This article has been extracted from
THE IMPERIAL GAZETTEER OF INDIA , 1908.
OXFORD, AT THE CLARENDON PRESS.
Note: National, provincial and district boundaries have changed considerably since 1908. Typically, old states, ‘divisions’ and districts have been broken into smaller units, units, and many tahsils upgraded to districts.Many units have since been renamed. Therefore, this article is being posted mainly for its historical value.
Head-quarters of the taluk of the same name in Bellary District, Madras, situated in 15 degree 38' N. and 77 degree 17' E., on the road from Bangalore to Secunderabad, connected with Guntakal junction by the north-west line of the Madras Railway, and distant 307 miles from Madras city. It is the largest town in the District after Bellary, and is a steadily growing place with a population (1901) of 30,416, of whom 60 per cent, were Hindus and as many as 37 per cent. Musalmans. Christians are very few.
Adoni possesses a strong fort on the top of a precipitous cluster of rocky hills ; and, being the capital of an important frontier tract in the fertile doab of the Kistna and Tungabhadra, it played a conspicuous part in the intestine wars of the Deccan. In the fourteenth century it was perhaps the finest stronghold of the Vijayanagar kings, and Firishta says that they regarded it as impregnable, and had all contributed to make it an asylum for their families. Though several times threatened, it was Never taken until after their final downfall at the battle of Talikota in 1565. In 1568 the Sultan of Bijapur at length captured it; and thereafter it remained a Muhammadan possession until it passed, with the rest of the Ceded Districts, to the British in 1800. One of the earliest of the Bijapur governors was Malik Rahman Khan (1604-31), whose tomb stands in a picturesque position on the cluster of rocks on which the fort is built, and is still maintained by a grant from Govern- ment. The best known of them is Sidi Masud Khan (1662-87), who built the beautiful Jama Masjid, employing materials from several neighbouring Hindu temples which he had destroyed. This cost 2 lakhs and is one of the finest mosques in the Presidency.
In 1686, when Aurangzeb marched south to annex the Bijapur dominions, he sent a general to take Adoni. Failing in other methods, and knowing Masud Khan's love for the mosque he had built, he trained his guns, says tradition, upon the building and threatened to fire upon it unless the fort was surrendered. Masud Khan, who held the mosque dearer than his life, at once capitulated. In 1756 the Nizam granted Adoni as a jagir to his brother Basalat Jang, who made it his capital. Haidar Ali of Mysore twice attacked the fortress without success while it belonged to Basalat Jang; and, though in 1778 he defeated the Marathas under its walls and in the following year laid waste the country round, it did not surrender. Basalat Jang died in 1782, and lies buried in an imposing tomb to the west of the town, which is still carefully kept up. In 1786 Tipu, Haidar's son and successor, captured the place after a siege of one month, demolished the fortifications, and removed the stores and guns to Gooty. It formed part of the possessions of Tipu which were allotted to the Nizam at the partition of 1792, and in 1800 the Nizam ceded it to the British. The remains of this famous fort stand on five hills, which are grouped in an irregular circle and enclose a considerable area. The two highest of the five are called the Barakhilla and the Talibanda, and on the top of the former are the old magazines and a curious stone cannon.
The oldest antiquities in the place are some Jain figures cut on the rocks, which are now cared for by the Jains. The town below the fortress consists of nine pettahs or suburbs, and most of the streets are very narrow and crooked, though improvements have been made of late.
Adoni is the chief centre of the cotton trade of the District and the commercial mart for all the north. It contains five factories for pressing and cleaning cotton, all worked by steam, which employ on an average 500 hands in the season. The chief industries are the weaving of cotton and silk. The cotton carpets made here have a considerable reputation for both colour and durabelity, and are sold all over the Presidency as well as in other parts of India. Adoni was made a municipality in 1867. The municipal receipts and expenditure during the ten years ending 1902-3 averaged Rs. 44,900 and Rs. 53,800 respectively. In 1903-4 they were Rs. 56,500 and Rs. 50,000; the former consist chiefly of the proceeds of the taxes on houses and land, a contribution from Government, and the water rate. The town pos- sesses water-works, which were completed in 1895 at a total cost of Rs. 1,57,000. The annual cost of their maintenance amounts to Rs. 5,200.
The water is obtained from a large artificial reservoir at the foot of the rocky hills on which the fort stands. This has been enlarged and improved, and fitted with filter-beds and settling-tanks. Its capacity is 45 million cubic feet, but the supply is very precarious, and it has already once been necessary to pump from wells sunk in its bed. The Ramanjala spring, at the foot of the hills near the reservoir, supplements the supply for four months in the year. This spring Never dries up.