Previous Page [Digital South Asia Library] Next Page

Imperial Gazetteer of India, v. 7, p. 175.


Graphics file for this page
BELLARY TOWN 175
Bellary Town.-Head-quarters of the District and tiluk of the
same name, Madras, situated in 15° 9′ N. and 76° 51′ E. It is one
of the chief military stations in Southern India, and is garrisoned by
both British and Native troops. The force maintained is, however,
considerably smaller than it used to be. Bellary is the seventh largest
town in the Presidency. Its population in 1871 was 51,766; in '88i,
53,460; in I891, 59,467: and in 1901, 58,247. The growth has thus
been slow. The decline during the last decade was due to the removal
of some of the troops. In I90o, 60 per cent. of the inhabitants were
Hindus and 32 per cent. Musalmans; Christians numbered about 4,000.
The town stands in the midst of a wide, level plain of black cotton
soil. The Southern Mahratta Railway passes through it, connecting it
with Hubli on the west and with Guntakal junction on the east, by which
route it is 305 miles from Madras. It also lies on the trunk road from
Bangalore to Secunderabad. The most conspicuous objects are the
Fort Hill and the Face Hill, the latter so called from the resemblance of
certain rocks on its summit to a human face. They are bare, rocky
elevations with hardly any vegetation on them. The fort on the former
gave Bellary its ancient importance and led to its selection as the site of
a cantonment. This fortress consists of an upper citadel on the rock,
the top of which is 1,976 feet above the sea, and a lower enclosure at
the foot. The citadel is guarded by three lines of strong fortifications,
which are still in excellent repair, and contains a number of substantial
buildings and an ample water-supply from reservoirs constructed in
the clefts of the rocks. There is only one way up, which is strongly
defended. The lower fort is surrounded by a rampart with numerous
bastions, faced by a deep ditch and glacis. Magazines, the quarters of
the guard in charge of them, the chief church of the civil station, and
several public offices and schools are built within this. It used also
at one time to contain an arsenal. The town includes the civil station
to the east of the fort, the cantonment on the west, and on the
south, between these two areas, the Cowl Bazar and the suburbs of
Bruce-pettah and Mellor-pettah, named after two civil officers once
stationed at Bellary.
Until the British made Bellary a cantonment it contained little but
its fort. This was originally the residence of a chieftain called Hanum-
appa Naik, whose family held it as vassals of the kings of Vijayanagar
and afterwards of the Sultans of Bijapur. About 1678 it was taken from
them by the famous Maratha chief Sivaji, because as he was passing that
way some of his foragers had been killed by the garrison; but he restored
it again at once on condition that tribute should be paid him. About
1761 it became tributary to Basalat Jang of ADONI. The chief quarrelled
with Basalat Jang and refused to pay tribute. The place was accordingly
besieged by a force from Adoni, The chief applied for aid to Haidar



Previous Page To Table of Contents Next Page

Back to Imperial Gazetteer of India | Back to the DSAL Page

This page was last generated on Monday 18 February 2013 at 16:20 by dsal@uchicago.edu
The URL of this page is: http://dsal.uchicago.edu/reference/gazetteer/text.html