Karnataka has been ruled by different dynasties like Maurya, Hoysala, Vijayanagara, and Chalukya, the list is endless and this large number of empires have left behind a rich legacy and history. The heritage of temples, monuments, royal residences, and forts with astonishing design tells great stories. The glorious forts in Karnataka remain something one should want to visit whenever possible. The remains of these forts address glory and wonder in all forms. The forts and their stories are going to amaze you.
Bidar Fort :
During the fifteenth century CE, the year 1429 to 1432 Sultan Ahmad Shah Wali of the Bahmani dynasty moved his capital from Gulbarga (presently Kalburgi) to Bidar and reconstructed this humungous fort with more than 30 monuments inside the premises. Initially, the fort was built in the eighth century and later was reestablished by Aurangzeb in 1656 AD. Strangely in the center of the 17th century, Bidar was captured by Aurangzeb, and the fort was assimilated into the Mughal Empire. The fort was commanded by Salabath Jung till 1726 A.D and in the 20th century, when Hyderabad state was parceled, the Bidar fort became a piece of the recently shaped state called Mysore, presently Karnataka. Bidar fort has seven doors, a Turkish Bath called Hammam which is currently changed over into an exhibition hall, mosques, and mahals showcasing the model Islamic and Persian design.
Chitradurga Fort :
Spread across rambling 1500 acres of land on the banks of stream Vedavati, Chitradurga Fort is a remarkable example of the architecture of the time. The fort was ruled by Chalukyas or Hoysalas between the 11th to 13th centuries of years offering amazing views of the neighboring hills. The fort was later extended between the 15th and 18th centuries by the Nayaks from Chitradurga of the Vijayanagara Empire.
Just 200 km away from Bangalore, the fort is known for its seven rounds of the fort with an extreme and elaborate guard framework. The famous story of Onake Obavva Kindi makes the post-visit considerably more unique. Onake Obavva, the spouse of a watchman safeguarded the fort during an attack. One day while her guard soldier was away for lunch, Onake Obavva spotted soldiers sneaking into the fort through a secret passage section. She used a wooden rod ( those days were used to pound grains) ' Onake' to hit on their head and aside waiting for the next one displaying remarkable courage. Like this she killed many warriors of Haider Ali, however, she was in the end overwhelmed and forfeited her life taking on the conflict without help from anyone else.
The hole/spot is the highlight and is the attention point at the Chitradurga fort and is a good photography point.
Gajendragad Fort :
Gajendra means Elephant God and Gad means fort, this is how the fort got its name. Just 55 km from the district headquarters of Gadag, lies this gigantic fort on the top of the hill. The aerial view of the city looks like an elephant hence the name given.
Gajendragad Fort is a historic fort built by the famous Maratha ruler Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. Gajendragad was lost by Mysore ruler Tipu Sultan to Marathas and Nizams in 1876. Also, Badami and Gajendragad as a part of the treaty of Gajendragad were surrendered to the Marathas.
Visit Gajendragad fort for its majestic entry of famous craftsmanship exhibiting a five-headed snake and 2 lions facing each other, the icon of Lord Hanuman, ruins of the fort, carvings of an elephant head, ancient inscriptions in Hindi and Marathi, and spots of worship.
Gajendragad is also a pilgrimage destination for its Kalakaleshwara sanctuary.Bellary Fort :
Located in the historic city of Bellary, the fort is on the highest point of the hill Bellary Gudda. Various stories are attached to the fort. Believed to have been worked by Palegar boss Hanumappa Nayaka however in 1769 Haider Ali captured the fort from Nayaks. Bellary Fort is a Vijayanagara period (14th century) fort located in the city of Bellary in central Karnataka. Just 300 km away from the state capital Bengaluru. After gaining the fort, Hyder Ali commissioned French specialists to fabricate a lower fort and remodel the Bellary Fort also known as an upper fort. The Bellary fort houses a temple, a fort, and wells while the lower fort has deep pits and a Hanuman temple.
Visit the fort around evening time to see the greatly enlightened fort.
Malkheda Fort :
Manyakheta, now Malkheda, was the capital city of the Rashtrakuta Dynasty which ruled the Deccan region during the 9 and 10 centuries. It was King Amogha Varsha 1 who moved the capital from Mayurkhani to Manyakheta. Malkheda Fort is located in Kalburgi District ( earlier Gulbarga) and is around 555 km from the state capital Bengaluru.
