Archaeological Sites in Karnataka


Aihole, also referred to as Aivalli, Ahivolal or Aryapura, is a historic site of ancient and medieval era Buddhist, Hindu and Jain monuments in north Karnataka dated from the fourth century through the twelfth century CE.


Anegundi previously called Kishkindha is a village in the Gangavathi taluk, Koppal district in the Indian state of Karnataka , It is older than Hampi situated on the northern bank of Tungabhadra River, Huchappayana matha temple (with black-stone pillars and dance sculptures), Pampa Sarovar, Aramane (a ruined palace), Ranganatha temple, Kamal Mahal, and Nava Brindavana are the major attractions Nimvapuram, a nearby village, has a mount of ash believed to be the cremated remains of monkey king Vaali. Anegundi is best visited along with Hampi, it is part of the world Heritage Site, Hampi, being developed into a world class tourism spot by engaging the locals to sensitise them to their cultural wealth and provide them a means of livelihood. Existing tanks in the village have been redesigned to store clean drinking water and proper drainage facilities developed to keep the surroundings clean and hygienic. The Kishkinda Trust is working on tourism development in Anegundi.


Bachinagudda is in Pattadakal, Bagalkot District in Karnataka, about 20 km from Badami, the Pre-Chalukya historical place and Archaeological sites in Karnataka. During 2003-04 and 2004-05 excavations was conducted at the cluster of four mounds (at the foot of Bachinagudda hill), the Lower Terrace, Middle Terrace, Upper Terrace and Reserve Forest. at Bachinagudda there is a Shankaralinga Temple.


Basaralu town is located in Mandya district, Karnataka. It is home to the Mallikarjuna temple, an ornate example of Hoysala architecture, and is dedicated to Mallikarjuna, another name for the Hindu god Shiva. This temple was built in 1234 by Harihara Nayaka, a commander under the Hoysala King Vira Narasimha II.

Brahmagiri Archeological Site

Brahmagiri is an archaeological site located in the Chitradurga district of the state of Karnataka. Legend has it that this is the site where sage Gautama Maharishi (also spelt Gauthama Maharshi) and his wife Ahalya lived. He was one among seven noted Hindu saints (Saptharshi mandalam). This site was first explored by Benjamin L. Rice in 1891, who discovered rock edicts of Emperor Ashoka here. These rock edicts indicated that the locality was termed as Isila and denoted the southernmost extent of the Mauryan empire. The Brahmagiri site is a granite outcrop elevated about 180 m. above the surrounding plains and measures around 500 m east-west and 100 m north-south. It is well known for the large number of megalithic monuments that have been found here. The earliest settlement found here has been dated to at least the 2nd millennium BC. In 1947, Mortimer Wheeler further excavated the site on behalf of the Archaeological Survey of India. The region was excavated again in 1956 by Seshadri and by Amalananda Ghosh in 1965 and 1978.

Excavation has revealed medieval stone temples, pottery, terracota beads and figurines, semiprecious stones and megalithic structures. There have been traces of cultures: Microlithic, Neolithic, Iron Age, Maurya and Chalukya-Hoysala. He named the microlithic culture as Roppa culture after the Roppa village within which the microlithic trench was located. He also found out that the neoliths found in this region were evidence of the occupation of this region by farming-herding communities in the pre-megalithic period.

In 1947, Mortimer Wheeler did further excavations at Brahmagiri, found ten domestic structures and classified them as belonging to a sequence of three cultural periods: Period I - Neolithic or Neolithic-Chalcolithic, Period II - Megalithic and Period III - an early historical culture.[6] Brahmagiri was identified to contain a mortuary of 300 tombs with burials made in rectangular cists, cist-circles (stones surrounding granite cists) and pit-circles. The cists also included artefacts like vessels with graffiti, stone beads and iron and copper tools.

