Friday, January 03, 2014

Day 3 - Day trip to Chitradurga Fort

This winter break, we decided to do a day-trip to Chitradurga, which is a town 200 km from Bangalore, known for its magnificent hill fortress of the same name.  (Chitra - picturesque, Durga - Fort)  Built in the 15th century, the fort was the headquarters of generations of the Nayakas. There are seven concentric ramparts to this fort, and it is a really awe-inspiring place.

Puttachi has long been fascinated by the story of the brave woman Obavva, who discovered Hyder Ali's soldiers trying to enter the fort through a secret chink in one of the walls.   She stood next to the chink, and as the soldiers crept through it, she hit them on the head with a mortar, killing them all.  She is known as Onake Obavva (Onake - mortar) and the chink is called "Obavvana kindi" (Obavva's chink.)

We were eager to see the kindi, but unfortunately, we had gone on a day when half of the schools of Karnataka had landed up at the fort for their annual school picnic.  So it was extremely crowded, and Obavvana kindi, being the most popular sightseeing point of the place, was so full of people that we could hardly even spot the kindi.  Fortunately, Puttachi took the disappointment in her stride.  Since we couldn't even get a good picture of the kindi, I'll guide you to google's images of the kindi.

This is the view as soon as you enter the first rampart.

From within the first suttu (outermost rampart) - a part of the fort, a part of the town, and hills and windmills beyond.

Entrance gate of one of the concentric ramparts.  

One of the many, many temples inside the fort. 

 Picture above - On either side of the bridge are two lakes, used for rain-water harvesting.  The fort has a series of interconnecting lakes, and according to the information Hyder Ali got from his spies, the fort always had sufficient supply of water, and could withstand drought for 12 years! (And this, remember, is a very, very dry, barren area)
Picture below - another tank just outside the fort.   The outflow of the inner tanks collects here.  And apparently, there is one more tank in the marketplace into which the extra water from here collects (called Santhe-honde)

View of the Hidimbeshwara temple (Legend has it that this is where Hidimba and Hidimbi of the Mahabharata lived)

Monkey inhabitants.  Lots of monkeys are around, but they aren't aggressive.

When the fort was built, the  massive boulders on this hill were cut, and the temples and other structures were built with them.  Notches, and holes were cut into the boulder, and iron pegs were inserted into these notches.  Then the boulder was gently prised apart.  Water injected into these notches made the splitting easier.  You can see the notches and holes in the next two photos.

We found the traditional game Navakankari etched on the floor of one of the temples.  Puttachi was thrilled.  One of her favourite games!

This awe-inspiring structure is the Maddu Beesuva kallu, or the Grinding apparatus where Gunpowder was made.  The architectural complexity and immensity of this structure is jaw-dropping.

Visitor information:

Distance from Bangalore - 200 km.  A day trip is completely possible.

Time to drive - 3 hours (without any food/rest stops)  The road is excellent - NH4, the Bangalore-Pune highway, via Tumkur.  And the only place you need to stop are the Toll gates (lot of these on the way!)
We started at 6 30 am, reached at 9 45 am.   Started back at 1 15 pm, reached Bangalore at 4 pm.

Food - Not available inside the fort.  Shops outside didn't seem inviting.  We had taken packed food from home, and we ate it inside the fort.   I didn't notice any dustbins, so please take your own trash bag.

Water - Take lots of it. Hot, dry place.

Best time to visit - The summers are very hot and dry, so winter should be better.  Though we went in December, the sun beat down upon us.  But the wind was cool, and so we didn't feel hot.  (I say wind, not breeze, mind you!)  Take caps, hats, sunscreen.

Is it easy to go around?  - There isn't any hiking as such, but there's a lot of climbing up and down. The steps are steep in some places. So you need to be a little fit to do this.

How much time will it take?  - 3-4 hours is sufficient.

Guide - Guides are available.  We didn't hire any, though.  I had read up quite a bit about it previously, and there are boards here and there explaining what you see, how the fort is designed, etc.

Edited to add:  Here's an informative post with great pics.

Mail me if you have more questions!


praneshachar said...

lovely photos nice descriptive write up a treasure to see and read. a descriptive guide for a days trip to chitradurga from bangalroe . Sad on not able to see the glimpse of the obavvana kindi puttachi must have been really disappointed nevethless you have other ideas of showing gr8 job. keep visiting keep writing and we keep reading and enjoying shruthi keep it up

Unknown said...

Chitradurga is now on our list of places to travel to: thanks to your post!

Anoop said...

Hey Shruthi nice post.

Probably the best time to visit the fort is early morning before sunrise. I have a very nice photo of obavvana khindi at my blog. In fact we also crawled out of obavvana khindi to experience first hand the fate of Hyder Ali's soldiers!

Shruthi said...

Praneshachar, thanks.

Shubhra, pleased to hear that! Hope you enjoy it!

Anoop, great writeup, lovely pics. Will link to your post on the main blog. And totally agree about visiting it early. I heard that it opens at 6 am... should be quieter, and everything looks better in the morning light.

grrrrmeoww said...

Loved this post. It helped me exactly the way I wanted.. Wishing to have a tour there next month.. Is it a gud idea??

Param said...

Chitradurga is a truly beautiful and unique fort. Loved your images and the in depth post.

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