UTTARA KANNADA DISTRICT.
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. Karwar, Ankola, Kumta, Honnavar, Bhatkal, Sirsi, Siddapur, Yellapur, Mundgod, Haliyal, Supa(Joida).
There are 6 Assembly Constituency, 4 Revenue Sub-Divisions, 3 CMC, 2 TMC, 6 TP, 19 Nadakacheri Offices, 239 VA circles, 35 Hobblies, 208 Gram Panchayats & 1289 Villages in this district. 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. 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 important rivers flowing in the district are Kali river (Karwar,Supa(Joida) Taluk), Gangavali/Bedti river (Ankola Taluk), Aghanashini river (Kumta,Siddapur, Sirsi Taluk), Sharavati river (Honnavar Taluk), Venkatapur river (Bhatkal Taluk), Varada river (Sirsi Taluk), Bedti river (Yellapur Taluk).The depth 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.
Jain Basti and Swarnawalli Math, Sonda Math, Mirjan Fort etc. are famous for ancient monuments. Mosque at Bhatkal is also known for its marvellous designs.
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 Hallakki Vokkaliga’s 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. Gonds live mainly in the forests of Bhatkal taluk. They live off forest products. They have rich folk culture of tribal dance.