Karwar (Kannada: ಕಾರವಾರ, Konkani /Marathi- कर्वार) is the capital of Uttara Kannada district in Karnataka, India; it is a small seaside town situated on the west coast of the Indian subcontinent. The town lies about 15 kilometres south of the Karnataka-Goa border.
Karwar is the district & the taluka head quarters of Uttara Kannada, (519 km north-west of Bangalore). Karwar, is a good place to enjoy the thrills of sun, sea and sand & thus becomes an ideal place to relax. Karwar has sacred pilgrim centers, historical towns and some of the most beautiful beaches in the country. Its beauty is said to have inspired the great Indian poet and Nobel Prize Winner, Rabindranath Tagore to pen his first play. The Devbagh Beach, is a must for the beach lovers. Karwar is also a place of historical importance. The place name Karwar is a misnomer. It is named after Kadwad (the British had trouble pronouncing "d" and replaced it with "r", maybe), actually a far off village & the English factory at Kadwad had its opening to the sea from the point where Karwar town now stands, to the south of Kali river. Karwar town was entirely a new settlement, which reflects in the parallel and perpendicular and broad roads, envisaged by the British. These roads have now been developed to their full width (some of them are wide), under the Asian Development Bank-aided urban development project. The earlier Deputy Commissioners of Karwar, Mr. Rakesh Singh, IAS and Mr. Ritesh Kumar Singh, IAS had taken great interest in its implementation. The current Deputy Commissioner has capped it by removing many encroachments in the town, particularly on the wide roads such as Green Street (which was earlier called Grease Street, jocularly), Dr. Pikle Road, Civil Court Road, Dr. Kamlakar Road, etc., Many buildings of historical value stand here, such as the District Court of the 1800s, the District Judge's and Deputy Collector's bungalows, etc. Karwar used to be written as "Caurwaar" earlier. Lying just 20 km from southern border of Goa, this place offers many other attractions such as the Sadashivgad Hill Fort with a Durga temple, the one-of-its kind octagonal church and the 300 year old Venkataramana temple with some fine ochre paintings. The Dandeli Game park located 157 km away is a treat for wildlife lovers.
Konkan Marathas, Bhandharis, Kombarpaiks, Kharvis/Harikantras, Halakki Vokkaligas, Kunbis, Padthis, etc., are the natives of Karwar, Konkani,Marathi,Kannada languages are the base of communication.Ram kashtriyas, Daivajna Brahmins, Gaud Sawaswat Brahmins, Havyak Brahmins,Vaishya Vanis etc., are spread over Karwar taluka.
Partly due to the presence of the British, who had a major presence in this City and by virtue of being next to the then Portuguese-controlled Goa state, Christianity has been in existence here since the 18th Century, majority of the Christians here being converts who fled the Portuguese Inquisition, which demanded complete severance from the native rituals practised by the converts.
Muslims, mainly forming part of the trading community, have come down from the Deccan (Bahamani) kingdoms to Karwar, and are known sea-farers. It is due to Muslim influence that the Karwar port is known as "Baithkol" meaning the House of Safety, or Place of Safety, "Bait-e-kol", in Arabic.
Karwar is a small town containing relatively undiscovered beaches and placed snugly on the coast. It's a calming sight anywhere, but in Karwar the sunrise is especially beautiful for the topography it unveils. On one side of the road is the dim outline of the narrow coast hugging the sea, while the dark shapes of the Western Ghats loom across the other. Miraculously straddling both mountain and sea, Karwar is a nondescript little town perched in between, seemingly oblivious to its own overwhelming beauty.
Since it is sandwiched between the sea on one side and Western Ghats on the other, Karwar is rich in flora and fauna. The monsoons last long and it rains heavily, the climate and sea beaches are similar to Goa, but is ignored in terms of tourism. Konkani, Marathi is widely spoken here.Many others also speak Tulu.
A bay near Binaga has a new naval base for the Indian Navy called INS Kadamba, as part of Project Seabird. Thus, its beautiful beaches like the Casurina Beach (at Binaga) now christened as Kamat Bay by the navy and the Arga Beach are now transformed with shore infrastructure built by the Indian Navy and are out of bounds for the common man. However the navy opens its portals for one and all during the navy week in Dec and for educational institutions and groups visiting the base. The idyllic Anjadiv island is also occupied by the Indian Navy. This island has a history of Portuguese occupation and has an old church and ruins of Portuguese settlements. Karwar is also the site of a nuclear reactor Kaiga.
Karwar has a number of beautiful beaches and its idyllic beauty inspired the great Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore to pen his first play.
Uttara Karnataka district is one of the most beautiful places in India, which has nearly 68 different waterfalls, many beaches, islands and thick green forests.
The enterprising locals have migrated to other places,to lead a life of full and plenty,negligence of the politicians due to the language and border dispute,has hampered the growth of coastal city.
Beautiful places in Karwar include:
Karwar is located at . It has an average elevation of 45 metres (147 ft).
Halakki Vokkaligas living in the foot of Western Ghats are known as the "Aboriginals of Uttara Kannada". Their distinctiveness and backwardness are too obvious. They have administrative system of their own and the headman is called "Gouda". Their way of living is still ancient and need amalgamation with the main stream. The men are practically naked at home and the women decorated with beads and necklaces, heavy nose rings have distinct attire.
Goulis are a nomadic tribes migrated from Maharashtra. They are mainly cow and goat rearers. They stay on the fringes of forest. Some have taken up agriculture.
Kunabis are said to be the most backward of the tribals of Uttara Kannada District. They live in small groups deep inside forests in bamboo huts built in a row sharing common walls. Not having access to the medical facilities due to seclusion, mortality rate among them is very high.
Though the District is located in coastal area, it is not so famous for its marine products. But activities connected with Fisheries are carried out on large scales by the fishermen communities like Harikanth, Kharvis,Gabiths, Ambigas. The major population lives in rural area undertaking agriculture as their main occupation.
The main traditional occupations are Agriculture, Fisheries, Animal Husbandry, Sericulture, Horticulture, Beekeeping and Leather Works etc.
Solaris Chemtech (erstwhile BILT - Ballarpur Industries Ltd.) at Binaga manufactures Caustic Soda, Chlorine, Hydrochloric acid and Phosphoric Acid. NPC's nuclear power plant at Kaiga is around 50 kilometres away from Karwar town.
Karwar is situated on the Konkan Railway route. The railway station is located at Shirwad, 6 km away from Karwar town.
As of late there are rumors that a major part of Karwar including the beach may be used by the government for naval purposes.
"The sea beach of Karwar is certainly a fit place in which to realise that the beauty of nature is not a mirage of imagination but reflects joy of the infinite and thus draws us to lose ourselves in it." - Rabindranath Tagore Karwar now hosts the Most Modern Naval Base by Indian Navy and the Town takes a pride of hosting a Project of Historical talks.