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Mysore: a gazetteer compiled for government (Volume 1) online

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ence and received with implicit belief." The channels or kdlvcs thence
drawn, meander over the adjoining tracts of country on either bank,
following all the sinuosities of the ground, the total length running
l)eing upwards of 1,200 miles. ^

There are no natural lakes in Mysore, but the streams which gather
from the hillsides and fertilize the valleys are, at every favourable
point, embanked in such a manner as to form series or chains of
reservoirs, called tanks,-' the outflow from one at a higher level supplying
the next lower, and so on all down the course of the stream at a few
miles apart. These tanks, varying in size from small ponds to extensive
lakes, are dispersed throughout the country to the number of 38,080 ;
and to such an extent has tliis principle of storing water been followed
that it would now require some ingenuity to discover a site suitable for
a new one without interfering with the supply of those already in
existence. The largest of these tanks is the Sulekere, 40 miles in cir-
cumference. Other large ones are the Ayyankere, Madaga-kere, Masur-
Madaga-kere, Vyasa samudra, Ramasagara, Moti Talab, tlvic., of which
accounts will be found elsewhere (Vol. II).

The spring-heads called talpargis form an important feature of the
hydrography of the north-east. They extend throughout the border
regions situated east of a line drawn from Kortagiri to Hiriyur and
Molkalmuru. In the southern parts of this tract the springs may be
tapped in the sandy soils at short distances apart, and the water rises
close to the surface. Northward the supply is not so plentiful. In
Pavugada a soft porous rock has to be cut through before reaching the
water, and in the other taluc^s of the Chitaldroog District hard strata of
rock have sometimes to be perforated. \M-ien the water is obtained, it
is either conducted by narrow channels to the fields, or a kapilc well is
constructed, from which the water is raised by bullocks.

Mountain systems. — ^From the gigantic head and shoulders, as it were,
of the lofty Nilgiri group, which commands the southern frontier, are
stretched forth like two arms, in a north-west and north-east direction
res[)ectively, the AVestern and Eastern (liiat ranges, holding within

' The anicuts and channels are fully described innler the respective rivers in
\'..l. If.

- Kcre is the general name in Kannada, hut Icola, hiiittc, and other terms are
applied to certain descriptions.


their mighty embrace the mountain-locked plateau of Mysore. The
hills of this table-land, though rarely in continuously connected chains,
arrange themselves into systems crossing the country longitudinally, in
directions more or less parallel with the Eastern and Western Ghats
according to their proximity to one or the other; and attaining their
greatest elevation between 13 and 13^ degrees of north latitude, along
the north of the watershed line dividing the Krishna and Kaveri river

The best defined of these ranges is a belt, from 10 to 20 miles wide,
running between the meridians of 77 and 775, from the Biligirirangan
hills as their western limit, through Kankanhalli northwards up to
Madgiri, and on to the frontier by way of Pavugada and Nidugal. It
separates the eastern from the northern and southern river-basins. On
the west, a somewhat corresponding range, not more than 10 miles in
width, runs north along the meridian of 75I from Ballalrayan-durga up
to beyond Shikarpur, having on its east the loop of the Baba Budans,
projecting as it were like some Titanic bastion guarding the approaches
to the Malnad or highland region formed by the congeries of hills and
mountains which intervene between the range and the Ghats on the

Intermediate between the two internal ranges above described is
placed a hilly belt or chain, with considerable intervals between its com-
ponent parts, tending to the east on the south of the central watershed
and to the west on the north of it, so as to form a very obtuse angle in
traversing the centre of the country. Starting from the Wainad frontier
at Gopalswami betta, between Gundlupet and Heggadadevankote, it
passes by Seringapatam and Nagamangala to Chunchangiri, where,
exchanging its easterly for a westerly course, it reappears to the west of
Kibbanhalli in the Hagalvadi hills, and crossing in a continuous belt
through the middle of the Chitaldroog District, quits the country to the
north of Kankuppa.

In the northern section of the territory, where the distance between
the Ghat ranges, and by consequence between the intermediate belts,
continues to increase, the interval is occupied by minor ranges. Of
these the most important is the Nandidroog range, commencing near
the hill of that name and stretching northwards by Gudibanda to Fenu-
konda and the Anantapur country. In the west, a similar medial chain,
but of lower elevation, passes from the eastern base of the Baba Budans
south of Sakrepatna, up by Ajimpur, the Ubrani hills and Basvapatna,
between Honnali and Male Bennur, along the right bank of the Tun-
gabhadra, to the frontier, where it meets that river.

