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Location of ಬೆಳಗಾವಿ/Belgaum
in Karnataka and India
Coordinates 15°51′N 74°33′E / 15.85°N 74.55°E / 15.85; 74.55
Country  India
State Karnataka
District(s) Belgaum
Mayor Yallappa Kurubar
629600 (2001)
47 /km2 (122 /sq mi)
Time zone IST (UTC+05:30)
13415 km2 (5180 sq mi)
762 m (2,500 ft)

Belgaum[1] (Kannada: ಬೆಳಗಾವಿ Belagavi, Marathi: बेळगांव Belgaon) is a city and a municipal corporation in Belgaum district in the state of Karnataka, India.It is the fourth largest city of the state of Karnataka, the first three being Bangalore, Mysore and Hubli-Dharwad.

It is situated nearly 2,500 ft (762 m) above sea-level and is the headquarters of Belgaum district, which borders the states of Maharashtra and Goa. Belgaum is also headquarters for Belgaum division. The division comprises the districts of Bagalkot, Belgaum, Bijapur, Dharwad - Hubli, Gadag, Haveri, and Uttara Kannada. Government of Karnataka proposed to make Belgaum as second capital of the State of Karnataka.



The Vadgoan and Madhavpur suburbs of Belgaum were important urban centres between 400 BC and 300 AD. The present city was built in the 12th century AD by the Ratta dynasty who were based at nearby Saundatti. The fort of Belgaum was built in 1204 by a Ratta officer named Bichiraja. Belgaum served as the capital of that dynasty between 1210 and 1250, before the Rattas were defeated by the Yadava Dynasty of Devagiri. Belgaum then briefly came under the sway of the Yadavas of Devagiri. The Khiljis of Delhi invaded the region at the turn of the 1300s and succeeded in ruining both the indigenous powers of the region, the Yadava and the Hoysalas without providing a viable administration. This lacuna was supplied by the Vijayanagara Empire, which had become the established power of the area by 1336. A century later, the town had become a bustling trading hub for diamonds and wood, owing to its favourable geographic location in the kingdom.

In 1474, the Bahmani Sultanate, then ruling from Bidar, captured the fort of Belgaum. Shortly afterward, in 1518, the Bahamani sultanate splintered into five small states, and Belgaum became part of the Adilshahi sultanate of Bijapur. The Adilshahis reinforced the fort of Belgaum; much of the existing structure dates from 1519. In 1686, the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb overthrew the Bijapur sultanate, and Belgaum passed nominally to the Mughals. However, the Mughal empire went into decline after the death of Aurangzeb in 1707, and his principal detractors, the Maratha confederacy, took control of the area during the rule of the Peshwas. In 1776, the country was overrun by Hyder Ali of Mysore, but was retaken by the Peshwa with British assistance. In 1818, the British deposed the last Peshwa and annexed his kingdom, which included Belgaum.Kitturu Chennamma ( ಕಿತ್ತೂರು ರಾಣಿ ಚೆನ್ನಮ್ಮ) (1778 - 1829) was the queen of the princely state of Kittur in Karnataka. In 1824, 33 years before the 1857 War of Independence in Murree, she led an armed rebellion against the British in response to the Doctrine of lapse. The resistance ended in her martyrdom and she is remembered today as one of the earliest Indian rulers to have fought for independence.

Belgaum was chosen as the venue of the 39th session of Indian National Congress in December 1924 under the Presidentship of Mahatma Gandhiji. The city served as a major military installation for the British Raj, primarily due to its proximity to Goa, which was then a Portuguese territory. Once the British left India, the Indian Government continued and still continues to have Armed forces installations in Belgaum. In 1961, the Indian government, under the Prime Ministership of Nehru used forces from Belgaum to end Portuguese rule of Goa.

When India became independent in 1947, Belgaum and its district became part of Bombay State. In 1956, the Indian states were reorganised along linguistic lines by the States Reorganisation Act, and Belgaum District was transferred to Mysore State, which was renamed Karnataka in 1972.

In 2006, the Government of Karnataka announced that Belgaum would be made the state's second capital and that the city would be a permanent venue for the annual 15-day session of the state legislature.[2] However, later it was decided that Belgaum won't be made the second capital of the state.[3]


Belgaum is anglicized name of Belgaon. The names are possibly from the Sanskrit Velugrama, "Bamboo village" in Marathi and in Kannada "belagaavi" means a white cave (bela - white and gavi - cave).

