Chitradurga is a small district town in Karnataka and is well known for “Chitradurga Fort”. Chitradurga is short for what used to be called as Chitra-Kal-Durga, which means fort of picturesque stones. True to its name, Chitradurga Fort has several rocks/stones of various shapes and sizes. According to history, Chitradurga Fort has its roots back upto 10th Century. The fort was built and expanded primarily between 14th-18th centuries. During this period, the fort has changed many hands, including Rashtrakutas, Chalukyas, Hoysalas, Nayakas of Chitradurga or Palegars, Vijayanagar Empire, Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan. Major development of the fort is believed to happen during the rule of Hyder Ali/Tipu Sultan.
The fort has seven entry gates, all of which are very strategically designed. None of the gates are in a straight line. The route from one gate to the other involves several zig-zag paths, and there are no places to hide or escape in between the gates. It was designed that way so that if any enemy tries to enter the fort, he could be very easily spotted by the guards and be held captive. The first two entry gates are now part of the Chitradurga town now, and the main entry to the fort now is at the third gate.
After you cross all the seven gates, you enter the main part of the fort that seems to be the center of all the activities. At the center is Ekanatheshwari Temple, and in front of the temple, there is a huge lamp post that is more than 40 feet tall. A little ahead of the lamp post (deepa sthamba) lies a structure that was used to hang swings.
Swing Post, Lamp Post and the temple
While walking through the fort, keep an eye on the picturesque stones and rocks. Some of the stones resembles certain animals and a few other things.
Sleeping Elephant Rock
As you go deep inside the fort, you start descending on the other side of the fort. You can see a huge step-well. If you walk a little further ahead, you can see what is now known as “Onake Obavva Kindi”. There is a legendary story behind this “kindi” or a small opening. It was the duty of one of the guardians of the fort to safe guard the area around this opening. As was his regular routine, he asked his wife Obavva to safeguard while he went and had his lunch. However, one day, Obavva observed that one of Hyder Ali’s soldiers trying to enter the fort through this small opening. Having observed this, she took an “Onaka” (or a heavy and long tool that is generally used to crush the spices), and hit it hard on the soldiers head that instantly killed him. She then sensed that there could be more people behind him, and so she pulled the dead soldiers body aside. And true to her senses, there were more people entering through that opening. She killed one by one as they try to enter the fort, and pull their bodies out making way for more attackers to enter in! When her husband returned after having food, he was shocked to see his wife standing with blood-stained pestle in her hand, and immediately raised an alarm!
Modern soldier entering through Onaka Obavva Kindi 🙂
There are several other places of interest within the fort, and many more stories hidden behind the structures. There are several art work carved out on the walls and rocks. You can also find several structures carved out of the rocky stones and placed at various locations.
You can explore as much as you want at this beautiful fort. There are several paths that lead to different places, temples and numerous other structures. Following these paths will not disappoint you, as you get a panoramic view of the Chitradurga town from almost all of these places. Some of them also has other interesting stories attached to it!
Another thing that you will find interesting about Chitradurga is the usage of natural energy by the whole town. The city has several thousands of windmills, and the whole town is electrified with these windmills. It is an amazing delight to see so many windmills and you enter and drive through the town. One of the guides at Chitradurga fort mentioned that the town has not seen a power cut in many many years! Thanks to the dependence on natural energy.
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