Showing posts with label Forts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Forts. Show all posts

Talavadi Fort, Ramanagar - A forgotten fort


Talavadi is a small nondescript village off Ramanagara – Magadi road. Though not much history about this place is documented, it has in store many untold stories. Last Sunday, we got a chance to trek Kootgal Betta we spotted this fort and decided to trek next week. We planned and reached Talavadi quite early in the morning to start our trek.  I was accompanied by my son Adhi and my friend Shashi Kiran. We had our breakfast in Ramanagara and reached the deviation off the Ramanagara – Magadi road. Hereon, we began our off road drive to reach the base of this hill.  We had to make a few enquiries with the locals about the directions to reach the hill base and the trek route thereon. An elderly person informed us that it would be difficult to climb this hill as the route had been engulfed by grass and other thorny vegetation, and gave us the directions vaguely. We thanked him and decided to move ahead towards the hill base. 
Challenging Climb Near Bengaluru
Talavadi Hill Fort
We had to park our vehicle at a point from where there was no motor-able road, and had to walk to until the start point of the trek. At the first look, the hill seemed small giving us a thought that it wouldn’t be much of a challenge to scale the hill. We started our search for the trek route and reached a small temple dedicated to Udbhava Anjaneya Swamy. The guardian Lord reminded us to search around for the presence of any fort or its ruins.  After taking the blessings of the Lord, we decided to move ahead and actually had to almost circumvent the hill in search of a proper route to climb. After walking for almost 15 minutes, we reached a big water pond. Just by the side of the pond, we sighted a path which seemed trek-able and hence decided to ascend from here. 
Water Pond and The Fort
Sri Udbhava Anjaneya Swamy
 The initial climb was quite easy and straight forward, and we reached a tier of the fort wall.  Here we met two boys from Bengaluru who were also there to explore the hill. As we struck a conversation with the boys, I realized that they too were in search of the right path to continue their climb. I volunteered to search the environs for any path that could be walk-able.  Meanwhile I requested the others to rest at a place in shade and went in search of the route. After exploring the surroundings for some time, I zeroed in on the most probable route that could be taken to reach the top. I called the others to join me, along with Shashi and Adhi. Shashi took charge from here leading the way. Seeing the route that was to be taken hereon, the two boys gave up the trek and left the place without informing us! The vegetation was dense with tall grass and thorny shrubs.
Wade Thru the Grass and Thorny Shrubs
The Rock Cut Steps
Kootgal Betta
We continued to crawl under the grass and thorny shrubs and finally reached a point from where we were almost sure about the path further. Shashi did a wonderful job in finding the path and we reached a spot which had big boulders on either side. We sighted much fortification on the left boulder and so decided to explore it. The boulder was very steep with rock cut steps to aid the climb and passing these 15 odd steps was one hell of an experience! We reached the top of the hill which housed a ruined mandapa kind of a structure along with a fresh water pond. The fresh water pond was filled with many beautiful white lilies.  We spent some time enjoying the sight of the water pond and its surroundings. 
Fresh Water Pond
Flying High
Mandapa and Nadadwaja
White Water Lilies
As per an inscription found near Ramanagara (EC Vol 9 Ch 16) dated 1351 CE, Talavadi was ruled by a local Palegara named Bomanna, who was a feudal king under the rule of Bukkanna Vodeyar of Vijayanagara Kingdom. Later Sri Kempe Gowda captured and strengthened this fort, which mostly served as a military outpost during his rule.  Though much of the fortification has been damaged, its remnants give a good picture of what a grand fort it was once. The formation rocks are such that they served as natural defense from the three sides and the fort was only accessible from one side. At a few places, we were able to spot horse shoe marks which are a common sight across forts built by the Kempe Gowda clan. 
Horse Shoe Marks
Cliff Hanging
The descent posed us a challenge where we had to cross the 15 steep steps and we had to literally cliff hang for some time.  The descent across the grass and thorny path too was a bit challenging as we had to overstep and pass through them. Once we were out of this, the descent was easy. As we continued our descent, we spotted something really interesting on the neighbouring hill and decided to check them out on reaching the hill base.
The Dare Devil
Full View of Talavadi Fort
Hunt Begins
 To be continued. ….
  
