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|Nickname(s): Iron City, Steel city|
|Founded by||Shashank Maheshwari|
|• Mayor||Ms. Nagamma|
|• Deputy Mayor||Ms. Malan Bee S|
|• Corporation City||89.95 km2 (34.73 sq mi)|
|Elevation||485 m (1,591 ft)|
|Population (2011 census)|
|• Corporation City||409,644|
|• Density||4,600/km2 (12,000/sq mi)|
|Time zone||IST (UTC+5:30)|
|Telephone code||(+91) 8392|
|ISO 3166 code||IN-KA|
|Sex ratio||1.04 ♂/♀|
|Distance from Bangalore||306 kilometres (190 mi) (land)|
- 1 Etymology
- 2 History
- 3 Geography and climate
- 4 Demographics
- 5 City features
- 6 Travel and transport
- 7 Industries
- 8 Notable people
- 9 In popular culture
- 10 References
- 11 External links
There are several legends explaining how Ballari got its name. The first is that a few devout travelling merchants halting in Ballari, could not find a Shiva Linga for their worship. They then installed a balla (a measuring cup or seru used to measure grain) upside down as a Shiva Linga and worshiped it. Eventually, that place was turned into a temple dedicated to Balleshwara or Shiva, which became distorted to Malleshwara', and thus Ballari derives its name from this temple.
The second legend is that the city is named after Indra, the king of Gods, who slew a Rakshasa (demon) named Balla who lived nearby. Balla-ari means 'enemy of Balla' (ari – enemy in Sanskrit). The third legend derives the city's name from the old Kannada word Vallari and Vallapuri.
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. Central government have approved the request to rename the city in October 2014 and Bellary is renamed (along with other 12 cities) to "Ballari" on 1 November 2014.
Numerous neolithic archaeological sites have been discovered around Ballari, such as the ash mounds at Sanganakallu, Budhihal, Kudithini, Tekkalakote, Hiregudda and Kupgal. The Sanganakallu settlement, spread over an area of 1,000 acres (4.0 km2), is one of the largest neolithic complexes known around Ballari.
Historically, the Ballari area has been known by many names, such as Kuntala Desha, Sindavadi-nadu and Nolambavadi-nadu.
Ballari was ruled in succession by the Mauryas, the Satavahanas, the Pallavas, the Kadambas, the Badami Chalukyas, the Rashtrakutas, the Kalyani Chalukyas, the Southern Kalachuryas, the Sevuna Yadavas, and the Hoysalas, and also ruled briefly by the Cholas during the wars between Kalyani Chalukyas and the Cholas.
After the Sevuna Yadavas and the Hoysalas were defeated by the Islamic sultanates of Delhi, the Vijayanagara Empire arose under Harihara I and Bukka I, who dominated the Ballari area. Ballari itself was ruled by the family of Hande Hanumappa Nayaka, a Palayagara of the Vijayanagara rulers. After the fall of the Vijayanagara empire, the Hande Nayakas of Ballari were successively subsidiary to the Adilshahi sultanate, the Maratha Empire, the Mughals, the Nizam, Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan, and finally the British Empire after the Nizam ceded a large part of the southern Deccan to the British East India Company. The Hande Nayakas ceased to be rulers of Ballari after Major Thomas Munro disposed of the palayagars of the ceded districts and established the Ryotwari land revenue system.
In 1808 AD, the ceded districts were split into the Ballari and Kadapa districts, and in 1867 AD the Ballari Municipal Council was created. Further, in 1882 AD, Anantapuram district was carved out of the Ballari District. The Maratha princely state of Sandur was surrounded by Ballari district.
In 1901 AD, Ballari was the seventh largest town in Madras Presidency, and one of the chief military stations in southern India, garrisoned by British and native Indian troops under the British Indian Government. The town included a civil railway station to the east of the Ballari Fort, the cantonment and its railway station on the west, the Cowl Bazaar and the suburbs of 'Bruce-pettah' (currently spelt Brucepet) and 'Mellor-pettah', named after two British officers once stationed in the town. The industries in the town included a small distillery and two steam cotton presses. The steam cotton-spinning mill established in 1894 had 17,800 spindles and employed 520 hands.
On 1 October 1953 AD, the Ballari district of Madras Presidency was divided on a linguistic basis. Areas with a significant Kannada speaking population were transferred to Mysore state, which later became Karnataka state.
The Ballari city municipal council was upgraded to a city corporation in 2004. Ballari's population was 409,644 according to the 2011 census.
