The Rock Country
The name ‘Bellary’ has been derived from the name ‘Balari’ which refers to none other than Goddess Durga herself. Bellary is known mainly for its forts and rock formations. Rocks and hills of granite form a prominent feature of the landscape of Bellary. The town stands around two hills made of granite- the Ballari Gudda and the Kumbara Gudda. As a result, a number of quarries have been established here. Bellary is also the hometown of Hampi, the world-famous heritage site.
Bellary actually has references in the Ramayana. Bellary also played a prominent part during the age of the Satavahanas, the Kadambas, the Sevunas, the Hoysalas etc. Following the defeat of the Vijayanagara Empire in the 16th century, the city fell to ruin.
Today, the town thrives mainly on agriculture - vast fields of cotton, jowar, groundnut, paddy and sunflower form an integral part of the landscape here. The black cotton soil here is distinctive.
The Bellary Fort was built by Hanumappa Nayaka during the age of the Vijayanagara Empire. The fort was later renovated by Hyder Ali with the help of a French Engineer who also added a lower fort. The Engineer was later hanged as the Fort turned out to be lower than the nearby Kumbara Gudda thus compromising on its privacy and safety. The Upper Fort is a walled structure on the summit with only one approach. There is a citadel at the top here which is guarded by three lines of fortification. Several cisterns carved in rock can be found here. There is a small temple as well here beside pools of water.
The lower fort has two entrances – a temple dedicated to Hanuman can be found outside the eastern gates of the lower fort. A protestant church, an orphanage, a Masonic lodge, a post office and several other buildings were added to the main building later.
Ambali is known for its black stone Chalukyan temple where the deity is Kalleswari. Mellara is a temple dedicated to Shiva in the form of Mallara. The temple is most famous for its annual festival. The Thungabhadra dam is also an interesting site to visit, with a garden attached to it. The Ramanadurga is a hill station situated amongst a group of granite hills. The hill also has a temple dedicated to Ramadeva.
Bellary airport is the nearest airport
There are good roads connecting Bellary to Bangalore and other major cities in Karnataka
Bellary has a railway station of its own