Balligavi, also known as Dakshina Kedara and Belgami, is a historic village in Shimoga District and is situated 21 km north-east of Shikaripur.
According to legend, Balligavi was the capital of the Asura King Bali and was then called as Balipura. The Panchalinga in the Panchalingeshwara Temple located here is believed to have been installed by the Pandavas. According to the inscriptions found here, it had many names like Valliggame, Valligrame, Balipura, Balligame and Balligave.
The Chaturmukha Linga found here shows traits of Satavahana-Kadamba style and this relates the place with the Satavahanas. The Golden Age of Balligavi was during the time of Kalyan Chalukyas, who ruled it nearly for 200 years. It also served as the capital of Banawasi rulers and was an important seat of learning and a center of cultural activities.
Balligavi is dotted with temples, which are fine examples of architectural excellence of the bygone era. Kedareswara Temple, a classic example of Chalukyan style architecture, is at the heart of the village. Trikuta Temple in the southern part of the Tavaregere pond and Tripiurantaka Temple are the other major temples. It is also a famous Chalukyan art center and the birthplace of Allama Prabhu, a great poet and mystic of the 12th century. A sect of Shaiva (Shiva) priests, associated with tantric practices, is located here.
Balligavi also has a well-maintained museum near the Kedareswara Temple. Statues and inscriptions found in and around the village forms the major part of the display. The statue of Goddess Tara is the highlight among the display, which also contains statues of Tirthankars.
Every stone in Balligavi has a story to tell, which has myth and history intertwined, but sadly no listeners. Time and human neglect has taken its toll on this village too.