Dharwad District,Karnataka

Dharwad District is an administrative district of the state of Karnataka in southern India. Dharwad is the cultural headquarters of North Karnataka.

The administrative headquarters of the district is the town of Dharwad. Dharwad, also known as Dharwar. Dharwad is famous for its Dharwad Peda – a milk based sweetmeat. Dharwad is the administrative seat of the district of the same name. The municipality (resulting from a merger with neighbouring Hubli in 1961) covers 191 km2. Dharwad is located 425 km northwest of Bangalore and 421 km south of Pune, on the main highway between Bangalore and Pune in Maharashtra. KREIS North Unit of National Projects Construction Corporation has its headquarters here. Karnataka High Court circuit Bench is also based here.

Before 1997 the district had an area of 13738 km2. In 1997, the new districts of Gadag and Haveri were created out of Dharwad’s former territory, and a portion of Dharwad district was combined with lands formerly part of three other districts to create the new district of Davanagere.


The word “Dharwad” means a place of rest in a long travel or a small habitation. For centuries, Dharwad acted as a gateway between the Malenadu region and the plains, and it became a resting place for travellers. The name is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘dwarawata’, ‘dwara’ meaning “door” and ‘wata’ or ‘wada’meaning “town”.

Another theory is that during the Vijayanagara rule of Dharwad there was a ruler by name “of Dharav” (1403), and Dharwad got its name from him. There are some inscriptions that refer to Dharwad as Kampana Sthana.

Inscriptions found near Durga Devi temple in Narendra (a nearby village) and RLS High School date back to the 12th century and have references to Dharwad. This makes Dharwad at least 900 years old. Also, there is an inscription at Hanuman Temple at Bokyapur lake near Garag (a village about 18 km from Dharwad).

The Chalukyas ruled Dharwad during the 12th century. A stone inscription indicates that there was a ruler by the name of BhaskaraDeva in 1117. In the 14th century, the district was first overrun by the Bahmani Sultanate, after which it was annexed to the newly established Hindu kingdom of Vijayanagar, an official of which named Dhar Rao, according to local tradition, built the fort at Dharwad town in 1403. After the defeat of the king of Vijayanagar at Talikot (1565), Dharwad was for a few years practically independent under its Hindu governor; but in 1573 the fort was captured by the sultan of Bijapur, Adil Shah, and Dharwad was annexed to his dominions.Adil Shah built a fort in an area later called MannaKille, and later Nazratabad. With this fort, the strategic importance of Dharwad increased and it thus attracted the attention of subsequent conquerors, including Aurangzeb, Shivaji, Aurangzeb’s son Mu Azam, Peshwa Balaji Baji Rao, Hyder Ali, Tipu Sultan and finally the British colonizers.

In 1685, the fort was taken by the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb, and Dharwad, on the break-up of the Mughal empire, fell under the sway of the Maratha Peshwa of Pune. In 1764, the province was overrun by Hyder Ali of the Mysore, who in 1778 captured the fort of Dharwad. The fort was retaken in 1791 by the Marathas. After the final defeat of the Peshwa by the British in 1818, Dharwar was incorporated into the territory of the British East India Company’s Bombay Presidency. During the early 19th century, when the British were expanding their domains, they faced a lot of opposition from local rulers, including Baba Saheb of Naragund and Kittur Rani Chennamma.

A Jahagirdar (Baad) on the Indian subcontinent was an aristocrat(The aristocracy are, generally, people that a particular social order considers in the highest social class of that society.), typically hereditary, who held enormous tracts of land and held control over his peasants, from whom the Jahagirdars reserved the right to collect tax (often for military purposes). Over time, they took princely and royal titles such as “Raja (King), Nawab (Lord), Mirza (Prince),” and many others. Although Jahagirdar were considered to be equivalent to lords and barons in some cases they were seen as independent, sovereign princes. Often Jahagirdar were Indian princes who lost their sovereignty due to British Rule. The predominant form of feudal landownership in Mogul India from the 16th to the 18th century. The owner (Jahagirdar) received a share of the state land tax from the jagir. In return he was obligated to maintain a hired cavalry detachment. The average jagir was immense—approximately 500,000 hectares ( 50 to 150 villages). The Great Moguls, fearing the separatist tendencies of the Jahagirdars, often transferred them from one jagir to another. In the 17th century the jagir system began evolving into a system of hereditary ownership, which ultimately came into existence in the 18th century.

(By: Zuheb Khan A Jahagirdar)

Dharwad was the home to the famous freedom fighter and the “Karnataka Kulapurohit”, Sri Alur Venkatrao. It was Sri Alur Venkatrao’s work, ‘Karnataka Gatha Vaibhava’, that mooted the idea of unification of Kannada-speaking areas.

