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Ballari is situated on the eastern side of Karnataka and is surrounded by Raichur and Koppal on the north, Haveri and Gadag on the west, Chitradurga and Davanagere on the south, and Anantapur and Kurnool (Andhra Pradesh) on the east. Ballari has been a meeting place for people from Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, hence offers a tradition and culture mix of both states.
Ballari has a very diverse and rich past. Mythologically, Ballari was closely associated with the epic, Ramayana with the mythical kingdom of Kishkinda, the famed monkey kingdom which was inhabited by Vanaras (monkeys). Anjaneya Hill, located across the river Tungabhadra, is believed to be the birthplace of Lord Hanuman. There are many more incidents of Ramayana associated with this place. Another legend is associated with Goddess Pampadevi, who is believed to have done penance on the bank of the River Pampa (Tungabhadra) and as the result of which she was able to marry Lord Shiva, who was also called Virupaksha to whom the celebrated ancient temple in Hampi is dedicated. The marriage of Lord Shiva and Goddess Pampadevi is still recreated annually here. In terms of archaeology, Ballari is one of those regions where the existence of man has been found with excavations here dating to the Neolithic period in places like Ballari, Sanganakallu-Kupgal etc. But perhaps, the most important chapter in Ballari’s history has been the Vijayanagara Empire with the UNESCO World Heritage site Hampi. Vijayanagara Empire at its peak was very prosperous and was believed to be larger than Rome with palaces grander than Lisbon. There were opulent palaces, marvellous temples, massive fortifications, baths, markets, aquaducts, pavilions, stables for royal elephants, and elegantly carved pillars. This was a city whose merchants traded in diamonds, pearls, horses, fine silks and brocades. Today, Ballari is popular for cotton, one of their major agricultural crops and the city is known to have a thriving cotton industry. This district is endowed with rich mineral resources especially iron ore and hence is aptly called “The Iron City”.
For further information, visit the official district website click here!
When to go: The monsoon (July-September) and winter (November-February).
Catch the 3-day Hampi Fest in November. In Jan-Feb check out the legendary Virupaksha Temple Car Festival and the annual Purandaradasa Aradhana Music Festival at Vithala.
Office Of The Deputy Director
Department of Tourism
Near Lotus Mahal, Kamalapura, Hospet
- Hampi: Set in an awesome boulder-strewn landscape along the banks of the Tungabhadra River, Hampi was the capital city of the magnificent capital of the mighty Vijayanagara Empire. Founded by Harihara and Bukka in 1336, it fell to the Muslim rulers of the Deccan in 1565, and the city was pillaged over a period of six months before being abandoned. The once-proud city of victory is now a city of desolation. However, the ruins of these historical monuments have withstood the ravages of man and time, and still evoke memories of the grandeur of a bygone era.Classified as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, this historic town is also the “World’s Largest Open-air Museum” and covers an area of nearly 29 sq km. Vijayanagara Empire at its peak was very prosperous and was believed to be larger than Rome with palaces grander than of Lisbon “The city is such that the pupil of the eye has never seen a place like it, and the ear of intelligence has never been informed that there existed anything to equal it in the world”, marvelled a 15th century Persian ambassador Abdul Razaak. There were opulent palaces, marvelous temples, massive fortifications, baths, markets, aquaducts, pavilions, stables for royal elephants, and elegantly carved pillars. This was a city whose merchants traded in diamonds, pearls, horses, fine silks and brocades.Most of the important structures and ruins are located in two areas, which are generally referred to as the Royal Centre and the Sacred Centre. The Royal Centre in the south west part of the site contains structures that seem to have been palaces, baths, pavilions, royal stables and temples for ceremonial use. The Sacred Centre stretches around the Virupaksha Temple and the Hampi Bazaar area and is along the banks of the holy Tungabhadra River.The ruins of Hampi are extensive and fascinating enough to absorb your attention for several days. The best way to experience this UNESCO World Heritage Site is to take a leisurely stroll through the eloquent ruins or take a bicycle/ bike ride. If you are hard pressed for time, a day or two will suffice to see all the important structures. However, photography, archaeology buffs, yoga enthusiasts should plan on staying a little longer.
