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Karwar, Karnataka

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Karwar is a city in Karnataka being the headquarters of Uttara Kannada district in the Southern western coast of India. It is situated between Sahyadri ever green forest in east, blue Arabian Sea to the west, towards south ends with harbour and North the beautiful Kali river. It is one of the green city of India with eco tourism. Hills has created a natural harbour with protection against wind and sea tides naturally. Being a port town, Karwar is a centre for fish business, agriculture, known for manufacturing of golden ornaments in Karwarian style and under developed tourism. It has a population of about 1.5 Lakh.

Beach at Karwar In 1999
Beach at Karwar In 1999
Karwar is located in Karnataka
Coordinates: 14°49′12″N 74°08′06″E / 14.820°N 74.135°E / 14.820; 74.135Coordinates: 14°49′12″N 74°08′06″E / 14.820°N 74.135°E / 14.820; 74.135
Country  India
State Karnataka
District Uttara Kannada
Region Coastal Karnataka
 • Type District Administration
 • Body City Municipal Council
 • Commissioner SS Nakul
 • MLA Roopali Naik
 • MP Anantkumar Hegde
 • Total 27.9 km2 (10.8 sq mi)
Elevation 6 m (20 ft)
Population (2011)[1]
 • Total 155,213
 • Density 5,563.18/km2 (14,408.6/sq mi)
 • Official Kannada
 • Regional Konkani
Time zone IST (UTC+5:30)
PIN 581301
Telephone code 91-8382-XXX XXX
Vehicle registration KA-30

Karwar was part of the Bombay Presidency until 1956. Karwar is known as Kashmir of Karnataka by Rabindranath Tagore, Kuvempu and D. R. Bendre. Tagore wrote his first Drama on Karwar beach. Notable people include Rama Raghoba Rane, Former Chief Justice of India Justice D. G. Palekar and spiritual guru Shri Padmanabh Maharaj.



Karwar derived its name from the nearby village of Kadwad (Kade Wada, the last wado). Kade means last and wado means precinct or area in Konkani and Kannada. Before Indian independence, the name Karwar was spelt Carwar.[2] The name Baithkhol, is an Arabic term. Bait-e-kol, means bay of safety. This is in the Indian History for the Port wherein the paper will be exported from this Kadewad port and after the fighting with the Veer Henja Naik,(1803) the port activity is shifted to the Baithkol and the port of Kadwad is isolated and Kurmagad Fort is activated by the portugise.


Kali River and Sadashivgad fort as seen from Nandangadda village
Kali river bridge, Karwar, Karnataka
Leisure boats on Kali River

Karwar Town was built by British in the year 1857 after the Mutiny. Kawar is also known as 'Kashmir of Karnataka'. There is only Karwar Market [i:e Karwar city], Habbuwada, Kajubag, Kone village, Baad Village, Kodibag, Kathinkon and Sunkeri village, Binga village. Earlier to 1857 there was no existence of Karwar city. Before that Honnavar was District Head of Canara District consisting upto Mangalore to Kodibag Karwar- till Kali river. After that another bank towards northern bank the rule of Sadhashiv Nayak and Marahta province. After the mutiny of 1857 British have made division of Canara District into two parts as South Kanara [Dakshin Kannada] with headquarters at Mangalore attached to Madras Province and North Kanara [Uttar Kannada] with headquarters at Karwar newly built town which attached to Bombay province. It is one of the well planned city like Goa, Mumbai, Dharwad, Bangalore. After the rule of Indian Government from 1947 the Karwar is totally neglected by politically and kept the Karwar as it is.

Kot Siveshvar, another fortress, was built near Karwar (in Siveshvar village) by the Sultan of Bijapur to counterattacks from the north. At the ruins of Fort Siveshvar are a Muslim graveyard and a tunnel at the eastern gate.

Portuguese traders knew Karwar as Cintacora, Chitrakul, Chittakula or Sindpur. In 1510, the Portuguese captured and burnt a fort at Karwar. They called it Fort Pir, Forte de Piro or Pito due to the presence of a Muslim Dargah (tomb of a Sufi saint, Shahkaramuddin). In the 17th century, refugees from Portuguese rule in Goa moved to Karwar.