Dharwad was peaceful for most of late 19th century. During those times, the British started an English medium school in Dharwad in 1848. Later, in 1863, the Basel Mission organization started another school. In 1867 the British opened another school, Varmal school, which later on became known as a training college. In 1883, the municipality area included Sidapur, Lakamanhalli, Haveri Pete, Bagtalan, Madihal, Galaganjikop, Malapur, Kamalapur, Narayanpur, Saptapur, Atti kolla and Hosayellapur. The British government also established a railway station in 1888.

The town had a station on the Southern Maratha Railway. By 1901, the town had a population of 31,279 and was home to several cotton gina, a cotton mill, and two high schools, one maintained by the government and the other by the Basel German Mission.

After India’s independence in 1947, the Bombay Presidency was reconstituted as India’s Bombay State. In 1956 the southern, Kannada-speaking districts of Bombay State, including Dharwad, were added to Mysore and renamed Karnataka in 1972. Dharwad is home to the Karnatak University and the University of Agricultural Sciences (UAS) as well as numerous other colleges.

In 1941, Dharwad had a population of 47,992.In 1961, the town merged with the adjacent town of Hubli to become a single municipality, Hubli-Dharwad. The population of the twin cities is the second-largest in Karnataka, after Bangalore. Hubli-Dharwad’s population increased 22.99% between 1981 and 1991, from 527,108 to 648,298, and by 21.2% between 1991 and 2001. In the year 2008, a Circuit bench of the High Court of Karnataka was established in Dharwad.The circuit bench at Dharwad caters to the Mumbai – Karnataka region.

A temple of Chalukya times, dedicated to god Chandramouleshvara (another name of Shiva), with impressive architecture can be seen in Hubli.
Nrupatunga Hill
A hillock which serves as a picnic spot for the citizens of Hubli-Dharwad.
Unkal Lake
A pictorial water spot with a magnificent sunset view, this perfect picnic spot has green garden, recreational facilities for the children, boating facilities, etc. The lake is 6 km from Hubli.
Indira Gandhi Glass House Garden
This is a public garden with recreational amenities maintained by city municipality. It houses a large glass building resembling a similar structure in Lalbagh of Bengaluru.
Indira Glass House has been renovated into a more beautiful park. The entry fee here is ? 10 for elders and ?5 for children. Inside the park is a small toy train in which you can get on and enjoy the park. The most beautiful and interesting thing to be watched here is the ‘musical fountain’ performance, that is arranged on every weekend i.e. Saturday and Sunday and on Governmental holidays without any extra charge.
Dharwad Regional Science Center-
Near Karnatak University Campus, Dharwad, is the Science and Cultural, a museum in Dharwad which is well organised and maintained with full of information about the science / technology and knowledge about the ancient history of Indian villages/culture. It is really wonderful place to see as sight seeing spot for the Dharwad-ians and outsiders who wish to visit Dharwad on tourism or a day picnic, too.
It is really very educative/entertainment interactive museum for the students from 1st Standard to 10th Standard.
Banashankari Temple Amargol
Utsav Rock Garden
It is a unique sculptural garden with depicts the life of rural Karnataka. It is the first of its kind in Karnataka where you can find more thousands of sculptures depicting the lifestyle of rural Karnataka. It is located near NH4, Gotagodi village, Shiggaon taluk, Haveri District, Karnataka. Utsav Rock Garden
Notable personalities
Dharwad is the birthplace of Palwankar Baloo, the first member of the Dalit (or “Untouchable”) caste to distinguish himself at cricket. He later became a political activist for Dalit rights.
There are many spiritual personalities associated with this laid-back town. Some of them are Shishunala Sharif Saheb, Siddharoodha Swamigalu, Kumara Swamiji, Hurakadli Ajja, Mrityunjaya Appagalu, Mahanta Appagalu, and Garag Madiwaleshwara.
The Karnataka Vidyavardhaka Sangha was founded in Dharwad. Dharwad is the cultural capital of North Karnataka.

  • D.R. Bendre, winner of Jnanpith Award
  • V. K. Gokak, recipient of Jnanpith Award
  • Mallikarjun Mansur, Hindustani vocalist, recipient of Kalidas Samman
  • Basavaraj Rajguru, Hindustani vocalist
  • Girish Karnad, recipient of Jnanpith Award, contemporary writer, playwright, screenwriter, actor and movie director
  • Kirtinath Kurtakoti, Kannada writer, critic and winner of the Sahitya Akademi award
  • G. A. Kulkarni, Marathi writer, Sahitya Akademi Award winner
  • Leena Chandavarkar, a well-known Hindi/Marathi film actress and wife of late Kishore Kumar
  • Suresh Heblikar, film maker and environmentalist, won a National Award for his contribution to cinema
  • Nandan Nilekani, the former co-chairman of Infosys