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Bagalkot District

Bagalkot District is an administrative districts the state of Karnataka in India. The district headquarters is located in the town by the same name. The district is located in northern Karnataka on the Northern Karnataka Plateau, which is a part of the larger Deccan Plateau. The exact geographical location of the district is 16°12` North and 75°45` East. As boundaries, Bagalkot District has Belgaum District to the west, Bijapur District and Gulbarga District to the north and north -east, Raichur District to the east and Koppal District, Gadag District and Dharwad District respectively to the south -east, south and south -west. It covers a total area of 6593 square kms. The district has six taluks, namely Bagalkot, Mudhol, Hungund, Jamkhandi, Badami and Bilgi. Each taluk is further sub- divided into villages and habitations. Badami taluk incorporates Badami, Guledgudd, Kulageri and Kerur; Bagalkot taluk includes Bagalkot, Sitimani and Kalagdi; Anagwadi and Bilagi are a part of Bilgi taluk; Hungund taluk comprises Amingad, Karadi, Hungund and Ilkal; Jamkhandi taluk incorporates Jamkhandi, Terdal and Savalagi while Mudhol taluk consists of Mahalingpur, Lokapur and Mudhol. The mean elevation is about 610 m.

Bagalkot MapHistorically Bagalkot District is significant because it was the capital of the Chalukyan Empire of South India under Pulakesi I, who occupied the district in 550 CE. The Chalukyas ruled there from 550 CE to 753 CE, when the Rashtrakutas deposed Chalukya king Kirtivarman II. The 12th century social reformer Basavanna, who sincerely fought against exploitation of the lower caste people by the upper caste ones, was born in Koodalasangama, a town in the taluk of Hungund in this district. The Government of India authorized a pilgrim centre in the town of Koodalasangama in honour of Basavanna. Purandara Dasa widely regarded as the initiator of Carnatic music and a well-known proponent of the Bhakti Movement stayed in Bagalkot District and composed his music in Kannada.

Remains of Chalukyan art and architecture draw a large number of tourists in Bagalkot. Aihole Durg TempleThere are many temples built by Vikramaditya II in Pattadakal. (formerly known as Ayyavole) , a town which is situated on the banks of the Malaprabha River, has more than 140 temples belonging to both the early and later Chalukya periods. Karnataka The cave temples of Badami and the Jain temples of Rashtrakutas at Lokapura and Bilgi are also well known. Cottage industries occupy a principal position in Bagalkot District. The district has a large reputation for its silk and handloom industries. There are three rivers flowing through this district, namely Ghataprabha River, Malaprabha River and Krishna River. The above- mentioned town of Koodalasangama lies at the area of confluence of the rivers Krishna and Malaprabha.

Stone inscriptions recognize Bagadige as the early name of Bagalkot. As a certain myth goes, Ravana, lord of Lanka to his musicians as a gift, gave the area. Other taluks in Bagalkot District also have legends related to them. Badami, previously known as Vatapi, was named after a demon king who, as the Mahabharata goes, ruled the area along with his brother Ilvala. The sage Agasthya vanquished both of these demons. The northwestern taluk of Jamkhandi has got its name from an old Chalukyan temple dedicated to Jambukeshwara, another incarnation of the Hindu god Shiva. The western taluk of Mudhol was conventionally known as Muduvollal which literally means lovely town. The prehistoric town of Pattadakal was formerly known as Raktapura meaning red town and later came to be known as Pattadakal Kisuvoval.

A Chalukyan sculpture of Shiva - BadamiMany excavations have been made in Bagalkot District, which provide important information. A Chalukyan sculpture of Shiva has been recovered from the taluk of Badami. Over 191 localities have been discovered in the Kalagdi basin of the district that shows evidence of Middle Palaeolithic civilisation. The unearthing of settlements in the village of Lakhmapur near the Malaprabha valley resulted in the finding of many quartzitic artefacts such as handaxes and cleavers. A brick temple, most probably constructed in the pre- Chalukyan era was discovered at the foothills of Bachinagudda, in Pattadakal, which also has an idol portraying the bust of Chaturmukha Shiva. Moreover evidence of megalithic habitat was also found at Karnatakathe foothills of Bachinagudda. The first acknowledged proof of the existence of Bagalkot district dates back to the 2nd century Christian era, when the taluks of Badami, Indi and Kalkeri found mention in the works of the Greek astronomer Ptolemy. In the 6th century CE, the Hindu Chalukya monarchs ruled over much of present South India. The Chinese traveler Hieun-Tsang once came to Badami and described the people as "tall, proud,...brave and exceedingly chivalrous". He even measured the circumference of the kingdom, which is approximately 1,200 mi. As already mentioned Pulakesi I established Bagalkot as his capital. The rule of the Chalukyas of Badami, whose kingdom stretched from present Karnataka to Maharashtra and Gujarat, was a glorious phase in the history of Bagalkot district. Chalukya king Pulakesi II further strengthened the kingdom by battling with the Kadambas, Gangas, Mauryas of the Konkan, Gurjaras and Emperor Harshavardhana, whom he defeated on the banks of the Narmada river. The Kalyani Chalukyas, descended from the Badami Chalukyas occupied the area before the beginning of the 10th century CE. They were constantly in war with the Cholas and Hoysalas. The Kalyani Chalukyas shifted their capital from Badami to Kalyani, which is now in the district of Bidar. Akkadevi, sister of the Kalyani Chalukya Jayasimha II ruled in the region for more than 40 years starting from 1024 CE. During the period of her reign over the area, then known by the name of Kisukadu, seventy rural communities from Bagalkot district were annexed to her administration. The Chola king Bagalkot District, KarnatakaVirarajendra conquered the area by vanquishing Somesvara I at Koodalasangama. By the 11th century CE, all of Karnataka including Bagalkot came under the authority of the Hoysala Empire. The region was at first consolidated by Veera Ballala and afterwards divided with the Sinda kings. The Yadavas of Deogiri annexed Bagalkot district in 1190 CE and ruled more or less upto the thirteenth century. The Deccan incursion by the Muslim Khilji dynasty, lead by Ala ud din Khilji in 1294 ended the reign of Karnatakathe Yadavas. In the 14th century, Muhammad Taghlaq occupied a large fraction of this territory. In the late 15th century, the Adil Shahi dynasty founded by Yusuf Adil Shah set up an autonomous state with Bijapur as its capital. It is from this time that Bagalkot`s history merged with that of Bijapur. In 1818, after having lost their kingdom to the British, the Maratha Peshwas of Satara became mere underlords of the kingdom with no significant power in their hands. In 1848, the peshwas even lost this power and the district completely passed into the hands of the British Raj. It then became a part of the dominion of the Bombay Presidency. Taking a section of the existing Bijapur district in 1997 made a separate district of Bagalkot, 50 years after India got her independence.

