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Belgaum

City : Belgaum
Location : Southern India
Language : Kannada


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Belgaum also known as Belgaon and Venugram, is a city and a municipal corporation in Belgaum district in the state of Karnataka, India.

It is situated nearly 2,500 ft (762 m) above sea-level and is the headquarters of Belgaum district, which borders the states of Maharashtra and Goa.

Karnataka government has decided to develop the city of Belgaum as the state's second capital and make it the permanent venue for an annual 15-day session of the state legislature. Rs 165-crore 'Suvarna Soudha' modelled on the 'Vidhana Soudha' (Secretariat) will be constructed in Belgaum for the session that will commence from next year.

 

History

The city of Belgaum was built in the 12th century AD by the Ratta dynasty who were based at nearby Saundatti. The fort of Belgaum was built in 1204 by a Ratta officer named Bichiraja. Belgaum served as the capital of that dynasty between 1210 and 1250, before the Rattas were defeated by the Yadava Dynasty of Devagiri. Belgaum then briefly came under the sway of the Yadavas of Devagiri. The Khiljis of Delhi invaded the region at the turn of the 1300s and succeeded in ruining both the indigenous powers of the region, the Yadava and the Hoysalas without providing a viable administration. This lacuna was supplied by the Vijayanagara Empire, which had become the established power of the area by 1336. A century later, the town had become a bustling trading hub for diamonds and wood, owing to its favourable geographic location in the kingdom.

 


Geography

Belgaum is located at [show location on an interactive map] 15.87° N 74.5° E. It has an average elevation of 751 metres (2463 feet). The city is situated in the northwestern parts of Karnataka and lies at the border of two states, Maharashtra and Goa. It is one of the oldest towns in the state, lying at a distance of 502 km from Bangalore and 500 km from Mumbai. The district comprises 1278 villages with an area of 13,415 km² with a population of around 5 lakh (500,000). Situated near the foothills of the Sahyadri mountain range (Western Ghats) at an altitude of about 779m, 100km from the Arabian Sea with the river Markandeya flowing nearby, Belgaum exhibits swift and kaleidoscopic changes in topography, vegetation and climate.


Climate

Belgaum is well known for its pleasant climate throughout the year, but the last few years, summers (April through June) have been warmer than usual. It is at its coldest in winter (November through February), and experiences continuous monsoon of medium intensity during July to September. The annual average rainfall is 50".

 

Etymology

Belgaum is anglicized name of Belgaon/Belagaavi. The names are possibly from the Sanskrit Venugrama, "Bamboo village".

The name Belgaum had been proposed to be changed to Belagaavi by the Karnataka government. However in August 2007, the Central Government refused permission to rename Belgaum while giving a go-ahead to rename 11 other cities in Karnataka.

 

Culture

Belgaum enjoys rich cultural diversity stemming from its proximity to the states of Maharashtra and Goa. Kannada and Marathi are the main languages spoken. The customs and traditions of Belgaum have been influenced by both the Kannada and Marathi cultures. Traditional dressing in rural Belgaum is similar to the attires of people in the north Karnataka and south Maharashtra belt; the men wear a turban with a long tailpiece at the rear and a dhoti (a sarong worn in a manner that allows easier movement) and the women wear sarees but with the lower half drawn like a dhoti. However, in the city, the costumes are very much in tune with modern urban India. Belgaum's positioning has also made its cuisine a potpourri of central(Marathi)and north Indian flavours and the fast food is predominantly influenced by Marathi tastes (e.g. vada pav, missal) and other north Indian chaat.

 

Economy

Belgaum is an important location for vegetable trading, fish, wood & mining resource trading in north Karnataka. Rich deposits of bauxite are found in Belgaum district, and have led to the creation of the (HINDALCO) Indian Aluminium Company for production of aluminium. Additionally, uranium deposits have recently been found in Deshnur, a small village near Belgaum.

From the early 1970s, Belgaum began developing as an important centre for the manufacture of heavy machine tools, including the manufacture of high pressure oil hydraulics.

 

Attractions

Belgaum is located 502 km from Bangalore and 125 km from Goa. Nestled in the foothills of the Western Ghats, it enjoys a cool, salubrious climate and is surrounded by natural beauty in the form of rivers, hills and dense evergreen forests. Inside the city, A wide variety of historical sites, temples and churches exist in and around the city, most notably the fort Kamala Basti, Kapileshwar temple (South Kashi), the hills of Vaijyanath, Ramtirth in Kanbargi, the aerodrome at Sambra and others.

1.The Handloom cottage industries, and Silk weavers located in Vadgaon and Angol are known for the exquisitely designed Saris.

2.The Cantonment Area with its lush cover of greenery , the MLIRC(Maratha Light Infantry Regimental Centre) is also based here.

1.Jamboti, 20 km south-west of Belgaum, is a popular tourist spot with its evergreen hilltop forests.
2.Vajrapoha Falls on the Mandovi river are located 26 km from Belgaum.
3. Godchanmalki fallsis a popular destination at a distance of about 60 km from Belgaum. They are stepwise falls which are approximately 100 metres in length, with a step at every 30 metres.
4.Gokak Falls is yet another resplendant waterfall 62km from Belgaum and 6km from the Gokak town.
5.Amboli falls This little known coastal highland area is fabulous during the monsoons. Thick forests, curving misty ghats and shades of vibrant greens.



Architecture

Belgaum houses many interesting monuments, including the famous Belgaum fort which dates back to 1519 AD (Refer to the 'History' section).
1.Kamal Basadiis a famous Jain temple located within the walls of the fort.
2.Belgaum Fort is a huge construct present in the heart of the town. It is said that its 15-meter deep moats were filled with ravenous crocodiles to ward off enemies in the early days.

The foundation of the Suvarna Vidhana Soudha, a legislative administrative office complex, was laid in Belgaum in August 2007 to celebrate the golden jubilee celebrations of its formation.[12]



Cuisine

Belgaum is known for its cross culture food right from the Bombay chaats to the Chinese delicacies ,Niyaz hotel, Mahadev Biryani, Delhi Darbar is worth a try. Belgaum is also famous for its "Kunda" and "Kalakand" . A special sweet called "Mandige" or "Maande" is a must during weddings.

 

Transportation

Road
Belgaum is connected by road via the National Highways 4 (connecting Maharashtra[ Now part of the Golden Quadrilateral], Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu) and 4A (connecting Karnataka and Goa).

Air
Belgaum is directly connected with Bangalore, Goa, Mumbai, Miraj and Kolhapur. The airport currently serving the city is Belgaum Airport. Schedules have been erratic, as the air connectivity is primarily provided by feeder airlines.

Rail
Belgaum is on the main Indian Railways grid being part of Hubli Division and is well connected by rail to major destinations such as Bangalore (via Hubli), Mumbai (via Miraj) and Goa.