Nandavara once had royal associations: there were many palaces and temples in the area. None, nor the fort built by the kings, survive today. Nandavar was a very ancient and renowned place. For centuries it was also a historical center. Nandavara was the capital of the Nanda Dynasty, which ruled this region for several centuries. The name Nandavara is derived from a combination of two words, nanda and pura. The Nanda kings established their kingdom on the bank of the Netravati River, and built a fort and a palace. The place came to be known as Nandapura, which in course of time became well known by the present name of Nandavara.
Sites of historical significance that exist today include the Sri Veerabhadra shrine, the Shri Vinayaka Shankaranarayana Durgamba temple and the Sri Veera Maruti temple. The neglected Sri Siddhi Vinayaka Shankarnarayana Durgamba temple has been renovated and restored, and it equipped with facilities for social welfare activities.
Let us see who are these Nandas or they connected with Famous Nanda Dynasty of North?
The name "Nandavar" is derived from a combination of two words: "Nanda" + "Pura" (Just as "Baana" + "Pura" = "Baanaavara"; "Brahma" + "Pura" = "Brahmaavara"). Since this was the "Pura" (abode) or the kingdom of the Nanda dynasty, this was called as "Nanda Pura", which in due course became "Nandavar".
According to another version, this was called as Nandavar because the kings of the Nanda dynasty had built an enclosure of a wall encircling this town. It is thus clear that here ruled the kings of Nanda dynasty. Even to this day the local people hold that the Nandas were Harijans by caste. They must have been the original inhabitants of this place. Hence it can be said that they were ruling here from the very ancient time, and they were the cause for the name of this place. From our present study, however, it is not possible to say categorically as to when they commenced their rule here.
Nanda Dynasty of North India
The name of the Nanda dynasty can be found in the ancient Indian history. As is well known, with the help of Chanakya, Chandragupta Maurya, the grandfather of the famous Ashoka, had established his kingdom defeating and exterminating the Nanda kings. It is not known whether a part of the very same Nanda dynasty came down and settled here, and ruled from this place also.
A Perfect Identity between the Two Royal Families
There is a perfect identity between these two royal families. Just as the Nandas who ruled from our Nandavar were Harijans by caste, the Nandas who preceded the Mauryas in North India also did not belong to the first three categories of the "chaturvarna" system. By a study of their tradition, ideology, and food habits, etc. it must be said that they belonged to the fourth category. Hence, besides the similarity in their names, there is also found a social identity between these two dynasties.s in so
Did the Nandas of North India come down to South?
It is quite possible that having lost their royalty and power in North India, the Nandas who were inimical to the Mauryas, might have come down to this part of the South India, and with the background of their previous experience in administration and rulership, might have established themselves here and assumed the reins. The Great Chandragupta Maurya renounced his throne and came to Sravanabelgola near to Mysore is well known fact. The bank of Netravati River with its copious and perennial flow of water might have been found as an ideal place for their kingdom. However, some ancient edicts of North Karnataka bear ample testimony to the rule of the Nanda kingme parts of west Karnataka. But no evidence as to the names and the number of Nanda kings who had ruled our Nandavar are available. But the fact that they were ruling from here till the 15th century A.D. is clearly known.
Nandapura Becomes Nandavar
Thus, the Nanda kings established their kingdom on the bank of the Netravati River, built a Fort and a palace, and residential quarters for not only the Ministers and the other authorities, but also for the serving staff, the soldiers and the businessmen. Hence this place came to be known as "Nandapura", which in course of time became well known by the present name of "Nandavar".
Bangarasa's Advent at Nandavar
During the 15th century A.D., one early morning at 5 o'clock, Laxmappa Bangaraja the First, who was then ruling from Bangadi of Belthangdi Taluk, in Dakshina Kannada, was traveling to Mangalore by boat, passing the river bank of Nandavar. At that very moment, on a sand dune, at a little distance, to the east of the local Ganapathi Temple, two "Kavada" birds were chirping. The astrologers, who were then accompanying the king, hinted to him that if the "Kavada" birds were to sing at that hour of the dawn, it was an indication of the existence of valuable treasures there and hence that place was very well-suited for building a palace. Accordingly, with the help of one Nandiraja Ballala, hailing from the border of a place known as "Sajeepa", the Banga king built his palace, as stated by Late Ganapathi Rao Aigal in his book entitled, "The History of Dakshina Kannada".
Bangarasa vs. Nandaraya of Nandavar
During the time of construction of his palace here, the Banga king declared war on Nandaraya who was the then ruler of Nandavar. Bereft of support from the local people, and being of low caste from the then standard, none came for the support of Nandaraya. Consequently, he lost his life in the battle, and the public looted his wealth. Hence came into vogue the adage in Kannada, meaning that the "Nandaraya's life had gone to dogs". Thus, ended tragically the Nanda dynasty, and a pall of gloom descended on Nandapura.
Bangarasa who exterminated the Nanda dynasty and commenced his rule in Nandavar in 1417 A.D., built a tall mud fort around his palace, and erected therein a shrine dedicated to Veerabhadra. But neither Bangarasa nor his successors could rule the kingdom in peace and tranquillity. There used to be frequent skirmishes and battles between him and the neighboring Chowta king and Domba Heggade of Vittal. Due to the repeated murders, loot and decoity indulged in by the aliens and enemies alike, there commenced and prevailed in Nandavar strife and anarchy. Nandavar became a prey to the Mohammedan Aggression.
Nandavar kings are from North?
This appears to be a myth. The Nanda kings of North and Nanda kings of south seems to separated by more than 1500 years and much more distance. Kings linking themselves to epics and famous royal families is common India, here Nandavar kings seems to have linked themselves to Nanda Dynasty of North. Also to be noted is Buddhist kings are called shudras by Brahmins.