Kolar Gold Field or KGF

Kolar Gold Field or KGF is located around 27 km from Kolar. Also, one can reach KGF directly via Kolar bypass. Regular private or Karnataka state transport buses are available from Kolar and Bangalore. The star attraction of this place was the gold mines which are closed now. The history of KGF goes back to late 19th century when the mining started and the early 20th century when the gold mines were flourishing, a wholesome city came into being with the modern amenities. The workers of the gold mines the Birtish then constructed the city of Robertsonpet.

Kolar Gold fields has a mining history of over 2000 years even before the cholas to the Indian government after independence. It was believed to have one of the deepest mines in the world. However, Bharat Gold Mines Limited (BGML) which ran the show here was closed in 2001 and subsequently all the mines were closed in 2003 due to limited deposit of gold and high operating cost. To see the gold fields one has to take prior permission. As of now BEML and Indian Institute of Metal operates in KGF.

Kolar District
Kolar district is located in the southern region of the State and is the easternmost district of the Karnataka. The district is bounded by the Bangalore Rural district in the west Chikballapur district in the north, Chittoor District of Andhra Pradesh in the east and on the south by Krishnagiri and Vellore district of Tamil Nadu.

On 10 September 2007, Kolar district was bifurcated to form the new district of Chikballapur. Due to the modern discovery of the Kolar Gold Fields, Kolar has become popularly known as the "Golden Land" of India.

Bangalore to Kolar KSRTC Bus Services Timings

State Protected Monuments in Kolar

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

State Protected Monuments in Kolar
  • Bara Iman Makhan
  • Sripathisvara temple
  • Markandesvara temple
  • Isvara temple
  • Ranganatha Temple
  • Svayambhuvesvara temple
  • Vijayendra temple
  • Venkataramanasvami temple
  • Bhimesvara and Nakulesvara temples
  • Somesvara temple and Inscriptions
  • Vinayaka temple
  • Vithalanarayana temple
  • Somesvara temple Sripadaraya's Brindavan
  • Hydar Ali Dargah
  • Hussain Shah Dargah
  • Garabhavi Anianeyaswamy temple

Temples in Kolar

Antharagange Temple is a mountain located in the Shathashrunga mountain range. It is located three kilometers from Kolar in the direction of Kolar Betta, Kolaramma Temple in Kolar is located along the southern region and eastern most part of state of Karnataka. The two most significant temples are Kolaramma temple and Someshwara temple. Kotilingeshwara Temple is the principal deity of the Kotilingeshwara temple. This temple lies in the Kammasandra village in the district of Kolar. Kurudmale Ganesha Temple is situated in the district of Kolar in the State of Karnataka. There is a popular Ganesha temple here which was built by the Vijayanagar kings. Someshwara Temple in Kolar is located 68 km from the city of Bangalore, on the Chennai-Bangalore National Highway.

History of Kolar Gold Field Mines

Gold was first mined in the area around Kolar in the 2nd and 3rd century AD by the digging of small pits. During the Chola period in the 9th and 10th century AD the scale of the operation grew, but large-scale mining only came in the 1850s under the British with more manpower and sophisticated machinery. In that year 1873 Mr. M.F. Lavelle, a resident in Bangalore, retired from the army, with some knowledge of geology, applied to the Government for the exclusive privilege of mining in the Kolar District, his thoughts being principally directed to the possibility of finding coal. His request was granted on certain terms. On these conditions, Mr. Lavelle commenced operations by sinking a shaft in 1875, near Oorgaum. But finding that large capital would be required for carrying out the work, he next year, with the approval of Government, transferred all his rights and concessions to Colonel Beresford. This officer, with some friends among racing men, formed a syndicate known as the Kolar Concessionaires, who took up the matter in earnest.

The Champion Reef Shaft. The shaft was used to fetch gold ore from a depth of over 2 KM underground.

The remains after extracting gold piled up to form a barren hill near the mines. At some places, the stones are loose and there is a high chance of losing grips while climbing. The hill is about 30 meters high and can be seen to the north from the Robertsonpet town. From the top of the hill you can see a good view of the town and the mines far away. The hill was mostly made up of some soft stone, probably hardened due to the heavy pressure of the soil on top, there were many interesting patterns on the rocks.

The Hill was strong enough. No trees or plants were growing on the hills. At a few sides, the stones are loose and there is a high chance of loosing grips while climbing. The hill was about 30 meters high. The hill can be seen to the north from the Robertsonpet town. From the top of the hill you can see a good view of the town and the mines far away. The hill was mostly made up of some soft stone, probably hardened due to the heavy pressure of the soil on top, there were many interesting patterns on the rocks.

The reduction of gold deposits and Increase in the cost of production forced the KGF to be closed by 2003. Now all the remains are left as ruins. Instruments and machines worth millions are just left to the dance of wind and rains. There are a few military officers to guard it, they can keep the monument away from the forces of nature. It is believed that an earthquake which occurred nearby is due to the presence of this mine.

By 1881 the Concessionaires had secured the valuable aid of Messrs. John Taylor & Sons, a firm of mining Engineers in London. A general rush was then made for gold. Up to 1891, about ninety seven square miles in all had been leased out for gold mining, the land being situated in every district except Bangalore. In what was a desolate waste, a large flourishing town has sprung up, provided with most of the conveniences and institutions of European life. A branch railway on the standard gauge, 10 miles in length, was opened in 1893, running from the Bowringpet (Bangarpet :Bangalore – Jolarpet Route) junction to the Bangalore line through most of the principal mining properties, and has proved an immense convenience and success.

The principal commodity carried by it was coal, timber and machinery. The population rose from 7085 in 1891 to 37964 in 1901.

