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Glory of Bellary

Glory of Bellary

Many facts about this section has been a contribution of the Day Scholars of the college who have roamed around entire stretch of the Bellary District.

"BELLARY" was the western most area of erstwhile Madras Presidency ans an important town in the ceded Districts. Now it has attained a prominent place in the state of Karnataka, being the sugar bowl, mining magnet and an educational nucleus. River Tungabhadra forma the northern and north-western boundary for the present Bellary District.
As recorded by Mackenzie, Bellary got its name as a corruptive form of BALA-HARI meaning defeat of a demon Bala by Hari supposed to be Indra. Bellary has a chequored history of almost of 5000 years. We deem it our privilage to highlight a few of the important historic material concerned with this place which enjoyed prestige and glory in the years gone by.

Pre-Historic Period

The ancient man in any other area was a maker of crude pottery. The evidence of such material was found around Bellary in as many as 30 settelements by Mr.Bruce Foot. These are concentrated more around Bellary face hill, Sanganakallu, Kappagallu hill ranges and Kurugodu. Prof.G.Badrinath of Veerasaiva college, Bellary was able to collect a number of microlithic stones, tiny impliments near Tekkalakota and he records that many were made of semiprecious stones like Jaspher, Chest and Chalcedone.
It is reported in 1975 that impliments made of quarttzite and steatite and many types of tools have been excavated at Kurugodu. Many of you might have visited PHC at Kurugodu. To presume that the ancient man of these areas knew about the pottery and iron melting, evidence of cinders and ash deposits are reported from the excavations at Sanganakallu village.

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Mythological History

The area which comprises the present Bellary District is considered the Kishkinda Rajya and Hampi is said to be Kishkinda. It is here that Sri Rama was informed by Sugreeva, the monkey king, of Sita's abduction by Ravana.

Indian History
In the prehistoric period, the story of Bellary is well authenticated by the inscriptions. Here it may not be out of the way if we remind the reader about the Ashokan inscriptions excavated around Tekkalakota in 1980's.
Three rock edicts in the village Ashoka Siddapura, 25 miles south of Bellary are of Ashoka the Great of Mauryan Dynasty. The Andhra Sathavah ruled this area with Amaravathi (near Guntur, AP) as their capital. These Satavahanas were followed by Kadambas of Banavasi. Later on Bellary came under the reign of Chalukyas of Badami. The great king who conquered Bellary District and formed a part of his empire was Pulakesi II (609-642 AD). Early in the 8th century the Chalukyas separated into western and eastern kingdoms. Around 757 AD Rashtrakutas established their soveregnity over this district defeating Chalukyas.

Pallavas of Kanchi established their empire extending upto Badami. However, the western Chalukyas were able to revive their power on this area around 973 AD. Kalacharis of Kalyan family had put an end to the Chalukyan dynasties rule around 1156 AD. Those in turn were defeated by Hoysala kings around 1201 AD. By 1312 AD the Hoysalas were practically wiped out and there was choas and confusion.

Out of this anarchy came the greatest and probably the last of Hindu empires, the Vijayanagar empire. Hampi was the capital of this dynasty and for around 200 years to come, they were the masters of entire Deccan.

Roberts Sewell, a collector of Bellary district, in the later half of the 19th century had written a monumental treatise on Vijayanagar empire which he aptly titled the "Forgotten Empire" wherein he believed that Hukka and Bukka were Kurubas (Shepherds) and had fled from Warangal and took refuge and served under the Raja of Anegundi. Here they became the minister and treasurer respectively. The king of Anegundi died in the battle field fighting with Md.Bin Tughlaq. The two brothers inspired and influenced by Vidyaranya, the pontiff of Sringeri mutt, founded the empire to defen Hindu Dharma against Muslim invasion.

During this period, Bellary occupied a very important place. There were four dynsties which ruled this area; Sangama, Salava, Tulava and Aravidu. Of all the vijayanagar kings, the king who had become most famous and had led his armies in three directions and earned the name "Mooru Rayara Ganda" was Krishnadevaraya. He was a poet, a warrior, a scholar, an administrator and a statesman par excellence. He was an ardent champion for the cause of art. His taste for literature is reflected in "Asta Diggajas" he had in his court, who were beyond challenge in any sphere of literary activity. But the lime light of this empire came to an end in the battle of Talikota. After this the kingdom fell in the hands of several palegars (chieftains)

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Around 1671 AD

Around 1671 AD, the great Maratha king Shivaji captured Bellary fort, which was then a small mud fortress at the base of the rock. By 1692, the fort passed into the hands of Muslim rulers and subsequently to Palegars. Finally the fort was taken over by Hyder Ali. It was he who built the upper and lower forts in stone and mortar according to traditions, with the assistance of a French Engineer whom he later hanged for not building the fort on higher rock adjacent to it.

We feel proud to say that the present fort stands on a giant monolithic rock second biggest in Asia with a circumference of two miles.

After the fall of Tippu in 1799, this district passed into Nizam's hand. In 1800 by a treaty, with East India Company, most of the area recovered by Nizam in Mysore war was ceded to the Company. Then onwards the ceded area was called Ceded Districts.

A cantonment was opened in 1802 and the army was stationed at Bellary. To house the military, the fort was cleared and the civil population was shifted to what came to be known as Brucepattah after popular judge Mr. Peter Bruce who was judge from 1808 to 1820. Then Bellary started gaining importance and the area was elevated to the level of a District with District Collector Sir Thomas Munroe as the first Collector.

Bellary was a chief military base for 150 years in western part of Madras Presidency. The town can boast of being on the air map before other airports came into existence. The Karachi-Madras flight was having its night halt at Bellary.

India got independence in 1947. In 1956, the district was made a part of Mysore state in states reorganisation. Since then the district has made rapid strides in education, agriculture, industries, culture so on and so forth.

We salute the torch bearers and heroes from the soil of Bellary for making this place to be on the world map for its rich culture, heritage, education and industrialisation.

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