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ಡಂಬಳದ ಗುಡಿಗಳು

ಡಂಬಳ, ಗದಗ ಜಿಲ್ಲೆಯ ಮುಂಡರಗಿ ತಾಲೂಕಿನ ಒಂದು ಪುಟ್ಟ ಗ್ರಾಮ. ಇಲ್ಲಿನ ದೊಡ್ಡ ಬಸಪ್ಪ ಗುಡಿಯು ಕನ್ನಡ ನಾಡಿನ ಹೆಮ್ಮಯ ಪ್ರತೀಕವೆಂದರೆ ತಪ್ಪಲ್ಲ. ಕಲ್ಯಾಣದ ಚಾಲುಕ್ಯರು ನಿರ್ಮಿಸಿದ ಪ್ರಮುಖ ದೇವಾಲಯಗಲ್ಲಿ ಡಂಬಳದ ದೊಡ್ಡಬಸಪ್ಪನ ಗುಡಿಯೂ ಒಂದು. ಡಂಬಳದಲ್ಲಿ ಸುಮಾರು ಗುಡಿಗಳಿವೆ. ಅದರಲ್ಲಿ ಸೋಮೇಶ್ವರನ ಗುಡಿ, ಜಪದ ಬಾವಿ, ಕಲ್ಲೇಶ್ವರನ ಗುಡಿ ಪ್ರಮುಖವಾದುದು. ಡಂಬಳದ ಪ್ರಾಚೀನ ಕೋಟೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ಸುಮಾರು ಐತಿಹಾಸಿಕ ಕುರುಹುಗಳು ಸಿಗುತ್ತದೆ.  ಇಲ್ಲಿ ಒಂದು ಗಣೇಶನ ಗುಡಿಯು ಇದೆ. ಇಲ್ಲಿ ಜೈನರ ಬಸದಿ ಹಾಗೂ ಬೌದ್ಧ ವಿಹಾರಗಳು ಇದ್ದವು ಎಂಬುವುದಕ್ಕೂ ಬಹಳಷ್ಟು ಕುರುಹುಗಳು ದೊರೆಯುತ್ತದೆ. ಆದರೆ ಇವತ್ತಿಗೆ ಇವು ಸಂಪೂರ್ಣವಾಗಿ ನಶಿಸಿ ಹೋಗಿದೆ. ಇದು ಆ ಕಾಲಕ್ಕೆ ಒಂದು ಸರ್ವ ಧರ್ಮ ಕ್ಷೇತ್ರವಾಗಿತ್ತು. ಹಾಗು ಆಧುನಿಕ ಕಾಲದಲ್ಲೂ ಅನೇಕ ಧಾರ್ಮಿಕ ಕಾರ್ಯಗಳಿಗೆ ಪ್ರಸಿದ್ಧವಾಗಿದೆ. ಶಾಸನಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ಡಂಬಳವು ಧರ್ಮವೊಲ ಹಾಗೂ  ಧರ್ಮಾಪುರವೆಂದು ಕರೆಯಲ್ಪಟ್ಟಿದೆ.
ದೊಡ್ಡ ಬಸಪ್ಪನ ಗುಡಿ, ಡಂಬಳ
 ದೊಡ್ಡ ಬಸಪ್ಪನ ಗುಡಿಯು ತನ್ನ ಮೂಲ ಸೌಂದರ್ಯವನ್ನು ಉಳಿಸಿಕೊಂಡಿದೆ. ಅಡಿಯಿಂದ ಮುಡಿಯವರಿಗೆ ನಕ್ಷತ್ರಾಕಾರದ ವಿನ್ಯಾಸವನ್ನು ಹೊಂದಿರುವ ಈ ದೇವಾಲಯ ಭಾರತದ ವಾಸ್ತುಶಿಲ್ಪ ಅಧ್ಯಯನಕ್ಕೆ ವಿಶೇಷ ಉದಾಹರಣೆ. ಹೆನ್ರಿ ಕೋಸೆನ್ಸ್ರವರು ಈ ದೇವಾಲಯದ ನಿರ್ಮಾಣವು ಕಲ್ಯಾಣ ಚಾಲುಕ್ಯರ ವಾಸ್ತುಶಿಲ್ಪಕ್ಕೆ ಹಿಡಿದ ಕನ್ನಡಿ ಎಂದು ಅಭಿಪ್ರಾಯ ಪಟ್ಟಿದ್ದಾರೆ. ಈ ದೇವಾಲಯವು ಗರ್ಭಗೃಹ, ಅಂತರಾಳ, ನವರಂಗ, ಮುಖಮಂಟಪ ಹಾಗೂ ನಂದಿಮಂಟಪಗಳನ್ನು ಹೊಂದಿದೆ. ದೇವಾಲಯದ ಎಲ್ಲ ಭಾಗಗಳು ವಿಶಾಲವಾಗಿದ್ದು ಚಾಲುಕ್ಯರ ಶೈಲಿಯ ಅಚ್ಚು ಹೊಂದಿದೆ. ದೇವಾಲಯದ ಆವರಣದಲ್ಲಿ ಒಂದು ಚಿಕ್ಕ ಬಾವಿ ಇದೆ. ಇಲ್ಲಿನ ಒಂದು ಶಾಸನದ ಪ್ರಕಾರ ಈ ದೇವಾಲಯವನ್ನು ಸ್ವಯಂಭು ಈಶ್ವರನ ಗುಡಿಯೆಂದು ಕರೆಯುತಿದ್ದರು. ದೇವಾಲಯದ ನಂದಿಮಂಟಪದಲ್ಲಿ ಇರುವ ದೊಡ್ಡ ನಂದಿಯ ಮೂರ್ತಿಯಿಂದಾಗಿಯೇ ಈಗ ಈ ದೇವಾಲಯವನ್ನು ದೂಡ ಬಸಪ್ಪನ ಗುಡಿ ಎಂದು ಕರೆಯುತ್ತಾರೆ. ಈ ದೇವಾಲಯದ ಕಾಲ ಸುಮಾರು ೧೧ನೇಯ ಶತಮಾನ ಹಾಗು ಚಾಲುಕ್ಯ ರಾಜಾ ವಿಕ್ರಮಾದಿತ್ಯ VI ರ ರಾಣಿಯಾದ ಲಕ್ಷ್ಮೀದೇವಿಯ ಆಳ್ವಿಕ ಸಮಯದಲ್ಲಿ ಕಟ್ಟಲ್ಪಟ್ಟಿತ್ತು. 
ನಕ್ಷತ್ರಾಕಾರದ ಶಿಖರ
ದೊಡ್ಡ ಬಸ್ಸಪ್ಪ ಹಾಗೂ ಚಿಕ್ಕ ಬಸ್ಸಪ್ಪನ ಮೂರ್ತಿಗಳು
ಬಾಗಿಲವಾಡದ ಲಲಾಟದಲ್ಲಿ ಗಜಲಕ್ಷ್ಮೀ ದೇವಿಯ ಉಬ್ಬುಶಿಲ್ಪ
ಬಾಗಿಲವಾಡದ ಏಳು ಪಟ್ಟಿಕೆಗಳಲ್ಲಿ  ದ್ವಾರಪಾಲಕರ ಕೆತ್ತನೆಗಳು
ಸ್ವಯಂಭು ಈಶ್ವರನ ಲಿಂಗ
ನೃತ್ಯಭಂಗಿಯಲ್ಲಿರುವ ಭಕ್ತರ  ಉಬ್ಬುಶಿಲ್ಪ
ಚಿಕ್ಕ ಬಾವಿ
ದೊಡ್ಡ ಬಸಪ್ಪನಗುಡಿಯ ಹಿಂಭಾಗದಲ್ಲಿ ಸುಮಾರು ೧೦೦ ಮೀಟರ್ ದೂರದಲ್ಲಿ ಇನ್ನೊಂದು ಸುಂದರ ದೇವಾಲಯವಿದೆ. ಈ ದೇವಾಲಯವನ್ನು ಸೋಮೇಶ್ವರಗುಡಿ ಎಂದು ಕರೆಯುತ್ತಾರೆ. ಹಿಂದೆ ಈ ಗುಡಿಯನು ಮೈಲಬೇಶ್ವರನ ಗುಡಿ ಎಂದು ಶಾಸನದಲ್ಲಿ ಕರೆಯಲ್ಪಟ್ಟಿದೆ. ಈ ಗುಡಿಯನ್ನು ಚಾಲುಕ್ಯ ದೊರೆ ಸೋಮೇಶ್ವರ I ರವರ ರಾಣಿಯಾದ ಮೈಲಾದೇವಿಯ ನೆನಪಿಗೆ ಕಟ್ಟಿದ್ದರು ಹಾಗೂ ಮುಂದಿನ ದಿನಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ಸೋಮೇಶ್ವರನ ಗುಡಿ ಎಂದು ಬದಲಾಯಿತು. ಈ ಗುಡಿಯ ಗರ್ಭಗೃಹ ಚೌಕಾಕಾರದ ರೂಪದಲ್ಲಿದ್ದು