Karwar is the administrative headquarters of Uttara Kannada district in Karnataka, India. This picturesque, calm place is bound by the Arabian sea on its west side and by the Western Ghats on its eastern sides. Situated on the banks of Kalinadi river, the place has its own history and culture, occupied by various foreign countries and dynasties in the past. The history and geography of this place has influenced the culture, industry , language of the place, it is interesting therefore to know Karwar’s history. In Karwar’s most recent history, the news is project seabird, INS Kadamba which is a important base for the Indian navy, increasing the importance of Karwar in the eyes of India and the world. Yet Karwar throughout its history continues to be beautiful with its beaches, sand, palm trees, a charming place for everyone!.
Karwar derives its name from the nearby ‘Kadwad’ village, it is thought that the British had trouble pronouncing “d” and replaced with “r”, thus making ‘Kadwar’, ‘Karwar’ eventually. Karwar was also refered as “Carwar” the Treaty of Mangalore signed in 1784, between Tipu Sultan and the East India Company.
During the British occupation, in 1638 the English established a factory in Karwar harbor, this was Karwar Port those days called “Baitkhol port”. Using the Arabian Sea , the Arabs, Dutch, Portuguese, French and British traded with Karwar, importing and exporting commodities. Sea trade carried on because this port was considered safe, which was the meaning of Baitkhol port, derived from the Arabic term “Bait-e-kol” meaning safety. The Deccan route, was convenient for trade as Western Ghats is nearby on the western side of Karwar.
Karwar became a sea trade center, and foreigners like the Arabs, Portugese, Freach, Africans traded here
The British made Karwar come under Bombay Presidency in 1862. After independence, however, during the reorganization of states in 1956, the State was merged into Kannada district, and is part of Karnataka till date.
However, there is a ongoing debate on whether Konkani speaking regions of Karwar and Joida taluks should be merged into Goa.
Karwar’s culture is influenced by various factors, it is mixed with the culture of neighboring places and states of Maharashtra, Goa and Karnataka. Karwar, was part of Bombay presidency earlier, during which time local Konkani-speaking people had connections with Mumbai people, including marital alliance. Therefore, in Karwar many Marathi-medium schools came up. There were cultural exchanges, with drama troupes visiting Karwar from Mumbai and Pune.
Belonging, to Kannada district , Karwar people also speak Kanada.
Being very near Goa, Karwar shares lots of similarities to Goan people, as in both places Konkani is spoken.
The main industry is fisheries, carried out by communities like Harikanth, Kharvis, Gabiths, and Ambigas. Agriculture is also the very prominent. Other occupations are animal husbandry, sericulture, horticulture, beekeeping and leather works.
Karwar is also famous for its muslin cloth.