Etymology of Chitradurga Fort
The term Chitradurga is composed of two Kannada words including ‘chitra’ meaning ‘picture’ and ‘durga’ meaning ‘fort’. It is tagged with the English word ‘fort’ to form the name "Chitradurga Fort". It is also known by names like Kallina Kote or Stone Fortress, Ukkina Kote or Steel Fort and Yelusuttina Kote or Seven Circles Fort.
History of Chitradurga Fort
The fort was built by the dynastic rulers of the region, including the Rashtrakutas, Chalukyas and Hoysalas as well as the Nayakas of Chitradurga. It was expanded by the Nayakas of Chitradurga between the 15th and 18th centuries. However, they were defeated by Hyder Ali at Chitradurga in 1779. Later it was further expanded by Hyder Ali and his son Tippu Sultan.
Architecture of Chitradurga Fort
The construction of this amazing maze was completed in 18th century though the work commenced form 10th century A.D. The total length of the fort is approximately 8 kilometers. The inner fort resembles a bowl with a cup shaped valley. The entrances of Chitradurga Fort have been built with mammoth brown colored granite stones. On a closer look one will find out that it was built slightly in pyramid style.
The fort has 28 posterior entrances, a palace, 19 gateways, mosque, 4 invisible entrances, granaries, 35 secret entrances, 50 warehouses, water tanks, old pits and a jail. There are 18 temples in the upper fort and one huge temple in the lower fort. Among these temples, the oldest is the Hidimbeshwara temple. The masjid was an addition during Hyder Ali’s rule.
Legends of Chitradurga Fort
As per one legend, Hyder Ali had planned to attack Chitradurga Fort. The guard of the hole left for lunch asking his wife, Obawa, to vigil till he is back. Obawa saw the soldiers trespass but she was not alarmed. She had Onake with her with which she killed and quietly removed the dead bodies. Hundreds of soldiers fell prey to her intelligence without arousing any suspicion. On his return, the guard was dumbfounded to his wife standing with several dead bodies. Till date that passage is a historical witness for the legend.
The hills surrounding the fort are linked to the epic Mahabharata. It is believed that a man-eating asura, Hidimba, resided on the Chitradurga hill and it was a terror amongst the innocent villagers. The Pandavas came to this place with their mother during their exile. Bhima, the second of the Pandavas killed him during a fight.
Connectivity to Chitradurga Fort
Located in the district of Chitradurga, this historical site in Karnataka is accessible from Bangalore by car and flight. Train services are also common from both Bangalore and Davangereh.
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