|— village —|
|Time zone||IST (UTC+5:30)|
Banakal (Kannada: ಬಣಕಲ್) is a Malnad village in Mudigere Taluk, Chikkamagaluru district of Karnataka, India. This village is situated atop the Charmadi hills in the Western Ghats section. The Western Ghats is one amongst twenty-five identified hot spots for biodiversity conservation in the world. Banakal is surrounded by coffee estates and paddy fields and known for its pleasant weather throughout the year. Banakal town is the headquarters of Banakal Hobli.
Banakal lies on the banks of the Hemavati River. The Hemavati, which flows through Banakal, originates in Western Ghats. This 245 km (152 mi) long river covers about 5,410 square kilometres (2,089 sq mi) of drainage area and considered as a prime source of irrigation along with natural rainfall. The geographical location of Banakal is 13°0'59" North and 75°53'9" East.
One of the immensely beautiful natural waterfalls of Karnataka known as Alekan waterfalls is just six kilometers away from Banakal towards Charmadi.
The people lead a monotonous way of life irrespective of the religious diversities. Generally life is slow paced as it is seen in most of the agriculture dominant villages of Chickmagalur district. The Gowda community is dominant and owns most of the landed property like agricultural fields and coffee estates. Folk songs and folk dances are given much importance. During special occasions men play Kolata - a group dance using sticks, and women do perform folk dances and folk songs like Bhaagyada balegaara hogi baa nanna tawarige are noteworthy.
The Malnad food style is followed. Rice and wheat are a part of the daily menu. Traditional dishes like Rotti, Ganji-oota, Kadubu-chatni and shevije are eaten. Generally people are non-vegetarian. Some traditional dishes like Edi-chatni, Iruve-chatni [chigaLi chuttney] and Maralu-meen-saru are now vanishing from the daily menu.
Like Are Bhashe spoken by the Gowdas of Sullia in Dakshina Kannada, the people in this region speak another dialect of Kannada which can be called Gowdra Bhashe. This dialect is sweet and has powerful expressions. People belong to Tuluva community like, Shettys, Poojarys speak Tulu with Ghatta accent, little different than actual Tulu used in South Canara. Local Muslims speak a dialect of Urdu known as Dakhini. Bearys, the immigrant Muslims hailing from a neighboring district, Dakshina Kannada, and who are engaged in various small scale business activities do speak Beary bashe.
Suggi Habba is the main festival celebrated at the time of harvesting. All Hindu festivals are celebrated by Gowdas and local communities. Tulu speaking people also celebrate Hindu festivals. Muslims observe Eid ul-Fitr and Eid ul-Adha as it is universally observed. Christians celebrate all Christian events and the local church festival is called Saint-Mary. Banakal Jatre is the car-festival that occurs once a year and attracts a lot of people from adjacent villages. Bhuta Kola and Kori Katta are the other events celebrated by mainly Tulu speaking communities, which is a cultural and religious aspect as some Theyyam deities are propitiated through blood sacrifice or cock-sacrifice which does also include the cockfight and is a prime example of "cultural synthesis of 'little' and 'great' cultures".
Agriculture is the main source of economy. Rice which forms the chief food of people in southern India is the main crop and is being produced in large scale. Coffee plantations are another prime source of economy which makes the region distinctive and contributes to the national economy. The coffee estates in this region became world famous when they began to compete with Brazil in both producing and exporting coffee beans. Both the genetic subspecies of high quality coffee, namely Robusta and Arabica, are being produced, processed and exported. Black pepper and cardamom are the other economic crops. Oranges have also been produced in some areas. Honey and other forest products also contribute to the economy.
Flora and fauna 
Most of the land is brought under cultivation. Paddy or rice fields provide multiple crops in a year based on monsoon. Coffee (both Robusta and Arabica) is the main plantation crop. Other crops include black pepper, cardamom and produce of the forest. Good quality honey is abundantly available in this region. Tall straight Nilgiri plantation is found on the southern bank of river Hemavati alongside coffee plantation. Natural forests surround the village. Wildlife and rich birdlife can also be seen. Teak and sandalwood are abundant.
Because of irregular prices lately people have lost interest in food crops. Economic crops have taken the place of food crops, and more land is used for that purpose.
Generally lifestyle is slow paced and people do live cordially irrespective of caste and religious differences. Although Gowdas are economically dominant, Bunt and Billava are the immigrant Tuluva communities from adjacent Dakshina Kannada also are seen. The Muslim community can be identified as local Deccani (a dialect of Urdu and Hindi) speaking farmers and immigrant Byari business community. A good number of Christians belonging to Roman Catholic speaking Konkani and some Protestants also are inhabitants of Banakal.
Schools and educational institute 
- Government Junior College
- Government High School
- Vidyabharati – Nursery, middle school and high school
- Government Model Higher Primary School
- Government Urdu Higher Primary School
- Nazareth Convent
- River View School - Nursery and middle school
- Banakal Village School
- Sabli Village School
Religious institutes 
- Devaramane Kalabhairaveshwara
- Jamia Masjid
- Mohiyuddin Juma Masjid
- Quba Masjid
- Ravi Ashrama
Banks and financial institutes 
- Karnataka Bank Ltd
- District co-operative Bank
Getting there 
- By road: any bus that commutes between Mangalore and Chickmagalur goes via Banakal
- 3 km (2 mi) from Kottigehara on K.M. Road, towards Chickmagalur
- The nearest railway station: Mangalore, Kadur and Hassan
- The nearest airport is Bajpe Mangalore International Airport
Nearby places 
- BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Map: Biodiversity hotspots
- Rivers of Western Ghats - Rivers of Western Ghats
- Alekan Falls near CharmaDi in Western Ghats - dreamroutes.org
- A Panorama of Indian Culture: Professor A. Sreedhara Menon Felicitation Volume - K. K. Kusuman - Mittal Publications, 1990 - p.127-128""