Kolara (kOlAra) (ಕೋಲಾರ) is one of the more ancient towns of Karnataka both in terms of mythology and history. It is surmised that the famous dynasty of Gangas of Talkad (talakAD) had Kolara as their capital city before they moved over to Talakad.

Legends link this place to Parashurama. It is said that Parashurama infuriated by the killing of his father Jamadagni by the children of Kartaveeryaarjuna, killed all of them in a prolonged battle. The clamor and noise caused by the fights reverberated in the hills surrounding this place. Hence the city was named ‘kOlAhalapura’ literally meaning a city of great noise and commotion. The KOlaramma temple in the town is supposed to be a memorial for Renukaa the mother of Parashurama. Another variant of the legend avers that a cowherd by the name of kOla came across a hidden treasure while tilling the land. He was asked to report his find to the Chola king and Goddess Renukaa warned the king not to insist upon that. The town as well as the Kolaramma temple were built by the grateful king.

Historically, Kolara is mentioned in a number of inscriptions. It was known as ‘kuvalALapura’ (ಕುವಳಾಲಪುರ) or kOLAlpura (ಕೋಳಾಲಪುರ) as early as the 4th century A.D. The Gangas of Talakad have called themselves the masters of Kolara. (ಕೋಲಾಳಪುರವರೇಶ್ವರ) This place was one of their mainstays even after they moved over to Talakad. Many inscriptions belonging to Cholas, Hoysalas and the kings of the Vijayanagara Empire are found in Kolar. The city must have flourished and seen many ebbs and flows during the regime of these dynasties. This was controlled by a chieftain named Timmegowda in the 15th century. Timmegowda was instrumental in the renovation of the old fort. In 1639, Kolara was occupied by Shaji a war lord from Bijapur. It came under the control of Fateh Mohmed the father of Hyder Ali in 1720. However it is to be conceded that the hoary past of Kolara in the interval between the fourth and the fifteenth centuries has now moved in to oblivion.

Kolara boasts of many temples and other constructions as also a host of inscriptions which bear witness to its past.

Kolaramma temple is the most important architectural exhibit of this town. Different parts of this temple were constructed in different eras and in styles that are specific to various dynasties. Gangas, Cholas and the kings of Vijayanagara have participated in this venture. The main temple and the icons of Saptamatrukaas, Dakshinamurthy, Vinayaka, Chamundaa and the utsvamurthy of Kolaramma are attributed to Ganga kings. Some structures in the southern part of the temple contain many an inscription in Tamil and they are built allegedly by the kings of Chola dynasty such as Rajendra Chola. The main entrance and the rectangular pillars containing many sculptures were built by Vijayanagara kings.

Someshvara temple is another important structure built in the Dravidian style. The outer walls of the sanctum sanctorum and the pillars of black granite were built in the 13th and the 14th centuries. Remaining edifices belong to a later period. There are many buildings in Kolara built in the Islamic style. The maqbara and the tombs of some relatives of Hyder Ali are the more important ones.

Further Reading and Links:

1.      Kolara (Someshvara Temple)

2.      indiabackpacker.blogspot.com/2008/04/kolar-ri...(Someshvara and other temples)

3.      Temples of Kolar


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