Chitradurga Fort or as the British called it Chitaldoorg, is a fortification that straddles several hills overlooking a flat valley in the Chitradurga District. Believed as impregnable with seven lines of concentric ramparts, Chitradurga is a unique picturesque hill fort. True to its name, this fort offers stunning views and a calm, tranquil environment.
I discovered this fort one one of my multiple drives to Bangalore. The first time I was bench-pressed with time and with limited knowledge and understanding of the fort and its history I landed up just wondering around it. With a sense of achievement I hit the road again. Few days in time, I discovered what I had missed exploring and realized this place was definitely worth a revisit.
Chitradurga is about 3.5 hours away from Bangalore. I planned an early morning drive with an entire day in my hand to explore the beautiful history hidden in the fort of Chitradurga.
The fort was built in stages between the 11th and 13th centuries through the hands of several rulers. The Nayakas of Chitradurga, were mostly responsible for the expansion of the fort between the 15th and 18th centuries. The fort was then taken over for a short while by Hyder Ali in 1779, which was later captured by the British 20 years later by defeated Tipu Sultan, the son or Hyder Ali
History of Chitradurga Fort
The Chitradurga Fort is decorated with several inscriptions of the Chalukyas, the Hoysalas, and the Vijayanagara Kings. These inscriptions are found in and around the fort everywhere.
The Vijayanagar Empire had taken this region from the Hoysalas in the 15th a century. Their dynastic reign ended in 1565. After which the Nayakas of Chitradurga decided to rule this region independently and undisturbed for over 200 years until the last of their rulers, Madakari Nayaka V, was defeated by Hyder Ali of the Kingdom of Mysore in 1779. In 1779 the fort went to the Kingdom of Mysore. In 1799, the famous Tipu Sultan was killed by the British in the Fourth Mysore War. The Mysore Kingdom was then reordered under the Wodeyars. Chitradurga became a part of the Mysore province.
Chitradurga Fort is known as a stone fort due to its ramparts being made of heavy blocks of granite. It has several concentric walls, multiple entrances, four unseen passages, and thirty-five secret paths. In addition to all these features, the fort has over 2000 watchtowers.
Onake Obavva, was a brave woman who fought the forces of Hyder Ali single-handedly with just a pestle to stop Hyder Ali from overpowering the fort. Her husband was a guard of a watchtower.
A chance sighting of a man entering the Chitradurga fort through a hole led to a plan to enter the fort through that hole in the rocks. A guard, who was on duty there had gone home for lunch. While at his meal break, his wife, Obavva, stepped out to collect drinking water from a pond near the hole in the rock where she noticed the enemy army trying to enter the fort through the gap in the rocks.
Determined to protect the fort and knowing help was only half way down the hill, she decided to attack the enemy single handedly. Using an Onake or a pestle (a wooden long club meant for pounding paddy grains) she started hitting the enemy soldiers on the head as they entered the fort. The impact of the blow was said to be so bad that few of the soldiers died on spot. She then quietly moved the dead bodies without raising a suspicions to the rest of the troop. Mudda Hanuma, Obavva’s husband, returned from lunch, only to be shocked to see Obavva standing with a blood stained Onake and several of the enemy dead bodies around her.
Later, the same day, she was found dead either due to shock or having been killed by the enemy soldiers. Though her brave attempt saved the fort this time, the fort could not resist the attack by Hyder later in 1779, when the fort of Chitradurga lost to the Mysore Kingdom.
Best Time to Visit
This well preserved fort of Chitradurga is open across the year from 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM (typically sunrise to sunset). They do not allow any drones or tripods (however small).
The entry ticket that can be bought from a touch free counter by scanning a barcode is only 20 INR for Indian National and 250 INR for Foreign Visitors
How To Reach
- Accessible from Hampi which is at a distance of 120km
- Bangalore is 200 km away and the nearest airport is the Bangalore airport – Kempegowda International Airport
- The nearest station is Chitradurga Railway Station which is also connected to the mainline at Chikkajajur Bangalore/Mysore-Arasikere broad gauge railway line
- If you are travelling by bus, get down at Chitradurga MG Circle Bus Stand which is the nearest bus station and find a local transport to the Fort
Chitradurga Fort Map
It takes at least 4 hours to cover the whole fort and visit every monument within. I recommend wearing good walking shoes, carrying lots of water and few to munch on. Carrying all this along with your photo gear can make the walk extremely tiring and exhausting. I suggest walking light and carrying a backpack instead of sling bags or purses
For those brave of heart and adventurous in sprit, should try scaling up a sheer rock to reach the highest rampart otherwise inaccessible by a trail path
I made an attempt to climb the rock; only to be half as successful as many of the other kids and oldies were. One way it was good that I could not climb to the top. Of course the only way down was from the other side if this hill lock and I, being the smartness, had asked a passer by to record my video going upwards 😀
The elegance of this fort will entice one to keep exploring more. The deep valley, the hills surrounding the fort, the scenic beauty, rich history, and mysterious folklore are a few of the reasons why this place has managed to attract people across the world.