Belgaum (also known as Belagavi, Belgavi and Venugrama or "bamboo village") is a city in the Indian state of Karnataka located in its northern part along the Western Ghats. It is the administrative headquarters of the eponymous Belgaum division and Belgaum district. The Government of Karnataka has proposed making Belgaum the second capital of Karnataka, hence a second state administrative building Suvarna Vidhana Soudha was inaugurated on 11 October 2012.
Rani Chenamma of Kittur
|Nickname(s): Kunda Nagari, Cradle of Infantry, Sugar Bowl of Karnataka,|
|Regions of Karnataka||Western ghats|
|• Type||District Administration|
|• Body||Belgaum Municipal Corporation|
|• Administrator||Shri. S.Ziyaullah|
|• Mayor||Basappa Chikkaldinni|
|• Deputy Mayor||Madhushri Pujari|
|• City||94 km2 (36 sq mi)|
|Elevation||784 m (2,572 ft)|
|• Density||5,200/km2 (13,000/sq mi)|
|Time zone||ST (UTC+5:30)|
|PIN||590001 to 590020|
|Telephone code||(+91) 831|
Belgaum was founded in late 12th century AD by the Ratta dynasty, who shifted from nearby Saundatti. A Ratta official called Bichiraja built a Jain temple dedicated to Neminatha in 1204, which came to be called Kamalabasti. Pillars found inside Belgaum fort have Kannada inscriptions in Nagari scripts, one from 1199 by Ratta King Kartaveerya IV. The city original name was Venugrama, a Sanskrit word which means "village of bamboo". Alternatively, it is referred to as Venupura in early Indian texts, which means "city of bamboo".
Belgaum became a part of the Yadava dynasty kingdom (Sevunas) in early 13th century. An inscription from 1261 of King Krishna belonging to the Yadava dynasty attests to this. The region was invaded by Khalji dynasty of Delhi Sultanate in 14th century. Shortly thereafter, the Vijayanagara Empire was founded, and Belgaum came under the rule of Vijayanagara. In 1474, the Bahmani Sultanate conquered Belgaum with an army led by Mahamood Gawan.
The Belgaum fort was strengthened by the Adil Shah dynasty Sultans and they built the Safa Mosque. A Persian inscription states that the mosque was built by Asad Khan, a Bijapur Commander. In 1518, the Bahamani sultanate splintered into five small states and Belgaum became part of the Bijapur Sultanate. The Adilshahis extended their control to the port of Goa, but retreated after the arrival and wars with the Portuguese. In 1686, the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb overthrew the Bijapur sultanate and Belgaum passed nominally to the Mughals, who called it "Azamnagar". However, the Mughal empire control collapsed after the death of Aurangzeb in 1707. The Maratha confederacy took control of the area during the rule of the Peshwas. In 1776, the region was overrun by Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan after Hyder Ali's coup in the Kingdom of Mysore. The Peshwa regained Belgaum, after Tipu Sultan was defeated by the British forces. In 1818, the British annexed Belgaum and the region in the control of the Peshwa. Kitturu Chennamma (1778–1829) was the queen of the princely state of Kittur in Karnataka. In 1824, 33 years before the 1857 War of Independence in Murree, she led an armed rebellion against the British in response to the Doctrine of lapse. The resistance ended in her martyrdom and she is remembered today as one of the earliest Indian and the First Indian Queen to have fought for independence.
Belgaum was chosen as the venue of the 39th session of the Indian National Congress in December 1924 under the presidency of Mahatma Gandhiji. The city served as a major military installation for the British Raj, primarily due to its proximity to Goa, which was then a Portuguese territory. Once the British left India, the Indian government continued and still continues to have armed forces installations in Belgaum. In 1961, the Indian government, under Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, used forces from Belgaum to end Portuguese rule of Goa.
When India became independent in 1947, Belgaum and its district were part of Bombay State. In 1956, the Indian states were reorganised along linguistic lines by the States Reorganisation Act and Belgaum District (except Chandgad Taluk) was transferred to Mysore State, which was renamed Karnataka in 1972.
