Essence of Karwar
The name 'Karwar' is a misnomer. It is derived from a nearby village called Kadwad (the British, probably, had trouble pronouncing "d" and replaced it with "r"). The present Karwar town is entirely a new settlement. Karwar used to be written as "Carwar" earlier.
The British made this place their district headquarters in 1862. Karwar was an ancient site of sea trade visited by the Arabs, Dutch, Portuguese, French and later the British. Ibn battuta passed through this route during one or more of his journeys. Significant and pictureseque, the Sadashivgad fort of historical importance is now a popular tourist destination located by the Kali river bridge, which has been built at the confluence of the river and the Arabian Sea. Renowned poet Rabindranath Tagore, who visited Karwar in 1882, dedicated an entire chapter of his memoirs to this town. The 22 year old Rabindranath Tagore stayed with his second brother, Satyendranath Tagore, who was the district judge in Karwar. Karwar was a part of the Maratha Empire during the 18th century. After the defeat of the Marathas in the Third Anglo-Maratha War, it became a part of the British territory. It was a part of the Bombay Presidency until 1950. Karwar since the records of 1862, the time from which it fell under Bombay Presidency, was described as the first rate harbour between Bombay & Colombo
Karwar is located at 14°48'N 74°08'E. It has an average elevation of 45 metres (147 ft). The town is sandwiched between the sea on one side and the Western Ghats on the other. It is rich in flora and fauna.
Kali river (Kalinadi) is a west flowing river which takes its birth at a height of 600 m in the Western Ghats of Bidi Village. Kali River which is a prime source of irrigation in Karnataka has a total length of 153 km. The Kali River flows through Karwar town and finally merges into the Arabian Sea.
Majority of the local population is Hindu. The prominent castes and subcastes include Konkan Maratha, Kshatriya Komarpanth, Vaishyavani, Bhandari, Konkan Kharvi, Harikantra, Halakki Vokkaliga, Gouli, Kunbi, Padthi, Ram Kashtriya, Daivajna Brahmin, Gaud Saraswat Brahmin and Havyak Brahmin .In 17th Century ,Due to the forceful conversion of Portuguese 20% of goan had to migrate to karwar
Halakki Vokkaligas living in the foot of Western Ghats are known as the "Aboriginals of Uttara Kannada". They have an administrative system of their own and the headman is called "Gouda". Their way of living is still ancient; the women adorn themselves with beads and necklaces, heavy nose rings and distinct attire. Goulis are a nomadic tribes who migrated to Karwar from Maharashtra. They are mainly cow and goat rearers. They stay on the fringes of forest. Some have taken up agriculture. Kunabis are said to be the most backward of the tribals of Uttara Kannada District. They live in small groups deep inside forests in bamboo huts built in a row sharing common walls. Not having access to the medical facilities due to seclusion, mortality rate among them is very high.
Partly due to the presence of the British, who had a major presence in this town and by virtue of being next to the then Portuguese-controlled Goa state, Christianity has been in existence here since the 18th Century, a majority of the Christians here being converts who fled the Portuguese Inquisition, which demanded complete severance from the native rituals practiced by the converts.
Muslims, mainly forming a part of the trading community, came down from the Deccan (Bahamani) kingdoms to Karwar, and are known to be sea-farers. It is due to the Muslim influence that the Karwar port is known as "Baithkol" meaning the House of Safety, or Place of Safety ("Bait-e-kol" in Arabic).
A major industry in Karwar is fisheries.Though the District is located in coastal area, it is not so famous for its marine products. But activities connected with Fisheries are carried out on large scales by the fishermen communities like Harikanth, Konkan Kharvis, Gabiths, Ambigas. The major population lives in rural area undertaking agriculture as their main occupation.
The main traditional occupations are Agriculture, Fisheries, Animal Husbandry, Sericulture, Horticulture, Beekeeping and Leather Works etc.
Solaris Chemtech (erstwhile BILT - Ballarpur Industries Ltd.) at Binaga manufactures Caustic Soda, Chlorine, Hydrochloric acid and Phosphoric Acid. NPC's nuclear power plant at Kaiga is around 50 kilometres away from Karwar town.