Bellary, city (1991 pop. 245,391), Karnataka state, SE India. It is a district administrative center and a road and rail hub with a domestic airport. Iron and manganese deposits are nearby. Its manufactures include cotton textiles, liquor, and refined sugar.

Bellary (Kannada: ಬಳ್ಳಾರಿ, Telugu: బళ్ళారి, ) is a city in Bellary District in Karnataka state, India.


Origins of the city's name

There are several legends about how Bellary (ಬಳ್ಳಾರಿ) got its name.

  • One of them is that a few devout travelling merchants halting in Bellary, could not find a Shiva Linga for their worship. They then installed a balla (ಬಳ್ಳ) (a measuring cup or seru (ಸೇರು) used to measure grain) upside down as a Shiva Linga and worshiped it. Eventually, that place was turned into a temple dedicated to Balleshwara (ಬಳ್ಳೇಶ್ವರ) or Shiva, which got distorted to Malleshwara (ಮಲ್ಲೇಶ್ವರ), and Bellary derives its name from this temple. 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
  • Another legend is that the city is named after Indra, the king of Gods, who slayed a Rakshasa (demon) named Balla who lived around this place. Balla-ari means 'enemy of Balla' (ari – enemy in Sanskrit). One of the two hills at the heart of the city is called Balahari Betta (ಬಲಹರಿ ಬೆಟ್ಟ), and the Malleshwara temple is situated close by.
  • The third legend derives the city's name from the old Kannada word Vallari and Vallapuri.

Historical names of the Bellary area

  • Bellary was once part of an area also known as Kuntala Desha (ಕುಂತಲ ದೇಶ) or Kuntala Vishaya (ಕುಂತಲ ವಿಷಯ) (Vishaya - a territorial division or district of a kingdom). Many inscriptions refer to the Western Chalukyas as rulers of Kuntala or Kondala.
  • An inscription during the Gangas of Talakadu speaks of a certain Sindha Vishaya (ಸಿಂಧ ವಿಷಯ), which today consists of Bellary and Dharwad districts. Many inscriptions by Yadavas and Kalyani Chalukyas refer to this areas as Sindavadi (ಸಿಂದವಾಡಿ) or Sindavadi-nadu (ಸಿಂದವಾಡಿ-ನಾಡು) (Sindavadi-1000).
  • During the rule of Western Chalukyas, the area around Bellary was part of Nolambavadi (ನೊಳಂಬವಾಡಿ) (referred to as Nolambavadi-32000), which included parts of the present Shivamogga, Chitradurga, Bellary and Anantapuram Districts. Further, some inscriptions mention that Nolambavadi-nadu (ನೊಳಂಬವಾಡಿ-ನಾಡು) was a part of Kuntala desha


  • Ancient Times

Some of the events in the great epic Ramayana are related to this historical place. It is said that Rama while searching for Sita met Sugreeva and Hanuman at a place near Hampi, the celebrated capital of the Vijayanagara empire.

  • 300 BCE-1336 AD

Bellary was ruled in succession by the Mauryas, Satavahanas, the Pallavas, the Kadambas, the Badami Chalukyas, the Rashtrakutas, the Kalyani Chalukyas, the Southern Kalachuryas, the Sevuna Yadavas, and the Hoysalas.
The Bellary area was also ruled briefly by the Cholas during the wars between Kalyani Chalukyas and the Cholas (often involving Vengi Chalukyas), the region constantly changing hands under turmoil.
A dynasty called Ballariya Naredu ruled Bellary under the Hoysalas.

  • 9th century AD and 1000 AD- 1250 AD

A branch of the Pallava family called the Nolamba-Pallavas ruled Nolambavadi-32000. Later in the 11th century AD, they ruled parts of Nolambavadi under Western Chalukyas and Hoysalas

  • 1100AD -1188 AD

Feudatories of Kalyani Chalukyas, Kalachuryas and Hoysalas, calling themselves Pandyas (Nolambavadi Pandyas), ruled parts of Nolambavadi-32000. They were actively involved in the conflicts amongst their overlords.

