This name comes from the fact that Dharwad acted as a gateway between the Malenaadu and the Bayalu plains and became a resting place for the travelers. The city is located 425 km. northwest of Bangalore on the highway between Bangalore and Pune in Maharastra. The city is well connected to Bangalore, Goa, Belgaum and Miraj and the nearest airport is at Belgaum, about 140 kms away. Dharwad Railway is on the Hubli- Londa line.
Dharwad earlier known as Dharawada was a major town in the 12th century of the Kalyani Chalukyas. Other than the Chalukyas a number of kingdoms ruled ancient Dharwad, which included the Sevunas, the Vijaynagar rulers, rulers of Bijapur, Mughuls, Marathas, Haider Ali and Tipu Sultan.
The city is known for its temples and is a pilgrimage spot for devotees. The Venkataramana temple, Nandi Kola Basavanna, Dattatreya, Ulavi Basavanna are the famous temples of Dharwad. The Durgadevi Temple near the fort of the Vijaynagar rulers and the Someshwara temple are notable landmarks of Dharwad. Kalyani Chalukyan built the Mailara Linga temple at Vidyagiri. However when the Bijapur army invaded Dharwad they converted into a mosque but the Peshwas again changed the mosque into a temple. The city is also the centre for the Churches of the Basel Mission and the Catholics.
The city is also famous for its milk products especially the Dharwad pedha - a milk based sweetmeat. Two prestigious institutions, the Karnataka University and the University of Agricultural Sciences are located here and therefore it is also known as the University Town.