Shimoga, officially renamed as Shivamogga, is a city in the central part of the state of Karnataka, India. The city lies on the banks of the Tunga River. Being the gateway for the hilly region of the Western Ghats, the city is popularly nicknamed as “Gateway of Malnad”.
The name of the city is derived from the term “Shiva-Moga”, “Moga in Kannada means Face hence meaning Face of Shiva”. An alternative etymology is that the name is derived from the term “Sihi-Mogge”, meaning “sweet pot”. The district formed the southern tip of Emperor Ashoka’s Mauryan Empire in the third century BC. It was ruled during later centuries by the Kadambas (4th century), Chalukyas (6th century), Gangas, Rashtrakutas (8th century), Hoysalas (11th century), and the Vijayanagara rulers (15th century). The city got an independent identity under the Keladi Nayaka rule during the 16th century, reaching its pinnacle under the rule of Shivappa Nayaka. From the late 17th century onwards, the city was a part of the Kingdom of Mysore until the independence of India in 1947, when Mysore merged into the Republic of India.
“Kuvempu Rangamandira” and “Karnataka Sangha” are the major venues of the city for cultural activities. Yakshagana, a dance drama, is popular in Thirthahalli, Hosanagara, Sagar, and Sorab Taluks of the district and this art is also performed in Shimoga. There are some professional and amateur troupes from Malnad region, performing this dance drama across Karnataka.
Places of importance in Shimoga
· Shivappa Nayaka’s palace is located within the city.
· Gajanur dam lies 15 km or 9 mi to the southwest.
· Koodli lies 15 km away and is the place where the Tungaa and Bhadraa rivers meet and flow together as Tungebhadraa.
· Tyavarekoppa Lion and Tiger Safari lies 12 km on the way to Sagara. Safari drives are conducted by forest department.
· Sakkare Bayalu, elephant training camp 2 km away from Gajanur Dam on the way to Thirthahalli.
· A Shiva statue made of concrete,on river banks is installed at Harakere, near Shivamogga.
· Mandagadde Bird Sanctuary, near Thirthahalli is home to wide variety of water birds.
· Guddekal has Subrahmanya Temple near Tunge River on Holehonnur Road.
· Gudde Mardi is a small hill near Shimoga city.