The name Belgaum had been proposed to be changed to Belagaavi by the Karnataka government.[4] However Central government has not agreed to rename the city, as Belgaum is caught between Karnataka and Maharashtra in the border dispute. One of the Centre's guidelines for renaming places is that the names should not hurt people's sentiments, have political overtones or be already in use in some other state.[5]

Border dispute

The Belgaum was incorporated into the newly formed Mysore state (now Karnataka) with the passage of the States Reorganisation Act (1956), which reorganised India's states along linguistic lines, despite having large Marathi-speaking population [6]; [7]. Since then, Maharashtra continues to claim the district, and the case is now in Supreme Court of India.


Belgaum is located at 15°52′N 74°30′E / 15.87°N 74.5°E / 15.87; 74.5[8]. It has an average elevation of 751 metres (2463 feet). The city is situated in the northwestern parts of Karnataka and lies at the border of two states, Maharashtra and Goa. It is one of the oldest towns in the state, lying at a distance of 502 km from Bangalore;515 km from Hyderabad and 500 km from Mumbai. The district comprises 1278 villages with an area of 13,415 km² with a population of around 11 lakh (1100,000). Situated near the foothills of the Sahyadri mountain range (Western Ghats) at an altitude of about 779m, 100 km from the Arabian Sea with the river Markandeya flowing nearby, Belgaum exhibits swift and kaleidoscopic changes in topography, vegetation and climate.


Belgaum is well known for its pleasant climate throughout the year, but the last few years, summers (April through June) have been warmer than usual. It is at its coldest in winter (November through February), and experiences continuous monsoon of medium intensity during July to September. The annual average rainfall is 200 cm".


As of 2001 India census[9], Belgaum had a population of 629,600. Males constitute 51% of the population and females 49%. Belgaum has an average literacy rate of 78%, higher than the national average of 65%; with 54% of the males and 46% of females literate. 11% of the population is under 6 years of age.[10].


The lingua franca of the region is mostly Marathi and even the Kannada spoken here is laced with a generous dose of Marathi.[11] Belgaum enjoys rich cultural diversity stemming from its proximity to the states of Maharashtra and Goa. Kannada and Marathi are the main languages spoken. The customs and traditions of Belgaum have been influenced by both the Kannada and Marathi cultures. Traditional dressing in rural Belgaum is similar to the attires of people in the north Karnataka and south Maharashtra belt; the men wear a turban with a long tailpiece at the rear and a dhoti (a sarong worn in a manner that allows easier movement) and the women wear saris but with the lower half drawn like a dhoti. However, in the city, the costumes are very much in tune with modern urban India.

Great Saints in and Around Belgaum

The spiritual richness of Belagaavi/Belgaum is the contribution of all these Saints

- Shri Shivabasav swamiji,Naganur matha,Belgaavi

- Shri Murgod mahant swamiji, Murgod,Belgaavi

- Shri Durdundeshwar nijalingeshwar swamiji,Nidasoshi,Belgaavi

- Sri Kalavati Aai (Hari Mandir Angol Belgaavi)

- Shri Arabhavi math,Gokak,Belgaavi

- Shri Swamiji of Inchal math,Bailhongal,Belgaavi

- Shri Swamiji of Bootharaman Hatti, Belgaavi

- Sri Panth Maharaj of Balekundari (Panth Balekundari Belgaavi)

- Sri Hari Kaka

- Article on Visit of Swami Vivekanada in Belgaavi

- Sant Rajaram (Rajaram Temple in Goaves, Belgaavi)

- Swamini Aditi Nargu Devi, Grass Root Sage, Doobie Nagar


Belgaum is the commercial hub of north Karnataka. It is an important location for vegetable trading, fish, wood & mining resource trading in north Karnataka. Rich deposits of bauxite are found in Belgaum district, and have led to the creation of the (HINDALCO) Indian Aluminium Company for production of aluminium.[12] Additionally, uranium deposits have recently been found in Deshnur, a small village near Belgaum.[13]

From the early 1970s, Belgaum began developing as an important centre for the manufacture of heavy machine tools, including the manufacture of high pressure oil hydraulics.

Trade flourishes in Belgaum, and many areas of the city are dedicated to certain kinds of trade. For example, almost all automobile-related trade and manufacture happens in the Fort Road area of the city. The Raviwarpeth area is known as the wholesale market which sells commodities like grains, tea, etc.

Belgaum also is a strong industrial hub for Machine Shops catering to Automotive Manufacturing, Specially in Crank-shaft machining. The geographical location of the city is an advantage since it is situated right in between Bangalore and Mumbai/Pune to support the major automotive and aerospace companies.