Marathas: Having marched from Bednore in the south, visiting on his way the sacred temple at Gokarna, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj seized Ankola and the next day came to Karwar (then known as Kadwad).[1] Both the East India Company and Sher Shah, the sardar of Bijapur, were very much alarmed at this sudden development. They collected huge amount and offering it to Shivaji, prayed that they may be spared. Satisfied at the recognition of his authority, Shivaji crossed the Kali River and conquered Sadashivgad on 21st Feb 1665;

In 1638 the English trading Courteen Association established a factory at Kadwad village, 6 km east of Karwar and traded with merchants from Arabia and Africa. The common commodities were muslin, black pepper, cardamom, cassier and coarse blue cotton cloth. In 1649 the Courteen Association merged with the British East India Company, and Karwar became a company town.

The East India Company built fighting ships in the Karwar harbour. For example, the Britannia (1715) which had 18 guns was built to defend Bombay from attacks by Maratha admiral Kanhoji Angre.[3]

In the 1700s Karwar was part of the Maratha Empire. In 1784, at the time of the Treaty of Mangalore between Tipu Sultan and the East India Company, Karwar and Sadashivgad were spelt Carwar and Sadasewgude, respectively.[4] After the defeat of the Marathas in the Third Anglo-Maratha War, Karwar fell to the British.

The Bengali poet and Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore, who visited Karwar in 1882, dedicated a chapter of his memoirs to this town.[5] At 22 years, Tagore stayed with his second brother, Satyendranath Tagore, a district judge in Karwar who was also India's first ICS . Satyanedranath Tagore lived here with his erudite wife Jnanadanandini Devi and their two children, son Surendranath (1872- 1940) and daughter Indira Devi Chaudhurani (1973- 1960) were born here. Rabindranath also spent few months in Karwar with his newly married wife Mrinalini Devi in 1883.

From 1862 to the re-organisation of the states, Uttara Kannada district was part of the Bombay Presidency. During this time, major public works carried out included improvement of roads, building of a wharf, wharf road and a sea wall at the Karwar port as well as the construction of a multi-floor storage building, staff housing, a post office, kutcheri (kutcherries or zamindar's offices) and a Christian burial ground.[6]

Famous temple in karwar is: Shri Kshetra Baad Math, Karwar Gurumath,

Shri Kshetra Gurumath is a pilgrim institution that was established in 1906. This spiritual centre was set up by Shrimath Paramahamsa Padmanabhteerth in the Sahyadri Hills, where visitors can view the Kali river meeting the Arabian Sea. Otherwise called the Shri Kshetra Baad Math, the centre was established with the aim of spreading knowledge about vedantic subjects among the masses. It should be visited by those who are interested in learning about Shri Padmanabhateertha's teachings, such as thinking beyond the definition of 'concepts' and receiving good from everybody and anybody.

During World War II Karwar was an Indian Naval training site.[7]:172


Local bird, Malabar starling(Sturnia blythii). Karwar is rich in flora and fauna

Karwar is a seaside city on the west coast of the Indian peninsula. To the east are the Western Ghats. Karwar is situated on the banks of the Kali river (Kali nadi) which flows west to the Arabian sea from its headwaters at Bidi village in the Western Ghats. The Kali river has a length of about 184 km and is the main source of irrigation for Karnataka. Karwar is 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) south of the Karnataka - Goa border, 273 kilometres (170 mi) north of Mangalore and 519 kilometres (322 mi) north-west of Bangalore, the capital city of Karnataka.

Baitkhol port at Karwar is a natural harbour with land side hills and ocean side islands protecting it from cyclonic weather. The four fathom mark lies close to the shore. The tidal range is 1.2 to 2.5m.[7]:172


Several small mangrove covered islands lie off the Kali river estuary including Anjadip Island and Devagadaguda Islands. The sub-tidal regions of the islands have a high biodiversity, although the waters off Karwar have recorded higher than normal faecal coliform counts.[8]:248


Karwar lies on a coastal strip known as the Monsoon Coast.[9] Karwar has hot summers from March to May where the temperature may reach 37 °C. The Arabian Sea is warm throughout the year. Winters from December to February are very mild (24 °C and 32 °C). The windy monsoon period from June to September has an average rainfall of over 400 centimetres (160 in).

