Banavasi is an ancient temple town in Uttara Kannada District bordering Shivamogga district, on the banks of river Varada in Karnataka. Distance from Banavasi to Hassan, Karnataka is 274.8 km and takes around 5 h 22 min via NH206. Distance from Bengaluru to Banavasi, Karnataka is 399.9 km and travelling takes around 5 h 54 min via NH48. Distance from Davangere, Karnataka to Banavasi, Karnataka is 140.3 km and travelling takes around 2 h 28 min via NH48 and Sirsi - Haveri Road.

It is recognised as the first capital of ancient Karnataka when the Kadamba dynasty ruled over the region from the fourth to the sixth centuries. A fifth century copper coin was discovered in Banavasi recently.

Banavasi lies deep in the rain forests of Western Ghats with the Varadha river flowing around it on three sides. It is located 374 km from Bangalore. The nearest railway station is 112 km away in Shimoga. Sirsi, 18 km away, is the nearest town. Banavasi has no lodging.

Banavasi is one of the oldest towns in the Karnataka. It has grown up around the Madhukeshwara Temple built in the 9th century and dedicated to Lord Shiva the supreme God in Shaivism, a major branch of Hinduism.

Recently a 5th century copper coin was discovered here with an inscription in the Kannada script, one of the oldest such coins ever discovered. The Directorate of Archaeology and Museums said that the coin's inscription in archaic Kannada proves beyond doubt that Banavasi had a mint in the 5th century. The coin's discovery supports those seeking classical status for the Kannada language. Adikavi Pampa, the first poet of Kannada, wrote his epic poems in Banavasi.

The town once was the capital of the Kadamba rulers, an ancient royal dynasty of Karnataka. They established themselves there in A.D. 345 and ruled for at least two centuries.

Tourist Attractions in Banavasi

The annual December cultural festival, Kadambothsav, is a huge gathering, organized by the state government, and featuring folk dancers, drama troupes, classical musicians, art exhibitions, while drawing together performers, artists, and writers from all of south India. Banavasi has long been a cultural centre, especially the Yakshagana art form. Today local artisans craft and sell the classical folk art Yakshagana masks here.

The neatly laid out banana and areca nut plantations or the chequered rice fields offer ample shade for a leisurely picnic. Pineapple is the speciality at Banavasi.

Gudavi Bird Sanctuary
Kadami Dynasty
Rural Tourism Karnataka
Hotels, Boarding, Lodging & Accomodation in Banavasi

Top 10 Facts about Banavasi

Here are Top 10 facts about Banavasi

  1. Banavasi was the capital of the Kadamba dynasty, which ruled large parts of South India between the 4th and 6th centuries AD.
  2. The town is known for its ancient temples and monuments, including the Madhukeshwara Temple, which is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is one of the oldest temples in the region.
  3. The town is located on the banks of the Varada River, which is a tributary of the Krishna River. The river is a popular destination for boating and fishing.
  4. Banavasi is also known for its natural beauty and is surrounded by lush forests and hills. The town is a popular destination for trekking and hiking.
  5. The nearby Sirsi town is known for its beautiful waterfalls, including the Unchalli Falls and the Magod Falls, which are popular among tourists.
  6. Banavasi is also famous for its handloom silk sarees, which are known for their intricate designs and fine quality.
  7. The town is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in Indian history and culture and is a great place to experience the rich heritage of South India.
  8. The best time to visit Banavasi is between the months of October and March when the weather is pleasant and ideal for outdoor activities.
  9. The town is well-connected to other parts of Karnataka by road and rail, and is a popular destination for day trips and weekend getaways from nearby cities like Bangalore and Mangalore.
  10. The town is also known for its annual cultural festival called the Kadamba Utsava, which celebrates the rich cultural heritage of the region and attracts tourists from all over the world.