Bellary is a historic city in Ballari district in Karnataka state, India. It is 306 kilometres from Bangalore, the state capital. Bellary Fort is located on top of Ballari Gudda ("Fort Hill"). The fort was built around the hill during Vijayanagara times by Hande Hanumappa Nayaka. Hyder Ali, who took possession of the fort from the Hande Nayaka family in 1769, renovating and modifying it with the help of a French engineer. The lower fort was added by Hyder Ali around the eastern half of the hill. Legend has it that the unfortunate French engineer was hanged for overlooking the fact that the neighbouring Kumbara Gudda is taller than Ballari Gudda, thus compromising the secrecy and command of the fort. His grave is believed to be located near the east gate of the fort, though some locals believe it to be the grave of a Muslim holy man instead. The fort was ranked as 1st class by the British Administration. This fort gave Bellary its ancient importance, and led to its selection by the British rulers as the site for a cantonment. The main building of VIMS ((Vijayanagar Institute of Medical Sciences)).Originally a part of the British cantonment's infantry barracks, this building was later converted into a military jail, called the Alipore (Allipura) jail, towards the end of the 19th century. The jail lodged prisoners of war from various First World War theatres, including France, Denmark and Turkey. Even the crown prince of Turkey was an inmate of the jail; his body was buried in Bellary's Turkish martyrs' cemetery. In 1920, this military jail became an additional civilian prison, Bellary Central Jail, when over 2,000 Mappilas from Travancore were imprisoned there. Famous personalities of the freedom movement were imprisoned, such as C. Rajagopalachari, V. V. Giri, Tekur Subramanyam, Kamaraj Nadar, Potti Sri Ramulu, Neelam Sanjiva Reddy, Bezawada Gopala Reddy, E.V. Ramasamy, O. V. Alagesan, Bulusu Sambamurti and Ghantasala Venkateswara Rao. This jail was closed (the only other in the subcontinent to be closed, apart from the Cellular Jail at Port Blair) in 1958 and the old buildings and the entire area of 173 acres (0.70 km2) was converted into a medical college campus in 1961. However, unlike the cellular jail, the entire Alipore jail with over 14 jail blocks was not considered for the status of a National Heritage Museum. The records pertaining to this historic jail in Madras Presidency were sent to the National Archives in Chennai. The jail blocks were assigned to the Government Medical College. All the blocks except one were converted into laboratories and hostels. Mahatma Gandhi spent about eight hours on 1 October 1921 at the City Railway station during his visit to Bellary. Situated in a naturally arid region with semi-desert flora, the city has slowly accumulated greenery over the past few decades due to the collective efforts of the city residents, the regional forest department and the municipal council/corporation. The following is a short list of major green spaces in the city: The Ballari and Kumbara rock hills. These hills form the major natural lung spaces in the city, accommodating a host of flora including various species of ber, thorny acacias (latronum, nilotica , pennata, ferruginea, catechu, chundra, etc. locally classified as jaali in Kannada), and the interesting whirlnut (Gyrocarpus americanus jacquini – illustration), which is not found elsewhere in the city. Kuntegadda Park: Officially called the Golden Jubilee Park or the Dr. Rajkumar Park, this former slum area has been changed into a beautiful urban park due to the efforts of a succession of district commissioners starting with Ms. Gouri Trivedi and Ms. Manjula. The park features an artificial lake formed out of a disused granite quarry, a fountain with a daily musical show, a children's play area and a variety of garden flora. Bellary Zoo: Established in 1981, this zoo and children's park covers nearly 2.4 hectares and hosts a variety of fauna including blackbuck, spotted deer (chital), jackal, crocodile, Indian peafowl, cobra, python, bear, panther, boar, etc. This zoo is due to be relocated to a new facility. Kaategudda Park: This hill hosts a variety of trees and is famous for its resident flock of crows. This park is better known among the older residents of the city as 'kaage park' (kaage in kannada means crow). Bellary is well connected by road to different parts of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Goa. The city is served by the North East Karnataka Road Transport Corporation (NEKRTC), offering travel services to almost all parts of Karnataka, many parts of Andhra Pradesh, Chennai, Pune and many parts of Maharashtra. Additionally, a sizeable number of private businesses offer travel services to important destinations. The main inter-city bus station is located in the now empty Lake or Tank basin. At the time of its construction, it was ranked second largest bus station in Karnataka. The old bus stand still serves the intra-city and rural buses. During British rule, Bellary was served by The Southern Mahratta Railway, connecting Bellary with Hubballi on the west and Guntakal on the east, and thus to Madras. Currently, two railway stations serve the city, both built during British rule. The city station (Bellary Junction) and the Cantonment station (Cantonment). The city is served by the Hubli–Guntakal line and the extended Bellary–Rayadurgam–Chitradurga line and falls under the jurisdiction of South Western Railway. Bellary is well connected by rail to Bangalore, Hyderabad, Raichur, Anantapur, Hindupur, Tirupati, Hubblli, Guntakal, Adoni, Guntur, Vijayawada, Howrah, Pune, Kolhapur, Visakhapatnam, Vasco, Bhuvaneshwar, Jaipur, Mysore, Shiridi, Tumakuru, Rayadurgam, Varanasi, Ajmer, solapur New Delhi, Sri Matha Vaishno Devi etc. Guntakal is an important junction near Bellary from where trains to Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Chennai and most other places in India are available. Bellary Airport has no commercial air service. In the mid-2000s, Jindal Vijaynagar Airport in Toranagallu was instead used to serve Bellary because of its longer and wider runway. The airport once received Air Deccan flights from Bangalore and Goa, but as of March 2017 it is not served by any airline either. A new airport is being planned. The intra-city transport network is serviced by Bhuvana Vijaya Nagara Sarige a division of NEKRTC(North East Karnataka Road Transport Corporation) city buses connecting important points in the city. The city is also served by private but unregulated auto rickshaw.

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