A 300 acre SEZ is being setup along the Pune-Bangalore highway to cater to precision engineering requirements of the global aerospace, automotive and industrial verticals.[14]

Defence Training Centres

Its salubrious climate, proximity to the coast and strategic position near Portuguese Goa commended it to the British as a suitable location for an army training center and cantonment, which it continues to be today for the Indian Armed Forces, along with an air force station of the Indian Air Force.

The British had a sizable infantry post here, having realized the military importance of its geographical location. Perhaps that is one of the reasons for Belgaum's sobriquet The Cradle of Infantry. Development of a Rail Network for movement of resources and later troops was one of the means employed by both the East India Company and the British to exert control over India.

Belgaum houses the Maratha Light Infantry Regimental Centre (MLIRC). It also houses the Commando Training Wing which is a part of the Infantry School, Mhow, where the country's infantry commandos are trained in endurance, escape and evasion, guerrilla and commando warfare techniques and to live off the land. The Commando course at Belgaum is mandatory for all infantry officers. Officers of other arms and services and even some foreign officers undergo the course.

In between the Military hospital and the commando training centre there lies an eminent school called Belgaum Military School established in 1945 spread over an area of 64 acres

Tourism and attractions

Belgaum is located 502 km from Bangalore and 154 km from Goa. Nestled in the foothills of the Western Ghats, it enjoys a cool, salubrious climate and is surrounded by natural beauty in the form of rivers, hills and dense evergreen forests. Inside the city, A wide variety of historical sites, temples and churches exist in and around the city, most notably the fort Kamala Basti, Kapileshwar temple (South Kashi), the hills of Vaijyanath, Ramtirth in Kanbargi, the aerodrome at Sambra and others.


Within the city tourist attractions

  1. The Handloom cottage industries, and Silk weavers located in Vadgaon and Angol are known for the exquisitely designed Saris.
  2. The Cantonment Area with its lush cover of greenery, the MLIRC (Maratha Light Infantry Regimental Centre) is also based here.
  3. Jamboti, 20 km south-west of Belgaum, is a popular tourist spot with its evergreen hilltop forests.
  4. Vajrapoha Falls on the Mandovi river are located 26 km from Belgaum.
  5. Godchanmalki falls is a popular destination at a distance of about 60 km from Belgaum. They are stepwise falls which are approximately 100 metres in length, with a step at every 30 metres.
Gokak Falls
  1. Gokak Falls is yet another resplendent waterfall 62 km from Belgaum and 6 km from the Gokak town.
  2. Amboli falls This little known coastal highland area is fabulous during the monsoons. Thick forests, curving misty ghats and shades of vibrant greens.
  3. Asha Kiran Planetarium, School of Astronomy and Audio-Visual Education Research Centre. This is a new Planetarium that has recently been started in Belgaum. It is located in Ganeshpur. [15]


Kamal Basati Jain temple in Belgaum

Belgaum houses many interesting monuments, including the famous Belgaum fort which dates back to 1519 AD (Refer to the 'History' section).

  1. Kamal Basadi is a famous Jain temple located within the walls of the fort.
  2. Belgaum Fort is a huge construct present in the heart of the town. It is said that its 15-meter deep moats were filled with ravenous crocodiles to ward off enemies in the early days.

The foundation of the Suvarna Vidhana Soudha, a legislative administrative office complex, was laid in Belgaum in August 2007 to celebrate the golden jubilee celebrations of its formation.[16]


Belgaum is known for its cross culture food right from the Bombay chats to the Chinese delicacies. Niyaz hotel (opposite to the main bus stand), Mahadev Biryani, Delhi Darbar is worth a try. Belgaum is also famous for its "Kunda" (especially Purohit Kunda), and "Kalakand". A special sweet called "Mandige" or "Maande" is a must during weddings.

Educational Institutions

Belgaum is also an important educational center.Consisting of 8 engineering colleges, 2 medical colleges, and some of the dental colleges across the city and district.Vishweshwariah technological university is the biggest university of Kanrataka for technical education (for BE,Mtech, MCA, MBA) is based in Belgaum. basic degree colleges, polytechnic colleges and Law colleges are other educational institutions. KLE and KLS societies are two big educational giants based in Belgaum.

KLE Society

In 1916, Karnataka Lingayat Education (K. L. E.) Society was founded by the Seven Founder Life Members, who are also addressed as "Saptarishis" [Seven Saints]. On 13 November 1916, K.L.E. Society started an Anglo Vernacular (G A High school now)School in Belgaum. Lingaraj College came into existence in June 1933. In 1947, B.V.B. College of Engineering and Technology was started in Hubli. J.N. Medical College at Belgaum and G.H. College at Haveri was started in the year 1963. It also runs World famous KLE engineering college in Belgaum. From 1984 onwards, K.L.E. Society started Dental, Education, Nursing, Information Technology, Computer Applications, Hotel Management, Business Management, Tourism, Fashion Designing, Agriculture Colleges and Polytechnics across India. Today under the leadership of Mr. Prabhakar Kore an able and dynamic team leader KLE Society runs 207 institutions.

