Sunday, January 8, 2012

Chitradurga Fort

Chitradurga Fort visit was planned in the previous night. And the count decreased from car capacity of 5 people to only 2 when we actually started. Nevertheless, we took off on September 24th, 2011. "Nagara Haavu", veteran Kannada actor Dr. Vishnuvardhan's first film was shot here. Following this, many other movies were shot. A Couple of years back a Kannada movie namely "Kallarali Hoovagi" was entirely filmed here which covers most part of the fort in detail.

The drive from Bangalore to Chitradurga was smooth except that we paid Rs. 213/- for the toll (most of it was 2-way since we were coming back on the same day). The road is very good and the traffic, apart from trucks, was less. We covered 200km in just about 3 hrs and reached fort by 11 am. Guides would be available, both of us were not much aware of fort and the dynasty, so we thought it would be better to hire a guide. There were 13 licensed guides who take around Rs. 250/- for a 2+ hrs tour through the fort. ASI has declared this fort as a monument of national importance and hence any destruction is considered a serious offence now.

The fort covers about 1500 acres and houses a palace and 18 temples, a series of connected water tank, 19 gateways, 38 entrances, 35 secret entrances and 4 invisible passages and almost 2000 watchtowers, store rooms and garadi mane (traditional gym) and a jail. The fortification wall length is 8 km. There were some rocks which looked like elephant and frog. There was an interesting method to cut the rocks for construction material. Masons used to drill closely-spaced holes along straight line and pour water for months and the rocks were split precisely.

The fort, built in stages and expanded from 10th century to 18th century, consists of seven circular walls and popularly called "Elu Sutthina Kote" in Kannada. Of these, 2 are now part of the town and only from the third one, the present day fort starts. The walls contain loopholes to shoot the enemy and are surrounded by moat. After couple of 90 degree turns The gateways are accessible only after a couple of 90 degree left and right turns through passages. This slowed down invaders and made them easy targets so as not to allow the enemies to force open the door with long metal or wooden pieces by hitting the door gaining the momentum running to it.

Many of you might have heard the story of legendary Onake Obavv. This was the place where single handedly killed hundreds of enemy soldiers who were trying to enter through secret passage with only Onake (pestle).

To end with, it was a fabulous day and it's worth a visit. It was 2 pm when we climbed down and we returned after something fill our stomach. While returning we visited Vani Vilas dam off Hiriyur, a town on the way to Bangalore from Chitradurga on NH4. I will write about that next.