Ballari is a district in Karnataka state, India.
Historical sites, Farm Land and Rich minerals characterize Ballari district. Also the home of famous Vijaya Nagara Empire World Heritage Site. Recently making headlines with mining industry.
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 archeological 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.
Some of the events in the Ramayana have been related to places around Hampi, the celebrated capital of the Vijayanagara empire.
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. Areas of the district with a significant Telugu speaking population were merged into the Anantapur and Kurnool districts in what would later become Andhra Pradesh state. Ballari city itself, with large numbers of both Kannada and Telugu speakers, was included into Mysore state after protracted debate and controversy.
The Ballari city municipal council was upgraded to a city corporation in 2004. Ballari’s population was 409,644 according to the 2011 census.