In 2006, the Government of Karnataka announced that Belgaum would be made the state's second capital, and that the city would be a permanent venue for the annual 15-day session of the state legislature.
Earlier known as venugram, from the Sanskrit Velugrama, for Venugrama, i.e., "Bamboo village". Of late, the city has carved itself a new name as "Kunda nagari" because of its famous sweet dish, Kunda, made with milk, sugar and spices. The city is also known as the "Sugar Bowl of Karnataka", and the district as the "Sugar District" because of the enormous scope of its sugarcane cultivation and production facilities.
Belgaum is located at  It has an average elevation of 751 metres (2,464 feet). The city is in the northwestern parts of Karnataka and lies at the border of two states, Maharashtra and Goa on the western ghats (50 km from the Goa state border). It is one of the oldest towns in the state, lying 502 km from Bangalore, 515 km from Hyderabad ,500 km from Mumbai, 75 . The district comprises 1278 villages with an area of 13,415 km² and a population of around 4.8 million according to the census of 2011. Belgaum district is the biggest district of Karnataka. Situated near the foothills of the Sahyadri mountain range (Western Ghats) at an altitude of about 779 m, 100 km from the Arabian Sea with the Markandeya river flowing nearby, Belgaum exhibits swift and kaleidoscopic changes in topography, vegetation and climate..
Belgaum has a tropical savanna climate (Köppen climate classification Aw). It is known for its pleasant year-round climate. Belgaum is at its coldest in winter (November - February temperatures dropping to 7 degrees Celsius; the minimum temperature in Karnataka state is usually recorded in Belgaum,) and it experiences almost continuous monsoon rains from June through September. Belgaum sometimes receives hail storms during April.
|Climate data for Belgaum|
|Record high °C (°F)||33.2
|Average high °C (°F)||28.8
|Daily mean °C (°F)||21.9
|Average low °C (°F)||13.5
|Record low °C (°F)||6.2
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||2
|Average rainy days||0.1||0.3||1.0||5.0||6.3||15.8||21.0||20.0||13.8||6.1||3.3||1.0||93.7|
|Average relative humidity (%)||46||40||40||52||63||82||87||88||83||69||57||52||63|
|Source #1: NOAA (1971-1990)|
|Source #2: DES|
As per the provisional 2011 India census, the population of Belgaum is 588,292, and its urban / metropolitan population is 610,189.Males constitute 51% (309,689) of the population and females 49% (300,500). Belgaum has an average literacy rate of 78%, higher than the national average of 65%; of those literate, 54% are males and 46% are females. Eleven percent of the population is under 6 years of age. The local languages spoken in this city are Kannada and Marathi language and official language is Kannada. There are also minority number of Urdu, Konkani speakers. Hindi and English is also understood by the people of the city.
Belgaum is an important source of vegetables, fruits, meat, poultry, fish, mining production, and wood (due to heavy rainfall, rivers and the abundance of water). Trading in North Karnataka is mainly with Goa and Maharashtra along with major cities like Pune and Bangalore. Rich deposits of Bauxite are found in Belagavi district and have led to the creation of the Indian aluminium-producing company Hindalco Industries of the Aditya Birla Group. Uranium deposits have been found at Deshnur, a small village near Bailhongal town.
A 300-acre (1.2 km2) Special Economic Zone (India's first Private Aerospace SEZ ) is being set up along the Pune-Bangalore National Highway (NH-4) to cater to the precision engineering requirements of the global aerospace, automotive and industrial verticals.
The Belgaum border dispute is a dispute involving the Indian states of Karnataka and Maharashtra. Belgaum, currently a part of Karnataka and earlier the erstwhile Bombay Presidency, is claimed by Maharashtra on linguistic grounds.
On 11 November 2005, Karnataka rakshna vedike (KRV) activists daubed Belagaum Mayor Vijay More's face with black paint (and later surrendered to the police) in the wake of Belgaum City Corporation (BCC) passing a resolution to include the district of Belgaum into Maharashtra, a neighbouring state. Upon his return to Belgaum, Vijay More was served with several show-cause notices by the Government of Karnataka and later dissolved the council.
