Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Chitradurga Fort

This was not the first time I was visiting Chitradurga fort. As a student I had trekked through the fort on numerous occasions. It was one of the most favored picnic spot too with relatives and friends. But this brief visit to the fort was special as it was the first time I was going to capture its’ beauty in my camera!

Boulders at the entrance of the Fort...


The Chitradurga Fort (called as ‘Chitaldoorg’ by the British) is just an hour’s drive from Davangere. The fort is well- known as “Elu Suttina Kote” in Kannada referring to its’ seven levels of fortification. Apparently, the carved depiction of the ‘seven headed serpent’ at the entrance of the fort signifies its’ 7-level fortification.

The seven headed serpent...



























A rock cut edict by Emperor Asoka reveals that Chitradurga was part of the Mauryan Empire in the 3rd century B.C. Soon after their fall, they were ruled under Rashtrakutas, Chalukyas and Hoysalas. This fort was built in stages between 17th and 18th century B.C. under these rulers. But it rose to prominence (under the feudatory state of Vijayanagara Empire) by Nayakas or Palegars. An eminent Palegar- Timmanna Nayaka, rose to the rank of governer of Chitradurga under the Vijayanagara rulers built and fortified the fort.



























After the fall of the Vijayanagara Empire, Nayakas proclaimed their independence. Later, in 1779 the fort was conquered by Hyder Ali who along with his Tipu Sultan, expanded and strengthened the Fort (after the last Nayaka Madakari Nayaka V). After the death of Tipu Sultan, the fort was acceded to the British.

The circular formation that is seen at the top is Tuppada Kola...


























The fort is built in a series of seven concentric fortification walls with various passages, citadel, masjid, warehouses for grains and oil, water reservoirs and ancient temples. There are 18 temples in the upper fort and one huge temple in the lower fort. The masjid was an addition during Hyder Ali’s rule. The fort with many interconnecting tanks was used to harvest rain water and it was never said have received water shortage.

View of Gaali Gopura and Deepa Stamba from Ekanatheshwari temple...






















































A carefully planned and sophisticated water harvesting system ensured Chitradurga’s inhabitants rarely ran out of water. In the late 1700s, when Hyder Ali contemplated conquering Chitrdurga, he made enquiries about the Fort’s supplies; he was told the fort had water for it’s’ inhabitants to survive 12 years without water!

'Akka Thangi honda' where rain water was harvested...



























Believed to be impregnable with its’ seven concentric ramparts, Chitradurga fort features bold rock hills and picturesque valleys. It is known as the “Stone Fortress” (Kallina Kote). According to Mahabharata, a man-eating ‘rakshasa’- Hidimba and his peace loving sister Hidimbi lived on the hills. When the Pandavas came there with their mother Kunti during the course of their exile, Bhima had a duel with Hidimba in which the latter was killed. So after, Bhima married Hidimbi and they had a son Ghatotkacha who had magical powers. Legend has it the boulders were part of the arsenal used during that duel. In fact, the boulders on which major part of the city rests belong to the oldest rock formation of the country.

Boulders everywhere...
                                                                                                                                                                 



























The legend of Onake Obavva, who single-handedly fought against Hyder Ali’s soldiers, is famous too here. The small opening amongst the rocky formation from where Hyder Ali’s soldiers infiltrated stands as a testimony to the bravery of Onake Obavva.

Eka shila Nandi temple...



























One more interesting spot to visit inside the Fort would be Thuppada Kola (place where Ghee was stored). But it lies on top of the hill and the climb towards the tank is quite tedious and one might have to climb in all fours when the wind is too harsh; though, I have always tried to escape from climbing on top to this place.

Muruga Matha complex on the way to Sampige Siddeshwara temple...



























The fort is also a home for a troop of monkeys and there are quite a number of people who visit the place every day just to feed the monkeys. If one is lucky enough, they can also witness a ‘human monkey’ doing his acrobats on the walls of the fort. Popularly known as ‘Kothi Rama’, he climbs onto the walls of the fort without any supportive devices and his act gathers a lot of audience.  

After spending a good amount of time and climbing up and down the fort, one must definitely visit Laxmi Bhavan Tiffin Room located near Aane Baagilu who serves very delicious  ‘kaali dosa’. Most imporantly, do not forget to apply your sunscreen as I got a tan from just an hour's exposure to the very mild sun on a breezy day. 


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