Bankapura is a panchayat town in Haveri district in Karnataka.

Bankapura Fort
Bankapura Fort situated in Bankapur village of Shiggon taluk. Bankapur is just 2.5 km from the Pune-Bangalore national highway NH4 and 22 km from Haveri town towards Hubli. An historical site, Bankapura is famous for the temples of Ranganatha Nagareshwara and Siddheshwara. Under the Chalukyas, many beautiful temples were built here, but during the invasion of Ali Adilshahi in about 1567 most of the temples were destroyed. A fort, now in ruins, at Bankapura houses the Ranganatha Nagareshwara temple, which has 60 pillars carved out of grey stone. There is also a beautiful mosque in the fort. The place is of historical significance to Jains. Adipuran, a Jain religious text was composed here.

There are more than 50 popular archaeological monuments like Siddeshwar temple and Galaganatheswar temple in Haveri taluk, Shiva temple in Chowdayyadanpur of Ranebennur, Tarakeshwar temple at Hangal, etc, in the district.

LocationHaveri district, Karnataka
Best time to visitAny time of the year
Places to visitHaveri, Hubli, Dharwad, Bankapura Peacock Sanctuary, Bankapura Nagareshvara Temple

The Bankapur fort (454 A D), which was ruled by Kadambas of Banavasi, Gangas, Cholas, Rashtrakutas, Hoysalas, Chalukyas, Kings of Vijayanagar, Adilshah of Bijapur, Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan, is now considered as a conservation reserve for peacocks by the Government of India.

The impressive Bankapur fort area has the eye catching 66 pillared Nagareshwar temple. The fort area comprises 139.10 acres (0.5629 km2) of land of, which 52.10 acre is reserved for the popularly known Mayura Vana, the abode of the peacocks for three decades.

Fodder grown exclusively for Khilari bulls in the area has become an ideal peafowl habitat. The moat is about 36 km long, 10-15 metres wide and 7-8 metres deep.

The banks of the moat are covered with Acacia, Neem and Ficus plants. Crops like maize, jowar and horse gram grown regularly for cattle are delicacies of the peafowl.

Peacock Sanctuary in Bankapura
The peacock sanctuary in Bankapura is the only second sanctuary in the country that is exclusively engaged in the conservation and breeding of peacocks.

Ten-year-old Haveri has many distinct features, the district has the rare distinction of housing a Black Buck Sanctuary and a Peacock Sanctuary, second only to the one in Uttaranchal.

Understanding the great presence of peacocks in the region, the Government of India declared Bankapura as a peacock sanctuary on June 9, 2006. Any visitor to this sanctuary will not return without seeing a flock of peacock, our national bird, happily dancing in the sprawling sanctuary, without a care in the world.

This sanctuary is situated on 139 acres of land which has the remains of the historic Bankapura Fort. The high mound and deep trenches of the land have provided a perfect home for these birds. The sanctuary is located on the cattle breeding farm which was set up way back in 1919 during the first world war period. The farm is located in 90 acres, out of the total 139 acres (0.56 km2) of the sanctuary.

According to a rough estimate, there are more than 1,000 peacocks and peahen in the sanctuary. Also, minimal human intervention has helped in the breeding of these birds. They walk royally on the 4 km mound and also perch on green trees. The officials of the Department of Veterinary Sciences have shown great interest in the conservation of these birds, making it easy for the Forest Department to carry on with their job.

Bankpura Fort is home for not only for peafowl, but also a number of other birds like wood pecker, great-horned owl, babbler, magpie, robin, green bee eater, nightjar, spotted maina, paradise flycatcher, Indian robin, spotted dove, parakeets, kingfisher, grey hornbill, blue tailed bee eater, blacked winged kite, tailor bird etc.