Period I (Neolithic): Wheeler dated this period to belong within the range 1st millennium B.C. to 2nd century B.C. The objects found in this period included a large number of polished stone axes made of dolerite, microliths like crescents, gravers and blades made of jasper, agate carnelian and opal, and ornaments worn by humans like bronze rings and beads of magnesite, agate and shell. Handmade vessels made of coarse grey fabric and with shapes like globular vase, shallow bowl and spouted bowl were also found. The infants who died in this period, had their body folded and were buried in urns while the adults were buried in pits in an extended way.

Period II (Megalithic): Wheeler dated this period to belong within the range 2nd century B.C. to the middle of 1st century A. D. It was found that the humans who inhabited Brahmagiri during this period used iron for agricultural tools like sickles and for weapons like spears, swords and arrowheads. Pottery of this period were made in shapes like hemi-spherical deep bowl, funnel shaped lid, shallow dish and three-legged pots among others. The vessels appear in three kinds of fabrics: polished black and red ware, all-black ware, and bright and coarse dull-red ware. The burials in this period were done in stone cists or excavated pits which were surrounded by boulders arranged in the shape of a circle or concentric circles. The cists also contained funeral pots and objects like iron implements and beads.

Period III: Wheeler dated this period to belong within the range 2nd century B.C. to the middle of 1st century A. D. In this period, sophisticated pottery was made using fast wheels. The vessels were made in shapes like shallow dish, cups and vases, coated in a russet colour and painted with geometrical designs in white colour. Ornaments found included bangles of shell, clay, bones, glass and gold, and beads of magnesite, agate, carnelian and terracotta.

Chandramouleshwar Temple

Chandramouleshwar Temple is very near Unkal circle and Unkal Lake (on Old NH4 in Hubli.

Unkal is an area in the Hubli-Dharwad municipality in Karnataka. It is on old Pune – Bangalore highway NH4, about 3 km north of Hubli city centre. It has Unkal Lake, beautiful natural scene with water, cool breeze and joyous tourists. It is good picnic spot and must-visit place.


Chandravalli is an archaeological site located in the Chitradurga district in Karnataka. The region is a valley formed by three hills, Chitradurga, Kirabanakallu and Cholagudda. It is a semi-arid region with scrub vegetation with a stream running through it. Excavations at Chandravalli have revealed earthen pots, painted bowls and coins of Indian dynasties like Vijayanagar, Satavahana and Hoysalas as well as denarii of Roman emperor Augustus Caesar and a coin of the Chinese Han dynasty Emperor Wu Ti belonging to 2nd Century BC.

Chandravalli (moon shaped) was known as Chandanavati, name attributed to the king as this place was once ruled by Chandrahasa (king of Kuntala). The Chandravalli cave temple (also known as the Ankali Mutt - Saints from Ankalagi (Belgaum) came here for meditation) is semilunar in shape located between two giant monolithic rocks, a pre-historic site is about three km from Chitradurga. There is a lake which is adds the importance to cave temple.


Hallur is an archaeological site located in the Haveri district, in the Indian state of Karnataka. Hallur, South India's earliest Iron Age site, lies in a semi-arid region with scrub vegetation, located on the banks of the river Tungabhadra. The site is a low mound about 6.4 m high.

Hire Benakal

Hire Benakal is a megalithic site dated 800 BCE to 200 BCE which are located 10 kilometres west of Gangavati town in Koppal district and 35 kilometres from Hospet city.


Sidlaphadi near Badami in Karnataka, is a natural rock bridge and pre historic rock shelter. It is located at about four km. in the middle of a shrub jungle near the historic town of Badami. A bridle and kutcha path through sandstone hills from Badami leads to Sidlaphadi and there is no metal road to the spot.


Sanganakallu is an ancient archaeological site from the Neolithic period. It is approximately 8 km from Bellary in Karnataka. It is a group of hills south of a horseshoe shaped valley, with Kupgal to the north. It is one of the earliest settlements in South India, spread over 1,000 acres.


Kanaganahalli is about 3 km from Sannati. An important Buddhist site, the place where an ancient Buddhist Mahastupa site found. It is on the left bank of the Bhima river in Chitapur taluk, Gulbarga District in Karnataka, India. Nalwar is the nearest Railway station about 19 km from Kanaganahalli.


