Belgaum, a charming city nestling in the foothills of the Western Ghats. It is located 502 kms from Bangalore and 125 Kms from Goa. It is situated 2500 feet above sea level. It is a district headquarters, which borders states of Maharashtra and Goa. Belgaum got its name from Venugrama meaning Bamboo Village.
There are several names available for Belgaum city. Marathi people call it as Belgaon, Kannada people call Belgavi, South Karnataka people call it as Belagam.
The customs and traditions of Belgaum have been influenced by both the Kannada and Marathi cultures.
History Of Belgam
Belgaum, ancient `Venugrama’ (Bamboo village) was the capital of the Rattas who shifted to this place from Saundatti during the close of 12th century. In its rich and varied past, Belgaum has been part of the Chalukyan, Rattan, Vijayanagara, Bahmani and Maratha empires. There is a lot of Jain architecture in Belgaum.
Kittur in Belgaum district is a place of historical importance, Rani Chennamma of Kittur (1778-1829) is known for her resistance to British rule; another person in the history of Belgaum known for his resistance to British rule is Sangolli Rayanna.
Belgaum has an enviable heritage and presents much to be discovered. It lies in the zone of cultural transition between Kamataka, Maharashtra and Goa with a known antiquity clearly traceable up to 2nd Century A.D. Belgaum was also chosen as the venue of the 39th session of Indian National Congress in December 1924 under the President ship of Mahatma Gandhiji.
Tourist Places In Belgaum
Belgaum Fort: Belgaum fort takes center stage The old stone fort, built in 12th century ad by the local Ratta rulers, is an important spot, though not much of the original structure remains. Who can resist to stroll around this interesting pre Muslim monument where mosques and temples coexist in perfect harmony. At the very entrance, you will find two shrines, one dedicated to the elephant God Ganapathi, and the other to the Goddess Durga.
Safa masjid is one of the two mosques inside the fort and by far is the best of the 25-30 mosques in the city. The minars, domes and Arches point to a typical fusion of Indo-Sarcenic and Deccan styles of the Architecture. The sense of the past is all-pervading here. Two of the circular pillars in the Jamia hall are said to be from the old temples. Some of them have Kannada Inscriptions in Nagari Script, while others have beautiful Persian script forming exquisite calligraphic decorations.
Kamala Basthi: Within the walls of the fort is the late Chalukya style, of which the Kamala Basti with Neminatha idol in black stone should not be missed. The masterpiece here is the “Mukhamantapa” with a well executed lotus on its ceiling.
Saundatti Fort: the original capital of Rattas and a celebrated pilgrim centre. The fort here was built in 1734 by Sirasangi Desai. The eight mighty bastions are worth a look. The Yellamma Temple is famous goddess for Joguthi tribal people. It is also called as Yellamma Gudda. It is at a distance of 70 Kms from Belgaum.
Hooli Panchalingeshwar Temple: Hooli is a place with rich antiquity and is perhaps one of the oldest towns in the district. One of the striking monuments of the place is the huge Panchalingeshwar temple. The temple has four inscriptions i.e. two slabs in the navaranga and two outside, of which one is broken.
Hooli has many other old temples, most of them are now in ruins due to negligence. One can amazed by the sculptures and carvings on the stone. Most of the temples have their floor dug up for the hunt for treasure so much is lost and stolen.
St. Mary’s Church: Of the churches, the St. Mary’s church awes one with its imposing gothic stone structure built in 1869. Light filters through the gorgeous stained glass windows and doors to enhance the fine Biblical drawings on the walls.
Vajrapoha Falls: situated amidst enchanting hilly surroundings of the Jamboti forest is a fine spot. To reach it one has to travel from Jamboti upto a point four km beyond Chapoli and then cross the river (only in December and January) Mahadayi twice (in between is a small hill) finally leading to an elevated flat hillock. Here the river Mandovi flowing in a serpentine fashion takes a first jump from a height of about 60 meters.The falls are located 60 km from Belgaum town.
Malaprabha Dam is the shortest dam in Karnataka. It was built across the Malaprabha River in Belgaum.
Naviltirtha: 10 Kms from Saundatti, a low valley situated in between the 2 hills, in an enchanting place is Naviltirtha. Formerly, it was full of Peacocks, frequently flocking round the pond, and thus the place was named Naviltirtha.
How to Reach:
Air: Belgaum has an airport and daily flights are plying between Mumbai and Belgaum. It is also linking up with Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad.
Rail: Rail route from Hubli – Dharwad on Bangalore – Miraj line, Belgaum – Goa train.
Road: Good fleet of buses are available from Bangalore, Mumbai, Goa, Dharwad etc.
Where to stay:
High-class and budget-class hotels offer accommodation and food that is good and worthy.