Chitradurga Fort, an architectural delight

Forts and palaces have some mystique kind of silence about them. The aura in a fort appears to be hiding many untold stories and Chitradurga Fort in the North district of Chitradurga in Karnataka is no exception. The fort shows evidences of many blood-shed wars, stories of warriors and place of worships depicting the culture of the kingdom. The fort certainly incorporates a long historical importance but it’s the architecture and its reference in Mahabharata that I found much astonishing.

Chitradurga Fort, an architectural delight
Located at a distance of about 180 kilometers from Bangalore, Chitradurga Fort incorporates histories from the epics of Pandavas to the epoch of Tipu Sultan. It was built in 1568 by the Nayakas, feudatory chieftains under Vijayanagara Empire. It rests on a hill top looking over the plains of Chitradurga district. Seven walls barricade the fort – a typical feature with the forts designed in medieval India to defend from enemies. The fort has 19 main entrance gates, 35 smaller entrances and 35 secret bays. This fortification is believed to have made Chitradurga Fort unconquerable. The fort was used for defense by the Nayakas until Haider Ali defeated them in 1799 AD. However, the fort remains as a memorable monument of Nayakas and is now declared to be of national importance.

Marks of bullets and embrasures in the walls of the fort are suggestive enough that the fort boasted a defensive structure. The bullet marks are a proof of about 30,000 soldiers who prepared themselves for war inside the fort and the slits in the walls were used for firing guns and shooting arrows on the opponent. Moreover, separate entrances for elephants, strongly built lock systems, enquiry posts at entrances and watch towers all around to guard enemies’ movements further strengthened the security systems at the fort. All these constructions at Chitradurga Fort are an epitome of engineering of that era and the architecture is one of its kinds.

The fort has some natural rock art. Elephants, frogs, ships and more find shape among the rocks, making it a picturesque hill fort. There are temples, granaries, water tanks, oil pits, watching towers that are all made of stones. The stones used in fort’s construction are mostly long pieces which itself makes it a noted, massive structure of stone. The rocky surrounding with boulders scattered unanimously makes Chitradurga Fort a picturesque hill fort.

The fort is also a hub of fourteen temples of which the Hidimbeshwara Temple is considered to be the oldest one. The temple dates Chitradurga district to the period of Mahabharata, as Bhima (one of the Pandavas) is said to have tied knot with giant Hidimbasura at this temple only. Among others ancient temples is Ekanatheshwari Temple which is worth visiting.

Chitradurga Fort takes you on a historical tour of the empires of Karnataka. Its reference in ancient epics thousands of years back is remarkable and makes you wonder what we sometimes consider as mythology did actually happen? If not for the sake of history, the fort’s presence amidst randomly spread boulders on a hill top is a reason enough for a visit. It takes 4-5 hours to explore every possible corner of the fort. It’s a climb on the hill through rocky ways that makes the fort tour adventurous as well. Though rainy season is considered to be the best time to visit as the rocks look beautiful with greeneries on the hill, the stones get slippery and you have to be very careful with your footwear.

I found the watch towers built all over the fort on hill tops very impressive and one may climb uphill to see the towers from close by. All these towers built of big blocks of stones are strong enough to stand tall even to this date. Although now there are no guards on these watch towers, presence of wind mills on hills around the fort seems to be the guards that keep an eye on the visitors at fort. Technological developments and modern amenities have surely taken place around the fort but it is good to find that Chitradurga hills are being used to harness natural resource of wind energy without harming the fort, keeping its ancient stature safe and sound.

The fort is open from 6 AM to 6 PM; Light show on Saturday and Sunday happens from 7 PM to 8.30 PM

Chitradurga Fort is probably the only hill fort of Karnataka. To reach there, take the National Highway 4 (NH 4) from Tumkur and move towards Davanagere. Once you reach the outskirts of Bangalore, It won’t take more than 2 hours to cover 180 kilometers; courtesy the well constructed NH 4. Sign boards will guide your way to Chitradurga district. Once at Chitradurga, asking from the locals only will help reach the fort as there are no sign boards in the city.


I think this is the most illustrative blog on the history of majestic fort... loved it...

I am quite late in responding to this, but thanks Rahul for your appreciation.

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