Uttara Kannada District is one of the biggest districts of our State with abundant natural resources. The district has varied geographical features with thick forest, perennial rivers and abundant flora and fauna and a long coastal line of about 140 KM in length.
It is surrounded by Belgaum District and State of Goa in the North, by Dharwar District in the East, by Shimoga and Udupi Districts in the South. Arabian Sea forms the West border.
In its 10.25 lakh hectares of total land, of which 8.28 hectares is Forest land. And only about 1.2 lakh hectares of land (roughly about 10%) is under agriculture / horticulture.
The District consists of 11 Talukas viz.
It has 35 Zilla Panchayat Constituencies, 123 Taluk Panchayat Constituencies, and 207Gram Panchayats. According to 2001 census, 9.66 lakhs of population live in rural areas towards the total population of 13.5 lakhs. Kannada & Konkani is the major Regional Language spoken. The cultivable land in the District is approximately 10 percent, as the forests dominate the total area.
As per 2001 census, the male population is 6,86,876 And female population is 6,66,768 Aggregating to 13,53,644. Average rainfall in the district is 2835 mm. Bhatkal taluk records highest average rainfall of 4015 mm where as Mundgod averages lowest at 1296 mm. Average climate is 33 Centigrade during the summer and 20 Centigrade during the winter at the sea level. 87 Industries have been registered in the District of which 18,455 people are employed. There are 138 Commercial Banks, 28 Rural Banks, 11 Urban Co-operative Banks, 46 KDCC Banks, 11 Primary Land Development Banks and 4 Industrial Banks in the District. All Towns and Villages have electricity facilities in the District. 29,000 water pump sets have been electrified. There are 13 Allopathic hospitals, 2 IMP hospitals, and 118 Private hospitals, 59 PHCs, 22 PHUs, 12 Dispensaries, 64 Family Planning Centres and 333 Family Planning Sub-centres in the District.
Apart from the natural resources the district has also got some man made wonders. Important among them are Hydro Electric Power Project and Nuclear Power Project. The important Hydro Electric Power Projects are Supa Dam, Kadra Dam, Kodasalli and Gerusoppa Dam along with their generating units and among Nuclear Power Project, the Kaiga Nuclear Power Project is important.
Uttara Kannada District receives heavy rainfall during monsoon period.
The main rivers flowing in this district are:-
1. Karwar,Joida Taluk : Kali river
2. Ankola Taluk : Gangavali river(Bedti river)
3. Kumta,Siddapur, Sirsi Taluk : Aghanashini river
4. Honnavar Taluk : Sharavati river
5. Bhatkal Taluk : Venkatapur river
6. Sirsi Taluk : Varada river
7. Yellapur Taluk : Bedti river.
The depth of flow of these rivers ranges from 9' to 10' and the riverbank height is about 12' to 15'.
The Madhukeshwar Temple at Banavasi, Ulavi Channabasaveshwar Temple at Ulavi, Siddivinayaka Temple at Idagunji, Mahabaleshwar Temple at Gokarna, Mathobara Temple at Murdeshwar, Marikamba Temple in Sirsi are famous places of worship in the District.The Monuments:
Jain Basti and Swarnawalli Math, Sonda Fort, Mirjan Fort etc. are famous for ancient monuments. Mosque at Bhatkal is also known for its marvellous designs.Art and Culture
Folk Arts like Suggikunitha, Holi Dance, Hulivesha, Siddi Dance are famous and traditional. Yakshagana is also famous in the District.
Though the District is located in coastal area, it is not so famous for its marine products. But activities connected with Fisheries are carried out on large scales with the help of State Government as well as Central Government. The major population lives in rural area undertaking agriculture as their main occupation.
The main traditional occupations are Agriculture, Fisheries, Animal Husbandry, Sericulture, Horticulture, Beekeeping and Leather Works etc.
The main tribes of the district are Sidhi, Kunabi, Halakki Vokkaliga, Gonda and Gouli.
