Kandavara is a self-contained discrete settlement/village but is Ward 14 of the Town of Chikballapur, in the state of Karnataka, India. It is in the newly created District of Chikballapur, in the taluk (township) of Chikballapur.
Kandavara is north of Bengaluru (formerly Bangalore), the silicon plateau of India. Downtown Chikballapur is north of Kandavara, separated by a reservoir locally known as Kandavara Amanikere, and paddy fields downstream from the reservoir. The north-south State Highway SH-74 runs at the foot of the reservoir on the east side of the reservoir. State Highway SH-74 abuts Kandavara on the west side, and links Kandavara to Chikballapur in the north and the village of Nandi in the south. The former north-south National Highway NH 7, also known as Bangalore-Bellary Road or BB Road, is about east of Kandavara connected by an east-west rural partially paved road. The current NH-7 bypasses all the built up areas of Chikballapur and is located east of the city including Kandavara.
According to the 2001 Census, the population of Kandavara was approximately 4,000. Some estimates in January 2007 put the figure at 4.400.
ORIGIN OF THE NAME KANDAVARA
Kandavara, currently Ward 14 of City Municipal Council Chikballapur, has undergone an evolution in its nomenclature.
In 1565 when Vijaynagar Empire fell, Kandavara was apparently a hamlet of a score of dwellings, probably with a population of 150 (household size assumed to be 7). By 1815 it was a village with 80 dwellings, probably with a population of about 600. In 2013 the population was estimated to be 4,400.
According to knowledgeable elders in Kandavara in 1948, the original name of the place was Skandavara associated with the name of god Skanda. It was their unanimously held view that pronouncing the inflection “Sk” was difficult for people who were not Sanskrit speakers and they dropped “S” from Skandavara and began calling the place Kandavara. People of Kandavara speak Telugu and Kannada. Census of India has referred to the place as Kandavara from the very beginning of census.
The etymology of the name Kandavara as narrated by elders deserves serious consideration for the following reason.
Approximately 2 km west of Kandavara is the popular trekking hill called Skanda Giri or Mountain of Skanda in Sanskrit. Although the formal legal name is Skanda Giri, most people in the state of Karnataka call it Kalavara Betta. In Kannada, Kalavara Betta means hill of thieves. During 18th century when the whole area was densely forested, thieves apparently found a safe sanctuary in this hill. A few cave-like recesses in the granite face of the hill may have provided shelter for hardy thieves.
Skanda Giri and Kandavara are closely linked.
Skanda is a Hindu god of war and the first-born son of Shiva, one of the supreme gods of Hinduism. Skanda Purana is one of the 18 mahapuranas (great epics) and is the longest of the 18 mahapuranas. Skanda Purana written circa 5th century CE is an admixture of birth and life of god Skanda, a set of stories, and some exhortations.
According to the elders of Kandavara, when the warrior/soldiers of the defeated army of Vijaynagar Empire migrated south from Penukonda in early 17th century, they did two things. First, they named the nearby hill as Skanda Giri conflating the hill into a mountain. Title inflation is a universal phenomenon. Second, they named their new home Skandavara.
Vara in Sanskrit has four different meanings, namely, gift, boon, choice, and reward. It is easy enough to see why a group of defeated proud warriors would name their new settlement Skandavara. For them their new home was a gift by god Skanda, the warrior god. It was also a boon because it was far from the contested areas of Vijaynagar and Penukonda. In a practical sense, the location was a choice made by the retiring veterans. Finally, because of cheap fertile rain-fed land far from centres of commerce, it was a richly deserved reward for their past services, similar to the awards given to veterans of the Legions of the Roman Republic.
Thus a non-descript hamlet becomes a village called Skandavara. Sometime during the 18th century Skandavara becomes an easily pronounceable Kandavara.