Kolar district

This article is about the district. For its eponymous headquarters, see Kolar.
Kolar district
ಕೋಲಾರ ಜಿಲ್ಲೆ

Ornate, tan pyramidal stone temple

Someshwara Temple in Kolar
Located in the southeast part of the state
Country India
State Karnataka
Division Bangalore
Headquarters Kolar
  Total 4,012 km2 (1,549 sq mi)
Population (2011)
  Total 1,540,231
  Density 384/km2 (990/sq mi)
  Official Kannada
Time zone IST (UTC+5:30)
ISO 3166 code IN-KA-KL
Vehicle registration KA-07, KA-08
Sex ratio 0.976 /
Literacy 74.33%
Lok Sabha constituency Kolar Lok Sabha constituency
Precipitation 724 millimetres (28.5 in)
Website kolar.nic.in
Kolar district at a glance

Kolar district (Kannada: ಕೋಲಾರ ಜಿಲ್ಲೆ  pronunciation ) is a district in the state of Karnataka, India. Kolar is the district headquarters. Located in southern Karnataka, it is the state's easternmost district. The district is surrounded by the Bangalore Rural district on the west, Chikballapur district on the north, the Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh on the east and the Krishnagiri and Vellore districts of Tamil Nadu on the south.

On 10 September 2007, it was bifurcated to form the new district of Chikballapur.[1] Due to the discovery of the Kolar Gold Fields, the district has become known as the "Golden Land" of India.


Temple complex with a lawn and a low hedge
Kolarmma Temple, Kolar
Ornate temple porch
Someshvara Temple, an example of Vijayanagara architecture
Ornate temple interior
Main hall to the temple sanctum
Three pyramidal temples
Tenth-century Nolamba dynasty Ramalingeshvara group of temples in Avani
Temple complex under an overcast sky
Someshvara temple in Kurudumale
See caption
Rear view of the temple

Kolar, formerly known as Kolahala, Kuvalala and Kolala, was called Kolahalapura during the Middle Ages. In Kannada, kolahahapura means "violent city" and it was the battlefield for the warring Chalukyas in the north and the Cholas in the south. In 1004 AD, the Cholas annexed Kolar until 1116. Vishnuvardhana (1108-1142) freed Gangavadi from the Cholas and, to commemorate his victory, built the Chennakesava Temple at Belur.

Kolaramma and Someshwara are notable temples in Kolar. The Kolaramma temple, built in Dravida Vimana style during the secondnd century, is dedicated to Shakti. It underwent renovations under Rajendra Chola I in the 10th century and the Vijayanagara kings in the 15th century.[2][3] Someswara Temple is an example of 14th-century Vijayanagara art.

Kolar's early history was compiled by Fred Goodwill, superintendent of the Wesleyan Tamil mission in Bangalore and the Kolar Gold Fields, and his studies have been published in a number of journals.[4][5][6] Older than Bangalore, Kolar dates back to the second century. The Western Gangas made Kolar their capital, ruling Mysore, Coimbatore, Salem and Travancore. During the 13th century Bhavanandi composed Nannool, his treatise on Tamil grammar.

Under the Cholas, King Uttama Chola (ruled 970–985) reportedly built the temple for Renuka and founded the city of Kolaahalapuram. Veera Chola, Vikrama Chola and Rajendra Chola I built stone structures with inscriptions at Avani, Mulbagal, Sitti Bettta and elsewhere. Chola inscriptions, which document the rule of Adithya Chola I (871-907), Raja Raja Chola I and Rajendra Chola I of Kolar, refer to Kolar as Nikarili Cholamandalam and Jayam Konda Chola Manadalam. Inscriptions from Rajendra Chola I also appear on the Kolaramma Temple. Many Siva temples were built in Kolar during the reign of the Cholas, including the Someshwarar and Sri Uddhandeshwari Temples at Maarikuppam Village, the Eswaran Temple at Oorugaumpet and the Sivan Temple at Madivala Village. Chola rule of Kolar lasted until 1116. The inscriptions are neglected, and some have been vandalised.

In 1117 Kolar became part of the Hoysala Empire; in 1254 it was bestowed to Ramanatha, one of King Someshwara's two sons. The Hoysala were defeated by the Vijayanagara Empire, which ruled Kolar from 1336 to 1664. During this period, the Sri Someshwara Temple at Kolar was built.

For 50 years in the 17th century Kolar was under Maratha rule as part of the Jagir of Shahaji, followed by 70 years of Muslim rule. In 1720 it became part of the Province of Sira, with Fateh Mohammed (the father of Hyder Ali) the province's Faujdar. Kolar was then ruled by the Marathas, the Nawab of Cuddapah, the Nizam of Hyderabad and Hyder Ali. It was under British rule from 1768 to 1770 before a brief Maratha rule followed by Hyder Ali. In 1791 Lord Cornwallis conquered Kolar and returned it to the Kingdom of Mysore in the peace treaty of 1792.

