It is bounded by Tumkur District to the southeast and south, Chikmagalur Districtto the southwest, Davanagere District to the west, Bellary District to the north, and Anantapur District of Andhra Pradesh state to the east. Chitradurga district is divided into taluks: Chitradurga, Hiriyur, Hosadurga, Holalkere, Challakere and Molakalmuru. It also has rich in mineral deposits that include gold and copper.
This district has rock hills and picturesque valleys and huge towering boulders. It is also known as the "stone fortress". According to a story in Mahabharata, a man-eating giant named Hidimbasura lived on the Chitradurga hill and terrorised everyone. When the Pandavas had come here in the course of their exile, Bhima had a duel with Hidimba. He was slained by Bhima and peace was restored.
Timmana Nayaka was a chieftain of Vijayanagar Empire. He became the governor of Chitradurga. This marked the beginning of the rule of the Nayakas of Chitradurga. During the rule of Madakari Nayaka, the city of Chitradurga was besieged by the troops of Hyder Ali. A chance sighting of a woman entering the Chitradurga fort through an opening in the rocks led to a clever plan by Hyder Alito send his soldiers through the hole. The guard on duty near that hole had gone home for lunch and asked his wife to be on guard until he was back. The wife of that guard, Obavva while in her temporary seat, noticed soldiers emerging out of this opening. Obavva was not perturbed. She was carrying with her an Onake (a long wooden club meant for pounding paddy grains). She killed Hyder Ali's soldiers one by one as they attempted to enter the fort through the opening and quietly moved the dead. Over a short period of time hundreds of soldiers entered and fell, without raising any suspicion. Obavva's husband, upon his return from his lunch was shocked to see Obavva standing with a blood stained Onake and hundreds of dead bodies of the enemy around her. The opening in the rocks still remains as a historical witness for the story, beside the Tanniru doni a small water source which holds cold water all round the year. Though her sincere and brave attempt saved the fort on that occasion, Madakari Nayaka could not repel Hyder Ali's attack in 1779. In the ensuing battle, the fort of Chitradurga was lost to Hyder Ali. Obavva, like Kittur Rani Chennamma remains a legend, especially to the woman of Karnataka.
Chitradurga Fort was built in parts by the Palegar Nayakas, Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan. It consists of seven enclosure walls. The fort houses eighteen ancient temples. The fort has 19 gateways, 38 subsequent entrances, a palace, a mosque, granaries, oil pits, four secret entrances and water tanks.
Chitradurga Kote is built on top of hill with stones. "Chitra durga" means "picture perfect". There is also a temple dedicated to Rameshwara built in 926 CE. Emperor Ashoka's earliest rock edicts in Brahmi script and Prakrit language were discovered here.
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