(Last Updated on : 17/02/2010)
History of Shimoga district is replete with the tales of some of the greatest dynasties who have ruled India. Shimoga was established by the Keladi rulers and went on to be ruled by the great Indian dynasties of the Kadambas, Gangas, Chalukyas, Rashtrakutas and Vijaynagar Kings. It reached its pinnacle during the rule of Shivappa Nayaka around 1600 A.D. According to traditional derivations, the name Shimoga is said to pertain to Lord Shiva
. ('Shiva - Mukha' - Face of Shiva, 'Shivana - Mogu' - Nose of shiva, 'Shivana - Mogge' - Buds of flowers meant for Shiva). Legend also has it that the place where the Shimoga district is now located, once had the ashram of the famous sage Durvasa who was noted for his sharp temper. He used to keep on the oven a pot boiling with sweet herbs. Once some cowherds chanced upon it and tasted the beverage out of curiosity. They consequently went on to name the place as Sihi-Moge (sweet pot), which later came to be known as Shimoga
Archaeological excavations have revealed certain remains in the district which prove that the place was inhabited by man sine the early times. In 1881, two early stone-age tools were discovered in a 'Shingle bed' at Nyamati, at a short distance from the Tungabhadra River
. They were bifacial pebble tools made of quartzite, one with a rounded working edge and the other with a pointed working edge. A number of Neolithic sites were uncovered at Guddemaradi on the bank of Tunga River
near Shimoga city, Nilaskal near Nagar in Hosanagar taluk, Kunda hill near Agumbe in Thirthahalli taluk, Yeddegudde near Thirthahalli and at Ashoka Nagar, Anaveri and Nagasamudra in Bhadravati taluk. Three Iron Age megalithic sites, with different megaliths, have also been found in the district, at Nilaskal in Hosanagar taluk and Shimoga, which have menhirs, and at Arehalli in Thirthahalli taluk, which has portholed burial chambers.
The different dynasties that held sway here till the 11th century are the Mauryas, the Satavahanas (3rd century), the Kadamba dynasty
, the Ganga dynasty
and the Chalukya dynasty
(4th-6th century), the Rashtrakutas dynasty
, Banavasis and Hoysalas (7th, 8th, 10th and 11th centuries). The Kalachuris
were in power for a short period of time in the 12th century, and they had their capital at Belagutti. In the 14th century, the Hoysala power came to an end, and the district became a part of the Vijayanagar Empire
. At the beginning of the 16th century, the house of Keladi Nayakas (also called Ikkeri or Bidnur Nayakas) established themselves in this area. There was also a small principality of Basavapatna in the east of the district. In 1763, Hyder Ali
captured Bidnur, capital of Keladi nayakas, and as a result, this district along with other areas of their kingdom was annexed to Mysore
. After 1799, during the early period of Wodeyars of Mysore, the Nagar Naujdari included Shimoga and Kadur (now Chikmagalur).
The history of Shimoga district thus evidences a rich tradition of dynastic rule.