Bhatkal, also known as Batecala in some Portuguese historical texts is a port town in Uttara Kannada district of Karnataka, India 126 km from Karwar. Once ruled by Jain King Bhattakalanka and thus the name, Bhatkal town lies on NH-17 running between Mumbai and Mangalore and is one of the major stations along the Konkan Railway line running between Mumbai and Mangalore. The nearest airport is Mangalore International Airport.
By virtue of its strategic location, Bhatkal has a chequered history. Bhatkal witnessed the rise and fall of several dynasties and rulers. A part of Hoysala empire in 1291 to 1343, Bhatkal later fell into the hands of the Vijayanagara empire. After the disintegration of the empire, the Saluva (Jain) rulers of Hadwalli (a town on the State Highway towards Jog Falls) brought this coveted town under their control. Many temples and basadis were constructed during this period. Vestiges of this period can be found in Mudbhatkal, where a few temples of that era still stand.
Chola emperors under Aditya I, his son Parantaka I and successor Sundara Chola also known as Paranta Chola II initially inavaded and conquered territories in the Kannada country between Gangavadi on the Mysore plateau and Bhatkal on the Sahyadri coast 880-975 AD. The Cholas invaded Bhatkal during 10th century. As a sign of their victory in Kannada country, they built Solesvara Temple, believed to be the oldest temple, in commemoration of their conquest. Inscriptions from successive kings from Parantaka Chola I to Kulothunga Chola III mention their generals as ‘Lords of the Konkana’ which included Bhatkal and of paying obesience to Lord Solesvarar of Konkana(**). The Portuguese also made their presence felt here in the beginning of the 16th century. From the Keladi rulers, Bhatkal was passed on to Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan and later to the British in 1799 after Tipu Sultan died.
Bhatkal known for its communal tension between Hindu and Muslim community,has on various occasions seen communal riots dating from 1968,1978,1985,1993,1996.The tension has never panned down because of the demographics of the town mainly.
In 1996 communal violence erupted due to killing of Dr. Chittaranjan, Member of State Legislative Assembly.
As of 2001 India census, Bhatkal had a population of 31,785. Males constitute 50% of the population and females 50%. Bhatkal has an average literacy rate of 75%, higher than the national average of 59.5%; with male literacy of 78% and female literacy of 73%. 14% of the population is under 6 years of age.
The Muslim [Nawayath] and the Hindus communities are predominant in Bhatkal. The people of Bhatkal are typically called “Bhatkalis” and have since the 1960s spread afar, including UK, America, Australia but more so across the Middle East especially Bahrain,Dubai,Oman,Qatar,Saudi.Kannada is the predominant language of the people of Bhatkal.Konkani is also spoken in Bhatkal town. Nawayathi which is the dialect of Konkani is the most widely spoken language of the town by Nawayath Muslims.
The Bhatkal Nawayath is known as owned business like Garment showroom, House material, Real Estate , Hotel ,Super Market, Construction Business, Other Engineering Industries, Whole Seller of Import item,travel.etc
Tourism and Cuisine
Bhatkal has been quite a hustling tourist spot mainly because of Murdeshwara Temple, World Renowned Shiva Statue and Beaches. The place has been attracting a wide range of tourists to this place. As far as cuisine is concerned its widely large because of amalgamation of different cultures.
The town is strewn with educational institutions of repute managed by Anjuman Hami-e-Muslimeen, a pioneering education trust founded in 1919.It has played a prominent role in spreading the light of education across all sections of society. The Anjuman Engineering College at Bhatkal, which completes 25 years in 2005, is well known throughout the country for imparting quality technical education. The Hindu-managed Bhatkal Education Trust also runs a few institutions. The Jamia Islamia is a reputed centre for religious studies. On the social domain, Majlise Islah Wa Tanzeem is rendering valuable service to the welfare of the community since its inception in 1912.
Visitors to Bhatkal go back carrying with them pleasant memories of the flora and fauna, the surreal beaches, archaeological splendours and elegant mosques. The archaeological treasures at Bhatkal speak volumes about the history of Bhatkal and they sketch its rich heritage. The extant Kethapayya Narayan temple in MudBhatkal was constructed in 1545 by Ketha Pai, a noted Goan jeweller, and was the most outstanding architectural specimen of that time. The Parshwanatha Jain Basadi on Bazaar Main Road ranks among the ancient structures of Bhatkal. The town is home to some magnificent mosques like the Jamia masjid, the Khalifa masjid, the Sultani masjid and the Noor masjid. Some old mosques date back to more than a couple of centuries. The entire Bhatkal beach area with a fishing port and a lighthouse atop a hillock offers a breathtaking view. One can get a panoramic view of the villages from the lighthouse. If one looks around, the Arabian Sea with colourful fishing boats drifting and bobbing is a treat to the eyes. Here, the river Sharabi drains into the Sea. Taking a break, one cago across to the Murdeshwar tourist resort, a popular tourist destination, that is close-by to Bhatkal.