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This article is about Honnavar town in Karnataka state, India. For its Taluk, see Honnavar Taluk.
Honnavar is located in Karnataka
Coordinates: 14°16′48″N 74°26′38″E / 14.28°N 74.4439°E / 14.28; 74.4439Coordinates: 14°16′48″N 74°26′38″E / 14.28°N 74.4439°E / 14.28; 74.4439
Country  India
State Karnataka
Region Canara
District Uttara Kannada
Taluk Honnavar
Established 1890[2]
 • Type Municipality
 • Body Honnavar Town Panchayat
 • Total 9.38 km2 (3.62 sq mi)
Elevation 2 m (7 ft)
Population (2011)
 • Total 19,109[1]
 • Official Kannada
Time zone IST (UTC+5:30)
PIN 581334, 581395
Telephone code +91-8387
Vehicle registration KA 47
Website www.honnavaratown.gov.in

Honavar or Honnavar is a port town in Uttara Kannada district of Karnataka, India. The town is the headquarters of Honnavar Taluk. Honnavar is located at a distance of 90 km (55.93 miles) from the district headquarters Karwar and is 102 km (63.38 miles) south of Karnataka-Goa state border.[3]


In the 10th century text Jain Ramayana, the town is mentioned as Hanuruha Island. References about the town are also available in the works of Abu al-Fida (AD 1273-1331), an Arab geographer as well as that of Ibn Batuta who described it as the city of Hinaur.

Honnavar or Onore was a notable seaport of British India, in the Uttara Kannada or North Canara district of Karnataka. It is mentioned as a place of trade as early as the 16th century and is associated with two interesting incidents in Anglo-Indian history. In 1670, the English factors here had a bull-dog which killed a sacred bull.


Honnavar town has Arabian Sea to the west and river Sharavati to the south, forming an estuary. The town lies midway between Panaji and Mangalore. Some of the places with tourism interest around Honavar include Murudeshwar, Idagunji, Apsarkonda, Gerusoppa and Karikanamma, a scenic mountain that has the breathtaking view of the Arabian Sea.

Honnavar has a port that was one of the most important ones on the west coast of India during the time of Marco Polo. It has many more powerful divine places like Veeranjaneya temple Gerusoppa, Subramanya Kshetra Mugva, Rama theerta, Apsarakonda, etc.

The Sahyadri Hill range and the astonishing waves of the Arabian Sea represent the lifestyle of the coastal belt of Karnataka state. In the safe hands of the Sahyadri hills, Honnavar is shining in the fields of education, literature, philosophy and socio-cultural activities with its traditional history.

Honnavar was a port and fortified town with a lot of historical antiquities. Between the 11th and 14th century AD Honnavar was under the rule of the Kadambas of Chandavar. Honnavar became a trading centre during the time of Vijayanagar Empire. Horses from Portugal were imported through this port. The well-known Vijayanagar King Krishnadevaraya gave permission to the Portuguese to construct forts at Honnavar and Bhatkal.

During the 15th and 16th centuries the Saluvas of Gersoppa were the prominent rulers of Honnavar. By the end of the 16th century Gersoppa Queen Chennabairadevi had become very popular as the ‘queen of pepper’ (Kalumenasinarani). She had a very good contact with the west. Thus, Honnavar became a flourishing centre of overseas trade.

By the middle of the 17th century the army of Hyder Ali took possession of the coastal town Honnavar and Basavarajdurga. By the end of the 18th century, the entire North Kanara district came under the control of Tippu, the son of Hyder Ali. Honnavar was the district headquarters between 1800 and 1817. In 1862 the entire Kanara district was divided into South Kanara and North Kanara districts, and the North Kanara district was transferred to Bombay Presidency. Until then it was under Madras Presidency. After independence, in 1947 Honnavar became the taluka headquarters.


Sharavati River is one of the main attractions of Honnavar. The river joins the Arabian Sea at Honnavar. While joining the sea, the river has created some islands.

Colonel Hill is an place of interest in Honnavar. It is a 30-meter tall column on the top of a hillock by the side of N-H 17. This column was installed in memory of Colonel Hill on 20 January 1845. It was set up by the 14th Madras Native Infantry at the instance of the East India Company in honour of Col. Hill who died at Gersoppa while commanding the Mysore Division.

Colonel Hill - 30m tall column

Ramatirtha is another beautiful location in Honnavar. It is on the Honnavar-Chandavar road about 3 km away. This pushkarini or water tank which is 50 steps below the ground level is very spacious. The water from a height falls into the tank from two points called Ramathirtha and Laxmanthirtha. According to local traditions, Sri Rama, Sita and Laxman had a holy dip in the tank during their exile.

Kasarkod beach is a tourist attraction of Honnavar. It is about 2 km from Honnavar. This beautiful sandy beach is about 5 km long. The waves, golden sand top and the enchanting scenic beauty attract thousands of tourists every day.

Basavaraja Durga is a fortified spot is an 19 hectare island in the Arabian Sea. It is 3 km from the Sharavathi Sea Mouth and can be reached by boat. The fort was constructed during the Vijayanagara rule. In 1690, the Keladi ruler Shivappa Nayak captured it and named it Basavarajadurga in memory of the Keladi Prince Basavaraja.

Agriculture and fishing are the main occupations of the people. The Sharavathi River divides the taluk into halves providing irrigation and navigation facilities. The Honnavar taluk is shared by two legislative constituencies. A part of it belongs to the Kumta legislative constituency and another to the Bhatkal legislative constituency.


As of January 2013, Honnavar town is estimated to have a population of 19,106. Males constitute 51% of the population and females 49%. Honavar has an average literacy rate of 78%, higher than the national average of 59.5%: male literacy is 83%, and female literacy is 74%. In Honavar, 11% of the population is under 6 years of age.



There are two National Highways that pass through Honnavar:

The KSRTC bus stand is located at a distance of 100 m, offset from the national highway 17. The junction of the national highway 17, and the road leading to and from the KSRTC bus stand is named as Bhatkal circle. The national highway 206 ends at a distance of 2 km before the KSRTC bus stand. The junction where the national highway 206 from Tumlur ends and touches the national highway 17 is called as Bengalooru circle.


Konkan Railway line passes through Honnavar and has a station at Karki, which is about 5 km from the centre of the town. Konkan Railway's longest bridge is 2.065 km in length and is in Honnavar over Sharavati River.[4]

There is also a proposal to connect Honnavar and Talguppa in Shimoga district by a new railway line, which will be a shorter alternate rail route between Mumbai and southern India. In Railway Budget 2010-11, Indian Railway Ministry suggested Public–private partnership (PPP) model to take up this project as the Government of India cannot fund this project alone due to concerns about Rate of return and the complex nature of the project.


In October 2013 the Karnataka government announced plans to develop a new port at Honnavar, to be funded by a public–private partnership (PPP) model.[5]

Inland Water[edit]

Honnavar has one of the largest Inland Water Transportation systems in the State of Karnataka. Various villages along Sharavati River in Honnavar Taluk have river transportation in addition to road transportation from Honnavar town. Government of Karnataka has been working on improving the Inland Water Transportation system between Honnavar and Gerusoppa along Sharavati river coast.[6] Also, the Office of Ferries Inspector (Mangalore Circle) that oversees Inland Water Transportation System of the entire coastal belt of Karnataka State is headquartered at Honnavar.[7]


The nearest airport is Mangalore International Airport, which is about 179 km away or about 3 hours 40 minutes by car. Goa International Airport (Dabolim Airport) is about 179 km from Honnavar. Also, Hubli Domestic Airport is around 198 km from Honnavar town.



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