  • 1336 AD - 1565 AD

After the Sevuna Yadavas and the Hoysalas (and the Kakatiyas of Warangal & the Pandyas of Madurai) were decimated by the Islamic sultanates from Delhi under Allauddin Khilji, Malik Kafur and Muhammad bin Tughlaq, the vast Vijayanagara Empire arose under Harihara I and Bukka I. The Bellary area was dominated by the Vijayanagara rulers until 1565 AD.(Map).
Bellary itself was ruled by the family of Hanumappa Nayaka, a Palayagara (ಪಾಳೆಯಗಾರ - vassal) of the Vijayanagara Rulers.

  • 1565 AD

The dominance of the Vijayanagara empire ended with the Battle of Talikote/Rakkasa-Tangadi (ತಾಳಿಕೋಟೆ/ರಕ್ಕಸ-ತಂಗಡಿ), where they were defeated by a conglomerate of Deccan sultanates. After the fall of Vijayanagara, the Bellary Nayakas were subsidiary to the Adilshahi Sultanate of Bijapur (Map).

  • 1678 AD

Bellary was subsidiary to the Marathas under Shivaji (Map). The story goes that as Shivaji was passing that way some of his foragers had been killed by the garrison, prompting him to occupy Bellary; but he restored it again to the Nayakas at once on condition that tribute should be paid to him.

  • 1685 AD

Bellary fell to the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb's relentless campaign in the Deccan (Map).

  • 1724 AD

Asif Jah I, who was the Subedar of the Gujarat and Malwa, defeated and killed the Delhi sponsored Mobariz Khan, the Subedar of the Deccan, at the battle fought at Shakar Kheda in the district of Berar.
Soon after, Asif Jah I assumed independence from Mughal control to establish Hyderabad as a separate state, beginning the Asaf Jahi dynasty. Asif Jah I assumed the title Nizam-ul-mulk, and Bellary was included in the Nizam's Dominion. (Map).

  • 1761 AD

Bellary became tributary to Basalat Jang, the brother of the then Nizam Salabat Jang and the Subedar of Aadavaani (Adoni) and Raichur.

  • 1769 AD

The Bellary Nayakas refused to pay tribute to Basalat Jang, which prompted the him to occupy Bellary. The Nayakas then pleaded Hyder Ali of Mysooru (Mysore) to rescue Bellary. Hyder Ali forcefully expelled the occupiers, after which the Nayakas were tributary to him (Map).

  • 1792 AD

At the partition of Tipu Sultan's territory by the British after the Third Anglo-Mysore War, the district was given to the then Nizam Asif Jah II.

  • 1800 AD

After the defeat and death of Tipu Sultan in the Fourth Anglo-Mysore War at Srirangapattanam (Seringapatam), the Mysore territories were further divided up between the Wodeyars, Asif Jah II and the British.
In 1796 AD, Asaf Jah II, harassed by the Marathas and Tipu Sultan, had opted to get British military protection under Lord Wellesley's doctrine of Subsidiary Alliance. Now, as part of this agreement, the Asif Jah II ceded a large portion of the acquired territory, including Bellary, to the British, to be added to the Madras Presidency as 'Bellary District'. This area was also known as the Ceded Districts (Map), a term still used for the areas, and was considerably larger than the present district, including the present districts of Kadapa (Cuddapah), Anantapuram and much of Karnoolu (Kurnool).

  • 1800 AD-1807 AD

All through these political changes since Vijayanagar times, the Nayakas were the de facto rulers of Bellary - while their masters constantly changed, locally their powers were absolute. All this changed with the arrival of Major Thomas Munro, the first collector of the Ceded Districts (1800-1807), who disposed off the eighty palayagars (Polygars) of the districts either with pensions or assimilation of their estates and established the Ryotwari system - land revenue collected directly from the tiller of the soil.

  • 1808 AD

The ceded districts area was split into two districts, Bellary and Kadapa. The Bellary area was still larger than Kadapa and the second largest district in Madras Presidency, measuring 13000 square miles (nearly twice the size of Wales), and a population of 1,250,000 (one and half times that of Wales).