ಅಂತರಾಳ, ತೆರೆದ ಸಭಾಮಂಟಪ ಹಾಗೂ ಮುಖಮಂಟಪವನ್ನು  ಹೊಂದಿದೆ. ಇವೆರಡು ಗುಡಿಗಳು ಊರಿನ ಹೊರಭಾಗದಲ್ಲಿದ್ದು ತಕ್ಕ ಮಟ್ಟಿಗೆ ಸುಸ್ಥಿತಿಯಲ್ಲಿದೆ. ಹಳೇಕೋಟೆಯ ಭಾಗದಲ್ಲಿ ಒಂದು ವಿಶಾಲವಾದ ಕೆರೆಯಿದೆ, ಈ ಕೆರೆಯನ್ನು ಶಾಸನದಲ್ಲಿ ಗೋಣಸಮುದ್ರ ಎಂದು ಕರೆದಿದ್ದಾರೆ. ಈ ಕೆರೆಯ ಏರಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಆ ಕಾಲದ ತೂಬನ್ನು ಈಗಲೂ ಕಾಣಬಹುದು. ಸುತ್ತಲೂ ಕಲ್ಲಿನ ಗೋಡೆಯ ಕೋಟೆಯ ಅವಶೇಷಗಳನ್ನೂ ಕಾಣಬಹುದು.
ಶ್ರೀ ಸೋಮೇಶ್ವರ ಗುಡಿ
ಗೋಣಸಮುದ್ರ ಕೆರೆ 
ಡಂಬಳದ ಕೋಟೆ
ಅಲ್ಲಿಂದ ಸ್ವಲ್ಪ ದೂರದಲ್ಲಿ ಮರುನಿರ್ಮಾಣವಾದ ಕಲ್ಲೇಶ್ವರನ ಗುಡಿ ಇದೆ, ದೇವಾಲಯದ ಉಳಿದ ಭಾಗಗಳನ್ನು ಉಪಯೋಗಿಸಿ ಪುನರ್ಪ್ರತಿಷ್ಟೆ ಮಾಡಲಾಗಿದೆ. ಈ ಗುಡಿ ಗರ್ಭಗೃಹ, ಅಂತರಾಳ ಹಾಗೂ ನವರಂಗವನ್ನು ಹೊಂದಿದೆ. ಈ ಗುಡಿಯ ಬಳಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಒಂದು ಸುಂದರವಾದ ಬಾವಿ ಇದೆ, ಈ ಬಾವಿಯನ್ನು ಜಪದ ಬಾವಿಯೆಂದು ಕರಿಯುತ್ತಾರೆ. ಸ್ವಲ್ಪ ವರ್ಷಗಳ ಹಿಂದೆ ಇದನ್ನು ಭೂಶೋಧನೆ ಮಾಡಿದರು. ಈ ಬಾವಿಯ ಸುತ್ತು ೧೫ ಚಿಕ್ಕ ಗುಡಿಗಳಲ್ಲಿ  ೧೨ನೇ ಶತಮಾನದಲ್ಲಿ ಋಷಿಗಳು ಕೂತು ಜಪ ಮಾಡುತ್ತಿದ್ದರು ಎಂಬ ಪ್ರತೀತಿಯಿದೆ. ಈ ಬಾವಿಯ ನೋಟವು ಅತೀ ಸುಂದರ ಹಾಗೂ ತುಂಬ ಪ್ರಶಾಂತವಾಗಿತ್ತು. ಒಟ್ಟಾರೆ ಡಂಬಳವು ನಮ್ಮ ನಾಡಿನ ಹಾಗೂ ಕಲ್ಯಾಣ ಚಾಲುಕ್ಯರ ಕಲಾಕೃತಿಗೆ ಒಂದು ಅದ್ಭುತ ಉದಾಹರಣೆಯಾಗಿ ನಿಲ್ಲುತ್ತದೆ.
ಶ್ರೀ ಕಲ್ಲೇಶ್ವರ ಗುಡಿ
ಜಪದ ಬಾವಿ
ಲೇಖನದ ಸಂಪಾದನೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ನಮಗೆ ಸಹಾಯ ಮಾಡಿದ ಶ್ರೀ ರಂಜಿತ್ ಅಡಿಗ ರವರಿಗೆ ಹೃತ್ಪೂರ್ವಕ ಧನ್ಯವಾದಗಳು. 

