Bagalkot district is an administrative district in the Indian state of Karnataka. The district headquarters is located in the town of Bagalkote. The district is located in northern Karnataka and borders Belgaum, Gadag, Koppal, Raichur and Bijapur. The new Bagalkote district was carved out of Bijapur in 1997 via Government of Karnataka directive Notification RD 42 LRD 87 Part III.The bifurcated Bagalkote district consists of nine taluks — Badami, Bagalkote, Bilagi, Hunagund, Jamakhandi, Mudhol, Ilkal, Guledgudda and Rabkavi-Banahatti.
Historically, Bagalkote was the capital of the Chalukyan Empire of South India under Pulakeshin I, who conquered the district in 550 CE. Bagalkot’s Badami taluk remained the seat of the throne of the Chalukyas from 550 CE — 753 CE, when Chalukya king Kirtivarman II was overthrown by the Rashtrakutas.
Remnants of Chalukyan art and architecture are important tourist attractions in Bagalkote. Pattadakallu has many UNESCO World Heritage temples built by Vikramaditya II, while Aihole, which lies on the banks of the Malaprabha River, is an important temple town with over 140 temples belonging to both the early and later Chalukya times. The cave temples of Badami Cave Temples and the Jain temples of Rashtrakutas at Lokapura and Bilgi are also famous.
Cottage industries occupy a predominant position in Bagalkote. The district is popular for its silk and handloom industries.
Ghataprabha River, Malaprabha River and Krishna River flow through the district. Koodalasangama lies at the point of confluence of rivers Krishna and Malaprabha.
Like most districts in India, Bagalkote is headed by a Deputy Commissioner, with various Tahalsidars heading individual taluks in the district.
The Samadhi of 12th-century social reformist Basavanna, known for his crusade against caste exploitation, is located in Koodalasangama, a town in the taluk of Hungund.
Stone inscriptions identify Bagadige as the ancient name of Bagalkote. According to legend, the area was gifted by the mythological Ravana, lord of Lanka to his musicians. Other taluks in Bagalkote also have mythological origins. Badami, formerly known as Vatapi, was named after an asura king who, according to the Mahabharata, ruled the area along with his brother Ilvala. Legend has it that both asuras were vanquished by the sage Agasthya. The northwestern taluk of Jamkhandi derives its name from the Chalukya temple dedicated to Jambukeshwara, a form of the Hindu deity Shiva. The town of Aihole, formerly the capital of the Chalukyan Empire of Banavasi was previously known as Ayyavole and Aryapura meaning Noble city. The western taluk of Mudhol was traditionally known as Muduvollal — literally translating into lovely town. The ancient town of Pattadakal was previously known as Raktapura – red town and later as Pattadakal Kisuvoval.
The Greek astronomer Ptolemy previously identified many towns in the district of Bagalkote. Pattadakal was referred to as Petrigal, while Badami was known as Badiamaioi.
In inscriptions, the old name of the town was quoted as Bagadage under the Chalukyas. Between 1664 and 1755 this territory was under the Savanur Nawab from whom it was annexed by the Peshwa, Balajirao. During 1778, Haider Ali took possession of Bagalkote. Later held by Savnur Nawab. It fell into the hands of Marathas in 1792. In 1800, the provincial manager, Anandarao Bhikaji belonging to the Ratia family residing at Bagalkote built a palace. In 1810, Peshwa Bajirao II gave the area to Nilakantharao Sarsubedar who held Bagalkote Fort supported by a garrison till Gen. Munro occupied it in 1818. The place was a noted centre of freedom movement and also of unification movement. The place is on the banks of the Ghataprabha River. The place has a cement factory and is a centre of trade in cotton and groundnut.
Over 191 Middle Palaeolithic localities have been discovered in the Kalagdi basin of the district. The discovery of settlements in the village of Lakhamapura near the Malaprabha valley yielded the identification of quartzitic artefacts such as handaxes and cleavers.A pre-Chalukyan brick temple was discovered at the foothills of Bachinagudda, in Pattadakal, where an idol depicting the bust of Chaturmukha Shiva was discovered. Evidence of megalithic habitation was also discovered at the foothills of Bachinagudda, as were Marahathi and Satavahana coins of a later period.
