Bellary is a historic city in Bellary District in Karnataka.

Numerous neolithic archeological sites have been discovered around Bellary, such as the ash mounds at Sanganakallu, Budhihal, Kudithini, Tekkalakote, Hiregudda and Kupgal. The Sanganakallu settlement, spread over an area of 1,000 acres (4.0 sq km), is one of the largest neolithic complexes known around Bellary.

Some of the events in the Ramayana have been related to places around Hampi, the celebrated capital of the Vijayanagara empire.

Historically, the Bellary area has been known by many names, such as Kuntala Desha, Sindavadi-nadu and Nolambavadi-nadu.

Bellary was ruled in succession by the Mauryas, the Satavahanas, the Pallavas, the Kadambas, the Badami Chalukyas, the Rashtrakutas, the Kalyani Chalukyas, the Southern Kalachuryas, the Sevuna Yadavas, and the Hoysalas, and also ruled briefly by the Cholas during the wars between Kalyani Chalukyas and the Cholas.

After the Sevuna Yadavas and the Hoysalas were defeated by the Islamic sultanates of Delhi, the Vijayanagara Empire arose under Harihara I and Bukka I, who dominated the Bellary area. Bellary itself was ruled by the family of Hande Hanumappa Nayaka, a Palayagara of the Vijayanagara rulers. After the fall of the Vijayanagara empire, the Hande Nayakas of Bellary were successively subsidiary to the Adilshahi sultanate, the Mughals, the Nizam, Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan, and finally the British Empire after the Nizam ceded a large part of the southern Deccan to the British East India Company. The Hande Nayakas ceased to be rulers of Bellary after Major Thomas Munro disposed of the palayagars of the ceded districts and established the Ryotwari land revenue system.

In 1808 AD, the ceded districts were split into the Bellary and Kadapa districts, and in 1867 AD the Bellary Municipal Council was created. Further, in 1882 AD, Anantapuram district was carved out of the Bellary District. The Maratha princely state of Sandur was surrounded by Bellary district.

As of 1901 AD, Bellary was the seventh largest town in Madras Presidency, and one of the chief military stations in southern India, garrisoned by British and native Indian troops under the British Indian Government. The town included a civil railway station to the east of the Bellary Fort, the cantonment and its railway station on the west, the Cowl Bazaar and the suburbs of 'Bruce-pettah' (currently spelt Brucepet) and 'Mellor-pettah', named after two British officers once stationed in the town. The industries in the town included a small distillery and two steam cotton presses. The steam cotton-spinning mill established in 1894 had 17,800 spindles and employed 520 hands.

On 1 October 1953 AD, the Bellary district of Madras State was divided on a linguistic basis. Areas with a significant Kannada speaking population were transferred to Mysore state, which later became Karnataka state. Areas of the district with a significant Telugu speaking population were merged into the Anantapuram and Karnulu districts in what would later become Andhra Pradesh state. Bellary city itself, with large numbers of both Kannada and Telugu speakers, was included into Mysore state after protracted debate and controversy.

The Bellary city municipal council was upgraded to a city corporation in 2004. Bellary's population was 409,644 according to the 2011 census.

There are several legends explaining how Bellary got its name. The first is that a few devout traveling merchants halting in Bellar, could not find a Shiva Linga for their worship. They then installed a balla (a measuring cup or seru used to measure grain) upside down as a Shiva Linga and worshiped it. Eventually, that place was turned into a temple dedicated to Balleshwara or Shiva, which became distorted to Malleshwara', and thus Bellary derives its name from this temple.

The second legend is that the city is named after Indra, the king of Gods, who slew a Rakshasa (demon) named Balla who lived nearby. Balla-ari means 'enemy of Balla' (ari means enemy in Sanskrit). The third legend derives the city's name from the old Kannada word Vallari and Vallapuri.

This temple can still be found in the fort area of the city, and an annual festival and fair dedicated to Shiva is conducted at the temple premises even today.

Bellary Fort
Bellary Fort is located on top of Ballari Gudda ("Fort Hill"). The fort was built around the hill during Vijayanagara times by Hande Hanumappa Nayaka. Hyder Ali, who took possession of the fort from the Hande Nayaka family in 1769, renovating and modifying it with the help of a French engineer. The lower fort was added by Hyder Ali around the eastern half of the hill. Legend has it that the unfortunate French engineer was hanged for overlooking the fact that the neighbouring Kumbara Gudda is taller than Ballari Gudda, thus compromising the secrecy and command of the fort. His grave is believed to be located near the east gate of the fort, though some locals believe it to be the grave of a Muslim holy man instead.

The fort was ranked as 1st class by the British Administration. This fort gave Bellary its ancient importance, and led to its selection by the British rulers as the site for a cantonment.

State Protected Monuments in Bellary

State Protected Monuments officially reported by Archeological Survey of India in Bellary, Karnataka is listed below

State Protected Monuments in Bellary
  • Virupaksha temple
  • Krishnanagar fort
  • Kallesvarswamy temple
  • Mandapa near Hallikere
  • Jambunathesvara temple

Temples in Bellary

Krauncha Giri is located 10 km away from Sandur in Bellary district, is the site of the famous Kumaraswami temple. Kuruvathi Basaveshwara Temple in Mylara is located in the Bellary district of Karnataka. Lingeshwara Temple in Mylara is dedicated to Lord Shiva who is worshipped by the Kuruba Gowdas in the form of Mailari. This temple is situated in the south west corner of Hadagali Taluk in Bellary district.

Namma Bellary -