  • 1840 AD

Bellary became the head-quarters of the district. The Collector until this year lived in Anantapuram.

  • 1867 AD

The Bellary Municipal Council was created, along with the Adoni Municipal Council. These were the only two municipal townships in the whole of Bellary district for a long time.

  • 1882 AD

Seven of the southern taluks were was carved out to form the Anantapuram district, further reducing the size of Bellary District.
The Maratha princely state of Sandur was surrounded by Bellary district(Maps).

Bellary district of Madras State was divided on linguistic basis.
Areas with significant Kannada speaking populations (Harapanahalli, Hadagali, Kudligi, Hosapete, Sandur and Siruguppa) were transferred to Mysore state, which would later become Karnataka state.
Areas of the district with significant Telugu speaking populations (Yemmiganooru, Aadavaani, Aalooru, Raayadurgam, D.Hirehaalu, Kanekallu,Bommanahaalu, Gummagatta) were merged into Anantapuram and Karnoolu districts in what would later become the Andhra Pradesh state.
Bellary city itself, with both Kannada and Telugu speaking populace in large numbers, was included into Mysore state after a protracted debate and controversy.

  • 1997 AD

With the re-organisation of the districts in Karnataka, Harapanahalli taluk was transferred to Davanagere district, reducing the number of taluks in the district to seven.

  • 2004 AD

The Bellary City Municipal Council was upgraded to a City Corporation.


Bellary is located at . It has an average elevation of 445 metres (1459 ft).

City Features

The city stands in the midst of a wide, level plain of black cotton soil.

The Rocks

Granite rocks & hills form a prominent feature of Bellary, and granite quarrying is big business. The city is spread mainly around two huge rocky granite hills, the Ballari Gudda (ಬಳ್ಳಾರಿ ಗುಡ್ಡ) and Kumbara Gudda (ಕುಂಬಾರ ಗುಡ್ಡ) (Gudda - hill in Kannada). These two hills are dominant features of the city, and are visible from every part of the city.

Ballari Gudda

Ballari Gudda has a circumference of nearly and a height of . The length of this rock from north-east to south-west is about . To the East and South lies an irregular heap of boulders, but to the West is an unbroken monolith, and the North is walled by bare rugged ridges. This hill is also said to be the world's second largest monolithic hill.

Kumbara Gudda

The other hill is called Kumbara Gudda (wikimapia). This hill, when viewed from the south-east looks like the profile of a human face and is also known as Face Hill.


Apart from these two hills, there are a number of other smaller granite hills within the city, the prominent among them being:
# The Kaate Gudda (ಕಾಟೇ ಗುಡ್ಡ) (wikimapia) opposite the Municipal Junior College, which also houses a water tank & pumping station. This is also nicknamed Kaage Gudda (ಕಾಗೆ ಗುಡ್ಡ), for its teeming flocks of Crows (Kannada : kaage=crow)
# The Eeshwara Gudda (ಈಶ್ವರ ಗುಡ್ಡ), behind the Anaadi Lingeshwara Temple in Parvati Nagar-Shastri Nagar area. This has now been quarried extensively and almost flattened with all loose boulders removed, making way for residential occupation.(wikimapia)
# The one housing a water tank, adjacent to the Bellary Central Jail (wikimapia)
# Adjacent to St. John's High School in the Fort Area (wikimapia)

It is also very common to find small boulders and rocks at numerous places within the city.

Bellary Fort

The Bellary Fort is built on top of the Ballari Gudda or the Fort Hill. The Fort was built round the hill during Vijayanagara times by Hanumappa Nayaka. Hyder Ali, who took possession of the Fort from the Nayaka family in 1769, got the fort renovated and modified with the help of a French Engineer. The lower fort was added by Hyder Ali around the eastern half of the hill. Legend has it that the unfortunate French Engineer was hanged, for overlooking the fact that the neighbouring Kumbara Gudda is taller than Ballari Gudda, thus compromising the secrecy & 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.

The fort was classified as 1st class by the British Administration.

The fort is divided as the Upper Fort and the Lower Fort.

