The District of Raichur was a part of the Hyderabad State till the re-organisation of State on 1st November 1956. The recorded history of the district is traced to as far back as the third century B.C. The fact that three minor rock edicts of Ashoka are found in this district one at Maski in the Lingasugur taluk and the other two near Koppal, prove that this area was included in the dominions of the great Mauryan king Ashoka (273 – 236 B.C.). At that time, this region was under the governance of the Viceroy or Mahamatra of Ashoka. Early in the Christian era, the district appears to have been a part of the kingdom of the Satavahanas. The Vakatakas, who reigned during the 3rd and 4th centuries A.D., seem to have held sway over Raichur for sometime, after which it appears to have been included in the Kadamba dominions. The next dynasty of importance, which ruled over this region, was that of the Chalukyas of Badami. According to an inscription from Aihole, Pulikeshi-II having defeated the Pallavas, occupied this area and made it a province in his empire under the governance of his son Adityavarma. Later the whole of the present Raichur district was included in the dominions of the Rashtrakutas, who rose to power in the eighth century, as could be gathered from the inscriptions of that period found in this district. According to an inscription from Manvi taluk, one Jagattunga, a subordinate ruler under the Rashtrakuta king Krishna-II, was ruling the province of Adedore Eradusavirapranta, i.e., the area constituting the present Raichur district. Nripatunga, a Rashtrakuta king, has described Koppal in his Kannada work, Kavirajamarga, as the great Kopananagara.
Numerous inscriptions of the Chalukyas of Kalyana, found in the various parts of the district, testify to the fact that this region was under their sway for a considerable length of time between the 10th and 12th centuries A.D. It is learnt from an inscription found at Naoli in Lingsugur taluk that during the reign of Chalukya Vikramaditya-V, the Adedore-pranta, i.e., the Raichur region, was being ruled by his younger brother Jagadekamalla-I. Another inscription from Maski describes the place as a capital and makes a reference to the reign of Jayasimha. There were, however, frequent wars between the Chola kings of the south and the Chalukyan kings of Kalyana for supremacy over the Raichur region and the territory had passed into the hands of the cholas for a brief period. The Haihayas and Sindas also seem to have ruled some parts of this region for sometime. Later, after the fall of the Chalukyas, Raichur passed into the hands of the Kalachuri kings. Then came the Kakatiyas in the 13th century. From an inscription on the fort-wall of Raichur, referred to earlier, it is learn that the original fort was built by one Gore Gangayya Reddy, a general of the Kakatiya queen Rudramma Devi of Warangal, in 1294 A.D., at the instance of the latter.
The district of Raichur has a hoary past. It has had an eventful & rich beginning from the days of the Mauryan King Ashoka. A number of inscriptions, rocks edicts & other records, temples, forts & battlefields bear testimony to this fact. Lying between two important Kingdoms. In the recent past, it was a part, it was a part of the princely State of Hyderabad, and since the 1st November 1956, it is a constituent district of the Mysore State.
Origin of the name of RAICHUR
The district derives its name from its headquarters town Raichur (origin of name Rayachooru in Kannada), as do most of the other districts also in the State. Though many of the villagers round about still call the place by the earlier from of the name which is Rayachooru, however, in modern times, it has come to be generally written and pronounced in Kannada as Rayachooru. The name of this place which is of considerable antiquity, can be traced back to the Twelfth Century at least. As Dr. P.B. Desai has pointed out the Raichur fortress was one of the fortresses conquered by the Hoysala king Vishnuvardhana. This is evident from at least Three of the Hoysala inscriptions in Kannada. In the earliest of these three inscriptions which was found at Hulkera in Belur taluk of Hassan district (numbered Belur 193 in Epigraphyia Carnatica, Vol V, PartI, 1902) and which belong to the year 1161 A.D. and the region of Hoysala Narasimha I, mention is made of the Perddore (the Krishna river) as the northern boundary of Vishnuvardhana’s Kingdom and the Rachavoor as one of the places conquered by Vishnuvardhana while still a youth.
The second of these inscriptions which was discovered at Hatana in Nagamamgala taluk of the present Manday district Numbered Nagamangala 70 in Epigraphia Carnatica, Vol IV-Part II,1898) and which is dated 1178 A.D. when Hoysala Vira-Ballala II was ruling, refers to Permmana (ie., Permma+na) Rachavoor as one of the numerous forts which Vishnuvardhana captured with a frown . This lithic record indicates that the place was known at the time as Permma’s Rachavoor, this Permma being probably a local chieftain, the third of these inscriptions, which is from Hirehalli in Belur taluk of Hassan district (numbered Belur 137 in Epigraphia carnatica, Vol. V-part I, 1902) and which is dated 1183 A.D. and is also the reign of Hoysals Vira-Ballala II enumerates Rachavoor as one of the places which Vishnuvardhana captured by the might of his arm.
From the context of enumeration of places in these inscriptions and other account of exploits of Vishnuvardhana, it becomes clear that the place referred to above as Rachavoor or Rachanoor is Raichur of the present days. Racha being derived from Raja (i.e., King) and oor meaning a place of town. Rachavoor (Racha + oor) or Rachanoor (Racha+na+oor) means in Kannada King’s place showing that it was already an important town in Kannada country. By 1294 A.D., Permmana Rachavoor or Rachanoor had been shortened into Rachoor or Rachooru as is clear from a Kakatiya inscription of that year found on the fort-wall of Raichur itself. That this form of the name for the place continued during the Vijayanagara times, at least upto 1541 A.D., is known from two Kannada inscriptions of that year found at Alampur (now in Mahaboobnagar district of Andhra Pradesh ) which says that the king Krishnadevaraya captured Rachoor by his expendition in the north. Thus it is obvious that this historical Rachoor or Rachooru underwent a further slight change in recent times with the addition of ya between Ra and cha to become the present Rayachooru (Ra+ya+cha+oor) . The ya here might be the second letter of the word Raya meaning again king. In Hindi and Urdu the equivalent of Raya being Rai, it seems to have become the practice to spell the name as Raichur in Urdu, later bringing that usage into vogue in English as well.
It is narrated that a chieftain on witnessing a strange spectacle of a rabbit turning on a dog that pursued him and tearing the latter (dog) to pieces at this spot, thought that the scene of this heroic and unusual action was a fit place for building a fort and accordingly constructed a formidable fort and named the place as Naichur which, in Kannada, connotes the idea of the dog being torn to pieces. The present name, Raichur, is said to be have derived from that Naichur. But this kind of the story is repeated in respect of many forts. It is also said that Rai meaning stone in Telugu, with ooru (town), gave rise to Rajooru, that is, a town of stones (because of rocks in the vicinity) which becomes Rayachooru or Raichooru. These and such other stories can be said to be only conjectures, in view of the clear historical evidence about the name already explained. It appears that Raichur had been once renamed Ferozenagar by a Bahmani Sulthan, but the appellation did not stick on to it and it continued to be called by the old name only.