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Shimoga district, officially known as Shivamogga district, is a district in the Karnataka state of India. A major part of the Shimoga district lies in the Malnad region or the Sahyadri. Shimoga city is its administrative center. Jog Falls is a major tourist attraction. As of 2011 Shimoga district has a population of 1,752,753. There are seven taluks: Soraba, Sagara, Hosanagar, Shimoga, Shikaripura, Thirthahalli, and Bhadravathi.
Outer wall carving, Aghoreshwara temple, Ikkeri, Sagar taluk Shimoga District. During Treta Yuga, Lord Rama killed Maricha, who was in the disguise of a deer at Mrugavadhe near Thirthahalli. The Shimoga region formed a part of the Mauryan empire during the 3rd century. The district came into the control of Satavahanas. The Satakarni inscription has been found in the Shikaripur taluk. After the fall of the Shatavahana empire around 200 CE, the area came under the control of the Kadambas of Banavasi around 345 CE. The Kadambas were the earliest kingdom to give administrative status to the Kannada language. Later the Kadambas became feudatories of the Badami Chalukyas around 540 CE.
Map of Karnataka with Shimoga district highlighted.
Shimoga district is a part of the Malnad region of Karnataka and is also known as the 'Gateway to Malnad' or 'Malenaada Hebbagilu' in Kannada. The district is landlocked and bounded by Haveri, Davanagere, Chikmagalur, Udupi and Uttara Kannada districts. The district ranks 9th in terms of the total area among the districts of Karnataka. It is spread over an area of 8465 km2. Shimoga lies between the latitudes 13°27' and 14°39' N and between the longitudes 74°38' and 76°04' E at a mean altitude of 640 meters above sea level. The peak Kodachadri hill at an altitude of 1343 meters above sea level is the highest point in this district. Rivers Kali, Gangavati, Sharavathi, and Tadadi originate in this district. The two major rivers that flow through this district are Tunga and Bhadra which meet at Koodli near Shimoga city to gain the name of Tungabhadra, which later joins River Krishna.
Ballegavi, also known as 'Dakshina kedara' was the capital of Banavasi rulers during the 12th century CE. There are many temples in Ballegavi, some constructed as per Late Chalukyan architecture: Kedareshvara temple, Tripurantakeshvara temple, and Prabhudeva temple. They are known for architecture and sculpture. Shivappa Naik palace is located in Shimoga on the banks of river Tunga; it was constructed by Shivappa Nayaka of Keladi. The Lakshmi Narasimha temple in Bhadravathi was built as per Hoysala architecture. Keladi and Ikkeri were the capital cities during the time of Keladi Nayakas. There are three temples in Keldai: Rameshvara temple, Veerbhadreshvara temple, and Parvati temple. The Aghoreshvara temple is in Ikkeri. The Sacred Heart Church, constructed in the 1990s, is the second-largest church of Asia.
Nilakanteshwara Natya Seva Sangha is located in a village called Heggodu in Sagara. It was established by K. V. Subbanna in 1958. Ninasam is a drama institute. The headquarters is in Heggodu. It has a library, rehearsal hall, guesthouse, and theatre. Shivarama Karantha Rangamandira is an auditorium for Ninasam. It was opened in 1972. Ninasam started a Theatre-in-education project called Shalaranga with the help from the government of India during 1991-1993. Ford Foundation has volunteered in establishing a rural theatre and film culture project called Janaspandana. Ninasam conducts a summer workshop for youngsters. Ninasam chitrasamaja is an organization to encourage film culture and to hold film festivals.
Gudigars are a clan of craftsmen who are specialized in carving intricate designs on wood, mainly sandalwood. They are concentrated in the Sagara and Soraba taluks. The articles they make are sold at government emporiums. Ashok Gudigar is one of the sculptors from this clan. A 41-foot Bahubali statue is one of his works. He has won the Vishwakarma award for his Chalukyan-style Ganesha sculpture. He has won the National award in 1992 for his Hoysala-styled Venugopala sculpture.
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