Geography and climate
|Climate data for Ballary|
|Record high °C (°F)||36.0
|Average high °C (°F)||29.8
|Daily mean °C (°F)||22.8
|Average low °C (°F)||15.9
|Record low °C (°F)||7.0
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||2.7
|Average rainy days||0.3||0.4||1.0||2.3||5.2||5.8||7.2||8.0||10.0||7.9||3.5||1.4||53|
|Average relative humidity (%)||54||46||40||41||48||58||63||66||67||71||67||63||57|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||279.5||275.5||288.0||300.0||270.0||178.0||140.0||144.0||165.0||196.0||210.0||252.0||2,698|
Bellary has a semi arid climate,it is located at  It has an average elevation of 495 meters (1459 ft). The city stands in the midst of a wide, level plain of black cotton soil. As the city lies in the rain shadow region of the Western Ghats, it receives little rain from the southwest monsoon. Temperatures remain high from the months of March to mid-June, with highest temperature recorded at 44.9 °C (110 °F),hereby one of the hottest cities in karnataka. The months from July to October are relatively pleasant,and the months from November to February are mild warm with average mean temperatures of around 22 °C (71 °F). The city receives about 25 inches (634 mm) of rain every year, mainly in the months from August to October,but can receive up to 36 inches of rain sometimes..
Bellary has four distinct seasons:
- December to February - winter (10 °C - 30 °C)
- March to May - summer (24 °C - 37 °C)
- June to September - monsoon (22 °C - 32 °C)
- October to November - post-monsoon (20 °C - 31 °C)
According to the 2011 India census, Bellary has a population of 409,444.Males constitute 51% of the population and females 49%.Bellary has an average literacy rate of 75%, higher than the national average of 59.5%; with 82% of the males and 77% of females literate. 12% of the population is under 6 years of age.While Kannada is the administrative language,A majority of the population is Bilingual,speak both Kannada and Telugu and some speak Dakhni and Hindi as well.
Granite rocks and hills form a prominent feature of Bellary, and so granite quarrying is big business. The city is spread mainly around two huge rocky granite hills, the Ballari Gudda (Kannada: ಬಳ್ಳಾರಿ ಗುಡ್ಡ ) and the Kumbara Gudda (Kannada: ಕುಂಬಾರ ಗುಡ್ಡ )(Gudda means hill in Kannada). These two hills are dominant features of the city and visible from every part of the city.
- Ballari Gudda
- Ballari Gudda (Kannada: ಬಳ್ಳಾರಿ ಗುಡ್ಡ ) has a circumference of nearly 2 miles (3.2 km) and a height of 480 feet (150 m). The length of this rock from north-east to south-west is about 1,150 ft (350 m). To the east and south lies an irregular heap of boulders, to the west there is an unbroken monolith, and the north is walled by bare, rugged ridges.
- Kumbara Gudda
- The other hill is called Kumbara Gudda (Kannada: ಕುಂಬಾರ ಗುಡ್ಡ ) (wikimapia). When viewed from the south-east it looks like the profile of a human face and is therefore 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:
- Kaate Gudda (wikimapia) opposite the Municipal Junior College, which also houses a water tank and pumping station. This hill is also nicknamed Kaage Gudda for its teeming flocks of crows (Kannada : kaage = crow)
- Eeshwara Gudda , 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)
- A hill housing a water tank, adjacent to the Bellary Central Jail (wikimapia)
- A hill djacent 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 (Kannada: ಬಳ್ಳಾರಿ ಕೋಟೆ ) is located on top of Ballari Gudda ("Fort Hill"). The fort was built around the hill during Vijayanagara times by Hande Hanumappa Nayaka. Hyder Ali, who took possession of the fort from the Hande Nayaka family in 1769, renovating and modifying it 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 and 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 instead.
The fort is divided into 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 without accommodation for a garrison. It consists of a citadel on the summit of the rock at 1,976 feet (602 m), guarded by three outer lines of fortification, one below the other. It contains several cisterns excavated in the rock. Outside the turreted rampart a ditch and covered pathway are present. 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. there is a small temple, the remains of some cells, and several deep pools of water. Within the citadel there 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. It probably had an arsenal and barracks. It consists of a surrounding rampart with 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 there 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 a commissariat store, Protestant church, orphanage, Masonic lodge, post office, and numerous private dwellings. Now the lower fort contains a number of public buildings, government offices, schools and other educational institutions, and churches.
British colonial buildings
The following is a partial list of buildings built during the British colonial period. Although many of them having been partially modified, they retain a typical colonial British style of architecture.
- Bellary Central Jail
- City Railway station
- The Wardlaw High School Complex
- St. Philomena's School Complex
- The old school building has been demolished to give way to a modern building. However, the facade of the older structure has been retained as a 'heritage structure'. The adjoining convent and church remain intact.