Viewing the mountains as a whole, the Eastern and Western Ghat


ranges might be compared to the antlers of a stag, the branching tynes
being represented by the intermediate parallel chains starting from the
north of the central watershed and more or less connected by cross
ridges along their southern extremities. The chief peaks of the western
system are loftier than those of the eastern. Except on the verge of the
Western Ghats, all the mountains throughout the country, it is believed,
present their steepest escarpment more or less eastwards. In the west,
INIulainagiri, and in the east, Nandidroog, are the highest elevations, and
they are almost on the same parallel, or between 13° 23' and 13^ 24',
immediately north of the central watershed. The loftiest points just
south of that line are Ballalrayan-durga in the west, and Sivaganga in the
east, both situated between 13° 8' and 13° 10'.

The table on the following page will serve to show the arrangement
and altitude of the principal peaks in each system. The figures are
mostly taken from the charts of the Great Trigonometrical Survey of
India, supplemented from those of the Topographical Sur\-ey. Fur-
nished at the summit with springs which yield an unfailing supply
of water, most of these heights seem ■ formed by nature for secure
retreats. Hence there are few of the more prominent ones that have
not been surrounded or capped with fortifications, often carried in long
lines, with a vast expenditure of labour, along all the spurs and projec-
tions of the droog, forming strongholds with good reason deemed im-
pregnable before the time when British artillery was directed against
their walls. A particular account of the most interesting will be found
under each District.

It may be useful to quote here the following most recently published
opinion regarding the physical geography of this part of India : — " In
the peninsular area the mountains are all remnants of large table-
lands, out of which the valleys and low lands have been carved. The
valleys, with a few local exceptions, are broad and open, the gradients
of the rivers low, and the whole surface of the country presents the
gently undulating aspect characteristic of an ancient land surfoce."
"The Anamalai, Palni and Travancore hills, south of the Palghat gap,
and the Shevaroy and many other hill groups scattered over the Car-
natic, may be remnants of a table-land once united to the Mysore
plateau, but separated from it and from each other by ancient marine
denudation. Except the peculiar form of the hills, there is but little
in favour of this view, but on the other hand there is nothing to indicate
that the hill groups of the Carnatic and Travancore are areas of special

' R. D. (Jldham, " Manual of the Geolog)' of India," 2nd edition (1893), IT- 2, 4-





14 —

13 —

Chandragutti, 2



Hanuman betta, 2,507

Kalvarangan hill, 3,388

Hill at Sulekere, 2,695




Karadi betta, 2,725



, 4.411

Hanuman durga, 3,181
Ubrani hills, 2,891

Kavaledurga, 3,058

Koppa durga, 2,960
Lakke pan-ata, 4,662

Baba Budan Range
Hebbe betta, 4,385
Kalhatti giri, 6,155
Deviramman gudda,

Kaldurga, 3,183

Baba Budan

giri, 6,214

Kondada betta, 3,207

Woddin gudda, 5,006
Varaha parvata, 4,781

Merti gudda, 5,451
Kudure muklia, 6,215

Rudra giri, 5
Mulaina giri,


Sakuna giri. 4,653
Garudan giri, 3,680

Ballalrayan durga, 4,940

Kate gudda, 4,540
Karadi gudda, 4,523
Siskal betta, 3,926
Jenkal betta, 4,558
Murkan gudda, 4,265
Devar betta, 4,206


or Pushpa giri, 5,626

Maharajan durga, 3,899
Bettadpura hill, 4,389








I Chain




Santigudda, 2,595

Jalinga Ramesvara hill, 3,469

S'uiike Bhairava hill, 3,022

hill, 2.721
betta, 3,28(

?., 3.329
ii. 3.803



Mis, 3.543

gin, 3,221

Xidugal, 3,772
Pavugada, 3,026

Midagesi durga, 3,376

Madgiri durga, 3,935 Gudibanda, 3,361

Channarayan durga, 3,744

Itikal durga, 3,569

— 14°

Dokkal konda, 3,807

Kortagiri, 2,906

Devaray durga, 3,940
Xijagal, 3,569

Hariharesvar betta, 4,122


Sunnakal, 4,229

Kalavar durga, 4,749
Chanrayan betta, 4,762
Xandi durga, 4,851
Brahmagiri, 4,657

Ambaji durga, 4,399
Rahman Ghar, 4,227

Sivaganga, 4,559
Bairan durga, 3,499

Hutri durga, 3,713
Savan durga, 4,024
Hulyur durga, 3,086

Ramgiri, 3,066
Sivangiri, 2,931
Mudvadi durga, 3,131
Banat mari betta, 3,422
Kabbal durga, 3,507