- Bellary Fort: Situated in the historic city of Ballari, the Ballari Fort is built on top of Ballari Gudda or the Fort Hill. The fort is believed to have been built during Vijayanagara times by the Palegar chief Hanumappa Nayaka. Hyder Ali took possession of the fort from the Nayakas in 1769, and got it renovated and modified with the help of a French engineer. Legend has it that the engineer was hanged, for overlooking the fact that the neighboring Kumbara Gudda was taller than Ballari Gudda, thus compromising the secrecy and command of the fort. His grave is believed to be located near the East Gate of the fort, though some locals believe it to be the grave of a Muslim holy man. Visit the illuminated fort in the evenings and watch the past come alive.
- Sanganakallu: The Sanganakallu-Kupgal area is an ancient archaeological site and the excavations here have been dated to the Neolithic period, between 5,000 and 10,000 years ago. The Sanganakallu-Kupgal area is the location of one of the oldest village settlements discovered in Asia. The excavations are centered around four hills that have shown evidence of inhabitation during the Neolithic period. Archaeologists have discovered that the area was a large centre for the production of stone tools and implements as well as etched stone seals and inscriptions. The area also offers the opportunity to view rock art, ancient burial mounds and unique ringing stones.
- Kuruvatti: Kuruvatti is located in the Hadagalli taluk on the bank of the Tungabhadra River. It is famous for its Chalukyan era Mallikarjuna Temple and its cattle fair (which happens around the time of the car festival during February-March). The temple is built of black stone and is elaborately carved. Its chief attractions are two of its door-ways with intricate carvings. In the mantapa in front of the door-way leading into the shrine is an elaborately carved torana, the only one to be found in the Chalukyan temples in this part.
- Siruguppa: The name Siruguppa literally means "pile/ heap of wealth" and is quite well-earned as the lands around this place are reputed to be among the best in terms of fertile soil in the district. From these lands, large quantities of paddy, plantains, coconuts, sweet potatoes and garlic are harvested and sent to other places. On a fort here, stands an old temple dedicated to Lord Shambhulinga which is believed to be the oldest temple here.
- Veeranadurga: A granite hill with a Vijayanagara era fort, 6 kms south of Kudligi.
- Gurudwara Guru Nanak Prachar Sabha: Located in Nehru co-operative colony, Gurudwara Guru Nanak Prachar Sabha is a popular sikh religious and community centre in Hosapete.
- Ujjini:Ujjini is a village in Kudligi taluk. It is the seat of one of the important religious heads of the Veerashaivas sect - Ujjayini Saddharma Peetha. Vishwabandhu Marulasidda, a saint and social reformer of 12th century, was the founder of this Peetha who fought against religious exploitation and social inequalities which was then prevalent in the society. It is also home to Siddheshwara Temple which has a finely carved lotus on the ceiling of the mantapa.
- Kotturu: Kotturu is a town in Ballary district popular for Samadhi (final resting place) of Basappa Lingaswamy (also known as Kotra Basappa or Kotturaswamy). The Samadhi is a huge stone structure with multiple painted stone images. Kotrabasappa Temple, built in memory of the saint, is an important landmark in Kotturu. Kottur is 102 kms from Ballary.
- Mailara: Mailara, also known as Mannetti Mailara is a centre of worship in Ballary district. Mailara Lingeshwara Temple is built in Mailara in honor of Lord Shiva. As per legend, Demon Mallasura performed severe penance to please Lord Brahma and secured several godly skills from Brahma in return. Despite Brahma’s condition that these skills are not to be used to harm human beings, Mallasura began harassing saints and sages involved in religious prayers and activities. Upon request of the saints, Lord Shiva with his army of about seven crores fought against demon Mallasura and killed him. Because of this reason, Lord Shiva is worshipped in the form of Mailara, also referred to as Khandoba.
- Kumaraswamy Temple and Parvati Temple, Sandur : Sandur is notable for two ancient Hindu temples which are located in the same compound, and are both protected monuments. The famous of the two, is the Kumaraswamy Temple (11-12 century), believed to be the first abode in South India of Lord Kumaraswami (Karthikeya) which is picturesquely situated on the wooded slopes at the head of a ravine. The image of the deity is made of black stone who is holding a club in his hand and beside him stands his vehicle, the peacock. To art historians, the Parvati Temple located nearby (7th-8th century) is more unusual in terms of Hindu temple architecture. There are fine figures of divinities in temple and many well-executed images placed on pedestals in the interior of this temple.
