Bellary is a district in Karnataka. Bellary district is spread from southwest to northeast and is situated on the eastern side of Karnataka state. The district is 15° 30 and 15°50 north latitude and 75° 40 and 77° 11 east longitude. The geographical area is 8447 km².
This district is bounded by Raichur District on the north, Koppal District on the west, Chitradurga District and Davanagere District on the south, and Anantapur District and Kurnool District of Andhra Pradesh on the east.
Bellary district takes its name from the word Balari which refers to goddess Durugamma as this goddess had manifested herself in the town. Some of the events in the great epic Ramayana are related to this historical place. It is said that Rama while searching for Sita met Sugreeva and Hanuman at a place which is very near to Hampi, the celebrated capital of Vijayanagara kingdom. The history speaks volumes about significant role it acquired during Satavahanas, Kadambas, Chalukyas of Kalyana, Kalachuryas, Sevunas and Hoysalas period. There upon the Vijayanagara rulers built the " City of Victory " on the bank of Tungabhadra river at Hampi in Hospet Taluk. This area which had witnessed the prosperity to its peak fell into political turmoil after the fall of Vijayanagara in 1565. This district was transferred to the erstwhile Mysore State on 1st October 1953 from Madras State. With the re-organisation of the districts during 1997, the number of taluks is reduced to 7. The Harapanahalli taluk has been transferred to Davanagere district.
It has 2 revenue sub divisions, Bellary subdivision and Hospet subdivision, which in all have seven taluks. The Bellary subdivision has 3 taluks, while there are four taluks in Hospet subdivision. There are 27 hoblies, two CMC's, one town municipality, seven town panchayats, 542 revenue villages, and 436 thandas/habitations.
353 km from Bangalore and 74 km from Bellary is Hampi. A World Heritage Site, Hampi is the most beautiful and evocative of all the ruins in Karnataka. The erstwhile capital of the Vijayanagar kingdom, Hampi is full of delightful surprises. Like the King's Balance where kings were weighed against grain, gold or money which was then distributed to the poor, the Queen's Bath with its arched corridors, projecting balconies and lotus-shaped fountains that once sprouted perfumed water, the two-storied Lotus Mahal with recessed archways, the huge Elephant Stables, the splendid Vithala Temple with its musical pillars and the Stone Chariot, the Virupaksha Temple, still used for worship, Ugra Narasimha, the 6.7 m tall monolith, the Pushkarini Tank, the Mahanavami Dibba and so much more.
HAMPI: Amidst an awesome boulder-strewn landscape along the banks of the Tungabhadra river, Hampi was one of the glittering showpieces of India's might in the 15th century. There were opulent palaces, marvellous temples, massive fortifications, baths, markets, pavilions and stables for royal elephants. The city's merchants traded in diamonds, pearls, fine silks, brocades, horses and much more.
King's Palace: The largest enclosure in Hampi, the King's palace includes two major platform structures, an underground chamber which must have served as a treasury or private audience hall, several minor platforms and double fortification walls, besides other interesting architectural elements.
Virupaksha Temple: Dedicated to Lord Shiva and his consort Pampadevi, this is the only temple here that is still used for worship. Parts of the temple predate the Vijayanagara empire. The temple, with its nine storied gopuram, towers above the other structures at Hampi. The ceiling of the Ranga Mantapa is beautifully painted with scenes from the epics and Puranas.
Ganesha Images: Two Ganesha images(Sasuvekalu and Kadalekalu) can be seen on the slopes of the Hemakuta Hill. One of them is enclosed in a temple with unusally tall pillars, while the other is in an open hall.
Lakshminarasimha: The awesome 6.7 meters high monolith depicting the man-lion form of Vishnu is seated on a seven hooded serpent.
Badavilinga: Located next to the Lakshminarasimha statue, the Badavilinga is 3 meter high and stands permanently in water that flows through an ancient channel.
Vijaya Vithala Temple: The Vijaya Vithala Temple is Hampi's crowning glory, with a magnificent stone chariot standing temple courtyard. Equally impressive is the large Ranga Mantapa with 56 musical pillars that resound with musical chimes when struck.
Elephant Stables: An imposing edifice with arched entrances and many domes that once housed the magnificent state elephants.
Pushkarni: The stepped water tank, excavated in the mid 1980's, was originally a part of the palace complex. Almost lyrical in its beauty, the tank is a tiered structure crafted from rectangular pieces of granite.
Lotus Mahal: This visually appealing strucutre has two levels, with open pavilions at the bottom and balconies above. Highlighting the fusion of the Hindu and Muslim styles of architecture, the Mahal derives its name from its beautiful, geometrically arranged cusped arches that resemble the petals of the lotus opening to the sun.
Hazara Rama Temple: The royal temple reserved for ceremonial use, the Hazara Rama Temple is embellished with bass reliefs depicting scenes from the epic, Ramayana. The walls of the enclosure are richly carved with friezes depicting processions of horses, elephants, dancing girls and soldiers attired in splendid armour. Inside, four exquisitely sculpted granite pillars add to the beauty of the Ardha Mantapa.
Mahanavami Dibba: Equally impressive is the massive Mahanavami Dibba, where the kings of the Vijayanagara Empire once sat upon their gem studded golden throne and watched processions pass by. The structure is also embellished with densely carved bands of horses, soldiers ans depictions of various aspects of courtly life.
Queen's Bath: Though the exterior may appear simple, the interior is stunningly ornate, with graceful arched corridors, projecting balconies and lotus shaped fountains that once spouted perfumed water for the ladies of the court.
Anegundi (15 km from Hampi): Just across the Tungabhadra river is the fortress town of Anegundi, pre-dating the Vijayanagara Empire and its capital city. More anscient than Hampi, Anegundi lies in the mythical kingdom of Kishkinda, ruled by the monkey-king Sugriva of the Ramayana fame. Anjanadri Hill, near Anegundi, is believed to be the birthplace of the monkey god Hanuman. Anegundi and its tranquil environs are dotted with forgotten temples and fortifications. The dilapidated Huchappayana Matha Temple, near the river, is worth a peek for its black stone lathe turned pillars and fine panels of dancers. The other places of interest are the sacred Pampa Sarovara, Aramane (a ruined palace) and the Ranganatha Temple.
Daroji Sloth Bear Sanctuary: Locally known as KARADI, the Sloth Bear (Melursus Ursinus) lives in open scrub forests having outcrop of rocks, tumbled boulders and caves as shelter. Being more of vegetarian, it has choice food habits like consuming fruits, tubers, honey, insects and termites.
Bommagatta: This village is situated at a distance of 48 kms from Sandur town.It is famous because of an old temple of Hulikuntaraya (Anjeneyaswamy).
Daroji Tank: This tank built by Tipu at Daroji village whicj is 48 kms from Sandur town.This tank is said to be one of the biggest tanks in the district.When this tank breached in 1851,the old village of Daroji destroyed under its impact.Susequently a new village was built (new Daroji).
Donimalai Hill Range: The Donimalai hill range with huge potentiality of iron ore is being exploited by NMDC.This is the first venture of NMDC in the southern region of the country.
Ramanadurga Hill Station: From Sandur at a distance of 16 kms the said hill station is situated at a height of 3256 feet from the sea level.The hill station provides excellent views into the Sandur valley on one side and over the western taluks on the other side.There is a fort in this village built by prince Kumara Rama of Kampli which ofcourse now in a ruined state.There is one Ramadeva temple which is rebuilt out the remains of an older temple.
Kumaraswamy Temple Complex: This is 12 kms away from sandur on a hill station.
Vithoba Temple: Maharaja's Palace at Sandur.