Chitradurga Fort
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Chitradurga Fort   |   Chitradurga

Chitradurga Fort or as the British called it Chitaldoorg, is a fortification that straddles several hills and a peak overlooking a flat valley in the Chitradurga District,Karnataka, India. The fort's name Chitrakaldurga, which means 'picturesque fort' in Kannada, is the namesake of the town Chitradurga and its administrative district.

The fort was built in stages between the 17th and 18th centuries by the dynastic rulers of the region, including the Rashtrakutas, Chalukyas and Hoysalas as well as the Nayakas of Chitradurga, feudal lords in the Vijayanagar Empire. The Nayakas of Chitradurga, or Palegar Nayakas, were most responsible for the expansion of the fort between the 15th and 18th centuries. They were defeated by Hyder Ali at Chitradurga in 1779. Later the fort was expanded and strengthened by Hyder Ali and his son Tippu Sultan,who succeeded Madakari Nayaka V, the last ruler of the Nayaka clan. The fort is built in a series of seven concentric fortification walls with various passages, a citadel, masjid, warehouses for grains and oil, water reservoirs and ancient temples. There are 18 temples in the upper fort and one huge temple in the lower fort. Among these temples the oldest and most interesting is the Hidimbeshwara temple. The masjid was an addition during Hyder Ali’s rule. The fort's many interconnecting tanks were used to harvest rainwater, and the fort was said to never suffer from a water shortage.

Chitradurga is formed of two words in the Kannada language: ‘chitra’ means “picture” and ‘durga’ means “fort” and is tagged with the English word ‘fort’ to form the name “Chitradurga Fort”. It is also locally known as “Kallina Kote” or Stone Fortress, which is also formed of two Kannada words ‘Kallina’: “Stone” and Kote:“Fort”. Other names used in Kannada are ‘Ukkina Kote”: “Steel Fort” (metaphorically used to mean an impregnable fort) and ‘Yelusuttina Kote’: “Seven Circles Fort”.

Chitradurga Fort lies in the midst of a valley formed by the Vedavati River. The Tungabhadra River flows to the northwest of the fort. Seven hills constitute the Chinmuladri range. The seven circles of the fort enclose these hills. Features of massive rock hills and scenic valleys, huge towering boulders are seen in the fort premises. The hills on which major part of the fort and the city rest belong to the oldest rock of granitic formation in the country.

Photography: [Divakar Hiriyadka]


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