The Government of Karnataka through the Kannada University Act 1991 established Kannada University, Hampi, in 1991. Though the University was established in 1991, the demand for such a University was there in Karnataka since the mid 1980s. The Government of Karnataka established a commission under the chairmanship of Sadashiva Wodeyar to look into the demand. This Committee after consulting various intellectuals, education experts, political thinkers, social activists, literary personalities and representatives of people came out with a report and recommended the establishment of the much-needed Kannada University.
Spirit of the place
Kannada University is located near Hampi, an historical place. The very name HAMPI evokes mythological and historical memories. People lived here since the Stone-age as it is evident in the cave paintings left here by the Stone-age people for posterity. Historically this place has been the abode of many religions - Buddhism, Jainism, Virashaivism, Vaishnavism, Islam and many popular religious cults like Huligemma cult, Galemma cult, Mylaralinga cult, Balabasava cult which exist to this day. This has been an important place for many kingdoms like Hoysalas, Sindhs, Kapilas, not to speak of the Vijayanagara kingdom which originated here and reigned over most part of South India for more than three centuries. Vijayanagara Kingdom has also been the icon of Kannada identity and has inspired the Karnataka unification movement, symbolically representing unified Karnataka. Hampi has also been the abode of many a well-known Kannada poets like Harihara, Raghavanka, Kumaravyasa and Purandaradasa. Hampi is the treasure house of Indian architecture and has been recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Center.
Stone Mantapas to Vidyaranya
The University moved from the stonemantapas of Hampi, where it was located initially to the present campus, Vidyaranya, in 1994. It also now has two more satellite campuses: one in Badami, an historical place, where the Department of Sculpture and Visual Arts is located; and the other at Kuppalli, the birth place of the poet Kuvepmu, where the Kuvempu Research Centre is located.
Vidyaranya (The Forest of Knowledge)
The present campus of Kannada University spans a hilly terrain of 700 acres situated amidst a natural forest and beautiful lake. A small brook runs through the campus. The campus is named Vidyaranya after the 'founder-Guru' of Vijayanagara Empire. It also means the forest of knowledge. The newly constructed buildings of Kannada University blends into the ambience of the architecture of Hampi historical structures.
(The Letter – etymologically, that which cannot be erased) is the name of the library building.
(The One Who Knows Everything) is another library building that has come up with the aid of UGC. This building houses the exclusive library for Karnataka studies named
(The Bounteous Kannada)
(The Power of Action), another important guru in the history of Vijayanagara Empire, is the name of administrative building.
(The abode of Victory) is the indoor auditorium for academic and cultural activities.
(The Pampa Seminar Hall) named after the Poet of the first available epic of 10 th century in Kannada Literature. Pampa Sabhangana is the place where intellectual deliberations on various issues happen, as it witnesses seminars/ conferences/ workshops/ special lectures all through the year.
(Nine colours / stage) is an open-air auditorium resembling Greek theatre situated on the banks of the lake.
Girisime (Tribal Village)
Is a mini campus, which houses the department of Tribal studies. The buildings, or rather hut-like structures in this mini-campus, are modeled on the houses of different tribes of Karnataka.