Kolar Gold Fields
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|Kolar Gold Fields
Champion Reef mine shaft at KGF
|• Body||Robertsonpet city municipal council|
|• Total||58.12 km2 (22.44 sq mi)|
|Elevation||265 m (869 ft)|
|• Density||4,000/km2 (10,000/sq mi)|
|Time zone||IST (UTC+5:30)|
|Vehicle registration||KA 08|
|Nearest city||Bangalore, Kolar|
|Lok Sabha constituency||kolar|
|Vidhan Sabha constituency||K.G.F|
|Avg. summer temperature||32 °C (90 °F)|
|Avg. winter temperature||12 °C (54 °F)|
K.G.F or Kolar Gold Fields is a mining town in Bangarpet Taluka, in the Kolar District of Karnataka state, India. It includes the township of the same name, viz. KGF, where reside mainly the families of the employees of Bharat Gold Mines Limited (BGML) and BEML (formerly Bharat Earth Movers Limited). KGF is about 30 kilometers from Kolar and 100 kilometers from Bangalore. To the east of KGF is a ridge of hills of which Dod Betta hill, 3195 feet above sea level. The town was known for gold mining for over a century, which was eventually closed on 2001 due to low level of gold production. The resources now remaining under the ground are only about 3 million tonnes of gold ore.
Early history of the Kolar Gold Fields was compiled by Rev. Fred Goodwill, Superintendent of the Wesleyan Tamil Mission, Bangalore and Kolar Gold Fields. His studies and observations have been published in the quarterly journals of the Mythic Society and other academic journals.
Kolar is much older than Bangalore, its origin going back to the 2nd century AD. Gangas who came from North India, made Kolar their capital and ruled over Mysore, Coimbatore, Salem and Travancore. In the 13th Century AD, Sage Bhavanandi composed his treatise on Tamil grammar Nannool at the Ulagamadhi cave at KGF, under the patronage of Seeya Gangan one of the Ganga rulers who was born in Kolar and was a patron of arts and literature. Further Seeya Gangan's inscriptions indicate that Kolar regained control of Kolar for the second time from Chola hands.
During the reign of the Cholas, King Uththama Chola (970 AD) is said to have built the temple for Goddess Renuka, in the avatar of Kolaahalamma and found the city of Kolaahalapuram. Local tradition indicates that the city was named after this deity of Kolaahalama. The Chola rulers Veera Chola, Vikrama Chola and Raja Nagendra Chola erected stone structures with inscriptions ar Avani, Mulbagal, Sitti Bettta and other places. Chola inscriptions also indicate the rule of Adithya Chola I (871-907 AD), Raja Raja Chola I and Rajendra Chola I over Kolar. These inscriptions refer to Kolar as 'Nikarili Cholamandalam' and also as 'Jayam Konda Chola Manadalam'. Inscriptions of Rajendra Chola I also appear on the Kolaramma Temple. Many Siva temples were built in Kolar during the reign of the Cholas, such as the Someshwarar Temple at Maarikuppam Village, Sri Uddhandeshwari Temple at Maarikuppam Village, the Eswaran Temple at Oorugaumpet, the Sivan Temple at Madivala Village. The reign of the Cholas over Kolar lasted till 1116 AD. Sadly the Chola inscriptions scattered all over Kolar lie neglected, and some subject to wilful cultural vandalism.
In 1117 AD, Kolar came under the reign of the Hoysalas, and in 1254 AD the dominions were portioned among the two sons of King Someshwara, with Kolar included in the Tamil provinces that went to Ramanatha.
In the 17th Century, Kolar came under Maratha rule as part of the Jahagir of Shahaji for fifty years. Then under Muslim rule for seventy years. In 1720 AD, Kolar came under the Suba of Sira, with Fateh Mohammed, the father of Hyder Ali becoming the Faujdar of the province. After this Kolar passed thorugh different reigns such as Marathas, the Nawab of Cuddapah, Nizam of Hyderabad and finally Hyder Ali. In 1768, Kolar came under British rule briefly till 1770, then passed briefly again to Maratha rule and again Hyder Ali. In 1791 Lord Cornwallis conquered Kolar, before passing it back to Mysore under the peace treaty of 1792. Kolar has been part of the Mysore State since that time.
