Friday, January 18, 2019

Ratnagiri Fort - Hosur, Krishnagiri

Ratnagiri Hill Fort
The 12 forts built in and around Krishnagiri by the Vijayanagar Kings to protect their territory were collectively called as the 'Baramahal'. After successfully capturing the 'Navadurgas', we are now on a mission of capturing the Baramahal. The Baramahal comprises of the forts at Krishnagiri, Rayakottai, Balagondarayanadurga, Ratnagiri, Tattakaldurgam, Jagadevidurgam, Maharajakadaidurgam, Virabhadradurgam, Anchettydurgam, Gaganagiri (Periyamalai), Mallikarjunadurgam and Shoolagiri. On the 1st  of January this year, we explored the fort at Ratnagiri which is the situated closest to Bangalore and is comparatively a smaller hill to climb.
'Ratnagiri' is one of the lesser known forts around Krishnagiri. There is hardly any information available related to this place apart from a few photographs courtesy of Google maps. We decided to explore this place on the New Year's day and make it more memorable. Reaching this place was quite easy, thanks to Google maps! Additionally, the locals were kind enough to direct us towards the fort. There is an ancient temple dedicated to Lord Rama at the base of this hill, built during 15th century by the Vijayanagar kings. It was unusual to see the large number of people at the temple here. We offered prayers at the temple and went ahead to explore the fort.
Entering the Fort
Second Gateway
Pathway under the Rocks
We were pleased to see that much of the fortification remained intact and were excited to explore it further. We entered the first gateway and walked towards second one. This gateway exhibits Vijayanagara architecture with ruins of a few structures besides it. A little further, we came across another gateway and as we entered though it, we found a series of beautiful rock-cut steps leading us to the top. We were informed to climb bare-footed as the placed is considered sacred and we obliged  by removing our foot-wear. We personally always feel it's also a lot easier to climb bare-footed! We reached the next gateway which is complete and the best among the surviving gateways. Close to this gateway is a huge water pond devoid of any water in it. At a short  distance from here is a ruined temple probably dedicated to Lord Ganesha. Descending down hereon, we reach a beautiful place comprising of two rocks carrying carvings of  Lord Anjaneya, Lord Perumal Swamy and Lord Krishna. This place is much revered by the locals who frequently visit them. Behind these rocks is yet another water pond. 
Rock Cut Steps
Fourth Gateway
One of the many Water Tanks
Lord Anjaneya Swamy
Wild Flower
Grinding Stone and some Rock Etching
We reached the upper most tier and as soon as entering, we witnessed the ruins of buildings which probably could be that of a palace or a housing complex. We spent a good time exploring these structures. We also found a nice shaded area to sit and munch on the snacks we had carried, taking care not to litter anywhere. After some rest, we started our descent and reached our vehicle in a while. We were glad to have spent our first day of 2019 in a grand way, exploring one of the lesser known forts built by our great ancestors.  
Top Most Gateway
Ratnagiri fort and Palace.
Ruins of a Palace
Ruined Temple
Lord Anjaneya Swamy inside Lord  Ramaswamy Temple, Ratnagiri
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