ಉಲೇಖನ ಪಟ್ಟಿ:
೧.  ಧಾರವಾಡ ಜಿಲ್ಲಾ ಗ್ಯಾಸೆಟಿಯರ್
೨.  ಕರ್ನಾಟಕ ದೇವಾಲಯ ಕೋಶ - ಗದಗ ಜಿಲ್ಲೆ

ಸಂಬಂಧಿತ ಲೇಖನಗಳು:
೧. ಶ್ರೀ  ಮುಕ್ತೇಶ್ವರಸ್ವಾಮಿ ದೇವಾಲಯ, ಚೌಡಯ್ಯದಾನಪುರ
೨. ಕರ್ನಾಟಕದ ದೇವಾಲಯಗಳು  
೩. ಕರ್ನಾಟಕದ ಕೋಟೆಗಳು

Anjaneri Fort Trek, Nashik, Maharasthra

'Anjaneri' is believed to be the birth place of Lord Hanuman, similar to the hill of Anjanadri near Anegundi. However, it is very difficult to ascertain the original birth place of the Lord among these two. Anjaneri is believed to be the birth place of Goddess Anjani Matha, the mother of  Lord Hanuman/Anjaneya.  There is an ancient temple at Anjaneri dedicated to the goddess. It is unique as it is believed that there is no other temple built for this goddess. We can ascertain that this place has some association with Lord Hanuman. However,  Lord Hanuman is believed to have spent most of his time at a place named Kishkinda/Kishkinde. Kishkinda of Ramayana has been identified as Anegundi and its surrounding areas in the state of Karnataka. Although there are a few other places claiming as the birth place of Lord Hanuman, Anjanadri Betta of Kishkinda is the closest in relation as per the Ramayana. Nashik too has a deep connection with Lord Rama. It is at this place Lord Rama's brother Lakshmana cut the nose of Shurpanakha (Ravana's sister) leading to the kidnapping of Sita Matha. It would be wonderful to trace the route taken by Lord Rama from Ayodhya to Sri Lanka during in his exile.
Anjaneri Hill from the Bus Stop
Good Morning
Anjaneri Landscape
 My initial plan was to trek the fort at Harihar which a much popular trekking destination and therefore booked a cab for the same through an app. However, the driver had cancelled the booking due to some reason for which no notification was sent to me. I woke up in morning only to find out that the cab booking was canceled and the next cab pick-up would easily take at least 45 mins. Thus I dropped the plan of trekking Harihar fort and instead decided to go to Trimbak, a popular pilgrimage center and one among the 12 Jyotirlingas. Meanwhile, I stumbled upon the fort of Anjaneri which is located en-route to Trimbak from Nashik and is a popular trekking destination. It is worthwhile to mention that the bus connectivity between Nashik and Trimbak is commendable and available throughout the day and night. I boarded the 5 am bus in the morning and after a journey of about 45 mins, I got down at the Anjaneri cross bus-stop from where the trek base was about good 2km. I had to cover this distance by foot since no vehicle was available in the early morning hours.
Sun Over Anjaneri
Anjaneri Lake
Contrasting Colors of Life
There are well laid roads up to the trek base. However, I took the shorter route by foot used by the locals  and reached the trek base. What lovely sight it was! On one side was a big lake with blue waters and other encompassed a mesmerizing sunrise. Finally after a good 30 min walk I reached the trek base where there were a few shops and none were open except one that was just getting opened. An elderly person who ran this shop told me to wait for 5 minutes while he prepared some hot tea for me. Here, there were few boards giving details about the ecological importance of Anjaneri apart from being protected as a vulture sanctuary. I filled up my water bottle while the hot tea was getting ready. Though I generally do not prefer drinking tea, the tea here was probably the best that I have ever had. Steps are laid from here till the plateau and in between at a few places, railings have installed for support. Many locals ascend the hill on a regular basis to offer prayers and  perform for daily pujas to Goddess Anjani Matha.
Jaina Cave Temple
Lord Parshvanatha Tirthankara
Goddess Anjani Matha Temple
Lake on the Anjaneri Hill
More Trek Options Near Nashik
Navara Navri Fort
 The first temple that I came across here was a small Jaina cave temple dedicated Lord Parshvanatha. There are 2 murtis of the Lord caved in 2 separate chambers of the cave. A short climb from here leads to a plateau region from where one has to walk for about 10 minutes to reach the temple dedicated to Anjani Matha. After offering prayers to the goddess, it was time for another cup of hot tea. A further ascent hereon leads us to the peak of Anjaneri hills. Though no fortification exist here today, once a grand fort was erected which was destroyed by the British. At the beginning of the next series of steps is a small water pond in contrast to the big lake seen below. There are a few cave temples here which I wanted to explore while descending. I continued my climb and reached the peak in about 20 minutes. The views from here were  breathtaking and no words can describe it enough. There is a small temple at the peak which is believed to be the birth place of Lord Hanuman.
Goddess Anjani Matha
Birth Place of Lord Hanuman
Hanuman Gupha
Tales of Two Lakes
CONTINUED HERE ...

