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Environment Friendly Mining in Ancient Karnataka

by Tushar Gandhi

During my travels through Karnataka and And­hra, I have seen evidence of how our ancestors were very mu­ch aware of the importance of metals and minerals. How to explore them, mine them and extract metals from ore. Ancient Indians were smelting zinc, apart from producing brass, copper, iron, gold and silver, and producing complex alloys long before Damascus became famous for steel. The complex composition of the Ashoka Pillar at Qutub Minar still baffles mo­dern metallurgists.

Last week, I visited a tiny hamlet in Chickmagalur district of Karnataka. Towards the west of the village, on a hilltop there is a temple built by the villagers in memory of a saint who had done penance in a cave on the hilltop for the betterment of the residents.

The man-made cave, in which the sage did penance, was an ancient mine. A mine discovered and developed by our ancestors some seven to eight hundred, or even more years ago. The ancient mine is a well planned and developed, an example of expertise and engineering skills. Ancient Indians had even built a large tank on the hilltop to store water required for mining operations. British explorers have lavishly praised the ancient mine and marvelled at its technological brilliance. The ancient mine was not a gold or diamond mine, it was a mine for zinc, lead and traces of silver.

We went up to the summit of the hill and hugging its ea­stern slope, we walked do­wn tracing the path where anci­ent Indians worked. The ancient mine starts at the peak of the hill, goes across the summit and then down the north slope into the plain. It is not a series of holes in a hillside, it’s not a bunch of tr­enches; it is a well designed underground mine. An ancient geologist had prospected and discovered the mineral deposit and had accurately mapped its occurrence identifying where the rich deposits existed and then sunk a series of shafts, audits and dug out an underground mine. The mine consists of many shafts and a long underground tunnel; a tunnel almost a couple of hundred metres long. The men who designed the mine had calculated how much rock needed to be chipped off so that the did not cave in and crush the miners and yet they extracted the maximum qu­antity of ore. They only st­opped when they hit hard rock, impervious to their pr­imitive tools.

The beauty of the ancient mine is that there are no signs of the mining activity harming the surroundings or causing ecological damage. Today, in not too far off Bellary, Karnataka, one witnesses the devastation caused by modern miners and shudders to see how man’s insatiable greed for minerals and metals is ravaging the environment. Modern Bellary is an example of the devastation caused by mining; the ancient mine I visited is a shining example of how mineral extraction doesn’t need to damage or ravage our environment and leave behind a wasteland. Now, centuries la­ter, the roof of the old mine has collapsed. In ancient ti­mes, when it was a producing mine, it must have been an awe-inspiring site, it still is.

The old mine in Chickmagalur district is not a stray incident of the brilliance of our ancestors. In Gadag district of Karnataka, I have seen many ancient works where our ancestors, many centuries ago, mined for gold. I have climbed a hill that has a large deposit of gold ore; the hill is peppered with holes dug by our ancestors to extract gold bearing ore. One sees no evidence of the gold on the surface, I was accompanied by geologists who showed me gold ore, only then did I realise that I was walking on a mountain of gold. Ancient Indians could identify gold-bearing ore, knew how to mine it and how to extract pure gold from the ore. In another place, where gold ore is available on the surface, I have seen cr­aters where ancient gold pro­spectors patiently ground the surface of the ore-bearing rock, collected the grinds and extracted gold. The rock surface here is dimpled by craters large and small, where ancient miners ground away patiently and extracted miniscule quantities of gold. They knew that the rock contained gold.

In neighbouring Andhra Pradesh too, I have gone down shafts and tunnels dug by our ancestors in pursuit of gold. Ancient India was famous for its diamonds and gems and its mineral wealth, a wealth explored and extracted by those whom we call primitive people.

India was the jewel of the world, a world that lusted for our wealth and our vast kn­owledge. Because of our ancient wisdom and technology, we became the envy of the world. We discovered metals and how to extract them and then lost the technology and wisdom, Europeans recognised the importance of metals and minerals and based on that, ushered in the industrial revolution and conquered the world. We abandoned our ancient wisdom and knowledge; we forgot the technical skills of our ancients and were enslaved.

(Tushar Gandhi is Founder President of Mahatma Gandhi Foundation)

Technical prowess of ancient India

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Legends of Ganga Dynasty Origin

There are various legendary stories of Ganga Dynasty Origin, especially when during 8th to 10th century AD. Let us analyse them

Legends of Origin
Ikshvaku Lineage
Traditional Account of Gangas, says Harischandra of the Ikshvaku vamsa (ikshvaku of Ramayana, Mahabharata) had a son named Bharata, whose wife Vijaya Mahadevei bathed in Ganges to remove her langour and begot Gangadatta, whose posterity were Gangas. On one of inscription, Bhagadatta, was betowed the government of Kalinga, while to sridatta his brother, was given the ancestral kingdom with the elephant which became the Ganga Crest. God Indra gave to priya Bandhu one of this dynasty five tokens with a warning that they would disappear if the king proved an apostate. During the agression by Mahipala of Ujjain on the territory of Padmanabha Ganga demanding surrender of the five tokens, the two sons of padmanabha Ganga with their sister and attendent brahmins and the tokesn were sent southwards to escape assault. These two sons Didiga and Madhava were the founders of Ganga Dynasty. This is 9th century Legend.

Ganges Lineage
Kalinga Ganga inscriptions says that Purvasu, son of Yayati being without sons practiced self restraint and propitiated the river Ganga, which means the obtained a son Gangeya, whose decendents were victorious in the world as Ganga Line.

Krishna Lineage
Durvinita is mentioned in the Gummareddipura Plates as belonging to the lineage of Krishna.

Kanva Lineage
Jayaswal says that Gangas are from Kanvayanas of Magadha. Last king of Kanvayanas was Susarman was taken prisoner and removed to the south by satavahana. The Kanvayana empire according to Jayaswal ended in 28 BC. So he says the Ganga Empire started around that time.

Tumbura Lineage
In the Andhavaram copperplate inscription of Indravarman III of Ganga dynasty, the Gangas are described as the descendants of the Tumbura dynasty. Vayu Purana that at the foot hills of the Vindhyas, there was a Janapada (human habitation) named Tumura, Tumbura.

Kongu region.
Some historians claim the earliest home of the Gangas was the Kongu region in Tamil Nadu accepting in to the twelfth century Shimoga inscription. They further qualify their reasoning with a seventeenth century chronicle called Kongidesarajakkal. They have identified Perur (the place where the prince supposedly met the Jain guru) as a location in the Coimbatore district of Tamil Nadu. This is because some inscriptions call them Konganiyarasas (kings of Kongu region).However it has been pointed out that this epithet may have come into use only because the Kongu region came under their control quite early in their rule. However studies has proven that the earliest lithic record calling the Ganga kings Konganipattam (Kongani crown) starts only with the Serugunda inscription of 6th century, during the rule of King Avinita, indicating the conquest of the Kongu region by Avinita. This is proof enough, , that the Gangas were not natives of the Kongu region of modern Tamil Nadu either. Perur is now identified as Cudappah, Andhra Pradesh.

Ganga Pallava Theory
The Ganga Pallava Theory was propounded by Mr.Hultzsch . His theory is based on Bahur plates which also mention that Konkani verma who is the ancestor of Gangas. According to this theory.

Nirputanga is not a pallava , He unsurped the title of Pallvas, Name Konkani verma present in the geneology in Bahur plates proves that he is decendent of Western Ganga Dynasty not Pallava Dynasty. If you see Ganga-Pallava theory then it is based on the presence of Name.Kongani verma in the plates.

This theory does not take into account that that there is not proof to establish that Nirputanga is decendent of Konkani verma, Konkani mentioned in plates is same as konkani verma of Ganga dynasty, Nirputanga is not decendent of Nandi varma pallavamalla. In this background another person called Venkayya came into picture and added more masala into it. His theory is based on the premise that if the king calls himself pallava then he is pallava. He adds further that the Dantivarman mentioned in Triplicane, Tiruvellarai inscriptions and Nandipottaraiyan of Pallavatilaka family are Pallavas, so the family continued to exist after the death of Nandivarman pallavamalla at the hands of western chalukya king vikramaditya II. But he does not apply the theory to Bahur plates, where Nirputanga calls himself Pallava. And Venkayya proposes the Nandivarman, Danti, are pallava family and there existed another Ganga-Pallava dynasty consist Narashimavarman, Danti, Nandi and Nirputanga of Bahur plates. They carry titles Vijaya. This theory fell flat when inscriptions of Valuvar,Velurpaliayam proved beyond doubt that Successors of Nandivarman pallavamalla has Ko-Visaya Prefix and Nirputanga is son of Nandivarman III. The deciphering of Vayalur plates has given complete geneology of Pallvas as after pallava, asoka, Harigupta, Aryavarman, and Some others. , we have Kalinda, Byamalla, Kamalla, Vimala, Konkanika, Kalabhartri, Chutupallava,Vikrakurchamalla. Which shows the close political association and Marital relations between Pallavas and Gangas.
Bharata Lineage
According to the 1122 AD. inscription of Kalluragudda the Gangas were descendents of the Ikshvaku dynasty which was ruling Ayodhya. The queen Vijayamahadevi, wife of Bharatha of Ayodhya while taking bath in river Ganga birth to a son Gangadatha. The dynasty of Gangadatha who was born by the grace of Ganga river became the Gangas. Vishnugupta of that lineage was so valorous that Lord Indra was pleased by him and he gave him an elephant as a reward. The elephant thus was adopted in the emblem of Gangas. This is a legend and could not be accepted as an historical evidence. However, the story further runs up to the establishmeht of a kingdom by Dadiga and Madhava. Indra was pleased with Padmanabha, another king of this lineage and gave him five emblems or ornamentals seals and cautioned him that if any of the king’s descendents took to unethical path the seals would be destroyed. The king Mahipala of Ujjaini wanted these emblems and brought pressure on Padmanabha. But he refused to give them up and a battle was waged. However, as a precaution he sent his two sons Madhava and Dadiga to south. These brothers who thus came to south met a jain ascetic by name Simhanadi and under his directions they established a small kingdom. It was called Gangavadi 96,000.

Northern origins.
Dr. S.N. Rajaguru has given the following opinion:“Different royal dynasties, while narrating their geneology, were eager to identity themselves with the famous solar or lunar dynasties of the Puranas” Dr. H. K. Mahatab and other historians have given similar opinions and have said that for this reason the geneology available from these inscriptions do not tally with the historical facts.

Ganga and Gangas
Most theories has been based on Ganga and River Ganges. Somehow they should be related. Ganga Empire is called Gangavadi or Gangapadi. However Gangas started their kingdom in Kolar and later Nandi Hills(Near Bangalore). Only later Talavanapura (Talakad) was established as Capital. Inscriptions call them Konganis after their Kongani verma, though they call themselves Kanga vamsa.

Kalinga Gangas
The Western Ganga king Durvinita is mentioned in Gummareddipura Plates as belonging to the lineage of Krisna, a fact which induces the conclusion that the both Gangas were same like the Kalinga Gangas who formed an important line in the seventh and eigth centuries and continued their rule down to the sixteenth century.

