Barakuru one of the most ancient port towns of Karnataka is situated on the banks of the river Sita. The town is about 3 miles (5 kms) east of the Arabean Sea Coast. The delta of SITA is broad and very beautiful. It provided safe ancharage to vessels, commercial and other wise, from countries far and near. The place was called by several names in ancient times as Varakula, Barakanur, Barahkanyapura and Barakuru. Interesting story has been waven around the name “Barahkanyapura”.
The Alupa rulers converted this commercial centre into a political centre by making it as their capitals during the 10th-11th centuries A.D. It led to further development of socio-economic activities. With new vigour the city became the heart and hearth of the Tuluva Culture.
In later times, the city became the provincial head quarters of the Hoysalas and then the Vijayanagara Empire. The city was expanded with a new Fort during this period. Further, Barakur witnessed the rule of Keladi Nayaks, Haider and Tipu of Mysore and the British.
The city had ten extensions called Keris – each being named after its professional residents. Each Keri had a tank and number of temples. Tradition says that, the King visited a temple every day, thus visiting all the temples of the city and on the last of the year, he visited the most important Panchalingeshwara Temple.That day was the day of car festival of this temple situated with the old Fort area called “Kotekeri”. As per tradition, the city contained 365 temples, the remains of which can be seen to-day. A few of them are now in renovated condition. Besides, there are Bhutastanas (devil worshipping centres). There are remains of palaces and other constructions in both the Fort areas.
The port town was a busy commercial centre almost from 2nd Century B.C. Evidences of Megalithic and mesolithic ages have been discovered recently. The place abounds with history and has yielded a little over 100 stone and several copper plate inscriptions. They belong to the Alupa, the Hoysala, the Vijayanagara and the Keladi periods.
Traditional accounts about this place are also very strong. It is said that, Emperor Vikramaditya (of north Indian fame) ruled here and his golden throne is burried here. Another account tells us about the ship building industry and foreign trade activities of this place along with a king called Bhutala Pandya, who blessed by the Devil – Kundodara. Mystitued the famous aliya santana system which exists even to-day in the Jaina and Bunt communities of the entire Tulu-nadu.
To-day, Barkur being a part of Kachur Village, exists sans past glory. River Sita is flowing with a note of melancholy as a testimony to its destruction.
Barkur is about 3 kms north of Brahmavara, which in turn is about 12 kms north of Udupi, on the N.H. 17. it has good transport and communication links.
Important sites of this place
1. Old Fort and palace area called Simhasanagudde.
2. Padarasabavi (well of Mercury) and ruins of Hinguladevi temple.
3. Temples of Panchalingeshwara, Mahalingeshwara, Batte Vinayaka, Gopalakrishna, Someshwara (Siddeshwara) of Manigara Keri, Somanatha, Banashankari, Hattara Narayana, Mahalingeshwara & Bairavaganapati (Chaulikeri) Balagara Keri Mahalakshmi etc.
4. The Island of Bennekudru.
5. The Vijayanagara Fort and the place called Nandana Kote.