1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Hassan

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HASSAN, a town and district of Mysore, India. The town dates from the 11th century and had in 1901 a population of 8241. The district naturally divides into two portions, the Malnad, or hill country, which includes some of the highest ranges of the Western Ghats, and the Maidan or plain country, sloping towards the south. The Hemavati, which flows into the Cauvery in the extreme south, is the most important river of the district. The upper slopes of the Western Ghats are abundantly clothed with magnificent forests, and wild animals abound. Among the mineral products are kaolin, felspar and quartz. The soil of the valleys is a rich red alluvial loam. The area is 2547 sq. m. Population (1901), 568,919, showing an increase of 11% in the decade. The district contains some of the most remarkable archaeological monuments in India, such as the colossal Jain image at Sravana Belgola (a monolith 57 ft. high on the summit of a hill) and the great temple at Halebid. Coffee cultivation has been on the increase of late years. The first plantation was opened in 1843, and now there are many coffee estates owned by Europeans and also native holdings. The exports are large, consisting chiefly of food-grains and coffee. The imports are European piece-goods, hardware of all sorts and spices. The largest weekly fair is held at Alur. A great annual religious gathering and fair, attended by about 10,000 persons, takes place every year at Melukot. The Southern Mahratta railway traverses the north-east of the district.

The real history of Hassan does not begin until the epoch of the Hoysala dynasty, which lasted from the 11th till the 14th century. Their capital was at Dwarasamundra (Dwaravati-pura), the ruins of which are still to be seen scattered round the village of Halebid. The earlier kings professed the Jain faith, but the finest temples were erected to Siva by the later monarchs of the line. While they were at the zenith of their power the whole of southern India acknowledged their sway.