Halsur betta, 3,341 Kolar hills, 4,026

Kurudu male,

Tyakal hills, 3,704

Bann^rghatta, 3,271

Betrayan konda,

Yerra konda


— 13

lurga, 3,589

, 3,190
jcks, 2,882
, 2,697

i betta, 3,489

Koppa betta, 2,821

Biligtrirangan Hills

Biligirirangan betta, 4,195
Matpod hill, 4,969
Punajur hill, 5,091

mi hill, 4,770
iri Group
tta, 8,760




The great ranges of the Western and Eastern (ihats, together with the
intervening table-lands, may be regarded as part of one magnificent
elevation of Plutonic rocks by a succession of efforts, during a period
which may be termed Plutonic, breaking up the hypogene schists
and in some instances uplifting aqueous beds of a more recent origin.
The true general direction of this elevation is nearly N. 5° W, though
the apparent directions of the lateral chains on its flanks are to the east
and west of north respectively.

The surface of the table-lands between these chains has a general in-
clination easterly by south towards the Bay of Bengal, into which the
principal rivers empty themselves. This gentle inclination, often assisted
by cross lines of elevation, determines the great drainage lines of the
country. The singular appearance of the detached hills and clusters of
hills, which above the Ghats are seen abruptly starting up from the flat
plains with little or no tali, have been sometimes compared to a table
with teacups here and there reversed on its surface, a not inapt though
homely illustration.

The bare extensive surfaces of the granitic, trappean and hypogene
rocks in Southern India afford on a grand scale exposes, not to be sur-
passed in any other portion of the globe, of the protean aspects under
which these rocks present themselves. The very absence of those fossi-
liferous beds which so thickly encrust the surface of a great portion of
Europe and many other parts of the world, is in itself a subject of in-
teresting research ; and the geologist may in the peninsula of India
advantageously study a huge and disjointed mass of the nether-formed

^ Chiefly from articles by Captain Xewbold, P'.R.S., on the " Geolog}- of Southern
India." — (J. R. A. S. viii, ix, xii. )

[Note. — When compiHng the first edition, I applied to the Geological Survey of
India for information on the geology of Mysore, and was informed in reply that, as
the country had not been surveyed, nothing was known of its geolog}-. Being thus
thrown on my own resources, I discovered the articles from which this chapter was
taken. Their value has since been recognized by the Geological Survey, for Mr.
W. T. Blanford, in the Introduction to the first edition of the "Manual of the
Geology of India" (p. Ixxii), writes as follows : —

Newbold, 1 844- 1 850. —This account refers to the southern part of the Peninsula
alone ; but it is the work of one of the best, if not actually the best, of the earlier
Indian geologists ; and it has the peculiar advantage over all other summaries
published up to the present time, that the author possessed an extensive personal

acquaintance with the country described Most of the observations recorded

in the summary are admirable ; and altogether the paper is so valuable, that the
neglect with which it has been generally treated is not easy to understand.]

To face page 13


After Captain Newbold, F. R.S. fl "ts



rocks which constitute the framework of our planet, and which
here present themselves ahiiost divested of integument, weathering
under the alternations of a vertical sun and the deluging rains of the

Metamorphic Rocks. — Hypogene schists, penetrated and broken
up by prodigious outbursts of plutonic and trappean rocks, occupy by
far the greater portion of the superficies of Southern India. They con-
stitute the general bulk of the Western Ghats from between the latitude
of 16" and 17° N. to Cape Comorin ; and from the northern base
of the Eastern (ihats to their deflection at latitude 13° 20' N. They
are partially capped and fringed in the ^\'estern (ihats by laterite,
and in the Eastern Ghats by sandstone, limestone and laterite. They
form the basis of the valley of Seringapatam and of the table-land of

The inequalities and undulations of the surface, though originating
in the dislocations and flexures of the metamorphic strata at the periods
of their uj)heaval, have been evidently modified by aqueous erosion
and by the faster weathering of the softer members of the series, — ■
such as mica and talcose schists, — the softer clay slates and shales ;
which, crumbling and washed away, have left their harder brethren
standing out in relief on the face of the country. Where we see
gneiss, hornblende schist and quartzite rising in parallel ridges sepa-
rated by valleys, we generally find the valleys occupied by the softer
members of the series, often deeply covered with debris from the

Where gneiss rises above the general level of the surrounding plain,
its elevations may be distinguished from those of granite, which the hills
of thick-bedded varieties of gneiss sometimes assimilate, by their greater
continuity and uniformity of altitude ; their tendency to a smooth dome-
shaded outline ; and greater freedom from precipices and disrupted
masses. Near lines of plutonic disturbance, however, these distinguish-
ing marks are less perceptible.