The climate of Bagalkot district is hot and arid throughout the year and rainfall is scanty. Bagalkot district receives the lowest annual rainfall in Karnataka. 52% of the total annual rainfall occurs in the months of September and December. The regions are semi- arid with no dense vegetation. The Krishna River, Ghataprabha River and Malaprabha River flow through the area but none are perennial rivers. The soil found in the area is usually black or red. Black soil preserves moisture and is often used for the cultivation of cotton. Rabi and jowar are mainly cultivated in Bagalkot district, along with groundnut, cotton, maize, bajra, wheat, sugarcane and tobacco. The district is also rich in minerals. In the village of Kaladgi, which is situated 24 km from the town of Bagalkot, copper is found. Iron ore is also there in the southern part of the district. The gneiss family of rock is commonly found here. Frequent rock types in the region comprise quartzite, greenstone, sandstone and limestone. Due to the dry climate the region is often prone to drought and crop failure. The mean rainfall in the area is more or less 318 mm annually.

Bagalkot district is the second biggest district in the Belgaum Division and the 15th most densely inhabited district in Karnataka. With over 1,651,892 inhabitants (of which 28.97% live in urban areas), 18% of the total population of the Belgaum Division is concentrated in Bagalkot district. Bagalkot has 6 taluks, consisting of a total of 18 hoblies and 627 villages. Of the 6 taluks, two are considered as "More Backward Taluk" and one as "Most Backward Taluk". The district has 163 Gram Panchayats and 12 urban areas. The district, with a growth rate of about 19% in every ten years is one of the ten fastest growing districts in Karnataka. 86% of the population in the district consists of Hindus, while 11% of the population is Muslim. Jains fill up a little over 1% of the population, while Christians constitute 0.17%. Scheduled Castes and Tribes make up about 17% of the total population. Kannada, the state language of Karnataka, is the most extensively spoken language in the district. The mean literacy rate of the district is 57.3%, higher than the national average of 52% but lower than the average literacy rate of the state, which is 66.6%. Bagalkot ranks 22nd out of the 27 districts in Karnataka in terms of adult literacy. The population density of Bagalkot is in the order of 251 persons per square kilometer. Housing conditions in the district are quite good and mass media (radio, transistor, television) penetrates about 67% of the total area of the district. The sex ratio of the district is 980 females per 1000 males, significantly higher than the national mean of 927.

Weaving cotton or silk cloths Agriculture is the most important means of survival in the district. Over 65% of the working people in Bagalkot district are engaged in agriculture. It should be significantly noted that 80% of female workers in the district are engaged in agriculture. Jowar crop constitutes the chief food of the people of this region. Pulses are also cultivated in the region, principally gram, tuvar daal, kulith and moong daal. The district also grows Linseed, castor oil and sesamum. Reservoirs like the Kendur reservoir provide water for irrigation. Famine due to deficiency of sufficient rains is quite common in Bagalkot. A famine that hit the region in 1901 imposed considerable financial loss upon the agriculture-based industries of the region. A considerable fraction of the population also consists of weavers. The principal manufactured products are cotton and silk cloths. Large amounts of cotton yarn are tinted with dyes and exported to other parts of the state and country. Most of the people who have immigrated to this district are either moneylenders or cloth merchants.

The culture of Bagalkot district has been adequately influenced by Kannada culture and to some extent by Marathi culture as well, partly because of the district`s nearness to Maharashtra and partly because of its previous history of being a taluk under the Bagalkot culture - Sareesjurisdiction of the Bombay Presidency. The conventional cuisine of the district is characteristic of the North Karnataka cuisine. Karnataka Jowar based food items such as Bhakri are commonly eaten. Other varieties of Indian bread made out of jowar are also widespread and are coloquially known as jolada rotti. As is common to most of the North Karnataka districts, Jhunka, a garbanzo beans based dish is very much prevalent and is usually eaten with Bhakri. These two dishes together are known as Jhunka bhakar. Though not cultivated widely in the district, rice, as in all of South India, is part of the staple diet. It is imported from other parts of the state and region. Soups prepared from lentil and pulses are commonly eaten. Ilkal town in Bagalkot district is well known for the Ilkal sarees manufactured there.

To conclude, Bagalkot district has great significance as a historical spot due to the reign of the Chalukyas. This is evident in its rich culture and heritage.

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