History of Gold Mining at KGF
The tradition of mining gold at Kolar started at least as early as the first millennium BC with linkages to the Indus Valley civilization. Golden objects found in Harappa and Mohenjo-daro have been traced to KGF through an impurities-analysis assay, as the impurities include 11% silver concentration, found only in KGF ore. Pliny, a Roman historian who passed in this area in 77 C.E. wrote about gold and silver mines. The Champion reef at the Kolar gold fields was mined to a depth of 50 meters during the Gupta period in the fifth century A.D. Subsequently, the metal continued to be mined during the Chola period in the 9th and 10th century AD, the Vijayanagara Empire from 1336 to 1565, and later by Tipu Sultan, the leader of Mysore state. The scale of the operations grew at each stage by the digging of small to large pits.
Renewed interest in the Kolar gold fields occurred towards the beginning of the nineteenth century. The ancient gold workings, other workings which may have been 200 to 600 years old and the workings of Tipu Sultan were all located by Captain Warren in 1802. In 1873, M.F. Lavelle, an Irish soldier who returned from New Zealand after fighting Maori war and settled in Bangalore, applied to the Mysore Government for the exclusive privilege of mining in the Kolar district. His request was granted and he commenced operations by sinking a shaft near Uirgam (Oorgaum) in 1875, but, finding that large capital would be required, in the following year and with the approval of the government, Lavalle transferred all his rights and concessions to Major General G. de la Poer Beresford. General Beresford formed a syndicate known as the Kolar Concessionaries which took up the matter in earnest, and gradually acquired most of the area now known as the Kolar Gold Fields. However, large-scale mining only came in the 1890s under the British firm John Taylor & Company which did much of the prospecting and mining with more skilled manpower and sophisticated machinery.
The principal mines in the Gold Fields starting with Michael F. Lavelle in 1864 to the mines developed by John Taylor & Company up to 1905 were:
Later, after 1956, BGML amalgamated the Champion and Mysore mines and started the Yeppamana and Old Baisanathan Mines.
The mines were taken over by the Government of Mysore in 1956 and by the Ministry of Finance, Government of India in 1962. They were handed over to the government company called Bharat Gold Mines Limited under the Ministry of Mines in 1972. The Bharat Gold Mines Limited has thus come out of various combinations and permutations. The company has the record of having Morarji Desai as its chairman (when it was with the Finance Ministry) and some of the erstwhile chief Ministers of Mysore State (when it was with the government of Mysore).
The gold mines of KGF were closed down by BGML in 2001 due to reducing deposits and increasing costs. Since then a legal struggle is being waged by the ex-employees of BGML against the Ministry of Mines. In September 2003 the Karnataka High Court directed the government to hand over the mines to the employees and in December 2006, the Ministry undertook in court to do so at a market determined price. In July, 2010 after protracted litigation, the High Court of Karnataka finalized the terms and procedure of transfer.
Supreme Court approves revival of mining
In July 2010, the Supreme Court approved the central government's plan to float global tenders to revive the gold mines, 12 years after they were closed down. The court recorded a 2006 cabinet decision to invite bids to run the mines, and to take appropriate subsequent steps. Within 2014 they have to re-open mining, with selected mining units. 
Birth of the city
With the growth of the Gold Mines and the resulting demand for labour, people from the North and South Arcot districts of Tamil Nadu and Chittoor, Madhanapalli and Ananthapur districts of Andhra Pradesh, were settled around the various shafts. In course of time these habitations expanded to merge into each other to form the outer reaches of the town of KGF. In the core of the town were the families of British and Indian engineers, geologists and mine supervisors who lived a grand colonial lifestyle complete with golf course, tennis court, club with dance halls and bars, cottages and Bungalows with gardens and quarters for the employees and churches and chapels. The ruins of these structures and some memorabilia continue to exist even today. Many places in the area have names reminiscent of the raj. The two main townships which came up subsequently in KGF were Robertsonpet and Andersonpet, named after two British officers in the mines.
Subsequent establishment of the BEML public sector enterprise brought further expansion to the city providing employment to existing populations while also bringing in new populations that added to the cosmopolitan nature of KGF.