From the late 1970s onwards, Belgaum began seeing a substantial increase in the number of professional education institutions. While initially this was seen largely in the medical and engineering fields, Belgaum today hosts institutions from a number of other professional streams as well. Apart from these, Belgaum also has a large number of law, science and arts colleges, affiliated to the Karnatak University.

The establishment of the Visvesvaraya Technological University in 1998, with the affiliation of more than 140 engineering colleges, raised the importance of Belgaum as a centre of education in Karnataka. Belgaum also hosts a number of medical colleges.

The impact of this growth has considerably changed the cultural, linguistic and industrial profile of the city, due to the influx of students from across India (and even across the world), some of whom made Belgaum their home base after completion of their education there.

The KLE Society and Karnatak Law Society (KLS) among others have contributed immensely towards education in Belgaum and surrounding districts of Karnataka and also the J.N. Medical College.



Belgaum is connected by road via the National Highways 4 (connecting Maharashtra [Now part of the Golden Quadrilateral], Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu) and 4A (connecting Karnataka and Goa). NWKRTC run buses to all corners of karnataka as well as neighboring states. There are many prominent private buses which servers to all major destinations in karnataka and surrounding states.

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Belgaum Airport was the only airport in north karnataka for decades. Belgaum is directly connected with Bangalore and Mumbai. The airport currently serving the city is Belgaum Airport at Sambra. Schedules have been erratic, as the air connectivity is primarily provided by feeder airlines.


Belgaum is on the main Indian Railways grid being part of south western division and is well connected by rail to major destinations such as Bangalore, Mysore, Mangalore, Pune, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Goa and New Delhi. Belgaum railway station is oldest in this region.


  • Sankam Residency
  • The Hermitage
  • Sanman Executive
  • Pai Resort
  • kshemainn
  • Hotel Ramdev
  • Adarsh palace
  • Rakhshit Hotel

Assembly session

In 2006 Government of karnataka decided to held Assembly session every year during winter season for one week. Suvarna Vidhana Soudha is under construction.


External links

This article incorporates text from the Encyclopædia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, a publication now in the public domain.

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Belgaum is a city in Northwestern Karnataka, India.


Belgaum got its name from Venugrama meaning Bamboo Village. It is the district HQ. The most ancient place in the district is Halsi; and this, once the capital of a dynasty of nine Kadamba kings. In 1776 the country was overrun by Hyder Ali of Mysore, but was retaken by the Peshwa with British assistance. In 1818 it was handed over to the British East India Company and was made part of the district of Dharwad. In 1836 this was divided into two parts, the southern district continuing to be known as Dharwad, the northern as Belgaum.

The District Headquarters, Belgaum is a picture of contrasts. On one side is the old town area where the cotton and silk weavers still create magic with their fingers. And on the other the modern, bustling, tree lined Cantonment built by the British.

Kittur in Belgaum district is a place of historical importance. Queen Chennamma of Kittur (1778-1829) is known for her resistance to British rule; another person in the history of Belgaum known for his resistance to British rule is Sangolli Rayanna.

There are several names available for Belgaum city. Marathi people call it as Belgaon, Kannada people call Belgavi, South Karnataka people call it as Belagam.

Belgaum is in the northwestern part of the state of Karnataka, in the southern region of India. It lies near the borders of the Indian states of Maharashtra and Goa. It is 502 km from Bangalore, 500 km Southeast of Mumbai (Bombay) and 125 km southeast of Goa. The town is at the foothills of the Sahyadhri range (Western Ghats) at an altitude of 25,00 feet (779 m) above sea level. The weather of Belgaum is pleasant, owing to its hilly topography. Summers (April-June) are mildly hot and winters are cool (November-February). It experiences heavy southwestern monsoon rains during (July-September). It receives as much as 50 inches of rain annually.

Get in

By road

Belgaum is connected by road via the National Highway #4 (connecting Maharashtra[ Now part of the Golden Quadrilateral], Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu) and NH-4A (connecting Karnataka and Goa).