Pallava - Ganga
Ganga Harivarma was installed to the throne by Pallava Simhavishnu. We can arrive at the Chronology by Synchronism of Pallavas and Gangas for the starting point of Ganga Dyansty. We arrive at 340 for Kongani Madhava Coronation.

Simhanandin cornation of Dadiga.
Konganivarman and son Madhava if assumed ruled for 100 years than, we arrive at date 350 AD. Now his brother Dadiga helped by by Acharya Simhanandin for foundation of Ganga Rule. This is mentioned in many inscriptions and is a collateral fact. Acharya Simhanandin is mentioned with Elacharya Padmanandin. But nowhere is Kundakunda is Mentioned, whose is dated in 8 BC- 44 AD. Now Samadrabhatra is mentioned before Simhanandin in inscriptions and he cannot be dated before 250 AD. But this will also take Simhanandin past 300 AD. So Cornation of Kongani Verma is around 340AD.

Simhanandi Vow for Gangas.
If you fail in what you promise, if you
descend from the J aina Sasana, if you take the
wives of others, if you are addicted to spirits or
flesh, if you associate with the base, if you give
not to the needy, if you flee in battle-your
race will go to ruin

(From Inscriptions we get )
Kampa (Founder)
Padmanabha (Saka 111 or 188 AD) (188 - 239)(Contemproary of Mahipala)(Daughter Alabbe)
Madivarma (Madhava Verma) (Married Alabbe)(Sons Konganivarma Madhava, Dadiga, Unknown)
Konganivarman Madhava Mahadhiraja (340-370AD)(Son Madhavavarma)(Conquerer of Bana Mandala)
Dadiga (Defeated Matsya Army)(Crowned by Simhanandi)
Kiriya Madhavavarma Mahadhiraja I (Wrote Commentary on Dattaka Sutra) (Sons Harivarma, Aryavarma, Krishnavarma)

Talakad Mainline
Harivarman (390-410AD) (Used Elephants in War, Built Capital Talavanapura(Talakad))
Vishnugopa (Worshipper of Narayana (Vishnu), protector of Brahmans, Cows)
Madhava II Tandangala (430-466AD) (Married Sister of Kadamba Krishnavarma)(Worshipper of Tryambaka (Shiva))
Avinita Kongani(466-495AD)(Appointed as Infant on Mothers Lap)(Under Jain Guru VijayaKirti) (Married Daughter of Skandavarma Raja of Punnad)
Durvinita Kongani (495 - 535AD) (Wrote Commentary on Kiratarajuniya (by Bharavi))(Jain Grammarian and his Perceptor Pujyapada wrote Sabdavatara)(Defeated Pallava Jayasimha, annexed Kaduvetti and placed his daughters son on throne)(Conquered Andari,Alattur(in Coimbator), Porulaye(in Chengalpet), Pennagara(in salem) and others)(Worshipped Vishnu)
Mushkara (Mokkara)(535-608AD)(Married daughter of Sindhu Raja) (Son Srivikrama)
Srivikrama (608 - 654) (Sons Bhuvikrama(Monovinita, Sri Vallabha, Kesiga), Durgamara(Dugga), Shivamara(SthiraVinita, Ghana Vinita, Sripurusha, Navakama, Nava Chokka, Sivakumara)(Married Princess of Sindhu Raja(Sindha ruler of Erambarige))

(Bhuvikrama of Kolar Branch Took over the Talakad Branch after Death of Srivikrama)
Sivamara I (Sons Duggamara, Ereganga (Ereyappa)) (Navakama, Prithuvi Kongani,Sripurusha I) (679 - 713)(Has under his guardianship two grandsons of Pallavas)
EreGanga (Son Sripurusa II (Muttarasa))
Prithvipati (Prithuyasas)(726)(Defeated Pandya Varguna, lost life saving his friend)(sons Marasimha, Kamaranava(brothers Went to Kalinga to establish Eastern Gangas))
Sripurusha II (Muttarasa, Permanadi, Prithuvi Kongani) (726-777) (Grandson of Sivamara)(Sons Sivamara,Duggamara, Lokaditya)(Reconquered Kaduvetti from Pallavas)(Changed capital to Manne in Nelamangala)(Reinstated Bana King Hastimalla)(Author of Gajas Astra)
Shivamara II(Saigotta) (780 - 814) (Son Marasimha)(Author of Gajashataka)(Took on the Combined might of Rastrakutas, Chalukyas, Haihaya Chiefs at Murungundur (Mudugundur,Mandya))(Twice Imprisoned by Rastrakutas)(Died Fighting Rastrakutas)
(Rastrakuta Appointed own Viceroys Dharavarsha's Son Kambha or Ranavaloka (802AD), Chakki Raja (813AD))
Vijayaditya (814-869)(Brother of Shivamara)
Rachamalla I (Satyavakya)(869 - 893)(Son of Vijayaditya)(Sons Ereyappa, Buttuga)
Ereyappa (Mahendrantaka)(921 AD)
Butuga (Ganga Gangeya)(930-963) (Slew half brother Ereyappa and took Crown)(Married Rastrakuta Amoghavarha Daughter)(Expanded Kingdom to Banavasi, Belvola, Purigere, Kisukad, Bginad, Subdued seven Malavas)(Defeated and Killed Chola king at Takkola)(Son Marula Deva )
Neetimarga I (Marula, Nanniya Ganga)(Son of Buttuga)(893 - 915) (Married daugher of Rastrakuta Krishna)
Marasimha (Nolambakulantaka)(963-974AD)(Slain all Nolambas)
Rachamalla II (974 - 984AD) (Indepedent of Rastrakutas)(Minister Chamunda Raya Erected the Gomata Image at Sravana Belgola)
Rakkasaganga (Govindara) (984) (Brother of Rachamalla)
Ganga Raja (996-1004)
Neetimarga Permanadi (1004- 1025AD)

Paruvi Branch
Vijaya Krishnavarma (Sons Simhavarma, Viravarma)
(reunited to Talakad Branch by Madhava II)

Kaivara Branch

(reunited to Talakad Branch by Madava II)

Kovalala Nadu (Kolar) BranchSrivallabha(Defeated Pallavas under Mahendra Varma Pallava 633AD)(Married Princess of Renadu Chola)
Ajavarma Mahadhiraja Kaduvisama
Jayateja (810AD)

Inscriptions linking Gangas to North India and Ganges, come in 9th and 10th century AD, when every dynasty in India linked themselves to Rama, Krishna or Ikshvaku lineage. Gangas are no exception. The rulers mentioned Kampa, Madiverma, Kongani, Dadiga, Durvanita, Avinita are all Kannada Names, though Padmanabha, Madhava are sanskrit names. The Kannada Names indicate that they are local dyansty. Ganga rulers were also one of the earliest dynasties to use Kannada in Administration and Inscriptions.

There are several Gangavadi's in Karnataka alone, let alone South India. So Ganga being a Holy river, it is not surprising that Gangas called their kingdom Gangavadi.

Indologists have confused us lot about chronology due to multiple branches of Gangas ruling simultaneously. Now many inscriptions which were termed spurious has been found to be genuine in the context of acceptance of multiple branches of Ganga Dynasty. The same problem has been found and solved in the case of Multiple Branches of Kadamba, Pallava Dynasties has been now identified and chronology corrected.

Certain Branches of Ganga and Pallava had matrimonial relations. So there are Ganga names in Pallava inscriptions and vice versa. That should not be the basis for Ganga Pallava theory.

Eastern Gangas are decendents of Prithvipati of Ganga Dynasties. So both have same stories on their origin.

Kongu region got its name because it was conquered and ruled by Kongani Madhava. Even today you can see Koundar (Related to Gowdas of Karnataka) in Kongu region speaking Tamil with Kannada Grammar. These region were under Ganga rule for around 800 Years. The Indigenous rulers who came out of Kongu region like Adigaman dynasty can be seen owing alligence to Hoysalas rather than Cholas. So there is a strong link between Kongu region and Gangas. But to suggest that Perur near Coiimbator is Ganga perur and Kongani got his name from Kongu region is false. The Simhanandi Perur has been identified as Ganga perur near Cuddapah region. We can see that nearby Raichur region in karnataka in ancient time was known

Early Gangas of Talakad by Srikanth Shastri
Gangas of Talakad by M V Krishna Rao
Sources of Karnataka History by Srikanth shastri
Indian Archeology Review 1978-79
The Origin of Ganga Dynasty - A New Insight by Harihar Kanungo

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Anti-colonial uprisings in Karnataka 1800-1860

The micro-stories from different parts of Karnataka during the six decades of 19th century (1800-1860) give us an indication of the wide-spread nature of anti-colonial struggles in different parts of India. Clearly they had spread among commoners and gentry and a national anti-colonial consciousness had seeped down to the remotest village.

It is unfortunate that we in India have not studied the facts regarding the 1857 revolt nor have we digested the lessons from it. Our conception is dominated by the British narrative. In short, they painted the revolt as a feudal reaction to the modernity of industrial Britain. British historians took great pains to paint all the leaders and heroes of 1857 as decadent, two-faced, selfish, reactionary, turn-coats who were fighting against loss of privileges and had no conception of national consciousness or peoples’ welfare. More over according to British historians, to carry out their personal agendas, the leaders inflamed religious fanaticism and misled people who were otherwise happy to be ruled by the British. Of course they also displayed British colonial “even handedness and fair play”, by pointing out that there was “some disaffection in the population and even the troops of the British Indian Army caused by the high handedness of some Company officials, however things became fine after the Company was replaced by the British Crown through Queen Victoria’s Proclamation in 1858 and “the rule of law” was established".

However a remarkably rich literature exists in various Indian languages in the form of ballads, folk songs and legends and even documents and reports, which is not accessible to English readers. An excellent beginning in giving the Indian point of view was made by V D Savarkar in his book “The Indian war of independence 1857”, published underground in 1907. It has been followed up in the last 20 years by various micro studies and finally by a significant two volume work, “War of Civilisations: 1857 AD” by Amaresh Misra.
This article tries to put together some highlights of anti-colonial struggles in the post-Hyder-Tipu-Karnataka from 1800-1860. In 1779 itself Hyder and Tipu had tried to put together a confederacy and worked out an agreement with Nana Fadanvis, Janoji Bhosle, Mahadji Scindhia and Nizam according to which Hyder was supposed to attack the Arcot area and Madras, Janoji Bhosle on Bengal, Nana Fadanvis and Mahadji Scindhia on Bombay and the Nizam on Circar districts. While Hyder and Tipu went ahead with the plan the others did not. If this grand plan had succeeded then perhaps India would have been rid of British colonial rule 80 years before 1857. However the narrow concerns of some rulers enabled the East India Company to meticulously play on petty selfishness and rule a continental sized diverse country like India for almost two hundred years.

