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Title: Honavar  
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Subject: Ibn Battuta, Piracy, Gunawanti, Shankar Nag, Karikanamma, Idagunji, Navilgone, Nawayath, Joseph Vaz, Kozhikode district
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Coordinates: 14°16′48″N 74°26′38″E / 14.28°N 74.4439°E / 14.28; 74.4439Coordinates: 14°16′48″N 74°26′38″E / 14.28°N 74.4439°E / 14.28; 74.4439

Country India
State Karnataka
Region Kanara
District Uttara Kannada
 • Body Honnavar Town Panchayat
Elevation 2 m (7 ft)
Population (2001)
 • Total 17,833
Time zone IST (UTC+5:30)
PIN 581334, 581395
Telephone code 91-8387
Vehicle registration KA 47
Civic agency Honnavar Town Panchayat
Distance from Panaji 185 kilometres (115 mi) south
Distance from Bangalore 430 kilometres (270 mi) northwest
Distance from Mangalore 195 kilometres (121 mi) north

Honavar or Honnavar (Kannada: ಹೊನ್ನಾವರ) is a port town in Uttara Kannada district of Karnataka, India. The town is the headquarters of Honnavar taluk.


The first ever historical reference about the Honnavar town appears in the works of the Greek author Periplus (AD 247): It was called Naour.

In the 10th century text Jain Ramayana, the town is mentioned as Hanuruha Island. References about the town are also available in the works of Abu al-Fida (AD 1273-1331), an Arab geographer as well as that of Ibn Batuta who described it as the city of Hinaur.

According to Ibn Batuta, the people of Honnavar were Muslims of the Shafai or Arab sect, peaceful and religious. The men were famous sea-fighters and the women were chaste and beautiful. Most of them knew the Quran by heart. There were 23 schools for boys and 13 for girls. The ruling chief was Jamal-ud-din Muhammad Ibn Hassan. He was subject to a king named Hariab, that is Harihara or Haripappa of Vijayanagar (AD 1336-1350). The prince had an army of 6,000 men. However, the people of Malabar, though a courageous and a war-like race, feared the chief for his bravery at sea and paid him tribute. Ibn Batuta went to Calicut and then returned to Honavar where he found the chief preparing an expedition against the island of Sindabur or Chitakul (present day Sadashivgad) near Karwar.

Honavar, once was under the ruling of queen Chennabhairadevi (Kannada:ಚೆನ್ನಭೈರಾದೇವಿ) of Gerusoppa range, who is believed to have been defeated by the British.

Honnavar or Onore was a notable seaport of British India, in the Uttara Kannada or North Canara district of Karnataka. It is mentioned as a place of trade as early as the 16th century and is associated with two interesting incidents in Anglo-Indian history. In 1670, the English factors here had a bull-dog which killed a sacred bull. An enraged mob killed 18 people in retaliation. In 1784 it was defended for three months by Captain Torriano and a detachment of sepoys against the army of Tippu Sultan.

Honnavar has a history of having the name Honnupura (Kannada:ಹೊನ್ನುಪುರ) which might have been a major market and export hub for gold and related things.


Honnavar lies on the coast of the Arabian Sea and on the banks of the river Sharavati, forming an estuary. It lies midway between Panaji and Mangalore. Some of the important places around Honavar include the towns of Murudeshwara and Idagunji, Apsarkonda places of religious importance and Karikanamma, a scenic mountain that has the breathtaking view of the Arabian Sea.

Honnavar is Centre place Surrounded by Cities Panaji/Margoa, Hubli,Shimoga, Mangalore in equal Distance of about 180 Kms and Major Towns Karwar. Kundapur,Sirsi,Sagar in equal Distance of 80 Kms. Honnavar has a port that was one of the most important ones on the west coast of India during the time of Marco Polo. It has many more powerful divine places like Veeranjaneya temple Gerusoppa, Subramanya Kshetra Mugva, Rama theerta, Apsarakonda, etc.

Some 18-20 kilometres from Honavar is the historic Maruti Temple (Mukhyaprana Laxmi Venkatesh Temple) place called "Gundabala". This temple has a history of more than 800 years.

The Sahyadri Hill range and the astonishing waves of the Arabian Sea represent the lifestyle of the coastal belt of Karnataka state. In the safe hands of the Sahyadri hills, Honnavar is shining in the fields of education, literature, philosophy and socio-cultural activities with its traditional history.

Honnavar is one of the coastal talukas of Uttar Kannada District. It has a total area of 754.8 km2. Honnavar was a port and fortified town with a lot of nistorical antiquities. The name Honnavar might have originated from the word ‘Honnavari’ or ‘Honnavare’ which was a very popular plant in the region. Several inscriptions have mentioned Honnavar as ‘Honnavaru’ or ‘Honninavara’ which means the land of prosperity or the land of gold.

Between the 11th and 14th century AD Honnavar was under the rule of the Kadambas of Chandavar. Honnavar became a trading centre during the time of Vijayanagar Empire. Horses from Portugal were imported through this port. The well-known Vijayanagar King Krishnadevaraya gave permission to the Portuguese to construct forts at Honnavar and Bhatkal.

During the 15th and 16th centuries the Saluvas of Gersoppa were the prominent rulers of Honnavar. By the end of the 16th century Gersoppa Queen Chennabairadevi had become very popular as the ‘queen of pepper’ (Kalumenasinarani). She had a very good contact with the west. Thus, Honnavar became a flourishing centre of overseas trade.

