The Town of Contrasts
Belgaum today exhibits a blend of Kannadiga, Maharashtrian and Goan cultures. The old part of the town thrives on its industries of silk and cotton, while the new half still has remnants of the British era-cantonments, and tree-lined avenues. Tourists have a lot of places to visit in Belgaum - temples, churches, forts etc. The most prominent among them are the Kapileshwara temple and the Ananthasayana temple.
The landscape by itself is similar to that of Goa, lush and green, nestled in the Western Ghats. You can also expect heavy downpours at times; infact Belgaum also has a nickname - ‘malendu’ or rain country. An interesting feature of Belgaum is its toy manufacturing industry; the materials used for making the toys range from wood and yellow teak to leather. The town is also famous for its gold and silver jewellery.
Belgaum was originally ‘Venugrama’ which means ‘village of the bamboos’. The history of Belgaum goes back to the second century AD. Chalukyas, the Rashtrakutas, the Rattas, the Goa Kadambas, the Yadavas, the Vijayanagaras, the Bahmanis and the Marathas ruled the country consecutively.
The Kapileshwara temple is said to be the oldest in Belgaum. The Kadasiddeswara temple and the Yellamma temple are also situated near each other. While you are in Belgaum, watch out for the statue of Kittur Rani Chenamma, the valiant freedom fighter, whose heroism is sung about even today.
The Kamala Basti built in the Chalukya style, stands inside the Belgaum Fort. The Neminatha idol of black stone is one of the highlights of the Basti. The Mukhamantapa at the front is also a sight not to be missed. The area of the fort exhibits religious harmony at its best; there is another Jain temple near the fort, and close-by there are two mosques - the Safa Masjid and the Jamia Masjid. Right at the entrance of the fort are two temples, one dedicated to Durga and the other to Ganapathi.
The St. Mary’s church is quite an impressive structure, following the Gothic style of architecture. The stained glass windows, the walls which tell stories from the Bible, all complete the ‘picture perfect’ look of the church. The other churches of the area are the St. Xavier’s church, Our lady’s cathedral and the Methodist church.
If you are tired of all the churches and temples, you can head for the Vajrapoha falls, tucked away deep in the Jamboti forest. You need to cross the Mahadayi River and trek for a while to catch a glimpse of the heavenly falls cascading down a height of 60 metres.
Belgaum has an airport of its own
Well connected to nearby towns, 500 km to Bangalore
Connected by rail to Bangalore, Mumbai and other major cities in South India