Both of us had great time with my in-laws this entire week and wanted to end their stay in our house by visiting the popular Chitragurga fort. My father-in-law is very much interested in history. The book he was reading recently was Durgastamana by a famous Kannada writer TaRaSu. This book tells the entire history of Chitradurga and we thought this is the best time that we actually visit the place when the memories of the book are still fresh in his mind.
Chitradurga is around 230 km from Bangalore. Since Chitradurga is a hot place, we wanted to reach there as early as possible. The Accuweather also predicted that today would be a sunny day in Chitradurga. So, we started sharp at 5.30 AM in our little wonder, Nano. The traffic was very less as we started early morning. The route that we took was through Yashwantpur > Tumkur > Chitradurga.
After Tumkur, the highway leading to Chitradurga (Bangalore to Mumbai Haighway, NH4) is a six lane highway and it’s an extremely well maintained continuous straight line. The odometer reading never came below the maximum possible limit. On the way, we had breakfast at Kamath restaurant at Sira. (This restaurant is on the right side of the road (when traveling from Bangalore), so make sure that you take a service road on the left and then make a U-turn for the restaurant.). A wonderful unexpected thing happened at the hotel. As we were having breakfast, many bike riders came to the restaurant with their super bikes (Harley Davidson, BMW, Aquila, etc). It was a treat to watch so many bikes together.
After having breakfast, we continued towards Chitradurga on NH4. Opposed to what we expected, the weather was very cloudy. The sun never came out of the sky. This made our journey beautiful. When we were nearing Chitradurga, we could see number of hillocks and on top of them, unlimited windmills. We stopped on the way to take photos of the windmills hidden in the cloud. It was a beautiful sight. Throughout the way, there were many windmills, some were near to the road and some were very far.
We reached Chitradurga fort at around 10.30 AM. The fort looked very big and we wondered whether we would be able to cover the entire place in a day or not. The fort is ruined and is present in almost all the small hillocks. Chitradurga fort is built during 17th and 18th centuries by the rulers which included Rashtrakutas, Chalukyas, Hoysalas and Nayaks of Chitradurga. Later, it was maintained by Hyder Ali and Tippu Sultan after Madakari Nayaka lost the battle.
We realized that without the guide’s help, it will be very difficult to understand the history and also we may miss visiting few places. As soon as we entered the fort entrance, we met a guide who agreed to guide us for 300 Rs.
The rock wall of the fort is huge and built in a zig zag style (with 90° enclosure walls) to make it hard for the enemies to enter. The Chitradurga fort is also called “Elu Suthina Kallina Kote” as it is fortified by seven circular walls. The initial three doors are in the town which is at the foothill and the remaining four doors are at the hillock and guide took us through those four doors.
Inside the fort, you can find huge boulders of various sizes everywhere. There are many ponds, small temples, caves, and so on. The first place that we visited as soon as we entered the fort was Enne Kola (oil pond), a tank like structure which was used to store the oil which was used to lighten the lamps.
Then, we visited the Bombe Mantapa (Toys Pavilion), which has the broken sculptures of horse and elephant. After Bombe Mantapa, we visited the Vinayaka temple. There was also a small room which was used for training the soldiers during ancient times as informed by our guide.
On the way to the top, we found huge rocks of various shapes. One of which exactly looked like a sitting elephant. This rock is very popular in Chitradurga fort. Our guide showed us many rocks which are in the shapes of tortoise, chameleon, crocodile, ship, etc. But, none of them was as perfect as the elephant rock. Since the place has these kind of natural rocks in various shapes and has got picturesque valleys, it gets the name as Chitradurga (Picturesque fort).
Then, we visited the Eka Natheshwari temple which had a huge stone pillar and the stone swing arch in the forefront. One can get a wonderful view of the Chitradurga fort from Eka Natheshwari temple. Near to the temple, there is Hidimbeshara temple which is at the top of a small hillock. We decided to cover that while returning.
After Eka Natheshwari temple, our next stop was the ancient administrative block. This area is completely ruined. There is a small room which our guide told as the locker room of olden days. Now, that room has become the store room for empty beer bottles. Though the archaeological department has maintained Chitradurga well, there is room for more improvements.