Basaralu town is located in Mandya district, Karnataka, India. It is home to the Mallikarjuna temple, an ornate example of Hoysala architecture, and is dedicated to Mallikarjuna, another name for the Hindu god Shiva.

Kupgal Petroglyphs

The Kupgal petroglyphs are works of rock art found at Kupgal in Bellary district of Karnataka, India. Thousands of petroglyphs have been found at Kupgal, which date to the neolithic or even the old stone age.


Vijayanagara was the capital city of the historic Vijayanagara Empire. Located on the banks of the Tungabhadra River, it spread over a large area and included the modern era Group of Monuments at Hampi site in Ballari district and others in and around that district in Karnataka.


Udegolam is a village in the Siraguppa taluk of Bellary district in Karnataka.


Piklihal is a village near Mudgal in the Lingasugur taluk of Raichur district in Karnataka state, India. Piklihal is a neolithic period site. The site was excavated by F. Raymond Allchin in 1952. Piklihal is 6 km south to Mudgal town.

Nittur, Siruguppa

Nittur is a village in the Siruguppa taluk of Bellary district in Karnataka. Nittur is famous for the minor edict of the emperor Ashoka found in the village.


Watgal also spelled as Vatagal is a village near Kavital in the Manvi taluk of Raichur district in the Indian state of Karnataka. Watgal is the location of a pre-historic period site. Baswanna Tempal Neolithic grey ware of Brahmagiri fabric and Jorwe fabric has been excavated in the village.


Hankuni is a village in the Humnabad taluk of Bidar district in Karnataka. Hanakuni is famous for the Ancient fort located in the village.


Nadivi is a village in the Siraguppa taluk of Bellary district in Karnataka. Nadivi is famous for the Ancient fort located in the village.


Mudval also spelled as Mudwal is a village near Maski in the Lingasugur taluk of Raichur district in the Indian state of Karnataka. Mudwal is a pre-historic period site. There is a stone village in the village of historical importance. Gold crushers and Iron slags were found in the hill near to the Mudval village.


Byse is a village in the Shimoga district of Karnataka It is located around 140 km from Mangalore, in the Nagara hobli of the Hosanagara taluka.

Megalithic structures have been found at Byse at a site called Nilaskal Byana ("the field with the standing stones"). The villagers have long been aware of the presence of these megaliths, and a 1975 thesis by A. Sundara mentions the site as containing menhirs arranged in no particular order.

In 2007, Professor Srikumar M Menon from the Manipal School of Architecture and Planning, Manipal University noticed the stones during a trip to the Nagara Fort at Byse. Subsequently, the researchers from the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) and Manipal University surveyed 26 stones during 2007-10. The researchers speculated that the stones could be dated prior to 1000 BCE, though carbon dating is yet to be done, as of March 2012. Using computer simulation, the researchers concluded that at least one of the stone alignments at Byse has "strong astronomical associations", which indicates that the site could have been an ancient astronomical observatory.

The tallest menhir is 3.6 m in height, 1.6 m in width and 25 cm in thickness. Two menheirs are used by the villagers for a form of ancestor worship.


Khyad village is in Badami taluk in Bagalkot District in North Karnataka, popular for prehistoric structures, found many fossils of prehistoric Stone Age.

In 1873 Robert Bruise (researcher) discovered this area. From Deccan College Pune many researchers, archaeologists and students undertook research and found information related to prehistoric era. In association with Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) - Mysore division excavation department, the research students from Delhi discovered several stone weapons.

The district administration is committed to protect the heritage site.

Venkatapura, Lingasugur

Venkatapura is a village near Maski in the Lingasugur taluk of Raichur district in the Indian state of Karnataka. Venkatapura is a neolithic period site. 45 Cairns were found in the hills south to the village. Some of these cairns are 50 meters in diameter. Some are found in rings and pairs. Venkatapura is 5 km from Maski town.