Climate data for Karwar
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 32.8
Average low °C (°F) 20.8
Average precipitation mm (inches) 1.1
[citation needed]


As of the 2011 Census of India, the total population in Karwar is 155,213.[10]


Though Kannada is the official state language, regional language Konkani is the native tongue and is the most common medium of communication, while Marathi holds a sizable diaspora.The advent of Kannada traders from nearby places of Hubli and Dharwad created a spur in spoken Kannada.


Religion in Karwar Taluk
Distribution of religions
Karwar at dusk

Most people in Karwar are Hindu. Christianity was introduced to Karwar by the British and by the Portuguese When Ruling Goa in the 17th and 18th centuries. Portuguese Also Visited Karwar In Those Days. Muslim seafaring traders migrated to Karwar from the Deccan (Bahamani) kingdoms.


Primary industryEdit

Fishermen returning home at sunset, Devbagh, Karwar

Karwar is an agricultural region. The main agriculturists are Komarpanth, Gauda, Gunagi. The common crops are rice, groundnuts, green vegetables, onions, watermelons and flowers. Other primary industries include animal husbandry, sericulture, horticulture, beekeeping, gathering and lumbering and the growing of homeopathic medicinal plants.

The coastal location of Karwar lends to fishing and fisheries which are concentrated in Harikanth, Konkan Kharvis, Gabiths and Ambigas. The common types of fish are mackerel, sardines, hardheads and prawns. Fishing is done from land with nets or from boats such as pandyWooden Big boat and Bhot(motor launch) and dhoni (dug out canoes). There is also mechanised trawling. The brackish water of the Kali estuary is suitable for prawn farming.[11]

Secondary industryEdit

Muslin used in dress making

Members of the Daivadnya Brahmin caste are engaged in jewellery design, manufacturing and goldsmithing. Leather works are common. In Binaga township, a chemical company Aditya Birla Chemicals Division (earlier owned by Ballarpur Industries Ltd / Solaris Chemtech), manufactures caustic soda, lye flakes, liquid and powdered chlorine, hydrochloric acid, phosphoric acid, kestra pipes and bromine.[8]:246 Since 1638 when William Counten opened a mill, Karwar town was a producer of fine muslin. In 1660 the factory was prosperous, exporting the finest muslins in Western India; the weaving country was inland to the east, at Hubli and other centres, where as many as 50,000 weavers were employed. Besides the great export of muslin, Karwar provided pepper, cardamoms, cassia, and coarse blue cotton cloth (dungan). I[12][citation needed]

Tertiary industryEdit

At Kaiga, 50 kilometres (31 mi), the Nuclear Power Corporation of India operates a nuclear power plant. The Kadra hydroelectric power corporation (K. P. C.) operates a dam between Kadra and Mallapur townships, approximately 33 kilometres (21 mi) from Karwar town.

Karwar International AirportEdit

The proposed Karwar Airport will be built by the Indian Navy at Alageri village[13] near Ankola, in Karnataka. The Airports Authority of India (AAI) will operate a civil enclave at the naval air base which is part of the Navy's Rs 10,000 crore Phase 2 of Project Seabird.

Konkan railwayEdit

The Konkan railway connects Karwar to most major towns and cities. Karwar has three railway stations: Karwar, Asnoti and Harwada railway station. The nearest Goan station is Canacona, 36 km away. Madgaon station lies 68 km to the north.[14]

INS KadambaEdit

The Indian Navy operates a naval base at a bay near Binaga township. It is the navy's third largest base. The base was founded as part of Project Seabird. Casurina beach near Binaga (now called Kamat Bay) and Arga beach were incorporated into naval property. The public has access to the base during Navy Week in December and in visiting educational groups. The naval base includes a civilian support community at Amadalli, a ship lift and an hospital INS Patanjali. INS Kadamba is the homeport of India's largest aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya.

INS VajrakoshEdit

INS Vajrakosh, commissioned on 9 September 2015, is the latest establishment of the Indian Navy at Karwar which will serve as special storage facility for specialised armaments and missiles. INS Vajrakosh will have all the required infrastructure and will be manned by specialists to provide specialised servicing facilities for these sophisticated missiles and ammunition.[15]

Karwar portEdit

Karwar beach looking towards Madlimgadh and Kurumgad Islands

Karwar port is located at Baithkol, Karwar Bay. Hills and coastal islands make the port a natural harbour, sheltered from the Arabian sea. The port which is operated by the Government of Karnataka, services the hinterland of northern Karnataka, Goa and southern Maharashtra.