The first documented evidence of the existence of Bagalkot district dates back to the 2nd century CE, when the taluks of Badami, Indi and Kalkeri were mentioned in the works of the Greek astronomer Ptolemy. In the 6th century CE, the Hindu Chalukya rulers ruled over much of present South India. The Chalukyan king Pulakeshin I established Bagalkote as his administrative headquarters; the district retained its prominent status until the Chalukyan empire was sacked by the Rashtrakutas in 753 CE. The Chinese explorer Hieun-Tsang visited Badami and described the people as “tall, proud,…brave and exceedingly chivalrous”. He estimated the kingdom to be approximately 1,200 mi in circumference.
The period of rule of the Chalukyas of Badami, whose kingdom stretched from modern Karnataka to Maharashtra and Gujarat, was a highlight of Bagalkote’s history. Chalukya king Pulakeshin II further consolidated the empire by battling with the Kadambas, Gangas, Mauryas of the Konkan, Gurjaras and Emperor Harshavardhana, whom he vanquished on the banks of the Narmada river Accounts of war were inscribed on stone structures in the town of Aihole, now located in the taluk of Hungund. The Kalyani Chalukyas, descendants of the Badami Chalukyas, conquered the area before the dawn of the 10th century CE. Their rule was interspersed with wars against the Cholas and Hoysalas. The Kalyani Chalukyas moved their capital from Badami to Kalyani, in the present day district of Bidar. Akkadevi, sister of the Kalyani Chalukya Jayasimha II ruled in the area for more than 40 years from 1024 CE. During the course of her rule of the area, then known as Kisukadu, seventy villages from Bagalkot district were added to her administration. The Chola king Virarajendra seized the area by defeating Someshvara I at Koodalasangama. By the 11th century CE, all of Karnataka including Bagalkote fell into the dominion of the Hoysala Empire, first consolidated by Veera Ballala and later subordinated to the Sinda kings.
The Yadavas of Deogiri annexed Bagalkote in 1190 CE and ruled until approximately the thirteenth century. The Deccan invasion by the Muslim Khilji dynasty, led by Ala ud din Khilji in 1294 brought an end to the rule of the Yadavas. In the 14th century, much of this territory was overrun by Muhammad Taghlaq. That the Taghlaqs were undisputed overlords of this territory cannot be established since Harihara, first king of the Vijayanagara Empire, is supposed to have possessed territories as far north as Kaladgi in 1340 and because a fort was built under permission from Harihara in Badami during that period. In the late 15th century, the Adil Shahi dynasty founded by Yusuf Adil Shah established an independent state with Bijapur as its capital. It is from this time that Bagalkot’s history is homogeneous to that of Bijapur’s. In 1818, after having lost their kingdom to the British, the Maratha Peshwas of Satara were crowned underlords of the kingdom. With the failing of their brief reign which ended in 1948, the district passed into the hands of the British Raj and was incorporated into the dominion of the Bombay Presidency.
India gained independence from the British in 1947; thereafter, the States Reorganisation Act of 1956 allowed for the creation of a Mysore State, renamed Karnataka in 1971, and for Bijapur (and therefore Bagalkot) to be included in its dominion. A separate district of Bagalkot was carved out from the existing Bijapur district in 1997.
According to the 2011 census of the district, the towns of Bagalkote and Badami each had a population of over 100,000. Kannada is the primary language in the district. Approximately 88% of the district’s population is Hindu, while 11% is Muslim.
Badami Cave Temples
Badami taluk remained the seat of the throne of the Chalukyas from 550 CE – 753 CE, till Chalukya king Kirtivarman II was overthrown by the Rashtrakutas.
Pattadakal has many UNESCO World Heritage temples built by Vikramaditya II.
Mallikarjuna temple is in dravidian style while Kashi Vishwanatha temple is in nagara style at Pattadakal, built around 740 CE.
Aihole, which lies on the banks of the Malaprabha River, is an important temple town with over 140 temples belonging to both the early and later Chalukya times.
Kudalasangama, where Basavanna’s samadhi is located.
The 12th-century social reformist Basavanna, known for his crusade against caste exploitation, was born in Basavana Bagewadi.
The Mahakuteshwara temple dedicated to Shiva, is built in the Dravidian style.
Naganath Temple, located in a forest on the way to Mahakuta, is one of the early Chalukya temples dedicated to Shiva.
Mahakuta, once the epicenter of shaiva cult, is a beautiful place surrounded by hills.
Here, an annual fair and festival is held during January & February.
The temple in Banashankari is dedicated to Banashankari or Shakambari, a form of Parvati. It is located at Cholachagud, popularly called Banashankari.
Mudhol is the birthplace of poet Kavi Chakravarti Ranna.
Mudhol was one of the 9-gun princely states of British India.
Mudhol is famous for a breed of dog known as the Mudhol Hound.