Hassan district,Karnataka

Hassan is a city and the district headquarters of Hassan district in the Indian state of Karnataka. The town is situated 934 m above sea level with fine weather similar to Bangalore. It is named after the Hasanamba temple.


Hassan district was the seat of the Hoysala Empire which at its peak ruled large parts of south India from Belur as its early capital and Halebidu as its later capital during the period 1000 – 1334 CE.

The place is called Hassan after the Goddess “Haasanamba”, the goddess and presiding deity of the town. The history of Hassan district is essentially the history of two of the well known dynasties that have ruled Karnataka, the Western Ganga Dynasty of Talkad (350 – 999 CE) and the Hoysala Empire (1000 – 1334 CE). In the 15th and 16th centuries, the Vijayanagar kings patronised Chennakesava of Belur as their family deity. It was also ruled by Adilshahis of Bijapur and Mughal Empire after decline of the Vijayanagar. In the 17th and 18th centuries, Hassan became a land of contention between the Keladi Nayakas of Shimoga and the Mysore Kingdom. It finally merged as an independent Mysore kingdom.

Around 300 BCE Hassan was part of the Mauryan empire. Sage Bhadrabahu arrived from north India in the 3rd century BCE along with many ascetics marking the arrival of Jainism into Karnataka.

Later Hassan came under the rule of the Ganga Dynasty of Talkad. The Gangas initially ruled as a sovereign power from 350 – 550 CE and later continued to rule this area as feudatories of Chalukyas and Rashtrakutas. In the late 10th century, many Jaina monuments were built at Shravanabelagola. Some of them, including the fifty seven feet tall monolithic statue of Gomateshwara, was commissioned by Ganga general Chamundaraya.

During the rule of the Gangas, Shravanabelagola was an important religious centre. The name of the town is derived from Shravana or Shramana, meaning a Jain ascetic, and Belagola or Biliya Kola in Kannada meaning white pond.

Around 1000 CE, with their complete defeat at the hands of the Cholas, the Ganga lineage vanished forever from Gangavadi (southern districts of Karnataka). From that time onwards, till 1334 CE, Hoysalas ruled this region and after their decline, the Vijayanagar empire took control. After the decline of the Vijayanagar empire, the area came under the rule of the Mysore Kingdom.

It was under the rule of the Hoysalas, a clan of hill people whose origins are traced to Angadi in Chikmagalur District who built a powerful empire from the Malnad region of Karnataka that Hassan reached its zenith of fame, much of which is seen today in the fifty or more Hoysala temples scattered around the country side in the district. Inscriptions in many of these temples speak volumes of the glory of a bygone era, the administration of the Hoysalas, their land reforms, taxation, culture and so on.

The Hoysalas, who claim to be of the Kuruba/Yadava race stepped into the shoes of their predecessors, the Gangas after being feudatories of the Chalukyas of Kalyani from about 1000 – 1150 CE. After the decline of the Kalyani Chalukyas power and constant efforts by Hoysala Vishnuvardhana to break free of subordination to the Chalukyas, the Hoysalas emerged as an independent power in the middle of the 12th century. Vishnuvardhana who went by the name Bittideva was a Jaina but later changed his name having accepted Vaishnavism, a sect of Hinduism.

During the rule of his grandson, Veera Ballala II 1173 – 1220 CE who earned the title Cholarajyapratishtacharya or preserver of the Chola Empire, the Hoysalas were able to become a true force to reckon with in South India.

Hoysala architecture

The Hoysalas claim to immortality arises from their contribution to Kannada culture, Kannada literature and their own unique style of vesara architecture. Historians such as Henry Cousens and James Furgusson observed that the Hoysala style of architecture is essentially an extension and culmination of the vesara style initiated by the Badami Chalukyas and further enhanced by the Kalyani Chalukyas. In fact, the carved doorways, lathe turned pillars and pierced window screens used frequently by the Hoysalas is also commonly seen in earlier Kalyani Chalukya temples of north and central Karnataka. The Star shaped platform on which many Hoysala temples were constructed, the Jagati, the Zig- Zag character of the walls and the density of sculpture on gray soap stone (chloritic schist) is however a unique features of Hoysala architecture.


During the 14th century, invasions by the Sultanate of Delhi weakened the Hoysala state, and the district became part of the Vijayanagara Empire.[1] In the 15th and 16th centuries, the Vijayanagar kings patronised Chennakesava of Belur as their family deity. It was also ruled by Adilshahis of Bijapur and Mughal Empire after decline of the Vijayanagar. In the 17th and 18th centuries, Hassan became a land of contention between the Keladi Nayakas of Shimoga and the Mysore Kingdom. In 1648 the Mysore rulers built Channarayapatna fort by treaty with the sultans of Bijapur. A peace treaty was concluded between the Mysore and Keladi rulers in 1694.The district remained part of the Mysore Kingdom at the conclusion of the Fourth Anglo-Mysore War in 1799.

Hassan District and its current boundaries date to the 1860s, when the Mysore Kingdom was organized into 8 districts, and the districts further divided into taluks.The district had a population of 518,987 in the 1871 census. A famine from 1876 to 1878 reduced the population to 428,344 by 1881. The population was 511,975 in 1891, and 568,919 in 1901. The 1901 census recorded 541,531 Hindus, 16,668 Muslims, 5035 Animists, 3795 Christians, 1874 Jains, and 16 others. The district had 14 towns, and 2546 villages.

Reserve forests were established in the 19th century, and covered an area of 185 square miles in the district. The forests, with their area in square miles, were: Kempuhole Ghat (16), Kaganeri Ghati (2), Kabbinale Ghat (23), Bisale Ghat (23), Vijayapur(5) ,Hirikalgudda(92) ,Doddabetta(3) ,Burdalbore (3), Hagare (3), Byaba (2), Sige-gudda (8), Baisur (1), Mallappan-betta (1), and Vantigudda (1). The state established five sandalwood forests, totaling three square miles: Kemmanbore (232 acres), Gubbi (428 acres), Gadagere (554 acres), Gubbi (1000 acres), and Nakalgud (185 acres).

After India’s independence in 1947, Mysore Kingdom became Mysore State, which was renamed Karnataka state in 1973.
People from the Hassan district

  • Santeshivara Lingannaiah Bhyrappa is a Kannada novelist.
  • H.D. Deve Gowda, former prime minister of India
  • Gorur Ramaswamy Iyengar, Kannada literature
  • S.L. Bhairappa, Kannada literature
  • Vishnuvardhana, Hoysala king
  • Veera Ballala II, Hoysala king
  • Veera Ballala III, Hoysala king
  • Doddanna, film actor
  • Narayana Gowda, Karnataka Rakshana Vedike state president.
  • Javagal Srinath, former Indian cricketer.
  • David Johnson, former Ranji Player
  • Sampath, film actor
  • Shruthi, film actress
  • G.R. Gopinath, founder of Air Deccan
  • Dheerendra Gopal, film actor
  • A. S. Kiran Kumar, ISRO Chairman
  • K. S. Ashwath, film Actor
  • H.D.Kumaraswamy, former chief minister of Karnataka
  • H. D. Revanna, former minister of Karnataka
  • Anoop Seelin, music Director and playback singer