Barkur is located towards 16 kms north of Udupi, another ancient city. The majestic Seeta river flows through Barkur and joins the Arabian sea. Barkur was the ancient capital of the Tulu kingdom. It was known as Barakanur. The rulers were known as Tulu kings or rulers. They spoke Tulu language. Most of the districts ruled by them were in coastal Karnataka. Many ancient inscriptions found in Barkur are in Tulu language. These are an essential part of history of Tulunadu. The Coastal Town of Barkur was also a flourishing port in the 15th and 16th centuries.
Apart from the Tulu rulers, Cholas too had their share of rule on Barkur, who are said to have ruled the city in the 11th century A.D. Alupa rulers made Barkur as their capital. There are two forts whose remains have been built by the Alupas and Vijayanagara governors. It was also a sub capital of the Hoysala kings for some period.
Today, the main language spoken in Barkur is Kannada, which is the official language of the State of Karnataka. Konkani, another local language, which is also said to be an Aryan language, is widely spoken in Barkur.
The place has several ancient temples with their typical sloping terracotta-tiled roofs. Many of these temples also contain inscriptions of historical value. Most of these temples are built between 9th and 12th centuries. As you enter Barkur the first thing you see is the Kallu chappara, which means roof of stone. A nandi is seated in this chappara.
Some of the famous temples are:
Panchalingeshwara temple, Kotekeri – the art of Chalukya, Hoysalas and Vijayanagara can be seen here.
Somanatha temple of Mudukeri art of Hoysala can be seen here.
Venugopala Krishna temple of Kotekeri. The idol in this temple is in black stone
Siddheshwara temple, Maanigarakeri.
Veerabhadra shrine, Pathashalakeri
There are two temples at Chaulikeri, (the name after the Cholas) which are dedicated to Ganapati and Shiva.
Venugopalakrishna shrine of Mudukeri.
The Nagara-Matha Keshava temple.
Rathnagarbha Ganapathi, Ranganakere
Batte Vinayaka Temple – This temple is said to be one of the oldest temples of the district. A large number of devotees are seen here during Ganesha chathurthi. and other auspicious days relating to Ganapathi. The idol of Ganesha is said to be facing north. This temple is said to be built prior to Barkur kingdom.
Barkur is also said to be famous for many more temples; unfortunately, most of these temples are deteriorating due to time, lack of maintenance and natural calamities.
Many Jain temples, which are known as Jain basadi is also seen here. Ruins of Tippu sultan’s fort are also seen, which is located near the National College.
A lot of effort has been put by the local people to make Barkur a tourist attraction.
Barkur can be reached by bus from Udupi town.