In this article we have put together some highlights of anti-colonial uprisings in Karnataka between 1800 and 1860. The great struggle between Hyder Ali-Tipu Sultan and the British was already over by 1799 with Tipu’s death in the 4th Anglo-Mysore war. The micro-stories from different parts of Karnataka in those six decades tell us how wide-spread the anti-colonial struggles were in different parts of India and how they had spread among commoners and gentry and how deep the consciousness had seeped down to the remotest village.

On the occasion of Golden Jubilee of the formation of Karnataka State many historians have documented to a considerable degree the colonial history of Karnataka. They have recorded dozens of armed uprisings in Karnataka prior to 1857 besides the most famous one led by Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan. One can see concrete linkages of these revolts with the uprising in the North. Many letters of request of support written by Nanasaheb to various principalities in North and coastal Karnataka, which were responded to by local kings have also come to light.

After the defeat and Tipu’s death in the battle field in the fourth Anglo-Mysore war (1799), Karnataka was literally torn asunder between the British presidencies of Bombay and Madras; Nizam of Hyderabad and Marathas. A small dependency was created under the tutelage of Wodeyars as the kingdom of Mysore, which increased the land revenue and the burden on peasantry in an arbitrary manner to satisfy British demands. This led to uprisings in kingdom of Mysore as well as areas of Karnataka which had now been brought under, Nizam, Maratha and British rule. A few of them are briefly described below:

Dhondiya Wagh (1800):
One of the first to revolt against the new arrangement was Dhondiya Wagh. He was born in Chennagiri near Mysore. He joined Hyder Ali’s cavalry in 1780. Later he developed differences with Tipu, who incarcerated him. Hence British soldiers found Dhondiya in Srirangapattana’s prison when they ransacked the city after the death of Tipu. Dhondiya was released, who however immediately vanished and tried to gather the demobilised Tipu’s soldiers. Very soon he built up a significant armed force with a cavalry etc. He kept moving from territory to territory and capturing small towns and forts that had been taken over by Marathas, British and the Nizam. Governor General, Richard Wellesley was exasperated by Dhondiya’s revolt and assigned his brother Arthur Wellesley (Later to be known as Duke of Wellington, who defeated Napolean at Waterloo) to suppress Dhondiya’s revolt. He sent troops not only from Madras but even summoned some from Bengal.
The theatre of Dhondiya’s war encompassed forts at Chitradurg, Savanur, Shimoga, Bidanur, Honnali, Harihar, Shikaripur, Kittur, Londa, Ranebennur, Kundgol, Shirahatti, Kunigal, Dharwad, Gadag, Raichur, Hungund etc. Practically it encompassed all of Central and North Karnataka. He was supported by the people and smaller principalities (samsthana) that were discontented with the British. Tipu’s son Fateh Hyder supported him and Tipu’s former soldiers were the core of his forces which at one point grew to over 70,000 with a 30,000 strong cavalry. The British troops were led by Col, Stevenson, Col Wellesly, Col Tolin, Col Mclean, Col Darlymple. The heroic campaign lasted from June 1799 to September 1800. In the end Dhondiya was cornered by British, Maratha and Nizam’s troops and fell for a bullet in the battle at Konegal.
British historians have painted him as "rogue bandit”, whereas Dhondiya himself had the title of “lord of both the worlds” among his people. Edward Clive a British officer later admired his organising ability and said “what started as an anarchic revolt became a major international war”. Nationalist historians have described him as, “a person with great determination and a magnetic personality”.

Venkatadri Nayak (1803)
Aigur (Ballam) Venkatadri Nayak was another leader who started his revolt when the British were tied down by Dhondiya Wagh. His father Krishnappa Nayak, was made the ruler of Aigur by Hyder Ali. But Krishnappa betrayed him and joined the Marathas in 1792 and helped the British. After the war he was scared of Tipu and ran away to Kodagu (Coorg). However Tipu did not punish him but instead reinstated him. On Tipu’s defeat in 1799, Krishnappa’s son Venkatadri Nayak became the ruler of Aigur. He was ambitious and started expanding his territory. Venkatadri Nayak captured Subrahmanya Ghat, a crucial pass in the Sahyadris with access to Mangalore. He attacked the British troops at Arakere and also defeated a 2500 strong army sent by Wodeyar of Mysore.

Venkatadri Nayak came to be known as the Bull Raja and Ballam Raja. Wellesley took his revolt very seriously and made an elaborate plan to capture him by getting troops from Mangalore as well as Bombay, Bidnur and Sondha. The British tried to organise all the Patels of surrounding villages against him and also terrorised the population by executing many of his sympathisers. They generally followed a scorched earth policy to prevent him getting any food supplies. The campaign lasted nearly three years and finally on February 10, 1803 he and his 6 followers were arrested when they were in search of food supplies. All the insurgents were later executed. Thus two great warriors were suppressed by the British with Machiavellian tactics using the Mysore Wodeyars, Marathas and the Nizam.

Koppal Veerappa (1819):
As mentioned earlier Karnataka was torn asunder between Nizam, Marathas and the British after Tipu’s defeat. The North eastern parts were taken over by Nizam, who put unbearable burden on the peasantry. The Nizam was totally under British control with the Subsidiary Alliance signed in 1800. As a result of which the Nizam had to pay for the British Subsidiary Force stationed to “protecthim” and even accept the humiliating condition that the British would decide who the top bureaucrat—the Diwan of Hyderabad would be. As Nizam’s unbridled oppression with heavy taxation increased, there was no way but for the peasantry to revolt. One such revolt was led by Veerappa in Koppal in 1818. Veerapaa was a small landowner in Koppal, he built a force and captured Koppal and Bahadur ( forts built by Hyder Ali 40 years earlier. British forces led by Major Doughton and Brig General Pritzler rushed to crush Veerappa and Nizam’s general Idruskhan also joined them. Veerappa fought valiantly for five days with only 500 men and died in battle. Even though Veerappa’s rebellion was confined to a small area around Koppal, it represented a popular peasant revolt and inspired many more in the region.

Deshmukhs of Bidar (1820)
After Tipu’s defeat the remnants of the old Bahmani Kingdom of Bidar too were incorporated into Nizam’s rule and burdened with heavy taxation. As a result revolts started appearing in 1820 in Udgir. Using Suliyal as their base the local Deshmukhs led by Shivalingayya, Tirumal Rao and Meghsham led this revolt. Hence this revolt is known as the revolt of Deshmukhs. The Nizam relied on British help to suppress the Deshmukhs. Lt. Gen. Sutherland was assigned for the same and he defeated them in a campaign lasting two months and imprisoned them.

Sindagi Revolt (1824)
The popular revolt against the British spread to Bijapur too and in Sindagi, 40 km from Bijapur the local people led by Chidambar Dikshit, his son Diwakar Dikshit and Diwakar’s comrades Shettyappa, Raoji and Rastiya declared sovereignty of people of Sindagi. They took over Sindagi Taluk and boldly declared that “British Raj does not exist here and we anyway do not recognise it. We are sovereign”. British could not tolerate this challenge to their rule in such a brazen way even if though it was confined to a Taluk in North Karnataka. They sent forces led by Lt. Stevenson to capture the leaders. However the forces could not locate the leaders. A traitor Annappa Patne however showed the hiding place to the British. The local people who came to know the same lynched Annappa on the spot. However the British were able to capture the leaders and imprison them. The revolt was confined to a Taluk, but showed advanced consciousness.

Rani Chennamma and the Kittur Revolt (1824)
Rani Chennamma of Kittur is a veritable icon in Karnataka and was perhaps one of the first women leaders who fought against British Raj. To this day she inspires people. She was born in the Desai family of Kakati, a small village in the wealthy kingdom of Kittur, which stood around 5 km north of Belgavi in Karnataka. In her youth she received training in horse riding, sword fighting and archery. She became the queen of Kittur on her marriage to Shivalinga Rudra Sarja, of the Desai family of Kittur.

Kittur was a principality (samsthana) covering large parts of Dharwad and Belgavi districts and was paying tributes to Marathas after the fall of Tipu. However after the fall of Marathas in 1818, Kittur came under British rule. Shivalinga Rudra Sarja did not have children and when he fell sick, he asked his close confidant Gurusiddappa to choose a boy from the surrounding region to be adopted as the heir to the throne. Shivalingappa was such a boy who was then trained in appropriate manner, renamed Mallasarja and adopted as the heir to Kittur. Shivalinga Rudra Sarja died soon after on September 11, 1824.

Chennamma started ruling the kingdom in the name of the minor prince. However Thackeray the then collector and political agent in Dharwad arbitrarily refused to recognise this and asked the British Governor, Elphinstone in Bombay to take over the kingdom under paramountcy—a ruse three decades later formalised by Dalhousie as the Doctrine of Lapse.

In a clear act of provocation he declared that the treasury of the kingdom was not safe and hence brought in his own guards and administrators to “protect” the same. He even left a few soldiers to “guard” the main gate of Kittur Fort. These provocations enraged the people of Kittur. Chennamma patiently tried to get justice and sent her emissaries to talk to the “Company Sarkar” (British East India Company) and at the same time started strengthening the fort and carrying out various military preparations anticipating a conflict. She called all the loyal fighters from the surrounding region and discussed the situation with them, sought their advice and loyalty. Thackeray was surprised by the Rani’s gumption. He invited the Rani for talks, which she refused. While Thackeray was gathering his forces the fighters of Kittur readied themselves inside the fort and carried out a daring attack on the British forces. Chennamma directed the battle from the ramparts of the fort. On her orders, Balasaheb Sayyad, Rani Chennamma’s loyal sharpshooter, killed Thackeray. Thus Thackeray came to a sorry end on October 23, 1824 and along with him two more officers Capt.. Black Stevenson and Lt. Dicton also died. British forces were roundly defeated and many were taken prisoners by the insurgents.

This was a great setback for British Raj and its cultivated image as an invincible force in the region. They soon gathered forces from Sholapur, Mysore and Bombay and neared Kittur. Rani sent them a message that if they attack Kittur then all British prisoners of war will be put to death and then the people of Kittur will fight to death. Taken aback, Chaplin, Commissioner of Deccan sent a message that if the British prisoners are released and Sardar Gurusiddappa is handed over then the status quo will prevail. Chennamma refused to hand over Gurusiddappa but released British prisoners as an act of good faith. However Chaplin had no intention of keeping his end of the deal and sent his forces under the leadership of Lt.. Col Deacon to siege Kittur on Dec. 3, 1824. The fighters of Kittur fought bravely for three days, however due to treachery they found that their gun powder had been mixed with cow dung and made useless. The fort fell. Rani Chennamma escaped with the younger Rani Veeramma through a secret passage towards Sangolli where she had supporters.

However British were able to intercept her on her way and capture her. She was imprisoned in Bailhongal prison. After incarceration of four years Chennamma died in prison on February 3, 1829. The Kittur countryside was full of rebellion for over five years. The leader of this rebellion was Rani Chennamma’s ardent admirer Rayanna of Sangolli.