Morera Thatte

Morera Thatte is an archaeological site consisting of a number of stone structures on Chikkabenkal hill near Gangavathi in Koppal district, India, dating back to the Stone Age. These houses are said to have been constructed 3,000 years ago. These houses have been built from stone slabs, with a circular opening serving as a door.

The area is currently uninhabited, and among the stone houses are strewn several other small objects[clarification needed] made of stone. The structures, though built in an era of limited technology, are shaped into neat semicircular slabs stacked atop each other. It is said that the place had over 600 such houses at one point, and villagers say that there were 200 to 250 of them a few years ago. But today there are hardly 40 to 50 of them left.

Stone age men who might have lived in Agoli, Gaddi, Chikkabenkal villages must have built these structures to protect themselves from wildlife. Others say they are graves. But, according to Sharanabasappa Kolkar, a history lecturer from a local college, these structures definitely belong to the Stone Age.


Sannati or Sannathi is a small village, located on the banks of the Bhima River in Chitapur taluk of Gulbarga District of Northern Karnataka. It is famous for the Chandrala Parameshwari Temple and the excavations by the Archaeological Survey of India in the 1986.

In 1986, when the roof of the Kali temple in Chandralamba temple complex collapsed, it destroyed the idol. However it revealed four Ashokan edicts on the floor and foundation stone of the temple. These edicts were written in the Prakrit language and Brahmi script and one of them was used as foundation of the pedestal for the Kali idol. During subsequent excavations by Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and the State Archaeology Department, tablets, sculptures, and other terracotta items were found, and most importantly numerous limestone panels of sculptures of the ruined 'Maha Stupa' or Adholoka Maha Chaitya (the Great Stupa of the Netherworld) were found. Archaeologists believe that Ranamandal was a fortified area, spread over 86 hectares (210 acres; 0.33 sq mi), out of which only 2 acres had been excavated by 2009. Clay pendants , black polished pottery, Satavahana and pre-Satavahana coins, ornaments made of copper, ivory and iron, a township with paved pathways, houses, and limestone flooring have been found. Many excavated items were later shifted to Gulbarga Museum.

The government has asked the Archaeological Survey of India to take up further exploration of the Ranamandal area to know the history of the region and its connection with Buddhism.

One of the stones - the only known example of its type - is of Emperor Asoka (r. 274–232 BC) seated on his throne. It is probably the only surviving image of the emperor.

In 2010, ASI along with Sannati Development Authority deputed Manipal Institute of Technology to prepare a blueprint for restoration and reconstruction of the stupas.

Sannati is the place where the Paduka of Goddess Chandrala Parmeshwari - Incarnation of Goddess Lakshmi - was brought. The Goddess came up to the banks of River Bhima at Hongunti, to save her devotee Chandravadani, wife of a rishi, held captive by the local king Setu Raya. Hingulambika temple is situated at Hongunti near Shabad town. The Goddess sent her Paduka from which emerged 5 bumblebees, which killed the evil king Setu Raya by drowning him in the Bhima River. Sannati Chandrala Parmeshwari and Hongunti Hingulambika are family deity of many Brahmin and Hindus families of Karnataka, Maharasta, AP etc.

Sannati is also the place where Rishi Markandeya meditated and composed parts of Markandeya Upanishad. A small temple has been renovated at the place where he is believed to have sat in meditation. It is said that Rishi Markandeya predates the arrival of Paduka of Chandrala Parmeshwari.


Kallur is a village in the Gubbi subdistrict of the Tumkur district of Karnataka. It has a Gram Panchayat. The village is located on the bank of the Shimsha river. The village is blessed with the natural resources. It is mainly known for its handloom silk sarees. The Handloom work is being performed by traditionally, this work is transferred from their ancestors (called Vamshya parampare). The major caste in this village is Hindu Devanga.

Neelagunda, Harapanahalli

Neelagunda is a village in the Harapanahalli taluk of Davanagere district in Karnataka. Neelagunda is famous for the Bheemeshwara temple of Western Chalukya era located in the village.