Kolar, formerly known as Kolahala, Kuvalala and Kolala, was called Kolahalapura during the Middle Ages. In Kannada, kolahahapura means “violent city” and it was the battlefield for the warring Chalukyas in the north and the Cholas in the south. In 1004 AD, the Cholas annexed Kolar until 1116. Vishnuvardhana (1108-1142) freed Gangavadi from the Cholas and, to commemorate his victory, built the Chennakesava Temple at Belur.

Kolaramma and Someshwara are notable temples in Kolar. The Kolaramma temple, built in Dravida Vimana style during the secondnd century, is dedicated to Shakti. It underwent renovations under Rajendra Chola I in the 10th century and the Vijayanagara kings in the 15th century. Someswara Temple is an example of 14th-century Vijayanagara art.

Kolar’s early history was compiled by Fred Goodwill, superintendent of the Wesleyan Tamil mission in Bangalore and the Kolar Gold Fields, and his studies have been published in a number of journals. Older than Bangalore, Kolar dates back to the second century. The Western Gangas made Kolar their capital, ruling Mysore, Coimbatore, Salem and Travancore. During the 13th century Bhavanandi composed Nannool, his treatise on Tamil grammar.