Sangolli Rayanna (1829)
Rayanna was born in a shepherd family in Sangolli, a village in Belgavi district. The family had a fighting tradition and was loyal to the Desais of Kittur. Rayanna fought with the Kittur army in 1824 and was captured by the British after the defeat of Rani. However soon he was released as a part of British pacification program. His family members had generous tax free lands given as Inam by the Desais, for their earlier bravery and loyalty. However the Company Sarkar now increased the taxes and eventually confiscated his lands. In November-December 1829, when he was restless, some of his friends invited him to lead a revolt against the British. Rayanna soon started a guerrilla war suitable to the surrounding landscape. He gathered a compact group of fighters and started attacking treasuries and rich land owners who were British collaborators. He seized mortgage and debt documents of peasantry from them and burnt them. He soon gathered over 1000 fighters and harassed the British and their collaborators relentlessly.
Realising that it was not possible to capture Rayanna by conventional warfare, British adopted other means to do so. They sent in some spies into his army and caught him unarmed when he was bathing in a river. He and his associates were executed and many sent abroad for life imprisonment.

Interestingly though British rewarded the traitors who betrayed Rayanna very generously through land grants, the entire community socially boycotted them. Even today the legend has it that those families are cursed for generations and if anyone goes to their homes for a lunch or dinner as a guest then the food in their plates will turn into maggots!

Rayanna’s revolt inspired other loyalists of Kittur too to rise up time and again. Gurusiddappa, Shankaranna, Gajapati, Savai Shetti, Kotagi, Shaikh Suleiman, Bheemanna, Kaddigudda Balanna, Waddar Yellannaetcled several uprisings against the British in support of Kittur for almost a decade. The rebels executed the traitors who had betrayed Rayanna and rose up time and gain demonstrating their love and pride for the Rani Chennamma of Kittur.

Nagar Peasant Revolt (1830-31)
Nagar comprised of the taluks of Sagar, Nagar, Kowlidurga, Koppa, Lakwally, Sorab, Shikarpur, Shivamogga, Honnaly, Harihar, Chennagiri, Tarikere, Kadur, and Chickamagalur. Besides, there were 5277 villages, 1277 hamlets. Its population was 459,842. The Ikkeri dynasty ruled this region and gained respect and prestige through an independent distinguished rule from the Vijaynagar times to late 18th century when they were taken over by Hyder Ali and Tipu. The region had a fighting tradition. When the Wodeyars and Diwan Poornaiah were installed in Mysore by East India Company after Tipu’s defeat, the region came under heavy taxation. In fact nearly 60% of the Kingdom’s revenues were coming from this region alone. After suffering from the duo’s arbitrariness for three decades, 1800-1830, the region was ripe for rebellion against the Wodeyars and their protectors—the “Company Sarkar”.

The administration was entirely corrupt and filled with nepotism and casteism. The local Nayak’s and Patels and ryots were fed up of this state of affairs and the heavy tax burden. This situation was utilised by Boodi Basavappa, who assumed leadership of the uprising and declared himself the new ruler. He declared sovereignty and pardoned the heavy taxes and peasant debt to Sahukars (money lenders).
The result was one of the largest peasant revolts in colonial India.

According to Dr.. Siddalinga Swamy, the greatest burden to cultivators was an advance payment of money to the government before the grain was harvested. As no renter, or cultivator had money to advance, he was obliged to take recourse to the Sahukars, who advanced money at the rate of two percent per month and extracted a present of five percent upon the advance. For the second and third instalment, a present was not demanded; but when the fourth was to be paid the crops were to be mortgaged. Most lenders insisted upon an immediate sale, and became the purchasers themselves at the bazar price, which would then be lower than at any other period. Many debt burdened ryots flocked to the government to make complaints against Sahukars. But the government were powerful. The Government also owed large sums of money to Sahukars. In February 1826 the peasant debt to Sahukarsin Nagar was estimated at 4 lakh.

This sorry state of affairs depicted a weak and ignorant government managed by corrupt officers, unable to correct the sources of evil inherent in it. As the Wodeyar’s Government was corrupt, no control was exercised over the district officers. Naturally the people were enraged by the unjust and arbitrary acts of those officers. There was no process in the country which required public servants to hear the complaints of the ryots. This was the fertile ground for the insurrection in 1830.

Taking advantage of this, Basavappa spread the news that he had assumed the sovereignty of the country and promised the ryots full remission of all balance debt. A reduction of the Government tax demand on their lands was also promised, if they would espouse his cause. Many inflammatory speeches were made by supporters of Boodi Basavappa in August 1830, asking ryots to join them. One of his supporters, made an unsuccessful attempt to capture the fort of Anandapur in Nagar province. On 23rd August the ryots of Nagar circulated a letter in the other fouzdaris, inviting other ryots to assemble in a koota (assembly). On 23rd September the ryots of Chennagiri refused to pay their taxes, and other taluks in Nagar fouzdari followed them. In December, Fouzdar Viraraj Urs employed troops to disperse demonstrators at Holehonnur. The ryots of the Chitradurg and Bangalore Divisions also refused to pay taxes and joined the movement.

In the meantime efforts were made by Diwan Venkat Raj in Bangalore and Chitradurg Divisions to pacify the ryots. The Maharaja himself under took to tour some of the taluks in December 1830. However he was humiliated by the ryots in Channarayapattana and in many other places.

The rebels gave a good fight to the troops. They captured some of the forts in Nagar, and in many places they repulsed the Mysore troops.

On the 21st of December 1830 a Proclamation was issued directing all persons carrying bones and Neem leaves (the symbols of insurrection) to be seized, tried and if convicted, to be hanged. On the following day instructions were given to the fouzdar of Bangalore to fire on the protesters and to catch one or two protesters in each taluk and hang them to spread terror among the populace. Many of the rebels were caught and hanged. Some of the rebels’ noses and ears were cut off resulting in several persons being badly disfigured.

The Raja said that this measure was indispensable to put down the rebellion. As a result hundreds of ryots were hanged throughout the territory. The Raja asserted that in ordering executions he did not act of his own accord, but in compliance with the advice of the British Resident.

The reverses to the Mysore troops led to the employment of Company’s forces to quell the revolt. On 31st May 1831, the stronghold of the rebels, Nagar, was captured and the revolt was practically quelled. But stray bands of insurgency continued till 1832 when it was completely suppressed.

The rebellion was spontaneous and did not have a visionary leadership but it however demonstrated the widespread anger among different sections of Kannadigas against the British rule and as well as their puppets like the Wodeyars and Poornaiah. The Company however used the occasion to further strip any element of autonomy from the Wodeyars and Governor General William Bentinck, appointed commissioners to administer the region.

Coastal Uprisings (1830-31)
There were widespread uprisings against heavy taxation in the coastal regions of Karnataka. These regions had first protested the taxes earlier in 1809-1810. The later agitations learnt from this experience and were consequently more audacious.

The documents of East India Company have called these revolts as Koota revolts. Kootaswere general assemblies of people of a village or town, where they asserted their sovereignty, and hence a form of direct democracy.

The mass struggle started in early 1830 and assumed a host of forms. The most important of these, however, was the koota or simply ‘gathering’. The mass awakening was ignited through their assembly into kootas which was a broad forum to organize the masses. While the struggles might have been spontaneous, the form was quite well developed.

The signs of the peasant unrest could be seen in the closing months of 1830, when the ryots gave general petitions complaining of their losses. But they developed and came to the fore in the beginning months of 1831. The ryots of Kasargod, Kumbla, Mogral, Manjeshwar, Bungra Manjeshawar and Talapady sent general arzees (petitions) and complaints of their losses to Dickinson the Collector of South Kanara.
In their petitions, the ryots not only complained about the harsh revenue assessment of November 1830, but they also demanded remission to them all at a uniform rate.

In the second stage, beginning of January 1831, the ryots started their Kootas or assemblages.
It was in Bekal (Kasargod) that the Kootas started in the first week of January 1831 and within a few days they spread to the northern parts of Kanara.

Barkur, Brahmavar, Buntwal, Madhur, Manjeshwar, Mulki, Kadri, Kumbla, Malluly (Malali), Wamanjoor, Mogral, Udyawar, Uppinangadi and Vittal were some of the important places where the ryots of the respective regions had assembled in Kootas or assemblages. The Kootas extended to North Kanara also. Manjunatha temple at Kadri was the centre of these peasant uprisings, where the Grand Koota [MahaKoota] was organised towards the end of January 1831. Ryots from other important centres of the district such as Kasargod and Buntwal came and met at Kadri. The Venkataramana temple at Basrur, the Mahamayi temple at Mangalore, the temple at Manjeswar and another temple at Wamanjoor were other important centres of the Koota movement.

In order to organise these Kootas, the ryots assigned one Patel and two head ryots in each of the villages. When any aspect was discussed and plan or action was proposed in the Kootas, these leaders disseminated them to the ryots in the villages. Further, each of the Kootas had its own leaders and all of them met and discussed (at the Grand Koota in Kadri). The organisers of these Kootas also made use of a ‘Secret Council’ or a secretariat. The object of this Council was to maintain the secrecy of the whole organisational affair of the Kootas. However, the result of the deliberations of this Council was communicated to the various assemblies or Kootas. Thus the Secret Council played the role of a linking and organising body in these peasant uprisings. It in fact acted as a think-tank of the rebellion. Further, anonymous pamphlets were made use of by the leaders to spread their ideas and programmes among the ryots.

The participants in these Kootas at times made bold to attack Government servants. Before Dickinson left Kundapura for Mangalore at the end of January 1831 he received reports from the Tahsildar of Barkur that the ryots of that taluk had assembled in Koota and had assaulted some of the public servants. The report of the Tahsildar of Barkur says that a Magane Shanbhog, who was deputed to read a government proclamation was severely assaulted. Again at Mulki the ryots roughed up an Ameen who had been sent to read them a proclamation issued by the Government. The ryots were determined to refuse to give taxes to the Government, until a fresh settlement was made, and their mood was so defiant that they unhesitatingly attacked those public servants whom they feared not long back. The growing sense of unity among themselves and faith in their organisational strength had emboldened them to take such postures of defiance. The peasant rebellion that surfaced in the month of November 1830 continued up to the end of March 1831. It was after Cameron’s promise (March 1831) to the riots that their petitions would be considered and remissions would be made after an examination of their losses to redress their hardships that they dispersed and stopped organising the Kootas. Thus by April 1831 the rumblings of Koota rebellions died down.

Kodagu (Coorg) Revolts (1833-37)
After the defeat of Tipu, the East India Company could not directly rule Kodagu. They had to restore the kingdom to the traditional kings of Haleri dynasty who were earlier displaced by Hyder and Tipu. However these Haleri kings were fiercely independent and particularly Chikka Veera Rajendra (1820-34) was a proud and independent king. He refused to follow British diktat and instead armed his population and built up his forces to resist any British attack. He corresponded with Maharaja Ranjit Singh of Punjab and sought his support against the British.

There were constant skirmishes between him and the British administration, which was based in Bangalore and Mysore and finally a war between the British and Kodava forces was inevitable. Despite brave fight put up by the Kodavas the British were able to capture the Madikeri fort through treachery in 1834 and depose the king. He was sent in Exile to Bangalore, Kashi and later London.