The length of the port is 355 metres (388 yd). The quay has two berths, with a draft capacity of 9.25 metres (30.3 ft). Karwar port also berths coastal vessels and there is a jetty for fishing vessels.[16] The Government of Karnataka has planned to develop Karwar port on a Public Private Partnership (PPP) basis to provide six additional berths, a container terminal, and a rail link to Shirwad railway station.

The port is able to handle all types of commodities, including "B" and "C" class petroleum products. There port has liquid storage tanks for bitumen, furnace oil, molasses, and HSD. A ban of iron ore mining and export in Karnataka state reduced congestion at the port. The port has arrangements for berthing coastal vessels, and a jetty for fishing boats.

In 2012 the Government of Karnataka carried out maintenance dredging in the port, the approach channel and the nearby anchorage. The port may be closed from 16 May to 15 September (the monsoon season).[16] Part of the 2008 Hindi film Golmaal Returns was filmed at Karwar port.

Aditya Birla ChemicalsEdit

Aditya Birla Chemicals (India) (ABCIL) is a unit of the Aditya Birla Group.

ABCIL has also acquired chlor-alkali and phosphoric acid division of Solaris Chemtech Industries Limited, based in Karwar, Karnataka.


Rabindranath Tagore beachEdit

Rabindranath Tagore Statue At the Beach
Tagore beach
"The sea beach of Karwar is certainly a fit place in which to realize that the beauty of Nature is not a mirage of the imagination, but reflects the joy of the Infinite and thus draws us to lose ourselves in it. Where the universe is expressing itself in the magic of its laws it may not be strange if we miss its infinitude; but where the heart gets into immediate touch with immensity in the beauty of the meanest of things, is any room left for argument?" - Rabindranath Tagore[5]

Places of interestEdit

Maritime museum at Tagore beach, Rabindranath
Sadashivgad Fort from the Kali River Bridge


  • Binaga beach
  • Devbagh beach
  • Kali bridge
  • Karwar beach
  • Kurumgad island
  • Majali beach
  • Oyster Rock Lighthouse, a round white masonry construction with red trim protects ships from the rocks of Devgad Island, the largest off the Kali Estuary.[16]
  • Tilmatti beach
Kadra dam, kadra kalli back water, kalli river, devbag resorts, ansi vajra water falls, todur golari water falls, mudgeri dam, Bim koil dam asnoti, kadra jungle, Gudhalli top hill station, Kali rever park n boating, baith kol break water, kadwad nandval hill top, Kadwad bridge n lots of beautiful hidden places at karwar,


  • Anshi national park
  • Chaitanya park
  • Chendia and Nagarmadi falls (a small waterfall which passes under a large rock)
  • Devkar falls
  • Golari Waterfalls (Which Is Situated At Todur Colony Near Chendia)
  • Guddahalli peak
  • Habbu mountain
  • Hyder Ghat pass
  • Mudgeri dam
  • Shirve Ghat
  • Makkeri
  • Rock Garden

Historic sitesEdit

  • Kot Shiveshvar
  • Sadashivgad Fort
  • Shahkaramuddin dargah, Sadashivgad (tomb of a Sufi saint)
  • Maritime museum



Karwar is known for its seafood cuisine. Fish curry, with cashews, coconut and rice is a staple dish. Karwar curries use ginger and turmeric but not always garlic.[17]

Eedi Saaru(crab masala),Kurle Ambat, a local dish

Local FestivalsEdit

  • Kurumgad jatra
  • São João, where garlands of freshly picked fruits leaves and flowers are worn and people jump into wells, ponds, rivers, and lakes.
  • Karavali Utsav, an annual three of four day festival at Tagore beach. It is organised by the Uttara Kannada District Administration as a cultural and social event. Many shops and stalls are installed at Tagore beach. People from all parts of the district and from all over the state and neighboring Goa state attend. Many cultural events are held in the evenings where regional, national and international artists including Bollywood stars, Kannada film stars, Goan artists and local artists perform.
  • Karwar Utsav, in summer season where local artistes and celebrities come and perform.


