One Day Trip to Chitradurga Fort

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January 17th 2016
Published: January 22nd 2016
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There comes my second ROADTRIP .After my first successful #roadtrip to native, I was all excited for my next #roadtrip. Instantly planned a Day's #roadtrip on one of the 2 day weekend. Thanks to My co-rider Prashant for responding positively. We planned the trip on a short notice considering only 2 people, but eventually ended up having 7 more people joining us on the trip.So, we all were set for One Day #roadtrip to city of Fort, Chitradurga, 220 KMs from Bangalore. A brief history of Chitradurga follows,

Chitradurga gets its name from Chitrakaldurga (or Picturesque castle), an umbrella-shaped lofty hill found here. Chitradurga was also known by the names Chitradurg, Chitrakaladurga, Chittaldurg. Chittaldrug was the Official name used during the British rule. Chitradurga features bold rock hills and picturesque valleys, huge towering boulders in numerous shapes. It is known as the "stone fortress" (Kallina Kote). Timmana Nayaka, a chieftain under the Vijayanagar Empire, rose to the rank of governor of Chitradurga as a reward from the Vijayanagara ruler, for his excellence in military services,. This was the beginning of the rule of the Nayakas of Chitradurga. His son Obana Nayaka is known by the name Madakari Nayaka (1588 CE). Madakari Nayaka's son Kasturi Rangappa (1602) succeeded him and consolidated the kingdom to rule peacefully.

Legend of Onake Obavva

During the reign of Madakari Nayaka, the town of Chitradurga was besieged by the troops of Hyder Ali. A chance sighting of a woman entering the Chitradurga fort through an opening in the rocks led to a clever plan by Hyder Ali to send his soldiers through the hole. The guard on duty near that hole had gone home for lunch. The wife of that guard, Obavva was passing by the hole to collect water, when she noticed soldiers emerging out of this opening. Obavva was not perturbed. She was carrying with her an Onake (a long wooden club meant for pounding paddy grains). She killed Hyder Ali's soldiers one by one as they attempted to enter the fort through the opening and quietly moved the dead. Over a short period of time hundreds of soldiers entered and fell, without raising any suspicion. Obavva's husband, upon his return from his lunch was shocked to see Obavva standing with a blood stained Onake and hundreds of dead bodies of the enemy around her. Together both wife and husband beat up most of the soldiers. But as both of them were about to finish off all the soldiers of Hyder Ali, Obavva dies. The opening in the rocks still remains as a historical witness for the story, beside The Tanniru doni the well which Obavva was making her way to, when she found the soldieres of Hyder Ali. Though her brave attempt saved the fort on that occasion, Madakari Nayaka could not repel Hyder Ali's attack in 1779. In the ensuing battle, the fort of Chitradurga was lost to Hyder Ali. Obavva, like Kittur Rani Chennamma remains a legend, especially to the women of Karnataka.

Chitradurga Fort

Chitradurga Fort was built between the 10th and 18th centuries by the kings of various dynasties during that period which are Rashtrakutas, Chalukyas, Hoysalas and Nayakas of Chitradurga. After Nayakas lost it to Hyder Ali in the year 1779, the fort was given its finishing touches by Hyder Ali along with his son Tipu Sultan. It comprises a series of seven enclosure walls in Kannada. On the upper part of the fort Eighteen ancient temples can be found and in the lower part of the fort there is one huge temple. Among these temples the oldest and most interesting is the Hidimbeshwara temple. The masjid was an addition during Hyder Ali’s rule. The fort's many interconnecting tanks were used to harvest rainwater, and the fort was said to never suffer from a water shortage. This seemingly impregnable fort has 19 gateways, 38 posterior entrances, a palace, a mosque, granaries, oil pits, four secret entrances and water tanks.

Chandravalli caves

Chandravalli caves is located amidst three hills namely Chitradurga, Cholagudda and Kirubanakallu. These caves are a never-ending maze of steep steps that lead into passageways, rooms and ante-rooms where kings from the Kadamaba, Satavahana and Hoysala dynasties resided. And saints of the Ankali Math of Belgaum meditated in the temples. These caves are well ventilated but there is no light as its pitch dark inside the secret rooms that's why the kings used these rooms in case there was a threat of an intrusion.

Trip Experience

Trip was planned on a winter Sunday. Anticipating high temperature by mid of the day in Chitradurga, we planned to start early from Bangalore so that we can reach the location early and start exploring the fort before Sun is up right on our head. So, the platform was set on previous day. All planned to meet on the city outskirts at 5.30 AM on 17th Jan 2016.

Started from home at around 4.30 AM and reached our meeting point at around 5.30 AM after picking up my pillion-rider Sachin. after a small break and intro with all other co-riders we started right at 5.45 from Yeshwantpur first toll gate. Small break helped all of us to know better as few of us met for the first time. So, our entourage include Prashant, Laxmikant,Sachin,John, Aijaz, Vikram , Vivek and me. Manu joined us in Chitradurga (as he was on a personal break).

We started the journey with a mindset of driving at 70-80 km/hour and stuck to the plan for first half hour of drive before our first break in Tumkur. Cold soothing breezes kept us awake all through the drive to Tumkur, though the fog was not as expected. There comes, our first stop after riding almost 60kms. So, after a short break our real thrilling journey began, which reminded us we are on NH4.

NH4, is one of the best highways I have come across till now. As we hit NH4, we were mesmerized by the beauty of it. Our accelerator was asking for more and more. All of us on our respective mean machine Royal Enfield (5 of it) started accelerating to respond to the beauty of road and the road looked more and more beautiful as we accelerated and travelled distance. At one point our speedometer read 120... oopss... yes, all of us were driving at 110-120km/hr. In between we took a short break to rest our engine and started again towards our journey. After almost half hour from the break we reached our destination. Chitradurga, The City of Fort. It took us 2.5 hours to cover 220kms with breaks. So after a quick stop for breakfast our bike turned towards Stone Fort of Chitradurga.