  • The Upper fort

The Upper fort (wikimapia) is a polygonal walled building on the summit, with only one approach, and has no accommodation for a garrison. The upper fort consists of a citadel on the summit of the rock at , guarded by three outer lines of fortification, one below the other. It contains several cisterns, excavated in the rock. Outside the turreted rampart are a ditch and covered way. The main turret on the east currently features a huge mural of the Indian Flag facing east (wikimapia). There is only one way up to the fort, which is a winding rocky path amongst the boulders. On the top, outside the citadel is a small temple, the remains of some cells and several deep pools of water. Within the citadel are several strongly constructed buildings, and an ample water supply from reservoirs constructed in the clefts of the rocks. Muzzaffar Khan, the Nawab of Kurnool, was confined here from 1823 to 1864 for the murder of his wife.

  • The Lower fort

The Lower fort (wikimapia) lies at the eastern base of the rock and measures about half a mile in diameter, and probably had an arsenal and barracks. It consists of a surrounding rampart numerous bastions, faced by a deep ditch and glacis. The entrance to the lower fort is via two gates, one each on the western and eastern sides. Just outside the eastern gates of the lower fort is a temple dedicated to Hanuman - the Kote Anjaneya Temple (Kote (ಕೋಟೆ) - fort in Kannada) (wikimapia). Later additions to the lower fort by the British include the Commissariat stores, the Protestant church, orphanage, Masonic lodge, post-office and numerous private dwellings. Now the lower fort contains a number of public buildings, government offices, schools & educational institutions and churches.

British Colonial Buildings

The following is a list of buildings built during the British Colonial period. Despite many of them having been partially modified, they retain the typical Colonial British style architecture.

  • Bellary Central Jail
  • The Wardlaw High School Complex
  • St. Philomena's School Complex
  • St. John's School Complex
  • St. Joseph's School Complex
  • The main building of VIMS

This was originally the Allipur Jail during the British rule. Famous personalities of the freedom movement were imprisoned here, such as C.Rajagopalachari, V V Giri and Tekur Subramanyam. This jail was closed in 1958 and the old buildings and entire area of was converted into the Medical College campus in 1961.

  • The Government Wellesly TB & Chest Diseases Hospital.
  • The Tehsildar's Office
  • The DC's Office
  • The District and Sessions Court
  • The Jail Superintendent's Residence
  • The District Chief Judge's Residence
  • The DC's Residence
  • The Residence of Superintendent of Police
  • The Railway Stations (both City & Cantonment)


As of 2001 India census, Bellary had a population of 317,000. Males constitute 51% of the population and females 49%. Bellary has an average literacy rate of 65%, higher than the national average of 59.5%; with 72% of the males and 57% of females literate. 12% of the population is under 6 years of age. While Kannada is the administrative and predominant language, Telugu is also widely spoken by the residents, along with Dakhni (Deccan Urdu).


Most of graduate education in Bellary falls under the jurisdiction of Gulbarga University. The following is a list of prominent Educational institutions in the city:

  • Vijayanagara Institute of Medical Sciences (VIMS)
  • Taranath Ayurveda College
  • Government Polytechnic in Fort
  • Teacher's Training Institute in Radio Park
  • St. Philomena's High School & Good Shepherd Convent in Cantonment
  • St. Joseph's High School in Radio Park
  • St. John's High School & Junior College in Fort
  • Wardlaw Composite Jr. College

Founded as a school in 1846 by Rev. R S Wardlaw, D.D. of the London Mission, and raised to second grade college in 1891. For a long time, it was the only Arts college in the Ceded Districts. In 1903-04 it had an average daily attendance of 319 students, of whom 17 were in F.A.Class. This is the oldest educational institution in the Bellary town and continues to offer quality education to the people of Bellary to date. Prof. U. R. Rao of ISRO studied in this institute.