By the middle of the 17th century the army of Hyder Ali took possession of the coastal town Honnavar and Basavarajdurga. By the end of the 18th century, the entire North Kanara district came under the control of Tippu, the son of Hyder Ali. Honnavar was the district headquarters between 1800 and 1817. In 1862 the entire Kanara district was divided into South Kanara and North Kanara districts, and the North Kanara district was transferred to Bombay Presidency. Until then it was under Madras Presidency. After independence, in 1947 Honnavar became the taluka headquarters.


Sharavati River is one of the main attractions of Honnavar. The river joins the Arabian Sea at Honnavar. While joining the sea, the river has created some islands. Among them, Mavinkurva is the largest and the most beautiful.

Colonel Hill is an place of interest in Honnavar. It is a 30-meter tall column on the top of a hillock by the side of N-H 17. This column was installed in memory of Colonel Hill on 20 January 1845. It was set up by the 14th Madras Native Infantry at the instance of the East India Company in honour of Col. Hill who died at Gersoppa while commanding the Mysore Division.

Ramathirtha is another beautiful location in Honnavar. It is on the Honnavar-Chandavar road about 3 km away. This pushkarini or water tank which is 50 steps below the ground level is very spacious. The water from a height falls into the tank from two points called Ramathirtha and Laxmanthirtha. According to local traditions, Sri Rama, Sita and Laxman had a holy dip in the tank during their exile.

Kasarkod beach is a tourist attraction of Honnavar. It is about 2 km from Honnavar. This beautiful sandy beach is about 5 km long. The waves, golden sand top and the enchanting scenic beauty attract thousands of tourists every day.

Kep Jog is a smaller yet spectacular version of Jog Falls. It is situated deep in the hearts of Jannakadakal, which is a hilly village in Honnavar Taluk. One can reach there by traveling from Honnavar to Jannakadkal via Hadinbal. Road transport is available till Jannakadakal after which a distance of 13 km must be walked.

Basavaraja Durga is a fortified spot is an 19 hectare island in the Arabian Sea. It is 3 km from the Sharavathi Sea Mouth and can be reached by boat. The fort was constructed during the Vijayanagara rule. In 1690, the Keladi ruler Shivappa Nayak captured it and named it Basavarajadurga in memory of the Keladi Prince Basavaraja.

Apsarakonda is an small attractive waterfall is about 5 km from Honnavar. Apsarakonda means the pond of an Apsara or a nymph. Here the water falling from a height of 10 meters has formed a small waterfall. A high hill, a fine view of the sea and the sunset from the hill and a huge natural cave are the attractions of the place.

Gundabala is a village 15 km away from Honnavar, was a medieval trading centre. It was the centre for storing pepper for export during the time of Gersoppa rulers. There are deep well-like pits in the village where pepper was stored. Today Gundabala has emerged as a cultural centre. There is a Hanuman temple in the village. Here is the practice of the devotees praying for the boon of Lord Hanuman and on the fulfillment of the boon they would offer the performance of a Yakshagana Play. More than 100 such yakshagana performances take place every year. Each is a whole night performance.

Gersoppa is former capital city, 24 km from Honnavar. It is a place of rich antiquity. The Jaina Chaturmukha Basti, constructed in Vijayanagar style by Saluva rulers, is the most famous monument here. It has four entrances from the four directions. Four Tirthankara images face the four entrances. Going Gersoppa through the Sharavathi in boats is an enchanting journey.

The National Highway 17 provides a convenient road-link and Konkan Railway provides interstate connectivity. Honnavar is well known for tile manufacturing units and cashew factories. Agriculture and fishing are the main occupations of the people. The Sharavathi River divides the taluk into halves providing irrigation and navigation facilities. The Honnavar taluk is shared by two legislative constituencies. A part of it belongs to the Kumta legislative constituency and another to the Bhatkal legislative constituency.

Honnavar is famous for its lady fish (nagli in Konkani). Honnavar is an estuary where lady fish is available abundantly and is said to be the best in the world.

Upponi;is former capital city, 17 km from Honnavar.


As of January 2013, Honavar town is estimated to have a population of 19,106. Males constitute 51% of the population and females 49%. Honavar has an average literacy rate of 78%, higher than the national average of 59.5%: male literacy is 83%, and female literacy is 74%. In Honavar, 11% of the population is under 6 years of age.



There are two National Highways that pass through Honnavar:


Honnavar has a railway station on Konkan Railway. Honnavar Railway Station is about 5 km from the centre of the town in a place called karki. Konkan Railway's longest bridge, Sharavathi Bridge, is located south of Honnavar 2.065 km (on Sharavati River) and consists of a 1.75 km long tunnel.

There is a proposal to connect Honnavar and Talguppa in Shimoga district by a new railway line, which will be a shorter alternate rail route between Mumbai and southern India. In Railway Budget 2010-11, Indian Railway Ministry suggested a public–private partnership (PPP) model to take up this project as the government of India cannot fund it alone due to concerns about rate of return and the complex nature of the project.


The nearest international airport, Goa International Airport (Dabolim Airport) is about 150 km from Honnavar. Mangalore International Airport, is about 180 km away or about 3 hours 40 minutes by car. Also Hubli Domestic Airport Is About 180 Kms away.[1]


External links

  • SDM College, Honavar

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