Sidhis are said to have been brought by the Portuguese from Africa as slaves some four hundred years ago. Their population is around ten thousand and are generally found in Haliyal, Yellapur and Ankola taluks. Now their culture is completely Indian and have adopted mainly Hindu religion. A small population of them are Muslims and Christians. They are extremely poor and backward and work mainly as agriculture labourers in the fields of Havyak Brahmins.
Halakki Vokkaligas living in the foot of Western Ghats are known as the "Aboriginals of Uttara Kannada". Their distinctiveness and backwardness are too obvious. They have administrative system of their own and the headman is called "Gouda". Their way of living is still ancient and need amalgamation with the main stream. The men are practically naked at home and the women decorated with beads and necklaces, heavy nose rings have distinct attire.
Goulis are a nomadic tribes migrated from Maharashtra. They are mainly cow and goat rearers. They stay on the fringes of forest. Some have taken up agriculture.
Kunabis are said to be the most backward of the tribals of Uttara Kannada District.. They live in small groups deep inside forests in bamboo huts built in a row sharing common walls. Not having access to the medical facilities due to seclusion, mortality rate among them is very high.
Gonds live mainly in the forests of Bhatkal taluk. They live off forest products. They have rich folk culture of tribal dance.
Pride of Uttara Kannada District
Kali Nadi Hydro Electric Project (KPCL)
Like the Goddess Kali, after whom it is named, the Kalinadi is a black river. And like the Powerful goddess, this river too, releases endless energy. The west flowing Kalinadi has its origin at an elevation of 900m, near the Diggi Village in the Western Ghats of Karnataka. Its 160-km long journey ends at the Arabian Sea near Karwar.
The estimated power potential of the river is about 1700MW, with an annual yield of 6500 MU. So far, 1210 MW has been harnessed from two stages
In Stage I of the project, the 101 m high Supa Dam was build across the Kalinadi in Joida Taluk of the Uttara Kannada District. Fraught with problems and difficulties, the construction of the Dam was a daunting task, posing new challenges to the engineers and geologists on the job. Today, the Dam stands as testimony to the "never-say-die" spirit of KPCL and its people. The Supa Dam Powerhouse has an installed capacity of 2 x 50 MW with an annual energy generation of 450 MU. The generating units were commissioned in 1985.
Also part of Stage I of the Kalinadi Hydro Electric Project are: The Upper Kaneri Dam built across the Kaneri river - a tributary of the Kalinadi,The Bommanahalli Pick-up Dam,The Tattihalla Dam, and The Nagjhari Powerhouse (3 Units of 135 MW and 3 units of 150MW).
The construction of the composite Kodasalli Dam in 1989 marked the beginning of stage II of the Kalinadi Hydro Electric Project. This stage of power development in the Kalindi Valley comprises dams and powerhouses across the Kalindi, near the villages of Kodasalli (Yellapur Taluk) and Kadra (Karwar Taluk) of Uttara Kannada District. The Kadra Powerhouse (3 x 50 MW) and Kodasalli Powerhouse ( 3 x 40 MW) will contribute 270 MW of installed capacity with an yield of 1080 MU per annum.
Nucelar Power station established at Kaiga by Nuclear Power Corporation Ltd, is one of very few in India. It was commissioned on March 5, 2000.. This 220 MWe Pressurised Heavy Water Reactor (PHWR) at Kaiga is indigenously designed, meets the latest safety standards and has state-of-the-art technology including computerised controls. It went critical in September 99,and is now synchronised to the grid. That apart, this nuclear power plant also incorporates a full-scope simulator for superior and comprehensive training of operators. This, and its companion unit at Kaiga, will augment power supply to the southern grid.
Project Seabird is the prestigious Indian Navy project of construction of Naval Base. The Project is progressing at a record speed and the first phase is likely to be complete by June 2005. The first phase work consists of 1.8 Km break water joining Anjadeep island to the main land, a 3.2 kms breakwater from Arga island to round island running north- south and channel 300mtrs wide and 14 mtrs deep for the ships to move into the harbour. It will have state of the art dockyard with shiplift feature to carry the ships to the repair yard. There will be a Naval airport too near Algeri. Along with these the project will have accommodation for Officers and sailors, an Administrative block, a 100-bed hospital, ammunition depot etc