However the fighting people of Kodagu did not take this lying down and several revolts took place. These were led by Swami Aparampaar, Kalyan Swami and Putta Basava. All these fighters claimed to be heirs to Kodagu throne one after another and sought support from the people in their fight against the British in the name of Haleri dynasty. Each one of them was given due respect and recognition by the people as true heirs of Kodagu and thousands joined them. All of them sought to throw out British from Kodagu, cancel the taxes imposed by them and fought for an independent life for Kodavas. These uprisings went on from 1834 to 1837.

Other revolts before 1857
There were several other revolts which were local and minor in dimension but which had a lot of impact on the psyche of the people of North Karnataka between 1840 and 1857. One of them was in Badami, a town in today’s Bagalkot district, which has an ancient history and was the capital of Chalukyas who ruled much of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh between 6th and 8th centuries CE. An army built by loyalists of the deposed king of Satara took over the fort and established their rule in 1839-40. They were suppressed by British Army and the leaders sentenced to death and life imprisonment.
Similarly there were uprisings in Nippani, currently in Belgavi district, in 1840-41, where over 300 Arab fighters under the leadership of local Zamindar, Raghunath Rao attacked the fort and took it over. Later they were suppressed by the Company Army. In 1849 the Paleygar of Chitradurga rose up unsuccessfully. Revolts led by Lingappa in Bidar in 1852 harassed the British for several months and he had captured several forts.

Uprisings in Karnataka during Ghadar of 1857
There were several uprisings in Karnataka during the Ghadar in 1857 and went on till 1860. Unlike the Gangetic belt, where the revolt was signalled by mutiny of British Indian Army, which were then followed by revolts led by Nanasaheb, Zeenat Mahal, Rani Laxmibai of Jhansi, Kunwar Singh et al, the Karnataka revolts were popular uprisings led by local peasant leaders, or small principalities who linked their local struggles with the larger national one that was being fought under Bahadur Shah Zafar and Nana Saheb’s leadership. The area of uprising covered the entire districts from the coastal Canara (present day Karwar and Mangalore) in the Madras Presidency, to the eastern Raichur and Koppal districts under the Nizam; from Bijapurand Dharwadin the North in Bombay Presidency to Sringeri and Hassan in the south.
Notable among them are the uprisings of: Bedasin Halagali near Bijapur; revolt of Nargund near Gadag and Dharwad; revolt of Mundargi Bhimaraya; revolt of Venkatappa Nayak of Surpur near Gulburga and Supa revolts near Karwar.

Bedas of Halagali
One of the fighting tribes which fought the British tooth and nail from 1820’s to 1942 and formed the backbone of many uprisings in the Deccan (comprising Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra) were Bedas who descended from hunters. They have been called Ramoshis, Berad, or Bedas, Boya, Dorabiddu and Valmiki in different areas.

Bearing arms to protect themselves and the community and their king was part of their life and they did it with great pride. The prince of Mudhol had accepted British overlordship and the Bedas in the area were seething with dissatisfaction. The East India Company announced on 11 September, 1857 that all Indians should disarm, submit their arms to the company and then get licences to carry arms. This was simply out of question for Bedas. Hence when the Company Sarkar’s edict was sought to be implemented by the King of Mudhol principality, the Bedas of Halagali and surrounding area considered it a great insult and defied him. They did not allow any official to enter their villages. They did not even allow an arms’ census to be taken and did not accept the offer that they will not be actually disarmed but will all be given licences to bear arms. They said, “Bearing arms is our birth right and why should we take anybody’s permission for the same?”
The revolt, which started in a small village called Halagali, kept snowballing and started spreading to surrounding areas. The British Raj saw it as a serious threat to its rule and when the local ruler was not able to suppress it, Major Malcolm summoned the southern Maratha regiment let by Lt. Col Seton Karr. The bedas, though vastly outnumbered, fought fiercely for their rights. The British followed a scorched earth policy in the region and after the final battle captured 290 Bedas and hanged 19 leaders of the uprising in Mudhol market in December 1857.

Nargund Bandaya (revolt)
The principality of Nargund used to be under the Peshwas after the defeat of Tipu. After the defeat of Peshwas in 1818, it came under British overlordship. Bhaskar Rao Bhave also known as Baba Saheb rose to the throne of Nargund in 1842 and administered this region efficiently. However he did not have a son and told the British that he would adopt a son to create an heir for Nargund. The British refused permission and asked him to return some of the land received as Inam. This enraged Baba Saheb and he got in touch with several rulers in Karnataka like Mundaragi Bhimaraya, Surpur Venkatappa Nayakaand many others. He was aware of the north Indian uprising and wanted to time his revolt also in June of 1857. However he postponed the date at the last moment. Meanwhile the British came across his correspondence with other rulers due to some traitors and informers. They were alarmed by it but Baba Saheb’s external conduct with them was friendly and proper and hence they were lulled into not taking immediate action. However, when they came to know that he had accumulated a large amount of artillery and ammunition in his fort in Nargund, they asked him to deposit the same in Dharwad. He readily agreed and sent them with an escort to Dharwad. Simultaneously he secretly organised an attack on the convoy and brought them back to Nargund, while claiming innocence.

In May 1858 when the British sent a force to prevent his networking with other rulers, he attacked them and brought the decapitated head of officer Manson, the head of British force sent to suppress him, to his fort and displayed it to the people. Meanwhile he discovered treachery within his fort leading to sabotage and adulteration of gun powder with cow dung. While he went to attack the fort in Amargol near Hubballi, British came to Nargund with a large force. Baba Saheb had over 2500 soldiers within the fort who fought valiantly, when the defeat was imminent, Baba Saheb consulted his comrades and decided to escape to a nearby forest. However in the forest near Torgal he was betrayed by some camp followers. This led to his capture and later execution in Belagavi on June 12, 1858. Nargund Bandaya is a legend in North Karnataka.
Interestingly, when a large peasant movement started in 1980 in North Karnataka, in the Malaprabha basin, it took a massive turn due to brutal police firing on agitating peasants in Nargund and the vast mass peasant movement that developed came to be known as the second Nargund Bandaya.

Surpur Venkatappa Nayak
Surpur or Shorapuris situated in the hills, about 50 km west of Yadgiri, a district headquarters. It was ruled by Beda Nayak kings who had a fighting tradition. They had resisted even the mighty Mughals under Aurangzeb. Later they were harassed by the Nizam, the Peshwas and the British and the kingdom was reduced in size toonly Surpur and Shapur taluks. When Raja Krishnappa Nayak died in 1842, prince Venkatappa Nayak the 4th,was only 8 years old. So the British created regency where the prince was enthroned but Meadows Taylor a British administrator was appointed as the Regent. Taylor was a scholar-administrator and greatly improved the condition of the kingdom in terms of treasury, accounts, clearing the old debts owed to the Nizam and Peshwa, public works, irrigation etc. In 1853 Taylor handed over the reins to 19 year old Venkatappa Nayak and retreated into the background.

In 1857, British got wind that some representatives of Nana Saheb came to Surpur and had secret meetings with young Raja Venkatappa Nayak. In the meanwhile, Mahipal Singh, a rebel from 1857 revolt, was captured by the British and he disclosed to them that he was carrying out instructions of Raja Venkatappa Nayak. The Company had actually administered the kingdom under regency and the King had a close almost filial relationship with Col Meadows Taylor. Even then, the British were very suspicious of Bedas in general as they were playing an important anti-colonial role. So they started interfering more and more in the affairs of the kingdom. Finally in February 1858, they sent troops led by Capt. Windham and Maj Hughes to attack Surpur, but the fort of Surpur was very strong and a fierce battle ensued. When they were outnumbered, the Raja escaped to Hyderabad and tried to get Nizam and his Diwan’s support for the uprising. Unfortunately however, they handed him over to the British. The Raja was sentenced to life imprisonment and while he was being transported to Chenglepet jail from Sikandarabad, he was killed. The Raja Venkatappa Nayak of Surpur was a lynchpin in a coordinated uprising covering Miraj, Kolhapur, Koppal, Raichur and Surpur and hence the British were greatly relieved by his defeat and the kingdom was given to Nizam for the services rendered to the East India Company.

Mundaragi Bhimaraya
Bhimaraya of Mundaragi is a legendary hero of Ghadar of 1857 in Karnataka. There are many lavanis (ballads) written about him. He was not a Raja but a commoner with extra ordinary vision and organising and mobilising ability. His father was a local judge and Bhimaraya himself served as a Mamledar (a land revenue official) in Bellary, Hoovina Hadagali and Harapana Halli. He could not stand the exploitation of peasantry under British rule and in protest he resigned and came back to Benne Halli, his village.

He had observed the development of anti-colonial movement in Karnataka and networked with various like-minded leaders. Nana Saheb’s call to the people of India and all Desais, Deshmukhs, Deshpandes, Jahagirdars, Patels and Kulkarnis of Karnataka greatly influenced him. He had sent many emissaries in the garb of Sadhus and Swamijis to contact others. He is also rumoured to have secretly visited Bangalore and written a letter in vain to the Maharaja of Mysore, Krishna Raja Wodeyar 3rd. Bhimaraya encouraged people in various areas to refuse to pay taxes to Company Sarkar. He contacted various groups of Beda fighters and started accumulating arms and creating ammunition dumps at various places. On 23 May 1858 the fouzdar of Dambal raided one such arms cache and sealed it. On hearing the news Bhimaraya came with his army attacked the armoury and took back all his arms and ammunition and shifted to a safer place in Shirahatti. Then he started raiding British armouries in various places. Many local land owners and kings supported Bhimaraya and joined him in the revolt. When British took Bhimarayas wife and kids as hostages, Bhimaraya came with his army freed his family and went to the fort in Koppal and prepared to fight with a large stock of food, arms and ammunition. British gathered a large force from their stations at Dharwad, Raichur, Hyderabad and Bellary and marched on Koppal fort. After a fierce fight Bhimaraya fell to British bullets on 1 June, 1858. British carried out brutal reprisals against Bhimaraya’s associates and supporters.

Canara Revolts
The district of Canara consisted of present Mangalore (Dakshina Kannada) and Karwar (Uttara Kannada) districts and after Tipu, they were made a part of Madras presidency. However these coastal districts were thickly forested and mountainous and the large distance from Madras led to further reasons for a weak British colonial state in the area. As uprisings in coastal Maharashtra spread during 1857, Canara too became a refuge for revolutionaries and also a centre of resistance. Here the revolutionaries who came from Savantwadi played a major role. They also tried to get support from some Goans as well as Portugese and moved into Khanapur, Supa, Ulavi, Dandeli etc. They were also joined by Siddis (African slaves brought to India by Portugese and who had escaped to the dense forests of Canara near Karwar). Though many British historians have said that these revolts were caused by the increased land and salt taxes, it is clear that they were inspired by the stories of 1857 uprising in the North and were waiting for Nanasaheb to move southwards. Despite the death and capture of many leaders, new ones kept springing up in this region for nearly three years. Finally British divided the district into two and attached Karwar to Bombay presidency in 1862.