The Golden Carpets were 4 miles (6 km) long with an average width of 4 miles, were first worked by a British company, John Taylor and Sons, in 1880. Within three years, four main veins (Champion, Oorgaum, Nundydorog, and Mysore) were opened. Champion, the deepest, reached some 10,500 feet (3,200 meters) below sea level.

Until the year 1902 all the machinery in the Mines was worked by steam power, but in August 1902 the completion of the Cauvery Power Works, brought about a complete revolution in the working of most of the Mines on the Fields, whereby 4000 H.P. of electric energy is transmitted to the Gold Fields from the Cauvery Falls Power Station received at an elaborate Transformer House centrally situated and distributed to the various mines in quantities contracted for and by the means of this electric power the majority of the mines work their milling and stamping machinery.

Kolar Gold Fields was the first city in Asia to get Electricity from Shivanasamudra( A waterfall near Kanakapura, Bangalore) in Mysore. People from as far as Kolar could see the lights of this once prosperous city. KGF was known as “Little England ” by the British, due to its more temperate Weather and a landscape more similar to Britain`s. It also had a sizable Anglo-Indian Population who worked in the various mines in different capacities.. Silicosis, a form of pneumoconiosis caused by inhalation of crystalline silica dust, was first identified in KGF. National Institute of Miners Health had its headquarters in KGF Mr.K.H.Muniyappa union minister has been successful in reopening this closed mines and giving life to the almost dead city. It is told that it was his election promise.

The Kolar Gold Field water Supply Scheme was completed in 1901-1902. The water was drawn from the Bettamangala and Ramasagram tanks. Rotertsonpet (The mines are located near this town) suburb was established around 1901, and the name was given by the then H.H. the Maharaja in commemoration of the memory of Sir Donald Robertson.

KCSI, late Resident in Mysore, on 15th August 1903. In the same year Kolar Gold Fields established a Corps known as the Kolar Gold Fields Volunteers, and earlier part of the Bangalore Rifle Volunteers.

The Corps had its Head Quarters in Oorgaum, and there was a Kolar Gold Field Club and Kolar Gold Fields Library in a building called Oorgaum Hall. In 1905, S.M. Pritchard was the Clubs Hon. Secy, H.H. Osborn was the H. Treasurer, with R.R. Rodda. G.H. Burnell (Secy & Librarian), and Committee members were P. Bosworth-Smith, H.M.A. Cooke and Rev. L.G. Pollard.

Kolar city was one the most prosperous city in India. A few of the schools that existed then were Kolar Gold Field School, Nundydoog Mines (1901), St. Joseph`s Convent Girl`s School (Order of St. Joseph of Tarbes), Champion Reef, St. Thomas School. One of the bigger public institutions was The Kolar Gold Field Gymkhana Club, which hosted a Polo, Golf and Hockey team.

The people of Kolar were very happy and it was a self sufficient city with cheerful people and talkative children. KGF played a major part in the prosperity of the British Empire. A collaboration of Particle physics from Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai, Osaka City University, Japan and Durham University, UK recorded the first Cosmic ray Neutrino interaction in an underground laboratory in KGF mines in 1965. 6KGF also has the distinction of having a Golf course started by the Britisher`s dating back to 1885 and affiliated to Indian Golf Union.

As the years rolled by, and the gold reserves diminished, coupled with the freedom struggle, the Expatriates began to leave the mines, though the British, who owned the mines still, held on to key positions. Anglo-Indians were the next favored kind and they took over many Administrative & , Managerial posts. Meanwhile the school of mines which was then started began to produce some good Indian Miners & Engineers, who were soon absorbed into Managerial levels on the mines.

By this time the Central Government took over the Mines from the British and later handed over the Mines to the State Government. Gold reserves dwindled and the once prosperous Gold Mine showed signs of decline. Emigration was now in the air and the Anglo-Indians were leaving India to greener pastures in large numbers. Some went to U.K., some to Canada, Australia, New Zealand and to other European countries. Many skilled personals left to the Gold Mines in Ghana, West Africa.

Although the annual production in some years was more than 95 percent of India’s gold output, the mines declined and were nationalized in 1956 to prevent closure. The mines finally closed in 2001 despite the protests of the miners and others who depended on the mines for their livelihoods. Many people left the mining town and moved to the nearby cities of Bangalore and Kolar.

As per the FIMI's latest survey of non-ferrous metals (dated Sep 18, 2014), about 15 places have been identified with gold reserves of about 280 tonnes. Recent exploration by various private geo-exploration companies has revealed that places like Haveri, Raichur, Yadgir, Dharwad, Chitradurga, Gadag, Tumkur and Kolar have rich deposits of gold. India has been importing gold from various countries including China in big numbers. About 1,000 tonnes of gold were imported during 2012-13. All around KGF, about 35 million tonnes of tailings have been dumped since ages. If you process it and extract gold, you will get about 21 tonnes of gold. Of these, 12 tonnes of gold are usable at the global level. Hutti has about 60 tonnes of gold.

Distance from Kolar to Vijayapura, Karnataka is 579.1 km and travelling time is around 10 h 9 min via Bangalore - Hyderabad Highway/Srinagar - Kanyakumari Highway and NH50.

Vijayendra Temple

Vijayendra Temple is an ancient temple located at Bethamangala, in Kolar District of Karnataka. The temple enshrines a reclining statue of Ranganthaswamy (Lord Vishnu). The temple history dates back to over 5,000 years. According to legends, this temple was built by hermits who heard a celestial voice asking for a temple of Lord Vishnu to be built at this place. The temple also houses imposing statues of Sridevi and Bhudevi.

Kolar Railway Station is the nearest railhead.

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