Champion Reefs is one of the main mining areas in the Kolar Gold Fields. The area is situated near Andersonpet in Kolar District. It has got in it the deepest mining shaft in Asia. This place is named after a British officer called Champion. The Kolar Gold Fields is spread around 17 square kilometers and goes as down deep as 17,000 feet. The mines have been closed. It is estimated that the total gold production in Karnataka to date is 1000 tons.
Champion reefs was once dominated by British foremen miners. .Reginald Gregory was the first chief miner who started the mining project at Champion Reefs, headed by taylor & Sons they soon were able to purchase other mines. .Champion reef has many renowned schools, from the colonial times including St. Joseph's and St. Mary's Schools. The Champion Reef Golf County is named after the Golf course present in this place.
Three hundred thousand people lived in the Kolar gold fields when the mine was at its peak production, but since the closing of mines in 2003 the population has reduced to less than a hundred thousand. The older generation of KGF employees are staying on in the hope that the mines will revive, but the younger generation is either moving away to Bangalore or commuting to Bangalore. The population of KGF is cosmopolitan, including Kannada, Tamil, Telugu, Oriya, Hindi, Marwari, Urdu and Anglo Indian. Tamil being widely spoken language. KGF also has a population that is representative of the rest of Kolar district being primarily Kannada and Telugu speaking.
KGF has an Engineering College which is Dr. T. Thimmaiah Institute of Technology (Formerly known as Golden Valley Institute of Technology - GVIT), a Dental College which is KGF College of Dental Science & Hospital and a Law College. Kengal Hanumanthaiah PU College (formerly known as First Grade College (FGC) KGF), Sri Bhagawan Mahaveer Jain College Kgf, KGF also has the National Institute of Rock Mechanics (NIRM) which is run by the Ministry of Mines with the help of GSI and IBM, and Vijaylakshmi college.
Schools in the area include, St. Teresa's School,St. Joseph's School, St. Mary's School, Nizamia School, Vani English High school and Higher Primary School, Sree Mahaveer Jain School, William Richards School, Edens English higher primary school, Momin Urdu School, Dr. Ambedkar boys and girls high school,Sumathi Jain High School, Kendriya Vidyalaya BEML Nagar and BEML Composite Junior College (BCJC).
Kolar Gold Field is known as "Little England" by the British, due to its more temperate weather and a landscape similar to Britain's. You can still see the old British styled bunglows which gives a small glimpse of British culture. The city is on the Deccan Plateau of central and south India, about 3000 feet above sea level
The Bharat Earth Movers Limited (BEML) a Public Sector Undertaking under the Ministry of Defence set up a large manufacturing unit in KGF. It manufactures a variety of heavy equipment used for earth moving, transportation and mining such as Hauliers, Loaders, Dumpers, trailers and excavators. BEML was incorporated in May 1964, and commenced operations on January 1, 1965. It was wholly owned and operated by India's Ministry of Defence until 1992, when the government divested 25% of its holdings in the company.
BEML acquired 1100 acres of prime land from BGML
Places of interest
KAMMASANDRA: A Village situated 6 km from K.G.F has a collection of number of Shivalingas. More than 80 lakhs of such lingas already been Installed here since 1974. Among them a 108 Ft. height linga is the main attraction. Accommodation and free food facilities are available for Visitors.
BANGARU TIRUPATI: Modeled on the famous Venkateshwara Temple of Tirupathi in Andrapradesh nearby, This Temple is thronged by pilgrims, particularly during the month of Shravana (July–Aug). Darshan of the deity is through a small window in the sanctum. key founder of the temple Late K.M Doraswamy Naidu Ex MLA.
Mill Tailing Dumps all around KGF called “Cyanide Dumps” because of its content of “Cyanide used to extract the gold from the Ore. The continuous mining activity for the last 100 years in this area has resulted in the accumulation of huge dumps of mining waste (mill-tailings) occupying 10% of the total area in the township of the KGF. Besides occupying about 10% of the total land in the township these tailing dumps rise to a height of about 30m from the ground. Now a days this dumps are becoming pick nick place and number of film shooting have been taken at this place.
