will be many more places or events related to Haveri district. Please share them in the comments section.


Feb 16, 2019

Madrasa of Khwaja Mahmud Gawan, Bidar

September 3, 2018
Our tour of Bidar started with Narasimha Jharani followed by Chaukandi, Bahamani tombs of Ashtoor and Bidar Qila. From the fort we drove into the old city in search of the five gates of Bidar city fort, Choubara and Madarasa of Khwaja Mohammed Gawan.

Khwaja Mohammed Gawan Madarasa is an imposing and unique structure. Its a three storey building almost 40' high and its Minar is about 50; tall. Its facade and tower (Minar) are covered in terracotta tiles and glazed tiles, there's no other monument which is quite like this red colored building in Bidar.

Archaeological Department board planted at the building's entrance reads as follows-
Madrasa of Khwaja Mahmud Gawan: The Madrasa at Biadr is a distinguishes example of Bahamani architecture (Persian style) build in AD 1472 by Khwaja Mahmud Gawan, the minister of Muhammad shah III (AD 1463-82). It was functioned like a residential university and was maintained on the lines of the Madrasa of Khurasan. It comprises a conventional quadrangular hall and chambers on all sides. This three storeyed building houses mosque, library, lecture halls, professors's quarters and students's cubicles. The library that existed on the other wing is now destroyed. On three sides there are semi-octagonal projections crowned by bulbous and on the fourth side is the main entrance, flanked by two stately three-stage minars. The facade is adorned with multi-colored tiles in green, yellow and white in a variety of designs, arabesques and Quaranic verses. Even though the building suffered much damaged due to explosion of gun powder in AD 1695, it still retains much of the original architecture features. It is the only one of it kind in India.

The ruined walls have exposed the interior. The pyramidal column is an engineering marvel, it rises 3 floor high. During my first three visits, I remember seeing kids running around inside. I think the building was used as a Madrasa. Looks like archaeology department has banned public usage. However the grounds around this monument is mostly occupied by children playing cricket.

The two great arches and domes. A photograph of the ruined Madrasa at Bidar, taken by D.H. Sykes in 1875 shows this yard was littered with massive chunks of rubble which was result of gunpowder explosion. On the right is one of those chunks left behind probable as a reminder of the incident.

Remains of a doorway.

A ruined arch. An arched window covered by a mesh made of mortar.

A wide angle lens would cover the entire structure or shoot from one of the roofs across the street.

Here's a short video.. a walk around the monument.

From here we continue our search of the gates of Bidar old city-
  • Fateh Darwaza
  • Talghat Darwaza
  • Agsi Mangalpet Darwaza
  • Shah Gunj Darwaza
Bidar fort has five gates namely-
  • Mandu Darwaza, main gate
  • Kalmadgi Darwaza
  • Delhi Darwaza
  • Kalyani Darwaza
  • Carnatic Darwaza
Mandu gate is the one used by locals and tourists. The remaining gates are used only by local people, would be interesting to explore and check them.

Feb 9, 2019

Bareed Shahi tombs in Memorial Park, Bidar

January 28, 2011
I was on a tour of Bidar, Gularga and Bijapur with my maternal uncles. We'd spent the day sightseeing monuments of Bidar, Barid Shahi tombs was the last item of the day. It was a sunny day, post lunch we were too tired to move around freely. So we'd seen only one group of tombs and missed two tombs on the other side of the road.

September 3, 2018
Pushpa and started the tour early morning. We'd covered Narasimha Jharani, Chaukandi, Bahamani tombs of Ashtoor, three gates of Bidar fort, Choubara, Mohammad Gawan Madrasa and Bidar fort. Pushpa was exhausted after the long walk in Bidar fort where we covered the main tourist spots. As we drove through the narrow streets of old city, we found a grains store where we purchased jowar. The store was situated close to Basaveshwara Chowk and our next item was about 3½ kms away.. Palm road entrance of Memorial Park. This building is a screen concealing a direct view of the tomb. This is akin to a similar building in front of Chaukandi. Gol Gumbaz and Ibrahim Rouza also have such a buildings.

