After returning to the place from where there was deviation to two routes, we all rested for some time. Meanwhile, we decided to call off the trek. However, I wanted to continue and check on the other forest route, so we could complete the trek next time. While my other partners rested, I followed the forest route and was confused more as every now and then, other routes popped up! I took an initiative to check every route in order to ascertain the right one and reached a point from where the fort was visible and route was clear! I was sure of completing this trek on our next visit. I decided to go back as I was pretty sure about this being the right route. Somehow, while coming descending I missed a turn and went ahead finally getting down on the opposite side of the place where my partners were resting. I immediately made a call to my wife and informed them to start their descent and reach the starting point of trek. In the meantime, I walked towards our vehicle. As it was quite long since I made the call and there were no signs of them, I decided to wait for them at the start point of the trek. Time was ticking but they had not yet reached. I got a call from my wife saying there had missed the route and will take some time to reach as they were exploring around for the correct route. As I waited, they finally managed to reach the starting point. Oh yes! It was one hell of an experience and one after a long time of this sort! In a few Weeks times, we had organized a trek cum drive from RTC to Thattakaldurgam. This time we were 8 adults plus 2 kids and were bent upon completing the trek to this hill-fort successfully! We knew beforehand that the trek was definitely going to be of a difficult level and the forest route was surrounded with thorny vegetation. However, we ensured to keep track of the right route this time.We halted for breakfast at our regular hotel in Krishnagiri and also packed some for later as we knew the trek was going to be long. We started the trek around 8am in the morning. The weather then was perfect to climb, although it turned hot as noon approached.
|Introduction and Discussion about the Previous Trek to this Fort|
After a brief introduction and discussion on the session, we started our trek and reached the point from where we had missed our route during our last visit. Here on, we proceeded in the forest route. As we moved forward, the hill of Periyamalai was visible and looked great. The route to the top is clearly marked from mid-way of the trek. I still wonder why someone would mark the route from mid-way onwards rather than from the start point of the trek. However, our heartfelt thanks go to the person who marked along the route. The trail is tricky as there are numerous routes in between that intersect with the main trail. Hence, keeping order of the track is very important. We took regular breaks for drinking water and keeping ourselves from dehydration. Finally after trekking for almost an hour and a half, we reached the first gateway of Thattakaldurgam!
|First Look of The Fort|
|Break Time Discussion|
|In the Jungle|
|The Young Trekker|
This part of the climb was quite tricky and a bit slippery. Here it was! We were entering the impregnable Fort of Thattakaldurgam, which stands tall as a perfect example of Vanagiridurgam (forest hill fort). The feeling was just wow! It is a wonderful fort and worth the climb! It was really good to witness that much of the fortification up here was intact, which would surely give us an idea about the fort architecture that prevailed here. Although not much about the history of this fort is documented and it is very difficult to ascertain who built the fort, the architectural features of this fort can be easily assigned to 15th-16th century and in all probability, built by the Vijayanagara Kings or their feudatories.
|Probably the Main Gateway|
|The Fortress of Thattakal|
|The First Gateway|
|The Top most Gateway|
As we entered the gateway, we found another gateway on the left, pretty much built in Vijayanagara style. A little further is a big and beautiful carving of Lord Kote Anjaneya Swamy on the fort wall, carved on the lines of the Fort styles of the Baramahal. Here on, many remnants of various buildings and palaces are scattered across the terrain. There is also a small temple dedicated to Lord Rama. We found a good spot under shade to rest and munch on the food we had carried, after which we spent some time exploring the ruins of the palaces around. Our descent was quite easy without any issue. Thus another day and another adventure accomplished! However, this trek was definitely a difficult one and one that will always remain closer to our hearts!
|Lord Shri Rama with Sita, Laskhmana and Hanuman|
|Brick Temple Dedicated to Lord Rama|
|Kote Veeranjaneya Swamy|
|Remains of the Mahal/ Palace|
|Water Storage Structure|
|At the Peak|
|The Impregnable Fort of Thattakal|
1. Rayakottai fort
2. Ratnagiri fort
3. Periyamalai Fort