In the Kolar region, inscriptions document the reigns of the Mahavalis (Baanaas), the Pallavas and the Vaidumbaas.[4][5][6][7][8] Benjamin Lewis Rice recorded 1,347 inscriptions in the Kolar District, in the 10th volume of his Epigraphia Carnatica. Of the inscriptions, 422 are in Tamil, 211 in Telugu and the remainder in Kannada.[9]


Kolar district is in a semi-arid, drought-prone region and covers an area of 8,225 square kilometres (3,176 sq mi). It stretches about 135 kilometres (84 mi) north to south and almost the same distance east to west. The district occupies the tableland of Mysore, bordering the Eastern Ghats. The plateau is interrupted by a hills and mountains of varying heights, particularly in the north. The Nandi Hills run north from Nandi towards Penukonda and Dharmavaram in Andhra Pradesh. Rivers are small and seasonal; the Palar, Uttara Pinakini and Dakshina Pinakini originate in the highlands.



The major sources of employment are agricultural: dairy farming, sericulture and floriculture. The district is popularly known as the land of "silk, milk and gold". Farmers in Kolar depend on borewell water for irrigation and drinking. The Kolar Gold Fields were closed in 2003 due to shrinking gold deposits and increasing production costs.

Industry and markets

Honda received incentives from the state government to manufacture motorcycles in the district.[10][11] Power Grid Corporation of India has a substation at Arahalli Village in Kolar.[12] There is a tomato market in Mulbagal, a silk and vegetable market in Kolar, a mango market in Srinivaspura and jewellery shops at the Kolar Gold Fields.



National Highway 4 (NH-4) passes through Narasapura, Kolar and Mulbagal, and a state highway and district roads connect other taluks. NH-4 connects Bangalore, Narasapura, Kolar, Mulbagal, Chittor and Chennai, with a smaller connection to Thirupathi. Bangalore is about a 90-minute drive from Mulbagal.[13]

District road table from the government of Karnataka, March 2010 [14]
Sl No Kolar district National highway State highway District road Total length
01 Entire district 137 308 1083 1528
02 Mulbagal 68 0 354 422
03 Malur 8 68 94 170
04 Bangarpet 0 77 201 278
05 Srinivaspura 30 72 217 319


Kolar is in the South Western Railway zone of Indian Railways. The district has junctions at Kolar and Bangarapet and stations at Oorgam, Malur, Bisanattam, Byatrayana Halli, Champion, Cooromandal, Kamasamudram, Makali Durg, Marikuppam and Tyakal. They are on the Chennai-Bangalore main line or its branch line. [15]


Population growth 
Est. 20101,571,70013.3%
Source: District website[16]

In the 2011 census, the district had a population of 1,540,231[17]—roughly equal to that of Gabon[18] or Hawaii.[19] It ranked 324th of India's 640 districts).[17] The district has a population density of 384 inhabitants per square kilometre (990/sq mi),[17] with a growth rate of 11.04 percent from 2001 to 2011.[17] Kolar's sex ratio is 976 females per 1,000 males.[17] Its literacy rate is 74.33 percent.[17] The district has 15 towns and a total of 3,321 villages (2,889 inhabited villages and 432 uninhabited).


The district's primary language is Kannada; Urdu, Tamil and Telugu are also spoken. Kolar Gold Fields (KGF) has an Anglo-Indian population. Festivals include the 13-day summer Karaga, celebrated in Malur and usually beginning the first Friday after Ugadi; the water festival Theppothsava, and Dyavara.






Notable residents




  1. "A Handbook of Karnataka - Administration" (pdf). Government of Karnataka. pp. 354, 355. Retrieved 16 November 2010.
  2. "A green view". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 11 March 2006. Retrieved 23 December 2010.
  3. "Temples of Karnataka - Kolar". templenet.com. Retrieved 23 December 2010.
  4. 1 2 Mythic Society (Bangalore, India) (1918). The Quarterly Journal of the Mythic Society. 9–10: iv, 5, 8, 300. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  5. 1 2 Goodwill, Fred (1918). "Nandidroog". The Quarterly Journal of the Mythic Society. 9–10: 300. Retrieved 27 August 2014.
  6. 1 2 Goodwill, Fred (1921). "The Religious and Military Story of Nudydurga". KGF Mining and Metallurgical Society (5).
  7. Srikumar, S (2014). Kolar Gold Field: (Unfolding the Untold) (International ed.). Partridge India. pp. 40–46. ISBN 9781482815078. Retrieved 27 August 2014.
  8. Chandrashekar, Gayatri (2015). Grit and Gold. Partridge Publishing. ISBN 9781482855845. Retrieved 11 July 2016.
  9. Rice, Benjamin Lewis (1994). Epigraphia Carnatica: Volume X: Inscriptions in the Kolar District. Mangalore, British India: Department of Archeology, Mysore State. p. i. Retrieved 4 August 2015.
  10. Honda Unit at Narasapura, Kolar
  11. "Karnataka showers Honda with concessions - The Times of India". The Times Of India.
  12. Power Grid , Kolar
  13. Bangalore-Mulbagal Road (NH-4)Mulbagal
  14. Kolar Roads
  15. "Kolar district at a glance" (pdf). Retrieved 22 December 2010.
  16. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "District Census 2011". Census2011.co.in. 2011. Retrieved 2011-09-30.
  17. US Directorate of Intelligence. "Country Comparison:Population". Retrieved 2011-10-01. Gabon 1,576,665
  18. "2010 Resident Population Data". U. S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 2011-09-30. Hawaii 1,360,301
  19. , Kolaravani
  20. Kannada Thilaka
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