This brief account of anti-colonial uprisings in Karnataka suffices to understand the deep felt hatred of British rule in every corner of India. Karnataka threw up its own heroes and legends in resistance like Dhondiya Wagh, Swami Aparampar, Rani Chennamma, Sangolli Rayanna, Nargund Baba Saheb, Mundargi Bimaraya, Surpur Venkatappa Nayak, Bedas of Halagali and others. Moreover, the revolts and networks clearly demonstrate the development of a broad national consciousness among Indian people much before the so called modern era, despite India being composed of many nationalities, languages, religious sects, cultures and castes.

1) “Kannada Bhoopradeshagalallina Sashastra Bandayagalu” (Armed uprisings in Kannada Region)- by Dr. D. N. Yogeeshwarappa, from Charitrika Karnataka (History of Colonial and Contemporary Karnataka) -Ed by Dr. C. R. Govinda Raju (2010), Kannada
2) “Peasant Revolt of Nagar in 1830-31"- Dr. Siddalinga Swamy, pre-print
3) N. Shyam Bhat, “South Kanara, 1799–1860: a study in colonial administration and regional response", 1998,
4) “Ramoshi/Berad-Lingayat-Maratha Heroism, Jain Dilemma and the Haider Ali-Tipu Sultan Memory: Perspicacious 1858 Karnataka Battles”, Chapter 55, War of Civilisations- India AD 1857, Vol II –by Amaresh Misra, Rupa& Co (2008)

by Shivanand Kanavi


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Karnataka, the land of history and heritage has the highest number of GI Tags in India. A geographical indication (GI) is a name or sign used on certain products which corresponds to a specific geographical location or origin (e.g. a town, region, or country). The use of a GI may act as a certification that the product possesses certain qualities, is made according to traditional methods, or enjoys a certain reputation, due to its geographical origin.
Byadagi chilli
Byadagi chilli (Kannada: ಬ್ಯಾಡಗಿ ಮೆಣಸಿನಕಾಯಿ) is a famous variety of chilli mainly grown in  Karnataka. It is named after the town of Byadagi which is located in the Haveri district of Karnataka. The business involving Byadagi chillis has the second largest turnover among all chilli varieties of India. An oil, oleoresin extracted from these chillies is used in the preparation of nail polish and lipsticks. Byadagi chilli is also known for its deep red colour and is less spicy and is used in many food preparations of karnataka. They are also known as kaddi (meaning stick-like) chillies. The quality of chilli varieties is measured in terms of the extractable red colour pigment; this colour is measured in ASTA colour units. Byadagi Chilli has an ASTA colour value of 156.9. The higher the ASTA colour unit, the better the quality of chilli and therefore the higher the price. The Byadagi chilli has negligible capsaicin content making it less pungent than other chilli varieties.Byadagi chilli is an important ingredient in spicy preparations like Bisi bele bath, sambar, chutneys and other food items of South India and is widely used in the Udupi cuisine. It is also used in meat preparations because of the bright red colour that it imparts to the meat.Earlier Byadagi Chilli was grown mainly for the purpose of using it in food items as a spicy ingredient but recently, it has also been grown for the extraction of oleoresin, a red oil from the pods. Oleoresin is used in the preparation of nail polish and lipsticks.

Udupi Mattu Gulla Brinjal
Mattu village is famous for a particular variety of brinjal (eggplant) that is grown only in this village. The brinjal grown here is light green in colour and is spherical, unlike the usual purple-coloured variety. The first brinjal harvested is offered to Lord Krishna at Krishna Matha, Udupi. The seeds for growing this type of brinjal is said to be given by Shri Vadiraja swamiji. This village is also famous for a bridge named as Annekatta which connects this tiny village to Katapady. This village lies in the midst of Arabian sea in the west and a small river in the east side. Shree Vadhirajacharya, a monk, was daily offering food to Hayagreeva or Hayavadhana (Narayana in Horse's face). He used to close the door and a horse steps up on his shoulder to eat it. Vadhirajaru used to return empty vessel always. This enraged other brahmanas, and in turn they mixed poison, thinking that Vadhirajaru has eaten it, as usual he offered food, the horse came and ate fully without leaving a trace. But to their surprise, other Brahmins saw Shri Krishna, Udupi's Idol turning blue in color. So other brahmnas felt guilty and went to Vadhirajaru for pardon. Vadhirajaru with his divine powers gave some seeds of Brinjal to Mattu Brahmins to sow it. The brinjal grown there is bought and being offered to Krishna as Nayvedhya. Slowly the blueishness vanished away. So even now "Mattu Gulla" is famous for non-septic in nature.

Malabar Arabica Coffee
Monsooned Malabar is a process applied to coffee beans. The harvested beans are exposed to the monsoon rain and winds for a period of about three to four months, causing the beans to swell and lose the original acidity, resulting in a smooth brew with a practically neutral pH balance. The coffee is unique to the Malabar Coast of Karnataka . The blend is heavy bodied, pungent, and considered to be dry with a musty, chocolatey aroma and notes of spice and nuts.The origins of Monsooned Malabar date back to the times of the British Raj, when, during the months that the beans were transported by sea from India to Europe, the humidity and the sea winds combined to cause the coffee to ripen from the fresh green to a more aged pale yellow. Legend has it that in the past, when wooden vessels carried raw coffee from India to Europe, during the monsoon months taking almost six months to sail around the Cape of Good Hope, the coffee beans, exposed to constant humid conditions, underwent characteristic changes. The beans changed in size, texture, and appearance, both as beans and in the cup. Modern transportation reduced the length of this journey and better protected the beans from weathering and humidity. However, the Europeans noticed that the coffee beans now arriving in their ports lacked the depth and character of the coffee beans received in days gone by.It was determined that in the past the coffee beans had been transformed by exposure to the sea air and monsoon winds and rain. An alternative process was implemented to replicate these conditions, so that these coffee beans could be enjoyed once again. It was observed that a typical ambiance could be simulated along the coastal belt of southwest India during the monsoon months bringing about the same characteristic transformation to the ordinary cherry coffee beans. Thus was born the ritual called "monsooning." Arabica variety with this process is called Malabar Monsoon Arabica Coffee.

Monsooned malabar robusta
Another Coffee Variety of same Process is monsooned malabar robusta

Coorg Green Cardamom
A fragrant spice, used in most chai recipes, cardamom is one of the mildest but most effective digestive stimulants. Removes excess Kapha from the stomach and lungs, and combined with fennel, it acts a soothing digestive for nervous stomach disorders in children. The queen of spices (just ask the spice mistress), cardamom stimulates the heart and mind and offers clarity and joy. The Coorg Cardmom has more unique features.

Devanahalli Pomelo
Devanahalli is also known for its pomelo-a fruit whose local flavour is not found anywhere else in India. Interestingly, the Devanahalli Chakotha or Pomelo was on the verge of extinction a few years ago, Soaring land prices and the location of the new Bengaluru international airport had almost sounded the death knell of this wonderful fruit. Chakotha is a thick, yellow-skinned fruit. It is the largest citrus fruit in the world and belongs to the Rutaceae family. It is known in the West as pomelo, Shaddock, Batavia lemon and its scientifically name is Citrus Grandis. The fruit is consumed as it is and is also used in cooking to make desserts and jellies. It can weigh up to 10 kg. What makes it imperative to preserve the Devanahalli Chakotha is that the type of Pomelo grown here cannot be grown anywhere else. The unique nature of Devanahalli soil-loamy, clay and neither too dry nor moist- disallows the fruit from being taken to other locations in the state for cultivation. The Chakotha of Devanahalli is unique in the sense that its outer rind is thick and light yellow in color and its flesh is pinkish and mildly juicy.

Appemidi mango
The appemidi is not just any old mango. It is at the heart of the mango pickle industry and Karnataka's food culture. Its fragrance is so strong that adding just a few midis to an ordinary mango pickle can change its taste and smell. Among the tens of varieties of mango pickle, appemidi pickles are the most sought after as they remain fresh for years. In the land of their origin, appemidis are also used to make gojju, sasve, appehuli, chutney and thambli, which is a good digestive. he appemidi is a native of the forests of the Western Ghats, where there are natural plantations of centuries-old mango trees in the valleys of the Aghanashini, Kumudvati, Kali, Varada, Bedthi and Sharavathi rivers in Uttara Kannada and Shimoga districts. The trees are also found in places like Chittoor and Khanapur in Belgaum and parts of Chikmagaloor district. A wild appemidi tree can yield several tonnes of tender mango, with features varying from tree to tree. The appemidi can have as many names as its diversity demands. But being a soft-wood variety, the appemidi treeis ideally suited for building fishing boats. In the last five decades, the forests in the area have been cut down to make way for hydroelectric projects and construction, and for timber. In the process, thousands of appemidi trees have been felled.

Kamalapur Red Banana
Banana cultivation is known to be difficult. Lot of inputs like compost, water, labour costs make this crop an expensive one to grow. In arid areas like Gulbarga, banana cultivation is not known to be profitable. But one special variety of banana, has been grown in the district, and a lot of farmers are concerned about saving this traditional variety. This is the red banana, grown in and around Kamalapur of Gulbarga district. Although a small town, Kamalapur has gained recognition thanks to this variety of banana. Red banana cultivation is entirely different from other varieties. Plantation starts in June to August and requires a large quantity of compost. The banana is being grown in this area from hundreds of years. he red banana has medicinal properties and many nutrients.

Bangalore Blue Grapes
Bangalore Blue, characterized by its 'foxy flavour', is exclusively grown in Bangalore Urban, Chikkaballapur and Kolar districts. Its cultivation has been going on for the past 150 years in about 5,000 hectares. The livelihood of over 15,000 farmers in the Nandi Valley depends on their cultivation. Authentic Bangalore Blue grapes need to be grown in red sandy loam soil at a day temperature of about 35-37 degrees Celsius and night temperature of 12-15 degree Celsius which is unique to Bangalore and its surrounding areas. The grapes develop their typical colour and slip skin nature (thin skin) at this temperature.

Coorg Oranges
Coorg orange has global recognition and has attracted the attention of the customers at the global level due to its colour and taste. In 1960s, oranges were grown in 50,000 to 60,000 hectare land. However, over the years, disease attacked orange plants. As a result, the land under orange cultivation was reduced to 3,000 to 4,000 hectares. After the price of coffee rised in the international market, orange estates have disappeared in Kodagu.

Mysore Betel Leaf
Tambula is a enlightening tradition of India since ancient time from ordinary people to the Maharajas. After their dinner, people chew tambula, consisting of betel leaves, areca nut and lime with necessary perfuming ingredients. Mysore betel leaves are special for tambula because of its special taste.

Nanjangud rasabale
A popular variety of banana locally known as Nanjangud Rasabaley has also made Nanjangud famous all over the region. The fruit evokes tremendous appreciation for its taste among the older generation of the region. A variety of banana that offers a distinctive taste, "Nanjangud rasabale" has tickled the taste buds of people from far and wide. The "Nanjangud rasabale," which has unique characteristics, is identified by its distinct aroma when it ripens fully. The fruit is also characterised by its medium size and gall formation in the pulp. A major characteristic of the fruit is its long shelf life, as it survives for around a fortnight after its starts ripening.