So the journey begins to explore Stone Fort of Chitradurga. CHITRADURGADA KALLINA KOTE....

Entrance and the view of Fort from entrance itself describes the history of the Fort. Though the Fort was built some centuries ago, we could still feel the beauty of it. Excited to explore the Fort, we hired one of the Guide on location who took us around the Fort . He not only explained us about the history but also explained about the architecture of the Fort which was built not just scientifically but also strategically. Fort has all sorts of Art scripted on it's wall in abundance from which it derives it's name CHITRADURGA (Fort of Art).

Chitradurga is formed of two words in the Kannada language: ‘chitra’ means “picture” and ‘durga’ means “fort” and is tagged with the English word ‘fort’ to form the name “Chitradurga Fort”. It is also locally known as “Kallina Kote” or Stone Fortress, which is also formed of two Kannada words ‘Kallina’: “Stone” and Kote:“Fort”. Other names used in Kannada are ‘Ukkina Kote”: “Steel Fort” (metaphorically used to mean an impregnable fort) and ‘Yelusuttina Kote’: “Seven Circles Fort”

The fort is built in a series of seven concentric fortification walls with various passages, a 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. Among these temples the oldest and most interesting is the Hidimbeshwara temple. The masjid was an addition during Hyder Ali’s rule.The fort's many interconnecting tanks were used to harvest rainwater, and the fort was said to never suffer from a water.

Chitradurga Fort lies in the midst of a valley formed by the Vedavati River. The Tungabhadra River flows to the northwest of the fort. Seven hills constitute the Chinmuladri range. The seven circles of the fort enclose these hills. Features of massive rock hills and scenic valleys, huge towering boulders are seen in the fort precincts. The hills on which major part of the fort and the city rest belong to the oldest rock of granitic formation in the country. The highest hill peak of the area is located at Jogi Matti, 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) to the south of Chitradurga.The highest elevation of the hills at the fort is 976 metres (3,202 ft).The area covered by the fort is reported to be 1,500 acres (607.0 ha)

Well that's about history and Architecture of Fort. Getting back to our experience now. We were led by our guide through the entire Fort. His explanation about Fort combined with it's history and architecture not just took us back to centuries of Chitradurga Ruling by Madakari Nayaka but also gave us a feeling of Kannada Movie "NAGARAHAVU", where Legend Actor Vishnuvardhana takes school kids to fort and explains them the history which is shown as a running story concurrently in the song. All the walls, Mahadwaras, Arts on walls, Places of meeting, oil reservoir,water saving containers and all other necessary amenities and structures though not intact but are in better condition , which are good enough and self explain about themselves. Each and every step under hot sun though made us exhausted, but the eagerness and enthusiasm to explore more and more of Fort kept us going. Between all these we meet the KOTI RAMA. Well known Rock Climber, though we missed his tricks of Rock climbing , it was a great experience to meet such a versatile personality. So, after exploring most part of the Fort we reached the most sought after place OBAVVANA KINDI, origin of bravery of one of the brave women of Karnataka History. After exploring the same, we headed to Hawamahal followed by a Big Rock to climb from where one can view the entire city of Chitradurga, Fort and which is a witness of all the movies shot in the city. By now half of us were exhausted due to excess heat, which means only remaining half of us ventured to explore the big climbing rock after a short visit to a nearby temple. Return of our adventurous crew from Rock climbing meant end of our visit to Fort, in between our guide said good bye after finishing his job. Kudos to our guide for helping us to explore the Fort better. So, before stepping out of Fort it was time for a brief photo session with our faces down due to exhaust.Finally we are out of THE GREAT STONE FORT OF CHITRADURGA. History still stands tall and will stand tall forever. Just outside the Fort is a Museum, which houses old artifacts and the great Onake of Obavva, which is a proof of her bravery.

Tired and hungry Royal Riders,were in bad need of a good place to relax and fill stomach, and finally we found a better restaurant to fulfill our hunger and thirst.So, after a heavy lunch and few chilled bear and soft drinks we headed to our next stop, which was a good 5 kms from the city THE CHANDRAVALLI CAVES.

Chandravalli Cave is another ancient architecture marvel. Amazingly carved cave which makes you bend and go around zig-zag way and which gives your body a natural massage. Caves are built very scientifically. The passage inside the caves are narrow and slim but good enough for human being to walk and stay. It's like a Gurukul underground. At one point of time we reached a place where it's all dark and we cannot see each other once all the lights are off and sound doesn't travel out of the room. It is said that , all critical strategic discussion were carried out at that place by the administration in consultation with Kulguru. Architecture of cave is such that, even at a depth of 80 feet down one doesn't feel suffocated. Exploring the caves is one of the best experiences that we had in our lifetime. So, with that there comes an end to our motto of exploring the beauty in City of Chitradurga. Which means, we started back to our destination.

After a small break, Royal Riders started back to city of work. With the Sun downing for the day our experience of exploring the beautiful history became a memory and with every passing light of Sun, though there was sadness of leaving such a wonderful experience behind, there was a happiness too for witnessing such a wonderful historical monuments, which made all our exhaust fade away.So , as the Sun came down, our speedometers too came down to 80kms/hr due to heavy traffic and eye catching headlights of opposing vehicles. After couple of breaks and photo shoots we entered our city of dreams, rather city of our bread & butter. Here comes Bangalore. So overall the meter read 500 kms for the day.

There comes the end of one of the best day of our life, which fades into our memory and rings in our ears as ...Chitradurgada Kallina Kote.... Sidiligu Baggada Ukkina Kote.....

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