Thursday, 22 August 2013

Chitrdurga Fort, Karnataka

Chitradurga Fort is located in the district named Chitradurga in Karnataka. It is situated on the crossing of Bangalore-Pune national highway 4 and Sholapur-Mangalore national highway13. Approx distance from Bangalore is 200 km & toll road is good. Train connection is also available. Average elevation of the city is approx 2400 ft. Population of the town is less than two lacs. Best time to visit is September to March. Budget hotels are available.

The fort is spread over 1500 acres of rocky hills of Chinamuladri range overlooking a valley created by Vedavathi river. Because of hilly & rocky terrain it is known as Giridurga also. other local names are Kallina Kote or stone fort, Yellu Suttina Kote or seven circles fort. British called it as Chitaldoorg. 

Poles are said to be used as making swing for the king 

On the entrance wall of the fort

Main entrance for the VIPs & side entrance for others. Wooden doors were also fixed here which are no more now. For side entrance one has to bow first & then pass the guard

Folklore links the history of this place to Hidimbasura a demon who lived in Chitradurga hills & had terrorized the inhabitants here. During exile of Pandavas, Bhima killed him in a duel & brought peace. He then married Hidimbi, sister of Hidimbasura & they had a son named Ghatotkach. A temple in the fort is named Hidimbeswara temple.

Not an easy entry with guards above the wall

One of the many gates

Hidimbeswari Cave Temple on top of the rock. On the back is a cave & front portion has been beautifully made out of same rock

Inscriptions found in & around Chitradurga mention this place as a part of Maurayan Empire of third century BC. Subsequently it has been ruled by Rakshakutas, Chalukyas & Hoysalas. During the rule of Vijaynagar empire covering entire south India, Nayakas or Paleyars or Paleghars were appointed as regional independent governers. It was one such Paleghars Matti Timanna Nayaka who established himself as first ruler here. Nayakas ruled till 1779 for about 211 years. During this period the fort achieved prominence & was consolidated & strengthened.

Hyder Ali attacked the fort in 1760, then in 1770 & finally won it in 1779 when Muslim officials serving under Nayakas betrayed. Subsequently Tipu Sultan lost to British in 1799 & the fort remained under British garrison till 1809.  After this it was handed over to royal Mysore family of Wodeyars.

The Chitradurga fort is said to have 19 large doors, 38 small doors, 35 special entry points & four secret inlets. There are seven enclosure walls & outermost wall has four entrances. Besides temples, the fort has scores of watchtowers, a palace & a number of water-bodies. The fort could sustain water supplies for indefinite periods due to their system of pooling rain water judiciously in large 'kere's & 'honda's or ponds at strategic places.

Another story associated with the siege of the fort by Haider Ali is that of a brave lady Obavva wife of a guard Kalanayaka. During lunch break she was deputising for her husband & noticed enemy soldier crawling out of a secret opening called 'kindi'. She coolly took her Onake - which is a long & thick wooden club used to pound paddy, killed the enemy & moved him aside. When Kalanayaka came back he saw several enemy soldiers lying dead & Obavva standing there with blood soaked Onake in her hand. Both continued their assault & were about to finish enemy soldiers when Obavva also fell. The reason of her death remains unclear. The little secret entry or crevice has been named as Onake Obavva Kindi.

Obavva with Onake in her hands & a small entry at the bottom called 'Kindi'
Rocks & big boulders form a natural boundary of the fort. Gaps in between them had been filled up with stones & bricks to make unauthorized entry impossible.

Oil tank. Oil was stored here for lighting & for torches. Moder day plastic & polythene spoil the show. 

This pit was used for mixing colour with water for Holi
While going in for battle soldiers bowed here

Such natural crevices were used as secret passages

Inside the fort

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