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Nagamalai Fort- A Lesser Known Fort Near Krishnagiri, A Good Weekend Trek From Bengaluru

The Mighty Hill - Nagamalai 

Our search for the twelve forts constituting the “Baramahal” or “the twelve Palaces” this time lead us to Nagamangalam, situated in Krishnagiri. We had spotted a hill fort from Jagadevi fort during our visit to that place but we were unable to explore this fort.  Finally, this year, on a fine Sunday morning we decided to explore this hill. After having a good breakfast at one of the hotels in Krishnagiri and packing enough food to survive during the trek, we headed towards Nagamangalam. Reaching this fort was easy as were aware of the location. Confirming the route again to the hill base with the locals to ensure we were on the right track, we reached the base of the hill fort. The locals helped us find the start point of the trek.

Nagamalai Fort 
Not much of the history of this forts seems to be documented in the English literature. The only reference we were able to find was the “Madras District Gazetteer - Salem”.  It is mentioned in this that Nagamangalam was one among the twelve palaces constituting “the Baramahal”. This information was sufficient for us to explore the fort. The fort seems to have been built during the rule of Channarayapatna Palegar, Sri Jagadevaraya who also built the fort at Jagadevi. Although the fort of Nagamangalam has more resemblance to Thattakaldurgam in terms of its location and architecture, the absence of any temple here signifies that it was built during Sri Jagadevaraya's rule, similar to the Fort of Jagadevi.

The trek initially is through the forest path after which we had to cross a small hillock to reach the base of the main hill. Hereon, the trek turned more adventurous. We had to climb a 70-degree inclined slope and without any proper route nor support while ascending, it was quite a challenge to overcome this stretch until we reached the ramparts of the fort. Here we were welcomed by a small door, probably used for emergency escape during any contingencies. Moving further along the walking path lead us to a point which deviated into two routes, one leading downwards and another leading upwards. We decided to take the downward route first to explore the main portions of the fort.

The Young Trekker

The Wild Trek Route
A nicely laid staircase led us downwards to the main entrance of the fort. Half-way down the staircase, we spotted the living area of the fortress on the other side. However, we wanted to explore the gateway area first and come back to exploring this later. The gateway here is very beautiful with Lord Ganesha sculpted on its lintel. Lord Ganesha seems to be the istha devata of Sri Jagadevaraya, which is quite evident across the forts built during his period. This fort gateway is associated with a building probably one that served as a guard’s room for the soldiers to rest. The top portion of the gateway made of brick and mortar seems like a later addition. After exploring the gateway, we walked along the ramparts to reach the living area of the fort.
The Slope

Enter The Dragon Moment 

The Well Laid Steps

The Gateway 

We headed straight towards the structure that looked like the base of a Mahal/ royal palace/ residence of army chieftain. This beautiful structure is made of locally sourced stones. Besides this structure is a huge granary. Further ahead are 2 structures resembling an armoury, a place to store gun powder and other ammunitions. There is a big rain water harvesting pond which probably was the main source of drinking water. The water here was clean and clear except for the fallen leaves. There is a big bastion overlooking this living place, which served as the vantage point to keep an eye on the enemies. This single tiered hill fort probably served more like a military outpost to Jagadevi fort. The Bastion gave clear view of Jagadevi fort; any attack over there seemed to have alerted the army here. We now halted for some rest and food under a shade.

The Remains of Palace

The Structures inside the Fortress

The Major Water Source
We emptied our packed food in no time since we were dead hungry. After resting for a while, we headed towards exploring the upper part of the fort and started to back track. We came across a beautiful carving of Lord Anjaneya on a stone. As we get down from here, there are remains of the foundation of a structure resembling a mantapa, the foundation or the base platform was seen having some carvings of animals. Now, it was time for us to start our descent.  While descending the 70-degree slope, we were very cautious and carefully got down the slope. Rest of the descent was uneventful.

The View From Big Bastion

Remains of Structure Probably Residence

The Other View of the Residence

Inside the Armoury 

The Ruins of Armoury

The Bastion 

The Mantapa

Kote Anjaneya Swamy
One of the interesting aspects of this place was finding a dolmen on the inclined slope. Although we did not sight or find any rock art or cave paintings apart from the dolmen, this place seemed perfect for prehistoric settlement owing to the presence of numerous caves and rock shelters. The Fort is well preserved naturally due to its location and not many people venturing here. The overall route is easy except for the slopy stretch, but is quite lengthy being about 8 km (to and fro).
Fort Gateway & The Trekker 
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3 comments:

  1. Looks amazing. Great pics.
    Stay well.

    ReplyDelete
  2. can we do a repeat of this trek, please? looks like an interesting place and a challenging climnb.

    ReplyDelete