- Magala: Home to several Kalyana Chalukya Era temples. Part of the village was submerged in TB Dam but Venugopalaswamy Temple is accessible.
- Kurugodu: Home to a cluster of nine temples dating back to 12th century AD. Sangameshwara temple, Siddeshwara temple, Mallikarjuna Temple and Ujjaleshwara Temple are major ones.
- Kudligi: Popular for Siddeshwara Temple and home to a large Banyan tree that spans over two acres at Amaradevara gudda, 3 kms away.
- Kogali: An important Jain center.
- Hire Hadagali: Home to a fine carved Chalukyan era Kalleshwara Temple
- Hoovina Hadagali: Home to Keshavaswami and Kalleshwara Temples.
- Ambali: Home to Kalleshwara Temple built in the 11th century.
- Tambrahalli: Home to Ranganatha Temple and a step well.
- Hulikuntiraya Temple, Bommaghatta: Bommaghatta is home to an old temple of Hulikuntiraya (Lord Hanuman) which is quite popular with devotees from Ballari and neighboring districts.
- Daroji Sloth Bear Sanctuary:Daroji Sloth Bear Sanctuary is the first Sloth Bear Sanctuary in India and Asia, declared exclusively for the protection and conservation of the Sloth Bear. Daroji Bear Sanctuary is spread over 82.7 square km. Sightings from machans are normally organized in the evenings as these bears are mostly nocturnal. Home to a large number of free ranging bears, the sanctuary also has hyenas, wild boars, pangolins, porcupines, jackals and leopards. Other denizens include star tortoise, monitor lizard and rock agama. A drive through the scrub jungle also provides opportunities to sight endemic species of birds such as the painted spur fowl, yellow throated bulbul, sand grouse, stone curlew and peafowl. Located at the edge of the Daroji Sloth Bear Sanctuary, is a property of Jungle Lodges & Resorts - The Hampi Heritage & Wilderness Resort which provides accommodation facilities and safari rides.
- Gudekote Sloth Bear Sanctuary:Gudekote Sloth Bear Sanctuary is the second Sloth Bear Sanctuary in India and Asia, declared exclusively for the protection and conservation of the Sloth Bear. It is situated in the Kudligi and Sandur taluks of Ballari and is spread over a total area of 167.59 Sq kms. Apart from Sloth Bears, it is also home to Leopard, Small Civet Cat, Palm Civet Cat, Jungle Cat, Jackal, Indian Grey Wolf, Indian Fox and Striped Hyena, etc. The Sanctuary also nourishes important medicinal plant and herbs. Furthermore, many prehistoric sites like rock paintings, natural caves, old temples etc. are located inside the Sanctuary.
- Atal Bihari Vajpayee Zoological Park: The Children Park cum Mini Zoo, Bellary was relocated to the new Atal Bihari Vajpayee Zoological Park, Kamalapura in Hospet taluk. This new Zoo is situated in Bilikal Reserve forest area. The zoological park, spread over 141.59 hectares, houses wildlife like Crocodile, Blackbuck, Indian Peafowl, Spotted deer, Jackal, Python, Cobra, Leopard, Bear and Wild Boar. It is also home to over 80 species of birds. A herbivore safari and a tiger/ lion safari is organised here.
- Tungabhadra Dam:The Tungabhadra Dam is constructed across the Tungabhadra river, in Hosapete, Ballari district and is over a kilometer in length. It is a multipurpose dam serving irrigation, electricity generation, flood control, etc. Species such as flamingos, storks and spot-billed pelicans can be spotted at the site. To help tourists enjoy the scenery, the area adjacent to the dam site has been turned into an attractive tourist spot with Japanese style terraced gardens, deer park, a view tower and an aquarium.
