Banavasi (1)


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Located on the border of Uttara Kannada and Shimoga districts, the ancient temple town of Banavasi has been a great religious hub for ages. The fact that it is regarded the most ancient city of India after Varanasi, speaks volumes about rich heritage of Banavasi.

Though Banavasi means 'nestled in the forest', it has a history rivalled by no other town in the entire state. Ptolemy, the ancient Greek geographer, wrote about a place called 'Bansi' in South India. Banavasi is the place where Pampa, the first poet of Kannada, wrote his epic poems. This was the capital of the Kadambas, the first kingdom of ancient Karnataka. This is where the temple architecture of the Chalukyas and the Hoysalas got its basic elements. This was the ancient place of learning to which scholars flocked from other states like Goa and Maharashtra

During its halcyon days, Banavasi was the capital city of the Kadamba kings, the first royal dynasty of Karnataka. The Kadambas established their empire in 345 A.D. and held supreme for two hundred years. The annual December cultural festival, Kadambothsav, is a huge gathering, organized by the state government, and featuring folk dancers, drama troupes, classical musicians, art exhibitions, while drawing together performers, artists, and writers from all of south India.

Location info:

Address:Located on the border of Uttara Kannada and Shimoga districts
District:Uttara Kannada district
Nearest City:Sirsi
Best time to visit: December- Kadambothsav and February- Mahashivarathri


The ancient town of Banavasi can be visited any time of the year except in the monsoon months. Whether is good.


Like Gangas of Talkadu, Kadambas are earliest sovereigns in Karnataka. The early rulers had sway over major part of Karnataka, and parts of Goa and Maharashtra. Talagunda inscription of C450 C.E states that Mayursharma was the progenitor and the dynasty got the name because of the Kadamba tree considered holy which grew at their early house. Recently found inscriptions take their history earlier. But the fact remains that Mayursharma a Brhamin youth, after completion of Vedic studies available locally, went to ghatikasthana at Kanchi, capital of Pallavas. Ghatika or ghatikasthana was an institution of higher learning. For reasons, not stated, Mayura was humiliated by the royalty at the time of Ashwamedha( horse sacrifice). Mayura became furious and decided to take up arms, giving up his Vedic learning. “The hand skillful in handling Kusha grass, fuel, stone, ghee, ladle and vessel (these are all the apparatus handled by the Brahmin priests for Vedic rituals), unsheathed a flaming sword eager to conquer earth” reads the inscription. Thus Mayurasharma became Mayuravarma (a Kshatriya) and became adept in arms. He built up an army and trained them in guerilla warfare. He defeated several chieftains and Bana king. The Pallavas were forced to accept his supremacy. He made Banavasi (in North Kanara District) his capital. His kingdom comprised of hilly region, western coast and Chitradurga district. His son Kanga succeeded him. Bhageeratha and Raghu ruled thereafter.

Interesting things to do:

Capital of the Kadamba Kings who established the first Kannada Empire in c. 345AD, Banavasi town (22 km. from Sirsi) is the site of an annual cultural festival - Kadambotsava held in December. The Madhukeshwara Temple, is famed for its architecture, deriving its name from the honey colored Linga. Of special interest is the intricately carved stone cot, which was actually used by the kings.

Interesting things to Visit:

The prime attraction of Banavasi is the renowned Madhukeshwara Temple built in the 9th century and dedicated to Lord Shiva. The Madhukeshwara temple is an amalgamation of several schools of architecture. The presiding deity of Madhukeshwara is a honey colored lingam dedicated during the period of Mayura Varma, the first king of Kadambas.

Mobile range info:

How to reach?

Nearest Railway Station:The nearest railway station is 112 km away in Shimoga. Sirsi, 18 km away, is the nearest town.
Nearest Airport:Bangalore
Road Transport:374 kms from Bangalore

Nearest Visiting places:

Nearest Petrol Pump:

Sirsi, 18 km away, is the nearest town.


No lodging available (Better stay in Sirsi or Jog)

Things to carry:

Tips & Suggestions:

n its fertile soil grows rice, sugarcane, arecanut, spices and the famous Banavasi Pineapple.

Help Line/Phone Number:

Police Station:Sirsi
Nearest Hospital:Sirsi
Society/Community Phone Number
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