Davanagere (Kannada: ದಾವಣಗೆರೆ), also spelt Davangere, is a city in the heart of the southern indian state of Karnataka. It is the sixth largest city in the state, and the administrative headquarters of eponymous Davangere District. Hitherto being a cotton hub and hence popularly known before as the Manchester of Karnataka, the commercial ventures of the city is now dominated by education and agro-processing industries. Davanagere became a separate district in 1997, when it was separated from the erstwhile undivided district of Chitradurga for administration conveniences. Davanagere is known for rich culinary traditions which encompass the diversity of entire Karnataka's dishes due to its geographical position in the state as its epicentre. Notable among them is its aromatic benne dose that is associated with the name of the city.
Davanagere has been selected as one of the hundred Indian cities to be developed as a smart city under PM Narendra Modi's ambitious flagship Smart Cities Mission. It even went on to be featured in the list of first 20 cities to be developed under the mission by Urban development ministry, released on 28 January 2016, after being scrutinised stringently for several parameters.
It is believed that the Chalukyas were used to halt at this place to rest after a long horse-ride. A lake ("kere" in Kannada language) was excavated for them to quench their thirst. The place thus came to be known as "Devan giri" (an abbreviation of 'danivina kere' for lake for the exhausted and the thirsty) and eventually "Davanagere". However no lake exists as of today, and no concrete historical and literary evidences exist to prove this theory apart from unconfirmed verbal folklores.
Another popular theory that revolves around, is the name of the city being derived from its previous name of Devanagari, meaning the city of divines.
Davanagere has been a pioneer in municipal administration with the city attaining the status of a municipality as early as 1870. The Imperial Gazetteer of India (1911) says that the receipts and expenditure of the municipality, during the ten years ending 1901, averaged Rs 14,200 and Rs 12,600 respectively. The civic administration of the city was managed by the Davangere City Corporation (Davanagere Mahanagara Palike), before it was established as a municipality on 7 August 1951. It now has the status of a City Corporation, and gained this on 6 January 2007. It is headed by a mayor, assisted by commissioners and council members. The city is divided into 41 wards, and the council members (corporators) are elected by the people of the city.
Davanagere was originally an obscure village, forming one of the suburbs of Bethur. Sultan Hyder Ali gave it as jagir to a Maratha chief named Apoji Ram, who encouraged merchants to settle there. While Apoji Ram died without heirs, the place continued to grow, favoured by Tipu Sultan.
Till the 1980s, Davangere used to be popularly referred as the Manchester of Karnataka due to its numerous cotton mills, many of which were of national and international repute. Availability of cotton led to the establishment of many cotton mills from prominent business families of the city. This fame was lost in time as cotton mills were shut down gradually. The city however continues to be a major trading centre of agricultural commodities.
Davanagere is the "Heart of Karnataka". Davanagere is surrounded from Chitradurga, Ballari, Shivamogga, Chikkamagalur and Haveri districts. Davanagere is at the centre of Karnataka, 14°28' N latitude, 75°59' longitude and 602.5 metres (1,977 ft) above sea level. Davanagere District receives average annual rainfall of 644 mm (25.4 in).
Davanagere lies in the Maidan region on the Deccan Plateau. The district is bounded by Shivamogga (Malenadu) Area of Hills, Haveri, Chitradurga, Chikkamagalur and Ballari districts. The southern and western parts of the district are irrigated by the waters of the Bhadra reservoir.
As of 2011 census, Davanagere city had a population of 435,125. Males constitute 52% of the population, and females 48%. Davanagere has an average literacy rate of 85%, higher than the national average of 74.04%: male literacy is 89% and, female literacy is 81%. In Davanagere, 12% of the population is under 6 years of age.
Davanagere has mixed communities with majority being Hindus. Though the city experienced religious riots in the 1990s,the communities have made efforts to bridge the misunderstanding and demonstrating solidarity towards maintaining peace.
Kannada is the major language spoken.The Kannada particular to Davangere has mild regional influences.
Davanagere is well-connected by road to Bengaluru, Hubli, Pune, Goa, Mangalore and Chennai through National Highway 4 (India) (previously Pune-Bengaluru Highway and now Mumbai-Pune-Bengaluru-Chennai Highway).
Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation, has a divisional office situated in Davanagere City. The city is well-connected to Bengaluru and other cities in the state by KSRTC buses. Many privately operated buses offer overnight services to other places within the state. The city's railway station comes under South Western Railway Zone (India) and was constructed during the British period and has been renovated recently. The station code is DVG. The railway station is quite conveniently located in the centre of the city. Regular train services are available to travel towards Bengaluru, Hubli and Mysore.
The nearest airport to Davanagere is Hubli Airport (IATA:HBX), which is 143 kilometres (89 mi) from the city. The ubiquitous Autorickshaws are the backbone for travelling within the city. The city bus services are operated by both private as well as state owned buses.
Davangere has mixed blend of South and North Karnataka food patterns. Jowar Roti which is common in Karnataka and Ragi mudde Chapathi, Rice, Akki Rotti, which is common in South Karnataka are seen in Davangere.
Davangere benne dosa is arguably the most well known contribution to the culinary world and it has found a well-deserved place in the menu cards of all well-known restaurants in Karnataka. There are a few restaurants in Singapore and USA that serve this specialty of Davangere.
The second most popular snack eaten by the local population is spiced puffed rice called 'Nargis Mandakki'( puffed rice in Kannada) especially eaten with hot chilli Bhaji (Fritters).
Another unique sweet dish called “Guladiki unde" is quite popular.
A new University has been established in 2008 at Davangere named as Davangere University. All degree colleges in Davangere district, and Chitradurga district come under Davangere University.