Elevations of mica and talcose schists obtain, generally, a less alti-
tude than those of hornblende or gneiss ; and have a more round-
backed and smoother contour on the whole. Vet the outline in detail
is jagged, owing partly to these rocks weathering in larger, more angular
or less concentric fragments, often leaving abrupt steps and small preci-
pices. Hornblende and gneiss are seen rising, as m the \\'estern Ghats
and the Nilgiris, to the height of 8,000 feet above the sea's level. The
former is recognized by its bold sharp ridges, often precipitous, but
rarely presenting conical peaks.

Hills composed entirely of actinolite or chlorite schist are seldom


met with ; those of (luartzite have long crest-Hke outhnes, often running
smoothly for some distance, but almost invariably breaking up into large,
angular masses, sometimes cuboidal : the sides of the crests are usually
precipitous. Hills of clay slate are distinguished by a smooth, wavy
outline, separated by gently sloping valleys. Outliers or detached hills
of this rock are usually mammiform. But, as before remarked, all these
normal crystalline rocks, when near lines or foci of plutonic disturbance,
frequently undergo great changes in physiognomical aspect ; and in lieu
of the smoothly rounded hills of clay slate, and its gently sloping vales,
smiling with fertility, we behold it cleaved into sterile, rugged ravines
and rocky i)recipices.

Gneiss is usually found lowest in the series : next to it mica and
hornblende schist, actinolite, chlorite, talcose and argillaceous schist,
and crystalline limestone, in due succession : but to this rule there are
numerous exceptions. All these rocks, except crystalline limestone,
have been observed resting on granite without the usually intervening
gneiss. The strata are often violently contorted or bent in waving
flexures, particularly in the vicinity of plutonic rocks ; and much irreg-
ularity occurs in the amount and direction of dip throughout the
hypogene area. In the Western Ghats it is usually easterly, and at
angles varying from io° to 90°. At the summit of the Ghats near the
falls of Gersoppa, the gneiss dipped at an angle of 35° to the N.E.

But the hornblende schists do not always dip from the plutonic rocks
— in many instances the dip is towards them : a fact indicating that the
strata have been disturbed at some previous period, or that they may have
suffered inversion ; which is known to be the case in beds of more
recent origin. While the dip of the two great lines of elevation, viz.,
the East and West Ghats, is generally westerly and easterly, or at right
angles with the direction of the strata, that of the minor cross ranges is
usually southerly. Numerous irregularities and exceptions, however, to
this general rule occur, particularly near the northerly and southerly
great synclinal line of dip on the table-lands between the Eastern and
AVestern Ghats, and near localities where it is traversed by the cross
lines of elevation. The intrusion of trap dykes has also caused much
diversity in the dip. These irregularities will always prove obstacles in
tracing out with accuracy the synclinal dip line between the Eastern and
Western Ghats.

Gneiss and hornblende schist are by far the most prevalent rocks of
the series : to gneiss the other members may be termed subordinate.
Near its contact with the granite it commonly assumes the character of
what has been styled granitoidal gneiss, losing its stratified appearance,
and not to be distinguished in hand specimens from granite. Spherical


and oval masses of granite, resembling boulders, are sometimes
observed impacted in the gneiss. Veins of reddish compact felspar,
felspar coloured green with actinolite, epidote or chlorite, with and with-
out quartz; also of milky quartz with nests of iron ore, mica and
hornblende are very common in gneiss : also dykes and veins of granite.
All these veins are of older date than the intrusion of the greenstone
dykes which invariably sever them. Particular varieties of gneiss prevail
in different districts. These rocks not only abound in nests and veins
of rich magnetic and oxidulated iron ore, but in thick interstratified
beds and mountain masses of these minerals.