Mysore Mallige (Jasminum sambac)
This is the most well-known variety, which derives its name since it is grown mostly around Mysore city and partly in Srirangapatna taluk in Mandya district in Karnataka state. The Jasmine's association with the city of Mysore, the royal city of palaces, patronized by the Wodeyar of the Kingdom of Mysore, because its fragrance is as powerful as the famous Dasara festival held every year in the city during October. Mallige grows in profusion in the open areas either in exclusive farmland, in front or at the backyard of houses.
Mysore Mallige, mostly grown in and around Mysore city is a viable crop for small farmers. Farmers reap two crops of this seasonal flower.

Hadagali Mallige (Jasminum auriculatum)
Hadagali Mallige is known for its rich fragrance and shelf life. Locally known as “Vasane Mallige”, (fragrant Jasmine), it is grown mainly in Hoovina Hadagali and surrounding areas in Bellary district of Karnataka.

Udupi Mallige (Jasminum sambac)
The cultivation of Udupi Mallige is of relatively recent origin. Cultivation of this variety of jasmine started in Shankarapura in Udupi district about 100 years ago. It is found extensively in Bhatkal, Udupi, Dakshina Kannada and Uttara Kannada, and has been found more economically viable among all the three varieties. The flower is in high demand in places such as Mumbai, besides the coastal region. Every home in this region has 0.5 to 1 acre (2,000 to 4,000 m2) of land in front of the house for Jasmine growing.

Dharwad Pedha
Dharwad pedha (Kannada: ಧಾರವಾಡ ಪೇಡ) is a sweet delicacy unique to the state of Karnataka, India. It derives its name from the city of Dharwad in Karnataka.This sweet's history is around 175 years old. origin to Thakur family which migrated from Unnao in Uttar Pradesh to Dharwad after the dreaded plague broke out there sometime in early 19th Century. With meagre funds, Shri. Ram Ratan Singh Thakur (first generation sweet maker) started making ‘pedhas’ and selling them and gradually, it started becoming popular.

Mysore silk
Karnataka produces 9,000 metric tons of mulberry silk of a total of 14,000 metric tons produced in the country, thus contributing to nearly 70% of the country's total mulberry silk. In Karnataka, silk is mainly grown in the Mysore district. The growth of the silk industry in the Kingdom of Mysore was first initiated during the reign of Tipu Sultan. Later it was hit by a global depression, and competition from imported silk and rayon. In the second half of the 20th century, it revived and the Mysore State became the top multivoltine silk producer in India. The story, how sericulture took roots in these parts lay buried deep in history, relics sparse.  Every saree produced here comes with an embroidered code number and a hologram to prevent misuse. Mysore silk sarees are also undergoing an innovating change with the use of kasuti embroidery, thickly woven pallus (the part of the saree worn over the shoulder), bandhini techniques and new colours like lilac, coffee-brown and elephant-grey.

Molakalmuru Silk Sarees
Molakalmuru is best known for its hand-woven silk sarees of exquisite design and craftsmanship. Weaving is a major occupation of the people in this region.  Molakalmuru sarees have prints of fruits, animals and birds on them. It is said that Nalvadi Krishnarajendra Wodeyar appreciated the finesse of these sarees during his visit to the place during 1914. The beautiful floral designs and the rich pallu make these sarees attractive and gorgeous. The long border sarees have a contrast border and the traditional touch is their speciality. The small or narrow border sarees are popular, and are woven with peacock, mango, bugudi and chakra border designs. The peacock border saree is made from pure mulberry silk and this design is a replica of the Maharaja peacock design. Sarees with multicolour checks are of Molakalmuru origin and have a contrast border. These sarees are woven under three shuttle looms. Sarees with the abstract temple motif is the speciality of Molakalmuru silk weavers. The border of the saree interlocks with the shell saree to give a temple design. Temple border sarees are woven with plain pallu and have a contrast colour combination. Butta sarees, of Molakalmuru origin, are woven under dobby looms and have a melange of both traditional and computer designs. The buttas are there on both sides of the border. There are also double border sarees which are available in two contrast colours. One is a silk brocade saree with jari that makes it a beautiful wedding saree. Designer sarees with ethnic multi-design and different colour combinations may take nearly 40 days to weave.

Ilkal saree
Ilkal saree (Kannada: ಇಳಕಲ್ ಸೀರೆ) is a traditional form of saree. Ilkal saree takes its name from the town of Ilkal in the Bagalkot district of Karnataka state, India. Ilkal sarees are woven using cotton warp on the body and art silk warp for border and art silk warp for pallav portion of the saree. In some cases instead of art silk, pure silk is also used. Ilkal was an ancient weaving centre where the weaving seems to have started in the 8th century AD. The growth of these sarees is attributed to the patronage provided by the local chieftains in and around the town of Bellary. The availability of local raw materials helped in the growth of this saree.
The uniqueness of saree is joining of the body warp with pallav warp with a series of loops locally called as TOPE TENI technique. The weaver will gait only 6 yards, 8 yards, 9 yards warp due to above TOPE TENI technique. KONDI Technique is used for weft through inserting 3 shuttles (లాళి).
Pallau portion-Design: “TOPE TENI SERAGU” Normally in tope teni seragu 3 solid portions would be in red colour, and in between 2 portions in white colour.
Tope Teni seragu has been regarded as a state symbol and was greatly respected during festival occasions.
Traditional Borders: (i) Chikki, (ii) Gomi, (iii) Jari and (iv) Gadidadi, and modern Gayathri are unique ones in Ilkal sarees - width ranging from 2.5” to 4”
Border Colour Uniqueness: Red usually or Maroon dominates.
The peculiar characteristic of the saree is joining the body warp with the pallu warp which is locally called as TOPE TENI. This technique is only used exclusively at Ilkal. If anyone requires Ilkal saree one must prepare a warp for every saree. Warp threads for body is prepared separately. Similarly pallu warp is prepared separately either with art silk or pure silk depending upon the quality required. Thirdly border portion of warp is prepared as like the pallu warp either art silk or pure silk and the colour used for pallu and on border will be one and the same. In general, the length of the pallu will range 16” to 27”. The pallu threads and body threads are joined in loop technique, a typical method which is locally called as TOPE TENI.
The distinctive feature of Ilkal sarees is the use of a form of embroidery called as Kasuti. The designs used in Kasuti reflect traditional patters like palanquins, elephants and lotuses which are embroidered onto Ilkal sarees. These sarees are usually 9 yards in length and the pallu of the Ilkal saree (the part worn over the shoulder) carries designs of temple towers. This pallu is usually made of red silk with white patterns. The end region of the pallu is made up of patterns of different shapes like hanige (comb), koti kammli (fort ramparts), toputenne (jowar) and rampa (mountain range). The border of the sari is very broad (4 to 6 inches) and red or maroon in colour and is made of different designs with ochre patterns. The saree is either made of cotton, or a mixture of cotton and silk or in pure silk. The colors traditionally used are pomegranate red, brilliant peacock green and parrot green. The sarees that are made for bridal wear are made of a particular colour called Giri Kumukum which is associated with the sindhoor worn by the wives of the priests in this region.
The design woven in the length wise borders are mainly three types :-
Gomi (more popularly known as Ilkal dadi)
Paraspet (Sub-divided into chikki paras and dodd paras)
Main Body design
Other Differences
With above broad parameters the Ilkal sarees differ in matters of size, nature and quality of yarn used for different portion of saree as also colour combination and combinations of designs on the borders and main body of the saree. The beauty of Tope-teni seragu is further enhanced at times by weaving in its middle portion, yet another design known as ‘Kyadgi’.

Kasuti (Kannada: ಕಸೂತಿ) is a traditional form of embroidery practiced in the state of Karnataka, India. Kasuti work which is very intricate sometimes involves putting up to 5,000 stitches by hand and is traditionally made on dresswear like Ilkal and Kanchivaram sarees.Kasuti work involves embroidering very intricate patterns like gopura, chariot, palanquin, lamps and conch shells. Locally available materials are used for Kasuti. The pattern to be embroidered is first marked with charcoal or pencil and then proper needles and thread are selected. The work is laborious and involves counting of each thread on the cloth. The patterns are stitched without using knots to ensure that both sides of the cloth look alike. Different varieties of stitches are employed to obtain the desired pattern. Some of the stitches employed are Ganti, Murgi, Neyge and Menthe. Ganti is a double running stitch used for marking vertical, horizontal and diagonal lines, Murgi is a zig-zag stitch, Neyge is a running stitch and Menthe is a cross stitch resembling fenugreek seeds.

Sandur Lambani embroidery
A unique facet of the costume of the Lambadi woman is its elaborate embroidery. This is usually combined with mirror work to produce the glitter and colour that are integral parts of the Lambadi costume. The clothes of the Lambanis reflect their love of life and evolved across the centuries to suit local climatic and social conditions. Traditionally this embroidery was done on personal items of girls to be married. It was done elaborately on different household accessories that went into the bride's trousseau. The traditional costume of the Lambadi woman glitters with small pieces of mirror, coins and costume jewellery.
The Lambani women's costume comprising of Lehenga, Choli and Odhni are embroidered with bright rainbow-coloured fabrics covered with a mosaic of patchwork mirrors. Their work is sought after by collectors for its vibrancy of pattern and colour, and for the unusual technique of sewing hundreds of small mirrors into the compositions. Each piece depicts an aspect of the Lambani creation myths.
This style of embroidery has been handed down from mother to daughter through many generations. Thus making every daughter of the house a lambani artist.
Some of the most important features of the Lambani embroidery are:
Exquisite needle work which is done on different kinds of fabric to create interesting patterns is done by nomadic women of the Banjara tribe only.
Banjara embroidery is a unique combination of intricate appliqué, patchwork and also fine embroidery.
This embroidery is done with mix of different kinds of rawmaterial like mirrors, shells, alluminium buttons and jewellery pieces.
Lambani embroidery also to a large extent comprises of the quilting technique which is done on the edge of the garment and is called "katta".
The colours on their garments signify their lifestyle. The most commonly used colours are red and yellow. Red signifies marriage and fertility while yellow signifies vitality and strength.
The distinctiveness of the lambani embroidery is the random designs and bright colours that is so traditional to this tribe.
Using intricate methods of embroidery, the mirrors, shells, jewellery piece etc are affixed to cloth, which is made into dresses, bags, pillow cases, wall hangings, table mats etc. Exquisite purses, dresses, bed spreads and wall hangings are made with intricate needlework. These articles come from the experienced and deft hands of traditional craft women.

Navalgund Durries
Navalgund is is famous as birth place of 'jamkhanas', the floor covering woven using cotton ropes or carpet. Weavers at Navalgund make Jamkhane (durries for daily use) with Pagadiatte - Chaupad motif and Jainamaaz (prayer mats) to be used by Muslims.