Here's that tomb, unlike other tombs, this is an open building, this does not have doors. There is a twin building on the left hand side, about 170 meters away. This is supposed to be tomb of Ali Bareed Shah (1542 to 1580). The approximate dimensions of this structure: platform is  46m x 46m, tomb building is 17m x 17m x 25m and the dome diameter is 14m. The structure can be viewed as 3 parts height-wise- lower, middle and top. Lower level consists of the great arch and niches, mid level is more or less plain except for the horizontal lines creating 5 layers and the top consist of the dome. All four faces of this structure are identical.

Closer look at the mid and top levels. Unlike Adil Shahi tombs, Bareed Shahi tombs do not have minars.

Murals just above the arch. Within the outlines is text, either Persian or Arabic.

The interior is simple, just two three graves in the middle. Pigeons have taken over this building, the entire floor is littered with droppings. The building seen through the arch is the twin building.. this is Ali Bareed's tomb and that is Ibrahim Bareed's tomb.

Ceiling and dome.. the design is elegant, it matches the exterior.

Closer view of the dome base. Actually the dome is plain, its the base which has the artistic touch.

As seen from western side. It seems these 400+ years old structures were snow-white originally. Color has faded over the centuries, parts of the plaster has fallen off. The design is similar to Charminar minus the minars.

The other tomb is known as Sabbal Barid ki Gumbad which translates to Tomb of crow-bar Barid. The three graves found in this structure are said to be of Ibrahim Barid Shah (1580 to 1587) and two of his wives.

This tomb is incomplete since the walls are not covered in plaster. The finer details of this structure is slightly different compared to Ali Barid's tomb.

The dome as you see is unfinished, brick work is not covered in plaster and paint.

Bidar district seems to have received good rainfall, as a result lot of vegetation have taken over some of the monuments. Memorial Park was more like a grassland, limited scope for photographing these monuments. It is said there are graves of Barid family members scattered around in this ground.

Turning our attention towards the mosque complex next to the screen building. Where there's a Muslim tomb, there has to be mosque.

This is the mosque of three arches and two minars. Good thing archaeology department has kept these structures grilled and locked lest they become dens for drinking and gambling.

Besides the moasque is a similar sized building which could have been a madrasa or a lodge. The complex also has a water tank which doubled up as a swimming pool. Good to see a well maintained monument.

We were tired, no energy left to pay a visit to the other group of six or seven tombs. We headed back to the hotel, freshened up and went to Gurudwar Sri Nanak Jhira Sahib.

Feb 6, 2019

monolithic doors, Hampi

Forts gateways have massive doors, they are usually made of wood. At Hampi, close to Maha Navami Dibba (the great platform) is a pair of doors made of stone. Each door is made of single piece of stone, they are sculpted to look like wooden doors with metallic studs. Each door has a shaft at the bottom which fits into a hole enabling the door to be swung open/close. I'm assuming the face seen is the outer face.

Here's the other door which seems incomplete and damaged. The doors' approximate dimensions- 4 feet x 15'. Wondering why the builders wanted stone doors.. these are heavier than wooden one hence requires more effort to swing them. Probably, the idea was to create an all-stone structure. Hampi is the only place I've seen stone doors.

For ancient people stone was the favorite raw material, they could almost create anything. You can see stone ladders at Jain Basadi, Pattadakal and Lad Khan Gudi, Aihole. Then at Khasa Matha at Gurmitkal you can see a stone cauldron with a dent. The second item at Khasa Math is a ball trapped in a cage made of a single stone. The stone seems hard and the ball is a perfect sphere. Then there's a prehistoric drum Hire Benakal hill which supposedly booms when struck with a wooden stick. Of course I have to mention the bell stones found naturally. So there's a special connection between man and stones.

Coming back to Hampi, close to the doors is the entrance to Mahanavami Dibba enclosure. We have pass by fort walls built over boulders. The builders had plans to utilize those boulders since they have quarry marks.

A line of pits is the first step to break a stone with straight edges and flat faces. This ancient technique is still in use. So geology and petrology was part of their work.

I guess petrology, study of rocks, would be an interesting subject. Something I wish to explore.

Feb 2, 2019

rock formations around Hampi and Anegundi

Here are few eye-catching rock formations we captured during our visit to Hampi and Anegundi in Aug-2017. To our eyes they resembled some animal or carefully balanced or simply stacked neatly by human hands.

shaped and stacked
family of pointed boulders

cherry on cupcake


fish face 

delicate balance

monkey face

eagle head or a lying dog
During my next visit I'll dedicate a morning and afternoon just to see rocks and boulders.