  • Bala Bharati Vivekananda High School in Gandhinagara.
  • London Mission Telugu Primary School (LMT) near Gadigi Channappa Circle.
  • Municipal Junior College on Ananthapur Road

This school is over 150 years old. One of the oldest institutions in the town, it was started as a composite school for students from the Class IV elementary to Class VI form school final with English as the medium of instruction along with other languages like Telugu, Kannada and Urdu, besides ancient languages such as Sanskrit, Arabic and Persian. John Neale was the first headmaster of the school, followed by eminent people such as Ranganath Mudaliar, T D Logan, Arcot Bheemachar, K S Vedantham, B Madhava Rao, and Bahaddoor S Seshagiri Rao. The foundation for the present building on Anantapur Road was laid on July 16, 1926 by R G Grieve, Director of Public Instruction, Government of Madras when Nagarooru Narayana Rao was the chairman of the Bellary Municipality

  • Moulana Abul Kalam Azad High School (MAKA High School) in Fort

The Municipal High School was bifurcated in the 1950s and the Municipal Muslim High School located in the Fort area was later renamed Moulana Abul Kalam Azad High School. Janaab Meer Mohammed Hussain became the headmaster of the new school.

  • Bellary Engineering College in Allipura
  • Kendriya Vidyalaya in Cowl Bazaar
  • Heerada Sugamma Model Higher Primary School
  • Shettra Gurushantappa Junior College on Kappagal Road
  • Veerasaiva College (Arts, Commerce & Science) in Cantonment
  • Kotturswamy College of Education
  • Allam Sumangalamma Memorial Women's College in Gandhinagara
  • Vunki Sannarudrappa Law College on Kappagal Road
  • Vijaynagar Engineering College in Cantonment
  • Togari Veeramallappa Memorial College of Pharmacy
  • Kittur Rani Chennamma Girl's High School
  • V.V. Sangha's Polytechnic
  • Vijayanagar Institute of Management in Cantonment

Medical Facilities

State Owned

The biggest chunk of medical facilities are owned & maintained by the government, under the jurisdiction of VIMS. The most prominent hospitals in the city are:

  • Government Medical College Hospital

Commissioned in 1966 and has 680 beds. It is located in Cantonment.

  • Women & Children's Hospital or The District Hospital

Popularly known as Ghosha hospital. Situated in the heart of city, it is spread over an area of 15 acres and has 210 beds for Paediatrics, Gynecology and Post Mortem cases. A 20 bedded Infosys ward has been added recently for the treatment of Japanese Encephalitis cases. This hospital is soon to be shifted to the VIMS campus.

Locally known as just TB Sanitarium/Sanatorium, it was started in 1929 during British rule and is spread over a spacious area of 20 acres in the Cantonment area.

  • The Urban Health Center

Was constructed in 1999. Located in the heart of the City and has a daily capacity intake of about 120-140 outpatients.

Private Facilities

The numerous private and/or charitable hospitals in the city far outnumber the government facilities, though not in facilities provided. Historically private facilities were of limited sophistication; however, this trend has been slowly changing, with private entrepreneurs investing much into acquiring more sophisticated infrastructure and expertise.

The city also boasts of a few good private diagnostic laboratories.

Travel & Transport


  • The main inter-city bus station is located just outside the city, in the now empty Nalla Cheruvu (నల్ల చెరువు) (Telugu - Black Lake or Tank) basin. This is a new improvement over the cramped older bus stand located near Gadigi Chennappa Circle. The old bus stand still serves private and state owned buses connecting rural locations.
  • An excellent truck stationing facility, located in the Nalla Cheruvu basin, serves lorries and hauliers.


The following is the list of trains available from Bellary:

  1. 584 (SBC Fast Passenger) Hosapete-Bengaluru
  2. 7228 (VSG BZA Express) Vasco da Gama-Vijayawada
  3. 251 (JRU-GTL Passenger) Chikkajajuru-Guntakallu
  4. 6591 (Hampi Express) Hubballi-Bengaluru
  5. 303 (Hubli Passenger) Gunturu-Hubballi
  6. 7416 (Haripriya Express) Kolhapur-Tirupati
  7. 8048 (Amaravathi Express) Vasco da Dama-Howrah



  • The intra-city transport network is serviced by city buses connecting important points within the city, albeit over the city's appalling roads.
  • The city is also served by private but unregulated auto rickshaws and cycle rickshaws.


External links


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