Media outlets include:

  • Karwar eNews, online local newspaper.[18]
  • janamaadhyama Daily
  • nuthana TV
  • Karavali Munjavu, Kannada language daily newspaper.[19]
  • Zilla Varta Kendra media centre.
  • District Library, near the district court and next to Mitra Samaj.
  • All India Radio (Akashwani Kendra), Gurumath Road, Kajubag.
  • Real TV's reality show, Sarkaar Ki Duniya was filmed at Ambe Joog island.

Notable residentsEdit


Villages of KarwarEdit

Karwar comprises the following blocks or villages:[20][21][citation needed]

  • Ambrai
  • Amdalli
  • Angadi
  • Arga
  • Asnoti
  • Baad
  • Baitkol
  • Balni
  • Bhaire
  • Bhandishitta
  • Binaga
  • Birtulbag
  • Bore
  • Chendia
  • Devalmakki
  • Devabag
  • Gopashitta the famous paralesas hospital near Mahadev temple, ( Halaga cross )
  • Gotegali
  • Halebag
  • Halekote
  • Halga
  • Hankon
  • Hapkarni
  • Harwada
  • Hosali
  • Hotegali
  • Kadra
  • Kadwad
  • Kaiga
  • Kajubag
  • Kalaswada
  • Karkal
  • Kathinkon
  • Kerwadi
  • Kharga
  • Kinner
  • Kodibag
  • Kolage
  • Kunnipet
  • Lower Makeri
  • Majali, Karnataka
  • Mallapur
  • Mudgeri
  • Nandangadda
  • Nargeri
  • Sadashivgad
  • Sakalbalni
  • Sanmudageri
  • Shejebag
  • Shejwad
  • Shirwad
  • Siddar
  • Sunkeri
  • Thoralebag
  • Ulga
  • Upper Makeri
  • Wail Balni
  • Todur Colony

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Sub-District Details". Office of the Registrar General & Census Commissioner, India. Retrieved 27 March 2012. 
  2. ^ History Of Gingee and its rulers
  3. ^ Biddulph, Colonel John (1907). The Pirates of Malabar And an Englishwoman in India Two Hundred Years Ago (Reprint 2005 ed.). London: Smith, Elder & co. p. 40. 
  4. ^ "Treaty of Mangelore" Archived 20 July 2008 at the Wayback Machine. Project South Asia.
  5. ^ a b Karwar in Tagore's memoirs.
  6. ^ "Report of proceedings at the conference held at Poona, 1865." Department of Public Works, Bombay Presidency, 1866 p251 (Original held at Oxford University). Accessed at Google books, 5 April 2014.
  7. ^ a b Hiranandani G. M. "Transition to Eminence: The Indian Navy 1976-1990." Lancer Publishers, 2005. ISBN 8170622662, 9788170622666.
  8. ^ a b Sahoo D. and Pandey P. C. "Advances in Marine and Antarctic Science." APH publishing 2002 ISBN 8176483478, 9788176483476.
  9. ^ Outlook Traveller Outlook Publishing July 2008 8(7)
  10. ^ "Census of India 2011". Office of the Registrar General & Census commissioner, India. Retrieved 2017-01-02. 
  11. ^ Qasim S. Z. "Indian Estuaries." Allied Publishers 2003 p270 ISBN 817764369X, 9788177643695.
  12. ^
  13. ^ "Project Seabird all set to enter Phase-2". Times of India. 5 December 2009. Retrieved 1 May 2012. 
  14. ^ "Karwar/KAWR Railway Station – Today's train departure timings, a busy junction for travellers and rail enthusiasts". India Rail Info. 30 May 2012. Retrieved 12 September 2012. 
  15. ^ "रक्षा मंत्री ने कारवाड़ में आईएनएस वज्रकोष को राष्ट्र को समर्पित किया". पत्र सूचना कार्यालय, भारत सरकार. 9 September 2015. Retrieved 22 September 2015. 
  16. ^ a b c "Prostar Sailing Directions 2005 India & Bay of Bengal Enroute." National Geospatial-intelligence Agency, ProStar Publications, 2005 p. 53 ISBN 1577856627, 9781577856627.
  17. ^ Tennebaum T. D. "A Sense for Spice : Recipes and Stories from a Konkan Kitchen." Westland ISBN 938261849X, 9789382618492.
  18. ^ [1] Karwar e news online newspaper
  19. ^ [2] Munjavu daily newspaper website
  20. ^
  21. ^

External linksEdit