Then, we proceeded towards the very famous Onake Obavvana kindi. On the way, we visited the beautiful Akka Thangi Kola (Sister’s pond) where the king’s wives committed suicide after Hyder Ali won the war. The view of the surrounding hills and the fort from this place was spectacular.
Then came the very popular Onake Obavvana Kindi. In our school days, we had read about the brave woman Obavva who killed several enemy soldiers with the help of a long pestle (Onake). The story goes like this: When Obavva’s husband, Kalanayak (one of the guards of the fort, during the reign of Madakari Nayaka) was having lunch at his house, Obavva goes to bring water for him from the nearby pond. At that time, she sees Hyder Ali’s soldiers coming through a small opening between the boulders. Without disturbing her husband, she single handedly kills the enemies one-by-one with the help of her pestle and silently moves the dead bodies without raising the suspicions for the enemy troops. Thus, she became the hero during the reign of Madakari Nayaka. From then on, the opening through which Hyder Ali’s soldiers entered the fort is called Obavvana Kindi. Her bravery is well appreciated in Karnataka history.
At Obavvana Kindi, our guided tour ended. Since the weather was very pleasant, after the guide departed, we decided to explore the place on our own. While returning, we visited Hidimbeshwara temple. It is a very old temple on a small hillock. View from top of the hill was extremely beautiful. We spent some time there enjoying the beautiful windy weather and the picturesque view. There is one more hill which is very steep. We did not dare to climb that hill, but we saw many people climbing the hill.
After Hidimbeshwara temple, we came to one more temple called Sampige Siddeshwara temple. My father-in-law wanted to see the ruins of the palace, but we were not sure where that place was. So, Thilak and my father-in-law went in search of the ruined palace and my mother-in-law and I waited near the Sampige Siddeshwara temple. They walked for some time, but they could not really find the exact place. Once they returned, we went inside the temple. Sampige Siddeshwara is a beautiful temple. It is completely surrounded by huge boulders. We took prasada and returned from there. Very near to Sampige Siddeshwara temple, there is Muruga mutt. When we were about to return from the Mutt, it started to pour. So, we sat in the Mutt for around 15-20 mins. Once the rain stopped, we returned from there.
While returning, on the way, we watched monkey man (Kothi Raj) performing his stunts. He has become popular in Chitradurga recently. We were shocked to see the way he skillfully climbed the mighty fort walls like a monkey.
We had missed to see Maddu Beesuva Kallu which was near the entrance. This was our last place to visit in Chitradurga fort. All of us were amazed to see the four huge grinding stones which were used to grind gun powder.
By the time, we finished visiting all the places in the fort, it was 2.30 PM and we were all hungry. There was one small hotel in the town where we got south Indian meals. The food was not that good, but we did not have any other choice.
After lunch, our next destination was Chandravalli lake and cave temple. Chandravalli lake is around 4 km from the fort. There is parking lot available near the lake. The view of the hillocks behind the lake was amazing.
To visit the cave temple, we have to climb around 50 steps situated near the lake. The temple is just beneath the extremely huge boulders. Near the temple, there is a Mutt called Ankali Mutt. We went inside the cave. There was nothing much to see inside the cave and also the place was not well maintained. We explored the place for some time. From behind, one of the boulders was looking like a huge bird. After spending some time near the temple, we decided to return at 4.30 PM.
We returned to Bangalore via the same six lane highway road that we took in the morning. It rained heavily in some places in the evening. We reached Bangalore at around 9 PM and thus ended our wonderful trip.
- Route Travelled: BTM Layout > Sankey Tank > Yashwanthpura > Nelamangala > Tumkur > Sira > Chitradurga
- Total distance (To & Fro): 470 km
- Mileage (Car): 20 km/l
- Fuel expense: 1669 Rs
- Total expense: 3730 Rs
- Photos: Chitradurga Photos
- Take two-way tickets in toll gates if you are returning on the same day and in the same road. This will save money:-). And while returning, follow the left most lane to save time. Total toll price we paid was 288 Rs (by taking two-way tickets wherever possible)
- Carry enough water and umbrella while climbing the hill.
- There are not many good restaurants in Chitradurga town. Carry biscuits, snacks with you.
- Bargain well with the guide. We paid 300 Rs which itself is more :-(. They may not show all the places. Note down the places that you want to visit and ask them to show the places.
- There are monkeys near sister’s pond and near Chandravalli lake. Be careful while opening the food items.