- St. John's School Complex
- Govt Polytechnic Bellary, 1st railway gate road
- The old school building has been retained as a 'heritage building' but it is not used. Classes are held in newer buildings.
- St. Joseph's School Complex
- The main building of VIMS ((Vijayanagar Institute of Medical Sciences))
- Originally a part of the British cantonment’s infantry barracks, this building was later converted into a military jail, called the Alipore (Allipura) jail, towards the end of the 19th century. The jail lodged prisoners of war from various First World War theatres, including France, Denmark and Turkey. Even the crown prince of Turkey was an inmate of the jail; his body was buried in Bellary’s Turkish martyrs' cemetery.
- In 1920, this military jail became an additional civilian prison, Bellary Central Jail, when over 2,000 Mappilas from Travancore were imprisoned there. Famous personalities of the freedom movement were imprisoned, such as C. Rajagopalachari, V. V. Giri, Tekur Subramanyam, Kamaraj Nadar, Potti Sri Ramulu, Neelam Sanjiva Reddy, Bezawada Gopala Reddy, E.V. Ramasamy, O. V. Alagesan, Bulusu Sambamurti and Ghantasala Venkateswara Rao.
- This jail was closed (the only other in the subcontinent to be closed, apart from the Cellular Jail at Port Blair) in 1958 and the old buildings and the entire area of 173 acres (0.70 km2) was converted into a medical college campus in 1961. However, unlike the cellular jail, the entire Alipore jail with over 14 jail blocks was not considered for the status of a National Heritage Museum. The records pertaining to this historic jail in Madras Presidency were sent to the National Archives in Chennai. The jail blocks were assigned to the Government Medical College. All the blocks except one were converted into laboratories and hostels.
- Mahatma Gandhi spent about eight hours on 1 October 1921 at the City Railway station during his visit to Bellary.
Parks, gardens and green spaces
Situated in a naturally arid region with semi-desert flora, the city has slowly accumulated greenery over the past few decades due to the collective efforts of the city residents, the regional forest department and the municipal council/corporation. The following is a short list of major green spaces in the city:
- The Ballari and Kumbara rock hills
- These hills form the major natural lung spaces in the city, accommodating a host of flora including various species of ber (Kannada: borey), thorny acacias (latronum, nilotica , pennata, ferruginea, catechu, chundra, etc. locally classified as jaali in Kannada), and the interesting whirlnut (Gyrocarpus americanus jacquini – illustration), which is not found elsewhere in the city.
- Kuntegadda Park
- Officially called the Golden Jubilee Park or the Dr. Rajkumar Park, this former slum area has been changed into a beautiful urban park due to the efforts of a succession of district commissioners starting with Ms. Gouri Trivedi and Ms. Manjula. The park features an artificial lake formed out of a disused granite quarry, a fountain with a daily musical show, a children's play area and a variety of garden flora.
- Bellary Zoo
- Established in 1981, this zoo and children's park covers nearly 2.4 hectares and hosts a variety of fauna including blackbuck, spotted deer (chital), jackal, crocodile, Indian peafowl, cobra, python, bear, panther, boar, etc. This zoo is due to be relocated to a new facility.
- Kaategudda Park
- This hill hosts a variety of trees and is famous for its resident flock of crows. This park is better known among the older residents of the city as 'kaage park' (kaage in kannada means crow)
- Nagaruru Narayanarao Park in Vaddarabanda
- This has now fallen into disuse.
- Basavanakunta Park
- A disused granite quarry is being filled up to form an urban park.
- Parvathinagar Park
- Operates with funds donated by the Jindal Vijayanagar Steels corporation.
Travel and transport
- Bellary is well connected by road to different parts of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Goa. The following are the major highways passing through the city :
- State Highway 132, connecting the city with Adoni, Kurnool, Vinukonda, Guntur, Vijayawada.
- The city is served by the North East Karnataka Road Transport Corporation (NEKRTC), offering travel services to almost all parts of Karnataka, many parts of Andhra Pradesh, Chennai, Pune and many parts of Maharashtra. Additionally, a sizeable number of private businesses offer travel services to important destinations.
- The main inter-city bus station is located in the now empty Nalla Cheruvu (నల్ల చెరువు) (Telugu – Black Lake or Tank) basin. At the time of its construction, it was ranked second largest bus station in Karnataka. The old bus stand still serves the intra-city and rural buses.
- A truck stationing facility, located in the Nalla Cheruvu basin, serves lorries and hauliers.
- During British rule, Bellary was served by The Southern Mahratta Railway, connecting Bellary with Hubballi on the west and Guntakal on the east, and thus to Madras.