As per the legends, it was from 814 AD to 968 AD, Manyakheta acquired popularity when the capital of Rashtrakutas was moved from Mayurkhandi in Bidar to Manyakheta during the standard of Amoghavarsha. After the fall of Rashtrakutas, it stayed the capital of Kalyani Chalukyas till 1050 CE. Later it was controlled by many Cholas, Southern Kalachuris, Kakatiyas, Delhi Sultanate, Bahmani, Mughal Empire, and Nizam of Hyderabad until 1948.
In the same way as another different fort, this also had a Jain temple, a mosque called Kala Dargah, an old Hanuman temple, ruins of the palace, and narrow and curved staircases of stairs to arrive at the watchtowers. All of these are the main attractions of the fort and require around 2-3 hours to see and learn about it.Kavaledurga Fort :
One of the most-visited glory treasures of the Malenadu locale (Western Ghats) in Shivamogga district is Kavaledurga Fort. Built in the 9th Century and renovated in the 14th century by Cheluvarangappa, Nayakas had a fortification on Kavaledurga Fort under Vijayanagara rulers. After the fall of the Vijayanagara Kingdom, they became independent feudatories.
The impressive fort structure of Kavaledurga Fort has 3 rounds of rock wall fortifications and is a sight one must admire for the lovely scenes. Visit the fort to explore the ruins, temple, weapon storage houses, Nandi Mantapa, and a water lake on the top of the hill. Trek up to the top of the Kavaledurga post which offers astonishing views of Sahyadri hills.
Nagara Fort :
One more extremely prominent fort in the Malenadu area is Nagara Fort. Nagara village in the Shivamogga district is of historic importance and is famous for its fort ruled by Shivappa Nayak of Keladi Kingdom. Nagara Fort was worked by Veerabhadra Nayaka of the Keladi tradition in 1640 after Ikkeri, the first capital of Keladi was lost to the Sultans of Bijapur. Brave leaders of Keladi, for example, Shivappa Nayaka and Rani Keladi Chennama prevailed upon their territory against numerous strong enemies of the time. Later in the year 1763, the fort was under Haider Ali.
Visit Nagara Fort to appreciate and admire the rich history as remnants of the fort, guardrooms, wells, watchtower, and canons. The main entrance and the exterior walls of the Nagara Fort are generally intact and tell thousands of many stories.
Manjarabad Fort :
At a distance of 6 km from Sakleshpur Bus Stand, Manjarabad Fort is an ancient fort situated in the Hassan district of Karnataka. It is one of the historical forts in Karnataka and among the best places to visit as part of Sakleshpur.
Situated at a height of 3, 240 feet, Manjarabad Fort is a star-formed fort built in 1792 by Tipu Sultan, the then ruler of Mysore. It is one of the most mind-blowing legacy spots to visit in Sakleshpur. Built as a frontier to store ammo, Manjarabad Fort was utilized as protection for Tipu Sultan's military against the British. The fort, when constructed, was reviewed by Tipu Sultan who then found it enveloped in fog and subsequently named it Manjarabad fort. The name Manjara is the corrupted variant of 'Manju' which signifies 'mist or fog' in Kannada.Aihole Fort :
Aihole was the capital of the Chalukya empire in the 20th century. It was as far as anyone knows home to more than 125 Hindu temples. The Archeological Society of India keeps on excavating the site and today environmental factors even. Aihole is likewise popular for its engraving tracing back to 634 AD. There is a poem created by the Jain writer Ravikeerthi which acknowledges the accomplishments of Chalukya ruler Pulakesi II. In any case, the story behind the name 'Aihole' is even more fascinating.
The village of Aihole is often called ‘The Cradle of Indian Architecture’ since it once hosted an architectural school. All around Aihole, you can see Vedic, Buddhist, and Jain temples in various shapes and sizes dating as far back as the 6th century.
There is a fort in Devanahalli that was built by Mallabairegowda in 1501 A.D. Which was later taken over by Tipu Sultan in the 17th Century A.D. The present fort in Devanahalli was rebuilt by Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan during the 17th Century. The fort was then taken over by the British after Tipu lost the battle in the Mysore war.
The fort is spread over an area of 20 acres. This is a living fort where many families are living inside. There are many temples inside the fort area, such as Venugopalaswamy temple, Siddheswara Swamy temple, Raghavendra Swamy Mutt, Chandramouleshwara Temple, etc.