Bellary Fort
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The Bellary Fort situated in the historic city of Bellary in Karnataka state, India was built on top of a hill called the "Ballari Gudda" or the Fort Hill in two parts namely, the Upper Fort and the Lower Fort. The Upper Fort was built by Hanumappa Nayaka, a feudatory of Vijayanagara Empire, but the Lower Fort was built by Hyder Ali in later part of the 18th century.

A French engineer was the architect and builder of the Lower Fort. He refurnished the Upper Fort also. After the forts were completed, Haider Ali found that the forts built were at a lower elevation opposite to hill called the 'Kumbara Gudda', thus putting the new forts militarily at a strategic disadvantage. As a result, Haider Ali was annoyed with this lapse and it is said that he ordered hanging of the French engineer at the east gate of the fort. The French engineer's grave, dated 1769 (inscribed as unknown French Engineer), is located at the east gate of the fort and has been preserved due to efforts of local Muslims who also claim that it was the tomb that belonged to a Muslim saint.

The forts have fine ramparts with a rich history with several historical and religious monuments. A citadel was in the upper fort with several ancient tanks while the lower fort on the east housed the arsenal.

The fort and the town are located around two prominent and large rocky granite hills: the Ballari Gudda (with the fort built on this hill) and Kumbara Gudda (Gudda means "hill" in Kannada). The two hills provide the dominant backdrop to the city, and can be seen from all parts of the city. Apart from these two hills, there are smaller hills such as the Kaate Gudda, the Eeshwara Gudda. The fort located on the Ballari Gudda, on a spur of the Sandur range at the border of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh has abundant granite outcrops. The fort has a commanding view of the plains that form the present day Bellary town. The terrain in and around the Bellary fort consists of granite rocks, which rises suddenly above the plains in the form of a very large mountain.

Photography: [sarangib: #1, #2]

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