Online Encyclopedia

KURNOOL, or KARNUL

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V15, Page 952 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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KURNOOL, or KARNUL, a town and district of British India, in the Madras presidency. The town is built on a rocky soil at the junction of the Hindri and Tungabhadra rivers 33 M. from a railway station. The old Hindu fort was levelled in 1865, with the exception of one of the gates, which Weis preserved as a specimen of ancient architecture. Cotton cloth and carpets are manufactured. Pop. (1901), 25,376, of whom half are Mussulmans. The DISTRICT OF KURNOOL has an area of 7578 sq. m., pop. (1901), 872,055, showing an increase of 6% in the decade. Two long mountain ranges, the Nallamalais and the Yellamalais, extend in parallel lines, north and south, through its centre. The principal heights of the Nallamalai range are Biranikonda (3149 ft.), Gundlabrahmeswaram (3055 ft.), and Durugapukonda (3086 ft.). The Yellamalai is a low range, generally flat-topped with scarped sides; the highest point is about 2000 ft. Several low ridges run parallel to the Nallamalais, broken here and there by gorges, through which mountain streams take their course. Several of these gaps were dammed across under native rule, to form tanks for purposes of irrigation. The principal rivers are the Tungabhadra and Kistna, which bound the district on the north. When in flood, the Tungabhadra averages 900 yards broad and 15 ft. deep. The Kistna here flows chiefly through uninhabited jungles, sometimes in long smooth reaches, with intervening shingly rapids. The Bhavanasi rises on the Nallamalais, and falls into the Kistna at Sungameswaram, a place of pilgrimage. During the 18th century Kurnool formed the jagir of a semi-independent Pathan Nawab, whose descendant was dispossessed by the British government for treason in 1838. The principal crops are millets, cotton, oil-seeds, and rice, with a little indigo and tobacco. Kurnool suffered very severely from the famine of 1876–1877, and to a slight extent in 1896–1897. It is the chief scene of the operations of the Madras Irrigation Company taken over by government in 1882. The canal, which starts from the Tungabhadra river near Kurnool town, was constructed at a total cost of two millions sterling, but has not been a financial success. A more successful work is the Cumbum tank, formed under native rule by damming a gorge of the Gundlakamma river. Apart from the weaving of coarse cotton cloth, the chief industrial establishments are cotton presses, indigo vats, and saltpetre refineries. The district is served by the Southern Mahratta railway.
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