iMica schist is found sparingly distributed over the whole of the
hypogene area in thin beds. It is found in the greatest abundance and
purity in the western parts of Mysore. A vein of granite in it is rare,
though abounding in those of quartz. Takose, chloritic^ and acti)wlitic
schists are still more sparingly distributed : the first is seen in the west
of jNIysore. Fine varieties of actinolitic schist occur in the Western
Ghats at the falls of Gersoppa ; and it is pretty generally distributed in
thin beds over Mysore. Hornblende schist ranks next to gneiss in
extent and thickness of beds, and is seen washed by the sea at the
bases of the Eastern and ^^'estern Ghats, forming some of the loftiest
peaks of the latter and supporting large level tracts of table-land.
This rock varies from the compact structure of basalt to the crystalline
texture of granite, and to that of porphyry, and may be seen from
lamin?e of a few lines in thickness, passing into beds forming mountain
masses. The principal constituent minerals are hornblende and felspar.
Quartz, garnet and mica are frequently mixed. Large beds of compact
felspar, generally of a pinkish hue, with a little quartz and a few scales
of mica, quartzite and milk quartz, having a similar direction to that of
gneiss, occur, forming low ranges of hills. Clay slate does not occupy
a large surface of the hypogene area. It occurs at Chiknayakanhalli,
Chitaldroog, and in parts of the Shimoga District.

Imbedded Minerals. — Chert is pretty generally distributed, also the
•common garnet ; the latter occurs in the greatest abundance in the
Eastern Ghats, but is also found in the Kempukal river at the Manjara-
bad Ghat; black garnet and tremolite occur in the granitoidal gneiss
of Wurralkonda (Kolar District). Epidote and actinolite are found
usually in quartz and felspar veins. Indianite occurs sparingly with
corundum, fibrolite and garnet in gneiss and hornblende schist in the
valley of the Kaveri. Corundum is found in Mysore in talc, mica, or
hornblende schist associated with iron ore, asbestus, and sometimes
indianite and fibrolite. It occurs imbedded in the rock in grains and
■crystals. Its principal localities are Gollarhalli near Chanraypatna,


Mandya near Seringapatam, Bcgur, Bannerghatta, Bagepalli and other
l)laces.^ Fibrolite occurs but rarely with indianite and corundum.
Kyanite occurs in gneiss with tremolite, pearl spar, bitter spar, almandine
and staurolite. Steatite occurs in the talcose schists in the west of
Mysore ; as also potstone, in beds of considerable size and veins, and
more or less dispersed over the whole hypogene area ; occasionally
associated with nephrite. Magnesite, an almost pure carbonate of
magnesia, occurs in the vicinity of Hunsur. Mica is found universally
diffused. In some parts of the Western Ghats and on the table-lands
to the east, this mineral and talc are found in plates large enough for
windows and lanterns, for which purpose they are used by the natives,
as also for ornamental devices and for painting on. Chlorite is rarely
found uncombined with felspar, silex, or hornblende. Nacrite or scaly
talc is here and there met with. Adularia is found in the gneiss at
some places. Albite or cleavlandite occurs occasionally throughout the
gneiss districts, as also tourmaline or schorl, both black and green.
Sulphate and sub-sulphate of alumina are occasionally found in thin
incrustations and efflorescences between the layers of the soft ferruginous
slates into which the hornblende and mica schists pass.

Iron pyrites or sulphuret of iron is distributed in small proportions
in the hypogene rocks ; but the oxides, both magnetic and heematitic,
exist in extraordinary abundance, forming masses and large interstrati-
fied beds in the mountain chains. In gneiss these ores frequently
replace hornblende and mica ; alternating with quartz in regular layers.
Magnetic iron ore with polarity is found in the massive state on the
Baba Budan hills. Micaceous and specular iron ores are less common.
A dark magnetic iron sand is usually found in the beds of streams
having their origin among hypogene rocks, associated with gold dust
and sometimes with menaccanite. Iron ore slightly titaniferous is
found over the whole hypogene area. The black oxide of manganese
associated with iron ore is found sparingly in the hills. Antimony
occurs in the Baba Budan hills, and at Chitaldroog.

' Attention having been drawn to corunduni as a valuable article of export, and on
account of its possible use for the manufecture of aluminium, Mr. Petrie Hay, of
Hunsur, has recently collected a quantity from villages to the south and west of that
town. Very excellent crystals of yellowish corundum, with a brown weathered
surface, were collected from the fields. Some tapering hexagonal prisms up to five

Online LibraryB. Lewis (Benjamin Lewis) RiceMysore: a gazetteer compiled for government (Volume 1) → online text (page 3 of 98)