Past Cities

Bellary, Karnataka, India

Bellary, located in the state of Karnataka, India, is a city steeped in history and brimming with cultural significance. Nestled in the Deccan Plateau, Bellary is known for its rich mineral resources, captivating landscapes, and vibrant communities. Its historical journey can be traced back to ancient times, with evidence of human habitation dating back to the Neolithic period.

The history of Bellary begins with the ancient empires that flourished in South India. The city has witnessed the rise and fall of various dynasties, each leaving an indelible mark on its cultural tapestry. The earliest recorded history of Bellary can be attributed to the Mauryan Empire, which ruled the region during the 3rd century BCE. The city served as an important strategic outpost due to its proximity to important trade routes, connecting the northern and southern parts of India. During this period, Bellary thrived as a bustling trading center, attracting merchants from across the subcontinent.

Over the centuries, Bellary came under the rule of different kingdoms, including the Chalukyas, Rashtrakutas, Hoysalas, and Vijayanagara Empire. The Vijayanagara rulers, in particular, played a significant role in shaping the city's history. Bellary became a prominent part of the Vijayanagara Empire's vast territorial expanse, known for its architectural marvels, such as the Virupaksha Temple and the Lotus Mahal.

However, the glorious days of the Vijayanagara Empire were short-lived. In 1565, the empire faced a devastating defeat in the Battle of Talikota against the confederacy of Deccan sultanates. The aftermath of this defeat led to a power vacuum in the region, with Bellary witnessing a period of political instability. As various regional powers vied for control, the city became a hotbed of conflict and changing allegiances.

During the 18th century, the region came under the influence of the Marathas, who controlled Bellary until the advent of the British East India Company. The British gradually established their supremacy in the region, and Bellary became an important administrative center under their colonial rule. The city's strategic location and mineral-rich lands caught the attention of the British, leading to the development of mining activities on a large scale. Bellary's iron ore reserves attracted significant investment, transforming it into a major mining hub in the country.

The political environment of Bellary during the British era was marked by the exploitation of resources and the displacement of local communities. The British, with their administrative policies and revenue systems, aimed to maximize their gains from the region's mineral wealth. This resulted in the displacement of indigenous communities from their ancestral lands, leading to social and economic upheaval. The British also introduced modern infrastructure, such as railways and roads, to facilitate the transportation of minerals and goods, further shaping the city's landscape.

Post-independence, Bellary became an integral part of the state of Karnataka in 1956. The city continued to play a crucial role in the state's economy, particularly in the mining sector. However, the political environment underwent significant changes in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. The unchecked exploitation of natural resources led to environmental degradation and concerns over sustainable development. The government introduced stricter regulations and imposed environmental safeguards to address these issues. This shift had a profound impact on the mining industry, and Bellary experienced a decline in mining activities.