As I was researching on 'Baramahal' or the 'Twelve Forts' built around Krishnagiri during the reign of the Vijayanagara Kings, I stumbled upon the fort of 'Balagondarayanadurgam'/'Balakondarayadurga'. 'Balagondarayanadurgam' is located between the towns of Shoolagiri and Krishnagiri. On a Saturday morning, we decided to trek this hill and explore it. It is a fairly big hill with the Bala Kondarayaswamy Thirukkoil (temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu) at its top. We reached the hill base without any difficulty and found a series of well laid steps up to the hill top. There was a small hut at the base of the hill where we could see the fort remains. An elderly couple lived here and as we conversed, we realized they speak the language of Kannada and hence started inquiring about this place.
The elderly person started narrating the history of this place and told us an interesting legend which was as follows,"Once upon a time when this place was under attack by the Nizam, the local army was on the verge of defeat. It is believed that sensing this defeat, Lord Vishnu hid himself inside a cave here after transforming into a young boy. When the army of the Nizam came to plunder this temple, they found no murti inside and decided to leave the place without causing any damage or destruction. The Lord has stayed inside the cave ever since, thus the name Bala Kondaraya swamy". Later a murti of Lord Venkataramana was installed here. The ascent was pretty simple and straight forward. Meanwhile a group of people were already climbing the hill. One of them, who seemed very elderly was also carrying a big vessel full of prasadam to the temple at the top. It was a good opportunity for us to lend a helping hand and so we did by sharing the good deed of carrying the prasadam. There is also a small temple dedicated to Lord Anjaneya on the way to the top. There are many water ponds on the hill of which one is currently being used by the temple folks.
Finally as we made it to the top of the hill, we could see the remains of fortification here. In the temple, the curtain remained closed as it was time for the daily rituals of the Lord and hence we decided to finish our breakfast, the very yummilicious Bisi Bele Bath along with chips!! In no time we emptied all our packed food. Meanwhile, the Archakaru (temple priest) was ready for the puja. We took the blessings of the Lord and visited the near by cave where the Lord originally resided. The murti here was small yet very beautiful. There is another big water pond a little away from the temple and down
the hill by the side of which is a small shrine dedicated to Lord
Vinayaka. There are a few caves nearby this water pond wherein the guards probably took shelter. The descent was uneventful.
|Bala Kondarayaswamy Thirukkoil|
|Remains of Fort Wall|
|He Man (Carrying Such Heavy Vessel At this Age to the top)|
|Sharing is Caring|
Although not much of the history pertaining to this fort is known, the fort seems to have been built post 16th century by the then feudal king under the declining rule of the Vijayanagara kings. The fort is simple in construction and probably served as a military outpost, which today is in complete shambles.
The temple here is functional only on Saturdays and full moon days, so visits must be planned accordingly.
|Akka Thangi Honda (See the color difference)|
|Bala Kondaraya Swamy|