Following this incident, in the following year's election, Prashanta Budavi, wife of KRV (Karnataka Rakshana Vedike) City President Shantinath Budavi was appointed as mayor of the Belgaum City Corporation. Maharashtra has asked to bring 865 disputed villages including Belgaum under centre's rule until Supreme court's final verdict. N.D. Patil, head of legal-committee appointed by Maharashtra government said that Karnataka is intensifying the problem. He added that Marathi people of border region are not able to live with honour and dignity under Karnataka's rule pointing out to the 'unconstitutional' dissolution of Belgaum mahanagar palike and manhandling of Belgaum mayor by Kannada activists at Bangalore.
Belgaum's salubrious climate, proximity to the coast and strategic position near Portuguese Goa commended it to the British as a suitable location for an army training centre and cantonment, which it continues to be today for the Indian Armed Forces, along with an air force station of the Indian Air Force. The British had a sizeable infantry post here, having realised the military importance of its geographical location.
Development of a rail network for movement of resources and later troops was one of the means employed by both the East India Company and the British to exert control over India. Belgaum houses the Maratha Light Infantry Regimental Centre (MLIRC). It also houses the Commando Training Wing which is a part of the Infantry School, Mhow, where the country's infantry commandos are trained in endurance, escape and evasion, guerrilla and commando warfare techniques and to live off the land. The commando course at Belgaum is mandatory for all infantry officers. Officers of other arms and services and even some foreign officers undertake the course. In between the military hospital and the commando training centre there lies the eminent Belgaum Military School, established in 1945 spread over an area of 64 acres (26 ha).
The Indo-Tibetan Border Police, ITBP, is building a full-fledged recreation and training centre in Belgaum at Halbhavi. Belgaum provides an excellent climate for recreation and ITBP will have large family bases in Belgaum for its soldiers after high altitude stressful duty.
The Central Reserve Police Force Institute of elite central paramilitary forces is setting up a national-level training institution (for jungle warfare) at Khanapur in Belgaum.
Belgaum is known for kunda, a sweet made from milk. A special sweet called Mandige in Kannada and in Marathi as "Maande", is a prerequisite for weddings. There are few kunda manufacturers in and around Belgaum, famous among them is Camp Purohit sweets Other well known sweets are Karadant and Ladagi laadu, which are delicacies that originate in Gokak, a taluk of Belgaum.The city is also good place for food lovers. North Karnataka meal is famous in the city. There are also south Indian and North Indian restaurants. Number of eating joints exists that serve chats and other breakfast dishes.
Belgaum is also an important educational hub, consisting of eight engineering colleges, five medical colleges, and some dental colleges across the city and district. Visvesvaraya Technological University (VTU), the largest university of Karnataka for technical education (for BE, Mtech, MCA, MBA) is based in Belgaum. Basic degree colleges, nine polytechnic colleges and three law colleges are other educational institutions. The Karnatak Lingayat Education Society (KLE), and Karnatak Law Society (KLS), are two educational giants based in Belgaum.
From the late 1970s onwards, Belgaum began seeing a substantial increase in the number of professional education institutions. While initially this was largely in the medical and engineering fields, Belgaum today hosts institutions serving a number of other professional streams as well.
The establishment of the Visvesvaraya Technological University in 1998, with the affiliation of more than 208 engineering colleges, raised the importance of Belgaum as a centre of education in Karnataka. Belgaum also hosts a number of medical colleges. The impact of this growth has considerably changed the cultural, linguistic and industrial profile of the city due to the influx of students from across India (and even across the world), some of whom made Belgaum their home base after completing their education there.
Visvesvaraya Technological University (VTU), named after Bharat Ratna Sir M Visweshwariah, is located in Machhe in Belgaum. It has more than 208 affiliated colleges. Over 67,000 students graduate from VTU every year.