There are a number of Bus operators plying between a) Mumbai - Belgaum b) Pune - Belgaum c) Bangalore - Belgaum d) Hyderabad - Belgaum

Some of the prominent bus operators are - VRL (Vijayanand Road Lines), Pai Travels, Barde Travels, PVG

By plane

Belgaum has no more connectivity with air services. The easiest way to get through air services is through Hubli airport which is well connected to cities like Bangalore, Hyderabad and Mumbai. The ideal time is 45 mins from the Hubli airport to get to Belgaum outskirts.

By train

Belgaum is on the main Indian Railways grid being part of Hubli-Division and is well connected by rail to major destinations such as Bangalore (via Hubli), Mumbai, Pune/Delhi (via Miraj) and Goa.

Get around

By bus

Belgaum has excellent city bus connectivity and also for the rural area around Belgaum , the charges are nominal around Rs 10 from one end to the other part of the city . Private and Gov't Buses also provide transport for commuting between Hubli , Dharwad , Goa , and other nearby places .

By autorickshaw

This is cheap way of transport between attractions. Though not metered always it would be wise to ask the approximate amount from a local.

By taxi

Normally, Taxis are not needed unless you plan to go way out of the city. If you want to move around in City, Autos and Buses are good enough.

By car

There are many rental companies offering cars with drivers or self drive. Hertz : College Road , Belgaum


The old stone fort, built in 12th century ad by the local Ratta rulers, is an important spot, though hardly anything of the original structure remains. One can view the splendid Kamal Basti ( Jain temple ), within the Fort premises. The Fort premises also hosts the Sri Ramakrishna Mission Ashram. This fort was renovated and built on by successive rulers who ruled Belgaum from time to time. Belgaum's Watchtower and Sunset Point should not be missed if one wants to savor the scenic beauty surrounding this small town.

Belgaum is famous for its temples and the religious-minded traveler could find a number of temples here-the main ones being Kamal Basti (in Belgaum Fort )Kapileshwar temple, Shani temple and the Maruti Temple.

A number of religious monuments are located within the cantonment area-the Masjid-Sata mosque, which dates back to the 16th century ad, the Mahadeva temple with its beautiful gardens, the St. Mary's Church of England, St. Xavier's Church, Catholic Cathedral and St. Anthony's Church, all lie within the lush green environs of the Cantonment.

Around Belgaum

Gokak Falls: Sixty kilometers from Belgaum is the breathtaking Gokak falls on Ghataprabha River. Tillari Dam: Jamboti Falls : Yellurgadh: Vajrapoha Falls: Arambol & Terekhol: Vagator Beach: Goa: Pant Balekundri: Sogal Somnath: Dandeli Reserve Forest: Ambica Nagar Dam (Supa Dam): Anmod Ghats: Vaijanath Temple: Kali Nadi white water activities:

Godachinmalki Falls::Tillari Falls : 35 Kilometers from Belgaum::Amboli Ghat : 65 Kilometers from Belgaum::Soral::Rakaskop water reservior:Tillari Ghat::Indal Aluminum factory:Hidkal Dam:
  • Trekking around Jamboti and Amboli ghats.
  • White water Rafting on the Kali Nadi.
  • Paragliding activities around Belgaum (NCC).
  • The cuisine also has a mixed flavour of central(Marathi)and north Indian flavours. This would be the place to try Chats and other Maharashtrian delicacies in Karnataka.
  • Niyaz Hotel for its non-vegetarian dishes but they tend to get repeatative.
  • Hotel ZYKA is recent addition since last year and serves vey good Non-Vegetarian meals and all dishes have their distinct flavour. Biryani is the best in the town including the quality of Rice. Service is a bit delayed and quantity need to be spruced up. But the place is worth visiting.
  • Ajanta cafe is excellent for its Puri Bhaaji, Dosa's and Spl Chai.
  • If you are Tea lover then you should visit appolo tea bar near central Bus Stand.

The veg-patty & the cream rolls are amzing here.

  • Solkadi a drink made from Kokam fruits is also a Goan import goes well with fish.
  • Pav Bhaji from Shetty Snacks.
  • Dhabeli from Sharma hotel.
  • Tea from Hotel Highway.
  • Sugarcane Juice with Aliphak from a shop on congress road.
  • Misal Pav
  • Kaanda bhajji
  • Vada Pav
  • Halwa Bun


Sankam Residency: The hotel is just a stones throw away from the Pune-Bangalore highway - NH 4. (entry point of Belgaum) and 7 km from Belgaum City Railway station. [1]

Sanman Deluxe: Hotel Sanman Deluxe is a business hotel located at Belgaum (Karnataka, India) at 1.5 km from Station and Bus Depot and 15 km from Airport.[2]

Pai Resort : Pai Resort is located at 3 km from Belgaum (Karnataka, India) City Centre and 8 km from Airport. [3]

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