- Currently, two railway stations serve the city, both built during British rule. The city station (Bellary Junction) and the Cantonment station (Cantonment). The city is served by the Hubli–Guntakal line and the extended Bellary–Rayadurgam–Chitradurga line and falls under the jurisdiction of South Western Railway. Bellary is well connected by rail to Bangalore, Hyderabad, Raichur, Anantapur, Hindupur, Tirupati, Hubblli, Guntakal, Adoni, Guntur, Vijayawada, Howrah, Pune, Kolhapur, Visakhapatnam, Vasco, Bhuvaneshwar, Jaipur, Mysore, Shiridi, Tumakuru, Rayadurgam, Varanasi, Ajmer, solapur New Delhi, Sri Matha Vaishno Devi etc. Guntakal is an important junction near Bellary from where trains to Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Chennai and most other places in India are available.
Bellary Airport has no commercial air service. In the mid-2000s, Jindal Vijaynagar Airport in Toranagallu was instead used to serve Bellary because of its longer and wider runway. The airport once received Air Deccan flights from Bangalore and Goa, but as of October 2016 it is not served by any airline either. A new airport is being planned.
- The intra-city transport network is serviced by Bhuvana Vijaya Nagara Sarige a division of NEKRTC(North East Karnataka Road Transport Corporation) city buses connecting important points in the city
- The city is also served by private but unregulated auto rickshaw
- City is also served by Ola taxi
The city is surrounded by numerous iron and steel plants, owing to the availability of huge deposites of iron and manganese ore in the Sanduru hill ranges and surroundings. The following is an abridged list :
- Bellary Steels and Alloys Limited (BSAL), Navakarnataka Steels and Shatavahana Ispat are on the outskirts of the city.
- JSW Steel Ltd is a unit of Jindal Steels located at Toranagallu in Sandur taluk, 30 km from Bellary. JSW has further announced an investment of ₹15,131 crore (US$2.2 billion) on capacity expansion and a captive power plant. Additionally, Jindal Saw Pipes plans to set up a steel plant in Bellary at ₹130.88 crore (US$19 million)
- The Arcelor Mittal group and Brahmani Industries Karnataka Ltd. have signed individual MoUs to invest in Steel plants in the district to invest ₹30,000 crore (US$4.5 billion)and ₹36,000 crore (US$5.3 billion)respectively, each to set up 6 million tonne per annum integrated steel plants with captive power plants on site. The projects of both companies will be located in and around Bellary district and will provide employment to 10,000 and 25,000 people, respectively.
- Bhushan Steel will be establishing a 6 million tonne per annum integrated steel manufacturing facility in the district, at an investment of ₹27,928 crore (US$4.2 billion).
Textiles and garments
- The growth of the famed cotton and silk Ilkal saree is attributed to the patronage provided by the local chieftains in and around the town of Bellary. Additionally, the nearby town of Rayadurgam, formerly in Bellary district but now in Andhra Pradesh, is also renowned for its silk and cotton sarees. Similarly, Molakalmuru, a town in Chitradurga district but much closer to Bellary than its district headquarters, is known for its silk sarees branded by the town's name. However, Bellary itself has no saree manufacturing industry.
- Cotton processing
- With cotton being one of the major agricultural crops around Bellary historically, the city has had a thriving cotton processing industry in the form of ginning, spinning and weaving plants. The earliest steam cotton-spinning mill was established in 1894 AD, which by 1901 AD had 17,800 spindles, and employed 520 hands.
- The city continues to thrive in this sector with one spinning mill and numerous cotton ginning and pressing mills, hand looms and power looms.
- Garment manufacture
- Bellary has a historic garment industry dating back to the First World War period, when the Marathi speaking "Darji" (tailor) community with its native skills in tailoring migrated from the current Maharashtra region to stitch uniforms for the soldiers of the colonial British Indian Army stationed at Bellary. After the war, the community switched to making uniforms for school children, and gradually the uniforms made here became popular all over the country.
- Currently, Bellary is well known for its branded and unbranded denim garments, with brands like Point Blank, Walker, Dragonfly and Podium being successfully marketed nationally and internationally. There are about 260 denim garment units in Bellary with nearly 3000 families working in these units. The Karnataka State Government has proposed to build an apparel park at Bellary at the cost of ₹27 crore (US$4.0 million), setting aside 154 acres (0.62 km2) of land for the purpose at Mundargi and Guggarahalli villages towards the south of Bellary city.
|This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (January 2011)|
- Mahaveer rice mill operated by j sathyanarayana
- Ahobila Industries operated by Sreepad Kanugovi (pioneer in producing One Polish Rice)
- S.S.Sai Pavan Rice Mill (SPRM)
- Sri Gurunath Rice Mill
- Srinavas modern rice industries operated by the Grandhi family
- Sri SAI Rice Mill, Located at Anathapur Road, operated by the Raju family
- Sri Balaji Rice Mill
- Thirumula Rice Mill
- Sri Veera Satyanarayana Rice Industries in Siruguppa, owned by B Thippaiaha Shetty
- The 500 MW Bellary Thermal Power Station (BTPS) is located 19 km away from the city at Kuditini village. This is the second thermal plant in Karnataka, after the Raichur Thermal Power Station.