- Sandur:The district of Ballari perhaps evokes images of dust, mining and scorching heat in a tourist’s mind. However, one particular place here makes you feel like in the cool environs and greenery of the Western Ghats in this district – Sandur. The high altitude of Sandur, located around 900 meters makes for a pleasant climate and rich biodiversity of flora and fauna. The around 48 km stretch of the spindle-shaped Sandur Hill range starts from the TB Dam in Hospet Taluk, and ends at Swamihalli in Sandur Taluk. This long and tall mountain range plays a vital role in impacting the climate of north-eastern Karnataka. The forest type in this the spindle-shaped hill range is entirely different from the ecosystem of the plains of the Deccan Plateau. Narihalla, the lifeline of Sandur, ends in a dam built near Taranagara. Such was Sandur’s natural beauty that even Mahatma Gandhi in his visit to this place during 1930s, so enamored by its beauty, quoted “See Sandur in September”.Sandur’s landscape also gets carpeted with the Neela Kurinji (a shrub mainly found in the forests of the Western Ghats) blooms which happens once in 12 years. Patches of purplish-blue flowers bedecks these hill ranges of Sandur taluk and have been attracting nature lovers and botanists. The last bloom happened in 2017. The presence of Neela Kurinji, goes to show the rich biodiversity in Sandur forests.Historically, it was the capital of the Sandur State, a small principality, ruled by the Ghorpade kings. And as per legends, it is said to have been also called Skandapuri (meaning city of Skanda or Lord Kumaraswamy, whose temple is situated nearby). Sandur is also famous for the 8th Century Parvathi Temple built by the Chalukyas.The fauna and avian life found here is also truly remarkable. It is believed that once tigers used to roam here. Today, it is home to leopards, Sloth Bears, wolves, jackals, Four-horned Antelopes etc. The Sandur Valley and its surrounding area has more than 200 resident and migratory birds. The residents include the rare Yellow-throated Bulbul along with Orange-headed Thrush, Red Spurfowl, Puff-throated Babbler, White-throated Fantail, Blue-capped Rock Thrush, Tickell’s Blue Flycatcher, Verditer Flycatcher, Red-breasted Flycatcher etc. It is indeed a birder’s paradise.
- Thorangal: Thorangal is a village in Ballary district, on the banks of Tungabhadra river, 31 kms from Ballari city. Daroji lake, Jagadguru Renukacharya Ashrama and Daroji bear sanctuary are close to Thorangal.
- Kenchanagudda: Kenchanagudda is a scenic village 60 kms from Ballari, known for its Brindavana, which houses the holy grave of several saints.
- Ramanadurga (Ramagad): Ramanadurga is a hill station near Sandur town and about 20 kms from Hospet. The Trigonometrical Station here is at a height of 3,256 feet from the sea-level. On all the sides of this hill station, the ground falls sharply, thus affording excellent views into the Sandur valley. Ramgad Fort was built by Kumara Rama of Kampli, the fort is now in ruins. A temple was established on the fort in memory of King Kumara Rama by his admirers. An inscription has been found to this effect. This place gets its name from the village and the ruined fort of the same name, which stands on the southern end of the plateau. There are also beautiful mango gardens grown here.
- Anegundi: Just across the Tungabhadra River is the fortress town Anegundi, pre-dating Vijayanagara and the city’s 14th century headquarters. More ancient than Hampi, Anegundi lies in the mythical kingdom of Kishkinda, ruled by monkey king Sugriva (from the Epic Ramayana). The Anjaneya Hill is, believed to be the birthplace of the monkey god Hanuman, can be easily spotted from Anegundi, thanks to the temple at the hilltop and a white trail of steps zigzagging all the way to the top. Anegundi and its tranquil surroundings are dotted with forgotten temples and fortifications. The dilapidated Huchappayana Matha Temple, near the river, is worth a visit for its black stone lathe-turned pillars and fine panels of dancers. The other places of tourist interest are the sacred Pampa Sarovara, Chintamani Temple and the Ranganatha Temple.
- Mallappana Betta: 16 kms from Hadagali, Mallappana betta is a mountain 968 meters above mean sea level, with a natural cave on top.
- Jaramali: A village and hill about 14 kms south-west of Kudligi. The hill is 2750 feet above mean sea level and has ruins of a fort. Amazing views of the surrounding area can be experienced and enjoyed from the top.
- Gunasagara: About 20 kms south of Kudligi, Gunasagara is famous for the image of Gopalakrishna in a local temple, known for excellence of its workmanship.