Akka Tangi hole at Chitradurga fort

Chitradurga Fort, a Beautiful Unforgotten History (2024)

Explore the rich history and architectural marvels of Chitradurga Fort. Immerse yourself in the captivating tales of valour and intrigue within its ancient walls. Discover hidden passages, majestic gateways, and awe-inspiring bastions as you wander through this historical gem. Plan your visit to Chitradurga Fort today and unlock the secrets of Karnataka’s heritage.

Visiting Chitradurga Fort fulfilled a cherished childhood dream of mine. I’ve been captivated by the tales surrounding this ancient stronghold since I was young, particularly the legendary account of the brave lady who thwarted enemy invaders. Stepping foot into this historical landmark, where her courageous stand once took place, was a poignant and memorable experience for me.

PIN for later reference – Chitradurga Fort, a Beautiful Unforgotten History

PIN for later reference - Chitradurga Fort, a beautiful unforgotten history
PIN for later reference – Chitradurga Fort, a Beautiful Unforgotten History

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About Chitradurga Fort

Also recognized as Elusuttina kote, translating to “fort of seven circles” in Kannada, Chitradurga Fort is a pivotal historical monument in Karnataka, India. Constructed between the 11th and 13th centuries by various regional rulers, this fort sprawls across numerous hills and a pinnacle, commanding a commanding view over the valley and villages of Chitradurga district.

Nestled amidst the valley formed by the Vedavati River, Chitradurga derives its name from two Kannada terms, “Chitra”, signifying picture and “Durga”, denoting fort. Noteworthy alternative appellations for the fort include Kallina Kote, meaning fort crafted from stone, and Ukkina kote, symbolizing fort crafted from steel.

According to local folklore, Chitradurga Fort is steeped in Hindu mythology, particularly associated with the epic Mahabharata. Legend has it that the formidable demon Hidimbasura once terrorized the vicinity, residing within the fort’s confines and inflicting suffering upon its inhabitants. However, when the Pandavas sought refuge here during their exile, Bhima, the mighty second son among them, fought fiercely with Hidimbasura, ultimately defeating the giant and restoring peace to the land.

Tales also speak of colossal boulders scattered across the landscape, purported remnants of the weapons wielded in this legendary encounter. Additionally, an intriguing subplot unfolds, recounting the love story between Hidimbi, the sister of Hidimbasura, and Bhima, culminating in marriage and the birth of their son, Ghatotkacha.

Pillar at Chitradurga fort
Pillar at Chitradurga Fort

History of Chitradurga Fort

Throughout its storied past, Chitradurga Fort has witnessed a succession of rulers spanning several centuries. Erected initially by various dynasties, such as the Chalukyas and the Hoysalas, its architectural grandeur was further augmented by the Nayakas of the Vijayanagara Empire. However, the fort’s strategic significance led to its temporary occupation by Hyder Ali, followed by a brief period under British control.

Onake Obavva

Obavva, revered as a courageous homemaker and a legendary figure, fearlessly confronted the soldiers of Hyder Ali wielding a long pestle known as “Onake” in Kannada. Her indomitable spirit and valour have immortalized her as one of Karnataka’s most celebrated heroines.

During the era of Madakari Nayaka, when Hyder Ali sought to seize the city of Chitradurga, he devised a cunning strategy to infiltrate the fort through small holes in the rocks, locally known as “Kindi” in Kannada. While the guard Kahale Mudda Hanuma was momentarily absent from his post, his wife Obavva, noticing a soldier sneaking through the hole, sprang into action. She swiftly dispatched each intruder with her pestle with unwavering determination, skillfully concealing their bodies to avert suspicion.

Upon his return, Mudda Hanuma was astonished to find a pile of slain enemy soldiers and his wife standing firmly with a blood-stained Onake. Alerting the other defenders, they rallied to repel the invaders. Tragically, Obavva fell victim to a treacherous attack from behind by an enemy soldier. Yet, her heroic sacrifice thwarted Hyder Ali’s attempt to conquer the fort.

The aperture through which the enemy soldiers infiltrated, now known as “Onake Obavvana Kindi,” stands as a testament to her bravery. Visitors can walk to the fort’s location and pay homage to her memory, reliving the moments of her extraordinary courage. Additionally, Obavva’s home and the nearby pond, where she intended to fetch water, are important reminders of her selfless courage and unwavering resolve.

Onakke Obawa kindi
Onake Obavvana Kindi

Structure of the Fort

The fort stands as an imposing bastion, boasting seven formidable stone walls replete with passageways, temples, a mosque, a citadel, water reservoirs, and granaries stocked with essential provisions such as grains and oil. Within its confines, numerous ancient temples abound, with 18 gracing the upper fort and a prominent one nestled in the lower fort, among which the venerable Hidimbeshwara temple is the oldest.