In 1916, the Karnataka Lingayat Education (KLE) Society was founded by seven founder life members, who are also addressed as "Saptarishis" (Seven Saints). On 13 November 1916, KLE Society started an Anglo Vernacular School in Belgaum (Gilganchi Artal High School). Lingaraj College came into existence in June 1933. In 1947, B.V.B. College of Engineering and Technology was started in Hubli. Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College at Belgaum and G.H. College at Haveri were started in 1963. KLE also runs the Sheshgiri College of Engineering and Technology in Belgaum, established in 1979. From 1984 onwards, KLE Society started dental, education, nursing, information technology, computer applications, hotel management, business management, tourism, fashion design, and agriculture colleges, as well as polytechnics across India. Today under the leadership of Mr. Prabhakar Kore, the KLE Society runs 207 institutions.
K.L.S. Gogte Institute of Technology is an Engineering college is declared autonomous. The college campus is at Belgaum–Goa Highway, also known as Khanapur Road. It was established in 1979 to meet the growing demand for technically trained manpower for industrial growth of the country. The GIT's campus was inaugurated in 1989 by former Union Minister of defence Mr. Sharad Pawar
Rani Channamma University was established in 2010 by upgrading the post-graduate centre of Karnatak University, Dharwad. Before the Rani Channamma University came into being in 2010, Karnatak University KRCPG Centre of Karnatak University, Dharwad was functioning at Belgaum. The Karnatak University PG Centre was established at Belgaum in the year 1982, to provide an opportunity to develop access to the students for higher education hailing from North Karnataka Region. In 1994 the PG centre was shifted to the present campus of 172 acres of land at Bhutramanahatti adjacent to the Pune-Bangalore National Highway – 4 NH 4, about 18 km from Belgaum. Karnatak University PG Centre has been declared as Rani Channamma University in the month of July 2010 with the jurisdiction of Belgaum, Vijaypur, and Bagalkot districts.
Belgaum is connected by road via national highways 4 (connecting Maharashtra (now part of the Golden Quadrilateral), Karnataka, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu) and 4A (connecting Karnataka and Goa). North Western Karnataka Road Transport Corporation (NWKRTC) run buses to all corners of Karnataka and to neighbouring states. There are many prominent private bus companies providing services to all major destinations in Karnataka and surrounding states. KSRTC services almost all villages in Karnataka. 92% villages are served by KSRTC (6743 out of 7298 Villages) and 44% in other areas (6743 out of 7298). KSRTC operates 6463 schedules in a day covering an effective distance of 23.74 lakh km with a total fleet of 7599 buses. It transports, on an average, 24.57 lakh passengers per day.
The North Western Karnataka Road Transport Corporation was established in the year 01-11-1997, under provision of the Road Transport Corporation Act 1950, on the auspicious day of Karnataka Rajyotsava upon bifurcation from Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation to provide adequate, efficient, economic and properly coordinated transport services to the commuters of North Western part of the Karnataka. The Corporation jurisdiction covers the Belgaum, Dharwad, Karwar, Bagalkot, Gadag & Haveri districts.
NWKRTC operates its services to all villages, which have motorable roads in its jurisdiction and also covering intra and inter state operations. The entire jurisdiction of the corporation is totally nationalised sector.
The Government of Goa operates KADAMBA bus service from Goa to Belgaum city and some other parts of the Belgaum District.
The city is served by Belgaum Airport at Sambra, which is the oldest airport in North Karnataka and lies 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) from the city on State Highway 20. Belgaum was previously directly connected by air with Mumbai, but the only flight on the route was stopped in November 2011 owing to a financial crisis at Kingfisher Airlines. Since then SpiceJet has announced daily flights to Bangalore, which began on 22 November 2012. Currently there are two daily flights each to Bangalore and Mumbai, and one daily flight each to New Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad, Mangalore, and Jabalpur that are all operated by SpiceJet.
In 2006 the Government of Karnataka decided to hold one week sessions of the Karnataka Legislative Assembly every year during the winter season at the Suvarna Vidhana Soudha administrative building, constructed and inaugurated in Belgaum in 2012.