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A Complete Overview of Hassan

A Historical building in Hassan

Introduction to Hassan

Hassan, one of the 30 districts of Karnataka state of India, is located around 194 kms from the state capital Bangalore. This district achieved its epitome of glory during the reign of Hoysalas, who had their capital at Dwarasamudra, the modern day Halebeed in Belur Taluk. Hassan is itself the city and the district head quarter. The district covers an area of 6845 sq.kms with a total population of approximately 17,76,421. This is a must visit place for all in the want of complete peace and enchanting natural beauty.

The city has a literacy rate of about 79% and houses some of the best schools and colleges in the state, like the Malnad College of Engineering, Sri Dharmasthala Manjunatha College of Ayurveda.

Hassan is a treasure-house of Hoysala architecture and sculpture, the best of which can be found at Belur and Halebeed. Shravanabelagola, in Channarayapatna taluk, is a renowned pilgrimage place for the Jains.

Origin Of The Name of Hassan

Founded in the 11th Century by Chieftain Channa Krishnappa Naik, the city is named after the Goddess "Hassanamba" or “Hassan-Amma”, traditionally meaning the smiling mother or goddess. As per Sthalapurana, the name 'Hassan' is an abridged form of 'Simhasanapura', a place associated with Janamejaya, the great grandson of the Pandava hero Arjuna.

History Of Hassan District

Hassan’s ancient history starts as early as 300 BCE (Before the Common Era), when it was a part of the Mauryan Dynasty. During 3rd century BCE, sage Bhadrabahu resided here along with his followers, thus bringing Jainism into Karnataka. It is believed that great king Chandragupta Maurya was a disciple of Bhadrabahu, hence the Chandragupta Basadi or monument still exists today.

Later during 350 - 550 CE (Common Era) Hassan was ruled by the Ganga of Talkad. The Gangas initially ruled as a sovereign power, before breaking their territory into two feudal systems namely Chalukyas and Rashtrakutyas. Shravanabelagola gained its importance as a religious centre at this era. Historians had discovered over eight hundred inscriptions including eighty from the Hoysala period, covering a period of 600 - 1830 CE. This has helped in understanding the ruling history of all the kingdoms over Karnataka. Inscriptions found are in varied languages like Kannada, Sanskrit, Tamil, Marathi, Marwari and Mahajani.

During 1000-1334CE, the Hoysalas came to rule Hassan. A clan of hill people originating from Angadi in Chikmagalur District, built a robust empire and made it reach its pinnacle. Today also one can embark in the glory of the extinct era by viewing the fifty or more Hoysala temples and inscriptions which speak of the administration of the Hoysalas, their land reforms, taxation and culture.

The Hoysalas were defeated by the Vijaynagar Empire, which later on gave way to the Mysore Kingdom.

Demographical Importance of Hassan

The district is divided in 8 Taluks or Blocks, namely Hassan, Alur, Arkalgud, Arsikere, Belur, Channarayapatna, Holenarasipura, Sakaleshpura.There are 258 numbers of Gram Panchayats and 2559 numbers of Villages. As per official Census 2011, the total population Hassan is around 17,76,221 of which male and female were 883,667 and 892,754 respectively.

Coffee, Potato, Sugarcane, Black Pepper, and Paddy are the major agricultural crops. Hassan district based on the physical aspects, climate, rainfall, etc. lies partly in the "malnad" tract ( hilly areas) and partly in the southern "maidan" tract(plains).

Climate of Hassan

  • Summer Season: Relatively warm, with temperature varying between 33oC to 18oC.
  • Monsoon Season: Rainfall is heavy in this region with an average downpour of approximately 700 mm.
  • Winter Season: Pleasant weather with temperatures between 33°C max and 14°C min.

The overall climate is of tropical savannah and hence is mostly dry. It is advisable to wear light cotton apparels during summer to beat the oppressive heat. In winters, some light woolens and pullovers are a doable, as Hassan do not experience severe cold.

Tourism of Hassan

  • Belur - The place is famous for Chennakesava Temple, built by the famous Hoysala king, Vishnuvardhana. Belur was an early Hoysala capital and is situated 38kms from Hassan, on the banks of the Yagachi River. The temple is built up of soft soapstone which made it suitable for intricate carvings, resulting in the display of exquisite work of art. This temple has been nominated to be listed under UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
  • Hasanamba Shrine - This 800 year old temple is the holy abode of Goddess Amba. There is no idol, rather the goddess is an anthill resembling Goddess Parvathi. This temple remains open only for a few weeks in November.
  • Halebeed - Also known as Halebidu, is located around 16 km from Belur, 31 km from Hassan and 149 km from Mysore. This place welcomes one with the twin temple architecture of Hoysaleshwara and Kedareshwara, built by Vishnuvardhana and Ballala-II of the Hoysala empire. The Hoysaleshwara temple exhibits carved stone masterpieces on shining black stone wall. Whereas the Kedareshwara temple exhibits spectacular sights of intricate ancient carvings, music pillars etc.
  • Sravanabelagola - Situated about 49kms from Hassan and 150kms northwest of Bangalore, this town is the epitome of Jain art, culture, architecture and religion for two millennia. The 18m high monolithic statue of Lord Gomateshwara stands atop the Indragiri hill. The Mahamastakabisheka festival happens every 12 years over here.
  • District Museum - Established in 1977 and situated in the Maharaja Park, this museum contains a huge collection of sculptures, coins, paintings, inscriptions and weapons with high archaeological importance.
  • Bisle Ghat - The Bisle Reserve Forest is located in the Sakaleshpura taluk of the Hassan district. One can enjoy a breath taking view of the majestic Pushpagiri range and Giri Hole flowing through the valley. One can trek to reach this place and soak in the natural beauty.
  • Shettihalli Church - This Gothic architecture is believed to be built around 450 years ago. The church is partially submerged in the Hemavathy river backwater.
  • Gorur Dam - This Dam built around 22kms from Hassan across river Hemavathy, is a beautiful picnic spot. But the roads are ill maintained and one has to walk around 1.5kms from the reservoir gate to reach the dam, as vehicles are not allowed inside. Monsoon is the best time to visit the place, with flood gates open and water flowing through them.

Administration in Hassan

Hassan district has its well established DC Office, SP Office and Zilla Panchayats.

The district is administered by the District Magistrate. The SP office has taken an initiative and has created a blog with a purpose to give authentic and official information about the police activities in the district. The Zilla Panchayat also called Zilla Parishad, came into existence on March 1987. This was made for implementation of the decentralized planning and programme at the grass root level.

Different government departments actively work for upliftment of this district. They are namely, Agriculture, Animal Husbandry, Horticulture, Fisheries, Social Welfare, Watershed, Women and Child Welfare, RTO and Land Army.

Transportation of Hassan

Hassan has a network of broad gauge railways to Birur, Bangalore and Mysore. In February 2006, the Bangalore-Shravanabelagola new broad gauge line has started. The city is well connected by private bus service and also has a huge government bus terminus operated by Karnataka State Bus Transport Service(KSBTS), connecting all major cities across south and west India. The nearest airports are in Mysore(115 km) and Bangalore (187 km). NH 48, connects Bangalore with Mangalore port and passes through Hassan.


Hassan, being a small old district of Karnataka, has grown in itself to match with the present World, while holding onto the ancient rich art and culture.

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