Originally fortified with 19 gateways, 38 rear entrances, and 35 covert passages, the fort’s defensive prowess was further augmented by 2000 watchtowers strategically positioned for vigilant sentries. Each wall features narrow corridors designed to impede the advance of enemy elephants during wartime maneuvers. Spanning an impressive length of approximately 8 kilometres, the fortifications encompass an expansive area spanning 1500 acres, attesting to its formidable stature and historical significance.

Visitor Information

  • The fort welcomes visitors daily from 6 AM to 5 PM.
  • Indian nationals must pay an entrance fee of INR 20, payable online via a QR code at the fort’s entrance. Cameras are permitted inside, though tripods and gimbals are prohibited.
  • For a more enjoyable experience, visiting the fort in the morning is advisable to avoid the sweltering heat. Be sure to bring ample water, as no sources are available within the fort.
  • Comfortable footwear is recommended due to the extensive walking involved. Protect yourself from the sun by wearing sunglasses and a cap.
  • Please refrain from littering; dedicated bins are provided for waste disposal. Exercise caution with personal belongings, as the fort is home to numerous monkeys.

While in Chitradurga, consider exploring the Chandravalli archaeological site for further historical intrigue.

Guide Details

We engaged a guide affiliated with the Karnataka government for our tour. Narayana (+91 9886799773) led our exploration, showcasing a commendable knowledge of the fort’s history. While not the most exceptional guide, he provided adequate assistance throughout the 1.5 to 2-hour excursion. His fee for the tour was approximately INR 500.

  • Before hiring a guide, it’s advisable to verify their identification card to ensure authenticity and professionalism.
Guide for Chitradurga Fort
Guide for Chitradurga Fort

How to Get to Chitradurga Fort?

Chitradurga is a quaint city, with the focal point being the renowned Chitradurga fort. The main thoroughfare leading to the fort is aptly named Fort Road, symbolizing its significance in local life. Auto-rickshaws are the primary mode of transportation for navigating the city. It’s important to note that these autos do not have meters, necessitating negotiation with drivers for fair fares. Typically, fares range between INR 20 to 40, depending on the distance travelled.

During our visit, we enjoyed engaging an exceptional auto driver named Nagaraj. Known for his amiable demeanour and reliability, Nagaraj can be reached at +918197226554.

Is Chitradurga Fort Safe for Solo Female Travellers?

While my experience at Chitradurga Fort was largely uneventful, I must admit that I didn’t feel entirely secure as a solo female traveller. The fort’s vast expanse includes isolated areas that can feel uneasy, especially at certain times. While our guide was passable, I didn’t feel at ease with him.

Chitradurga fort
Chitradurga fort

For fellow solo female travellers, I recommend visiting the fort in the morning when it’s bustling with activity and avoiding situations where you might be alone with the guide. These precautions can help ensure a safer and more enjoyable exploration of this historic site.

Forts in India
Rayadurga Fort (Andhra Pradesh)
Red Fort (Delhi)
Zorawar Fort (Ladakh)
Bangalore Fort (Karnataka)
Chitradurga Fort (Karnataka)
Gudibande Fort (Karnataka)
Ballalarayana Durga Fort (Karnataka)
Channarayana Durga Fort (Karnataka)
Panhala Fort (Maharashtra)
Sinhagad Fort (Maharashtra)
Palakkad Fort (Kerala)
Rayakottai Fort (Tamil Nadu)
Gingee/Senji Fort (Tamil Nadu)
Golconda Fort (Telangana)
Rani Durgavati Fort (Madhya Pradesh)

Closing Notes

Chitradurga Fort is undoubtedly a must-visit destination when exploring Karnataka. For history enthusiasts like myself, it’s an absolute gem, boasting stunning architectural marvels and captivating tales from centuries past. The experience of immersing oneself in its rich history and exploring its intricately crafted structures is nothing short of divine. My visit left me enthralled, and I eagerly anticipate the opportunity to return for a more extensive exploration.

Have you had the chance to visit Chitradurga Fort? Share your experiences and what you loved most about it by writing to me at Solopassport@gmail.com.

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Chitradurga Fort, a Beautiful Unforgotten History (2024)
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    PIN for later reference – Chitradurga Fort, a Beautiful Unforgotten History

    PIN for later reference - Chitradurga Fort, a beautiful unforgotten history
    PIN for later reference – Chitradurga Fort, a Beautiful Unforgotten History