SRI LAKSHMIPRASANNA VENKATARAMANA TEMPLE: This is Temple of LordVenkateshwara and choultry located in Geetha Road, Robertsonpet. It was founded by Bhaskar Naidu during early 1900’s, now it is under the control of Mujaroi Department (Govt. of Karnataka).. Every year during the month of March “Pallakki-Mahostava” will be celebrated.
SRI NUMPERUMAL RANGANATHA SWAMY TEMPLE: this is the temple of lord SRI RANGANATHA SWAMI, SRI NUMPERRUMAL, SRI ANDAL AND UDAYAVAR SHABAI. The temple is located inside the campus of MADURAI'S SRI NUMPERUMAL HR PRY SCHOOL.
Mother of Mines Shrine Church, Thanga thai, Oorgaum Kolar Gold Fields
- An English mining firm, John Taylor & Sons in 1880, started the systematic mining for gold.
- The first hydroelectric project in South India was built in 1902 to provide electricity for the gold fields.
- Indian Activist, Bezwada Wilson founder and National Convenor of the Safai Karmachari Andolan (SKA)is from Kolar Gold Fields
- Kolar Gold Fields was the third city in India to get electricity after Darjeeling (1897) and Calcutta (1898), from Shivanasamudra Hydro electric project in Mandya District, Karnataka, India.
- People from as far as Kolar could see the lights of this once prosperous city
- You can see large number of churches in kolar gold field and CSI My Redeemer's Church in Mission Hill Marikuppam being the oldest of nearly 135 years old.
- KGF was known as "Little England" by the British, due to its more temperate weather and a landscape more similar to Britain's. It also had a sizable Anglo-Indian Population who worked in the various mines in different capacities.
- The city is on the Deccan Plateau of central and south India, about 3000 feet above sea level
- The Champion Reefs mine was the second deepest underground mine in the world when it was operational reached a depth of 3200mts.
- National Institute of Miners Health had its headquarters in KGF
- One can see the old British bungalows and buildings even today in good shape in KGF.
- In the year 1902 the suburb of Robertson pet was established.
- The mines were taken over by the Government of mysore in 1956.
- The mines were taken over by the Government of India in 1962.
- S. Manjunath, the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) manager who was murdered for exposing corruption hailed from KGF.
- KGF played a major part in the prosperity of the British Empire
- 'Vijay Shree' awardee K.M. Divakaran is from KGF.
- Shram Shri Award by Govt of India -V.Natarajan of Bharat Earth Movers Ltd
- The brilliant Indian artist John Wilkins was born here.
- The particle experiments at Kolar Gold Fields, performed by a collaboration of particle physicists from Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), Mumbai, Osaka City University, Japan and Durham University, UK recorded the first cosmic ray neutrino interaction in an underground laboratory in Gifford's Shaft of Champion Reefs Mines in 1965.
- KGF also has the distinction of having a golf course started by the British dating back to 1885 and affiliated to Indian Golf Union
- KGF is the birthplace of Magsaysay Awardee Jockin Arputham, the founder and president of the National Slum Dwellers Federation (India)
- KGF club is the most sought after club because of its affiliation with other national and international clubs.
- Xavier Vijay Kumar HAL Football captain, Karnataka striker and India vice captain against Japan in 2006 is from KGF.
- Lavelle road in Bangalore is named after Michael Lavelle, the Irish soldier who made his money in the Kolar Gold Fields.
- Mythic Society (Bangalore, India) (1918). The Quarterly Journal of the Mythic Society 9–10: iv, 5, 8, 300.
- Goodwill, Fred (1918). "Nandidroog". The Quarterly Journal of the Mythic Society 9–10: 300. Retrieved 27 August 2014.
- Goodwill, Fred (1921). "The Religious and Military Story of Nudydurga". KGF Mining and Metallurgical Society (5).
- Srikumar, S (2014). Kolar Gold Field: (Unfolding the Untold) (International ed.). Partridge India. pp. 40–46. ISBN 9781482815078. Retrieved 27 August 2014.[self-published source]
- Aravamudan, Gita. "End of a golden age". rediff.com. Retrieved 21 July 2013.
- "Apex court order brings cheer to BGML workers - The Hindu". thehindu.com. Retrieved 2014-01-28.
- "Road names – trivia". Bangalore Metblogs. 12 April 2006. Retrieved 27 December 2011.
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