Mysore painting
Mysore painting (Kannada: ಮೈಸೂರು ಚಿತ್ರಕಲೆ) is an important form of classical South Indian painting that originated in and around the town of Mysore in Karnataka encouraged and nurtured by the Mysore rulers. Painting in Karnataka has a long and illustrious history, tracing its origins back to the Ajanta times (2nd century B.C. to 7th century A.D.) The distinct school of Mysore painting evolved from the paintings of Vijayanagar times during the reign of the Vijayanagar Kings (1336-1565 AD) The rulers of Vijayanagar and their feudatories encouraged literature, art, architecture, religious and philosophical discussions. With the fall of the Vijayanagar empire after the Battle of Talikota the artists who were till then under royal patronage migrated to various other places like Mysore, Tanjore, Surpur, etc. Absorbing the local artistic traditions and customs, the erstwhile Vijayanagar School of Painting gradually evolved into the many styles of painting in South India, including the Mysore and Tanjore schools of painting.
Mysore paintings are known for their elegance, muted colours, and attention to detail. The themes for most of these paintings are Hindu gods and goddesses and scenes from Hindu mythology. The most famous of the manuscripts detailing the various nuances of the Mysore school and listing out the various Gods and Goddesses, is the Sritattvanidhi, a voluminous work of 1500 pages prepared under the patronage of Mummadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar. This pictorial digest is a compendium of illustrations of gods, goddesses and mythological figures with instructions to painters on an incredible range of topics concerning composition placement, colour choice, individual attributes and mood. The ragas, seasons, eco-happenings, animals, and plant world are also effectively depicted in these paintings as co-themes or contexts. Other Sanskrit literary sources such as the Visnudharmottara Purana, Abhilasitarthacintamani and Sivatatvaratnakara also throw light on the objectives and principles of painting, methods of preparing pigments, brushes and the carrier, qualifications of the chitrakar (traditional community of painters) the principles of painting and the technique to be followed. The ancient painters in Mysore prepared their own materials. The colours were from natural sources and were of vegetable, mineral or even organic origin such as leaves, stones and flowers. Brushes were made with squirrel hairs for delicate work but for drawing superfine lines a brush made of pointed blades of a special variety of grass had to be used. Due to the long-lasting quality of the earth and vegetable colours used, the original Mysore paintings still retain their freshness and lustre even today. Mysore Paintings are characterized by delicate lines, intricate brush strokes, graceful delineation of figures and the discreet use of bright vegetable colours and lustrous gold leaf. More than mere decorative pieces, the paintings are designed to inspire feelings of devotion and humility in the viewer. The painter’s individual skill in giving expression to various emotions is therefore of paramount importance to this style of painting. The first stage of Mysore Painting was to prepare the ground; paper, wood, cloth or wall grounds were variously used. The paper board was made of paper pulp or waste paper, which was dried in the sun and then rubbed smooth with a polished quartz pebble. If the ground was cloth it was pasted on a wooden board using a paste composed of dry white lead (safeda) mixed with gum and a small quantity of gruel (ganji). The board was then dried and burnished. Wood surfaces were prepared by applying dry white lead, yellow ochre and gum, and walls were treated with yellow ochre, chalk and gum. After preparation of the ground a rough sketch of the picture was drawn with crayon prepared from the straight twigs of the tamarind tree. The next step was to paint the furthest objects such as sky, hill and river and then gradually animal and human figures were approached in greater detail. After colouring the figures, the artists would turn to elaboration of the faces, dress and ornaments including the gesso work (gold covering), which is an important feature of Mysore painting.

Gesso work was the hallmark of all traditional paintings of Karnataka. Gesso refers to the paste mixture of white lead powder, gambose and glue which is used as an embossing material and covered with gold foil. The gesso work in Mysore paintings is low in relief and intricate. Gesso was used in Mysore painting for depicting intricate designs of clothes, jewellery and architectural details on pillars and arches that usually framed the deities. The work was taken up in the morning when the base of the gold work on the painting was still moist so as to hold the gold foil firmly. After allowing the painting to dry, glazing was carried out by covering the painting with thin paper and rubbing over it with a soft glazing stone known as kaslupada kallu. When the thin paper was removed the painting shone brightly and looked resplendent with the combination of gold and a variety of colours.

Mysore Rosewood Inlay work
British writers mention the existence of thousands of workers in Mysore involved in inlaying etched ivory motifs into rosewood to create intricate wood work. Even now an estimated 4000 people in Mysore are involved in rosewood inlay work though other media like plastic have replaced ivory. This intricate work involves many stages. The first step is to design and draw the images and patterns on the rosewood. Then the rosewood is cut into proper shape by carpentry. The motifs that have to be inlaid are then carefully handcut to shape. The areas where the motifs have to be inlaid on the rosewood, are carefully scooped out. Next the motifs are inlaid and fixed. The wood is then smoothened using sandpaper and polished to give a bright look.

Mysore sandal soap
In the early 20th century, the Mysore Kingdom in India was one of the largest producers of sandalwood in the world. It was also one of the major exporters of the wood, most of which was exported to Europe. During the First World War, large reserves of sandalwood were left over because they could not be exported due to the war. In order to make good use of these reserves, Nalvadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar, the king of Mysore established the Government Soap Factory in Bangalore. This factory, which was set up in 1916, started manufacturing soaps under the brand-name Mysore sandal soap using sandalwood oil as the main ingredient. A factory to distill sandalwood oil from the wood was set up at Mysore in the same year. In 1944, another sandalwood oil factory was set up at Shimoga. After the unification of Karnataka, these factories came under the jurisdiction of the Government of Karnataka. In 1980, the Government decided to merge these factories and incorporate them under a company named Karnataka Soaps and Detergents Limited. Sharabha, a mythological creature having a body of a lion and the head of an elephant, was chosen as the logo of the company. This was because the creature represents the combined virtues of wisdom, courage and strength and symbolizes the company's philosophy. The company has since diversified and manufactures incense sticks, talcum powder and detergents; apart from soaps.

Mysore Sandalwood oil
Mysore Sandalwood oil are most valuable & demanded all over world in comparison to the Sandalwood oil manufactured in any part of the world, India meets 80% demand of sandalwood oil in the world because of the best quality.

 Mysore Agarbathi
The state of Karnataka, referred to as the Capital of Agarbathi (Incense Sticks),[8] is the leading producer of the agarbathi in India, with Mysore and Bangalore being the main manufacturing centres.[9] The Mysore region is recognised as a pioneer in the activity of agarbathi manufacturing and this is one of the main cluster activities that exist in the city. This is due to the fact that it has a natural reserve of forest products especially Sandalwood, which provide for the base material used in production.
Ganjifa Art
Ganjifa or Ganjeefa was a popular card game in ancient India. Played extensively in the Mughal period, Ganjifa is now known more for the art work on the cards than the game itself. Cards made for royalty were inlaid with precious stones and were also made of ivory, mother-of-pearl and wafers of lac. In Mysore, this game was known as "Chadd" (God's play). One of the finest exponents of Ganjifa Art, Ganjifa Raghupathi Bhatta is a resident of Mysore and has set up an International Ganjifa Research Centre at Mysore. The cards are generally circular and sometimes rectangular in shape with lacquered backs with exquisite paintings on them

Kinnal Craft
Kinnal Craft or Kinhal Craft (Kannada: ಕಿನ್ನಾಳ ಕಲೆ ), is a traditional wooden craft local to the town of Kinhal, or Kinnal, in Koppal District, North Karnataka, India.The town is famous for Kinhal toys and religious idols.
Kinhal has an immensely rich artistic heritage. It was once a flourishing centre for crafts, the most well-known being exquisite carvings in wood. The famous mural paintings in the Pampapateshwara Temple, and the intricate work on the wooden chariot at Hampi, are said to be the work of the ancestors of the Kinhal artisans of today. Old paper tracings found in the ancestral house of one of the artisans further substantiates this belief.
The artisans are called chitragars. Lightweight wood is used for the toys. The paste used for joining the various parts is made of tamarind seeds and pebbles. Jute rags, soaked, slivered into pieces, dried, powdered, and mixed with saw dust and tamarind seed paste is made into kitta. A mixture of pebble powder paste with liquid gum is used for embossing the ornamentation and jewellery on the body of the figure. Once the components of the figure are assembled, kitta is applied by hand all over, and small pieces of cotton are stuck on it with the tamarind paste. Over this is applied the pebble paste which forms the base for the application of paint.
Previously, toys depicting people involved in various occupations were popular; now the preference is for figures, animals, and birds. Garuda, the epic bird, has 12 components while Lord Ganesha on a throne has 22 components. The styling is realistic and the designing and chiselling has a master touch. In the festival season, clay toys and images are made, often out of cowdung and sawdust.

Channapatna toys
Channapatna toys are a particular form of wooden toys (and dolls) that are manufactured in the town of Channapatna in the Bangalore Rural district of Karnataka state, India. This traditional craft is protected as a geographical indication (GI) under the World Trade Organization, administered by the Government of Karnataka. As a result of the popularity of these toys, Channapatna is known as Gombegala Ooru (toy-town) of Karnataka. Traditionally, the work involved lacquering the wood of the Wrightia tinctoria tree, colloquially called Aale mara (ivory-wood).
The craft has diversified over time; in addition to the traditional ivory-wood, other woods—including rubber, sycamore, cedar, pine and teak—are now used as well. Manufacturing stages include procuring the wood, seasoning the wood, cutting the wood into the desired shapes, pruning and carving the toys, applying the colours and finally polishing the finished product. Vegetable dyes are used in the colouring process to ensure that the toys and dolls are safe for use by children. As of Oct 2006, more than 6,000 people in Channapatna, working in 254 home manufacturing units and 50 small factories, were engaged in the making of these toys. The Karnataka Handicrafts Development Corporation (KHDC) provides assistance with marketing efforts.

Bidriware (Kannada: ಬಿದ್ರಿ ಕಲೆ ) is a metal handicraft that originated in Bidar, Karnataka, in the 14th century C.E., during the rule of the Bahamani Sultans. The term 'Bidriware' originates from the township of Bidar, which is still the chief centre for the manufacture of the unique metalware. Due to its striking inlay artwork, Bidriware is an important export handicraft of India and is prized as a symbol of wealth. The metal used is a blackened alloy of zinc and copper inlaid with thin sheets of pure silver.
The origin of Bidriware is usually attributed to the Bahamani sultans who ruled Bidar in the 13th–15th centuries. Abdullah bin Kaiser, a craftsman from Iran was invited by the Sultan to work on decorating the royal palaces and courts. According to some accounts, Kaiser joined hands with local craftsmen and gave birth to Bidriware. Since then, the craft has been handed down succeeding generations mostly among the local Muslim and Lingayat sects.

Karnataka Bronze Works
Metal works in Karnataka is not confined to any particular area or city. While some regions are famous for bronze casting, others are known for bell metal works. Metal work industry is an important part of Karnataka people as numerous families are involved actively in it. Many articles for religious purposes are made of metal. Karkala, famous for Jain statues and Udupi are the major centers for such works. Mangalore is famous for the bell metal works and Nagamangala is famous for bronze casting. Most attractive pieces of bronze work are the human figures made out of it.