As Bellary area is richly deposited with Steel and other metal deposits, Many Sponge Iron industries are spread across all the district.
- Manjula Chellur -1st Woman Chief Justice of Calcutta High Court
- Ibrahim B. Syed - Indo-American Radiologist
- Nagarur Gopinath - One of the pioneers of cardiothoracic surgery in India, credited with the first successful performance of open heart surgery in India in 1962. Recipient of Padma Shri (1974) and Dr. B. C. Roy Award (1978).
- Arcot Ranganatha Mudaliar – Former Deputy Collector of Bellary, politician and theosophist. He served as the Minister of Public Health and Excise for the Madras Presidency from 1926 to 1928.
- Basavarajeshwari – Politician and Industrialist
- Bellary Raghava (1880-1946) – Noted dramatist. The Raghava Kala Mandir auditorium in Bellary is named after him.
- Dharmavaraṃ Rāmakr̥ṣṇamācāryulu (1853–1912) – Noted dramatist.
- Bhargavi Rao - a renowned Kannada-Telugu translator, winner of the prestigious Kendra Sahitya Academy award
- Gali Janardhan Reddy – Chairman, OMCPL, and incumbent Minister for State Tourism Development in the Karnataka Legislative Assembly (Presently in Hyderabad Chenchalguda Jail because of a mining scam).
- Jayanthi – Renowned cinema actress, born in Bellary.
- Kolachalam Srinivasa Rao (1854–1919) – Noted dramatist.
- K.C.Kondaiah – Politician and industrialist
- Rai Bahadur A. Sabhapathy Mudaliar – Philanthropist; The Women & Children's Hospital or The District Hospital was initially named after him, following his donation of land and building to the hospital.
- Ravi Belagere – Actor, writer, novelist, journalist, publisher of the Hai Bengaluru Tabloid
- Tekur Subramanyam – Indian Freedom Fighter, First post-independence MP of Bellary, elected thrice in a row since 1952, Political Secretary to Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru
People from around Bellary
Here is a list of notable people from different parts of the Bellary district:
- BeeChi - a renowned humorist, born in Harapanahalli, then a part of the Bellary district.
- M.P. Prakash - A renowned stage artist, politician, former deputy chief minister of Karnataka, from Hadagali, one of the places of the district farther from the HQ.
- Vasudhendra - A modern Kannada writer, publisher, software engineer who was born in Sandur, one of the taluks of the Bellary district.
Dr Y.V.Reddy former Governor of RBI and chairman of 14th Finance commission,did his matriculation inBellary.
- Tammineni Yogesh, Engineer from GITAM University, Bengaluru Off Campus was born here.
In popular culture
- Bellary is best known for its dry and hot climatic conditions. Beechi, a famous humorist who also hailed from the same district, joked about Bellary's climate in one of his books as:
" ಬಳ್ಳಾರಿಯಲ್ಲಿರುವುದು ಕೇವಲ ಎರಡೇ ಕಾಲ: ಒಂದು ಬೇಸಗೆ, ಇನ್ನೊಂದು ಕಡುಬೇಸಗೆ!! "
Translation: "There are only two seasons in Bellary. One is summer and the other one is intense summer!! "
- In the past the Central Jail of Bellary was known to be a horrendous place for criminals. Many novels and plays portrayed the "Bellary jail" as an extremely horrible experience for thieves.
- Malayalam film Rajamanikyam starring Mammootty shows him as a cattle dealer in Bellary.
- Kannada film star Vishnuvardhan's last film was titled Bellary Naga in which his character hailed from Bellary.
- Back in 1999, the city was the centre of attraction due to a rare and interesting contest of the 13th Lok Sabha elections between Sonia Gandhi and Sushma Swaraj which Sonia of Indian National Congress eventually went on to win.
- During the last decade, Bellary also earned a negative public image due to the iron mine scam by the local ministers. Though the illegal mining activities have been stopped now, the city still holds the tag "ಗಣಿ ನಾಡು" (place of mines).
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|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Ballari.|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Bellary.|