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Madhukeshwara Temple at Banavasi
Madhukeshwara Temple at Banavasi
Nickname(s): Pampana Banavasi
Banavasi is located in India
Banavasi is located in Karnataka
Location in Karnataka, India
Coordinates: 14°32′03″N 75°01′04″E / 14.5341°N 75.0177°E / 14.5341; 75.0177Coordinates: 14°32′03″N 75°01′04″E / 14.5341°N 75.0177°E / 14.5341; 75.0177
Country  India
State Karnataka
District Uttara Kannada
Population (2005)
 • Total 4,267
 • Official Kannada
Time zone IST (UTC+5:30)
PIN 581 318
Telephone code 08384

Banavasi (Kannada: ಬನವಾಸಿ) is an ancient temple town in Uttara Kannada in the South Indian state of Karnataka. Banavasi was the ancient capital of the Kannada empire Kadamba who ruled entire Uttara Kannada district, they were the first native empire to give prominence to Kannada.


Banavasi is the oldest town in the Karnataka state,[1] it has grown up around the Madhukeshwara Temple built in the 9th century and dedicated to Lord Shiva[2] the supreme God in Shaivism, a major branch of Hinduism.

Madhukeshwara temple, Banavasi
Coin of the Kadamba king who calls himself on the coin "sri dosharashi," thought to be Krishnavarma II (ruled c. 516-540). The reverse of the coin has the legend shashanka, which means "moon." The Kannada letters and another coin can be seen in the entry for Kadambas of Banavasi

In 2006, a 5th-century copper coin was discovered here with an inscription in the Kannada script, one of the oldest such coins ever discovered,[3] the Directorate of Archaeology and Museums said that the coin's inscription in archaic Kannada proves beyond doubt that Banavasi had a mint in the 5th century.[4]

Adikavi Pampa, the first poet of Kannada, wrote his epics in Banavasi.

The town once was the capital of the Kadamba rulers, an ancient royal dynasty of Karnataka,[5] they established themselves there in A.D. 345 and ruled South India for at least two centuries.[6]


Banavasi is surrounded by forests and villages, with the Varada river flowing around it on three sides, it is located 374 km from Bengaluru. The nearest railway stations are 70 km away in Haveri and Talaguppa. Sirsi, is the nearest town about 23 km away.


The soil is fertile around Banavasi and paddy, sugarcane, arecanut, spices and pineapple are grown.


The annual December cultural festival, Kadambothsava, is a huge gathering, organised by the state government, and featuring folk dancers, drama troupes, classical musicians, art exhibitions while drawing together performers, artists, and writers from all of south India.

Banavasi has long been a cultural centre, especially the Yakshagana art form. Today local artisans craft and sell the classical folk art Yakshagana masks here.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Kamat, Jyotsna (August 6, 2006). "Ancient City of Banavasi". Archived from the original on 20 August 2006. Retrieved 2006-08-17. 
  2. ^ "Banavasi- 'Kadambothsav'". Retrieved 2006-08-17. 
  3. ^ "5th century copper coin discovered at Banavasi". Deccan Herald. February 5, 2006. Archived from the original on 2006-06-14. Retrieved 2006-08-17. 
  4. ^ "5th Century copper coin found at Banavasi". Chennai, India: 2006-02-06. Retrieved 2006-08-17. 
  5. ^ Kamat, Jyotsna (August 5, 2006). "Kadambas of Banavasi". Archived from the original on 4 September 2006. Retrieved 2006-08-17. 
  6. ^ "South Indian Coins - The Kadambas of Hangal". Archived from the original on 2006-08-15. Retrieved 2006-08-17. 

External links[edit]