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1. Harishchandragad trek Video
2.A road trip to Kolhapur and Satara from Bengaluru
3. Discovery of India - Amhednagar Fort

The Sacred Hollows of Thrayandurgam, Thenidurgam Fort, Krishnagiri

The hollows of the rock mysteriously secreted honey in order to replenish the lost energy of Lord Hanuman! Wow, what an interesting legend associated with this place. The story goes like this, 'while returning with the Sanjeevini hill, Lord Hanuman felt exhausted and decided to rest at the nearest place and thus reached Thrayandurgam. Here he found honey that was secreted in the curious hollows of one of the rocks and got refreshed after which he flew back to save Lakshmana, the brother of Lord Rama. ‘Tiyaranadurgam’/ ‘Thenidurgam’/ ‘Thrayandurgam’ is a small lesser known hill fort near Kelamangala.
The Sacred Hollows of Thrayandurgam
 One Sunday morning, we headed in search of Tiyaranadurgam as per our sources, but in the map of Google this place was marked as Thrayandurgam. However when we reached here, the sign board carried the name of Thenidurgam! It was quite interesting to see that the place had different names, out of which two were from government sources. We parked our vehicle at the base of the hill and started walking towards the hill. At the outset, this place seemed perfect for prehistoric settlement. The fortification was visible right from the start. As steps have been laid till the top, reaching the peak was comfortable and did not take much time. At the beginning of the trek, we met a shepherd and inquired about the presence of any cave paintings, for which the reply was negative. So we moved ahead but kept a check for rock art all through our climb.
Thenidurgam Hill Fort
In Search of Rock Art
Fort Gateway
 We reached the remains of the second gateway whereat the fortification is very similar to that of Balagondarayanadurgam and probably built during the rule of the Ankushagiri Palegars. Sadly not much history about this place is documented. Here we found a nice spot to sit and munch on a late breakfast. While the rest were enjoying the breakfast, I went ahead to explore the environs. The presence of a peculiar rock around attracted me, as also reminded me of the Ghante kallu” (bell rock) of Sanganakallu and so I decided to check it out. It was a bit tricky to reach here amidst thorny vegetation. And to my surprise it sounded like a bell when struck, pretty much similar to the action of the Ghante Kallu. The rock produced different notes of sound when struck at different places of the rock. Yes! Our ancestors were very much interested and had immense knowledge about music from time immemorial.
The Musical Rock " Ghante Kallu" 
Break the Fast
Small Cave Temple En-route
Gateway to The Final Tier

I descended further to investigate its surroundings for any evidence to support the above findings. The small cave found here did not find help us much. I returned to my trek partners and had my share of breakfast. We continued our trek and reached a small cave temple which housed small murtis of Lords Ganesha and Hanuman. There were a few stones placed behind them, probably representing the local village deities. Continuing from here, we reached the third gateway or the top most tier of the fort. There were remains of a few structures here amongst which a brick structure probably a mansion or a royal house was in a comparatively better shape than the others. Then, we reached the rock with mysterious hollows and sat underneath wondering about their origin. The hollows in various patterns and shapes were quite unique and intriguing. It was in these hollows that Lord Hanuman found the honey that was magically secreted by the rock itself.
Royal House
The Hollows that Secreted Honey
Inspecting the Hollows

So many wonderful hidden stories exist that if one tries to interconnect these, a beautiful narration can be carved out as almost every place in India has its association with Lord Rama or the Pandavas. Under this rock was a shelter that was built probably during the time of fortification and was in use until recently. We found pug marks of two animals probably that of a mother and its child. However later, a shepherd confirmed that it was that of a bear and its cub which were captured by the Forest Department on request by the villagers a few weeks back. From here there was another small cave shelter of the same period probably used by royal priest back then and now abandoned. We then reached the main temple of Lord Hanuman; where the lord is beautifully carved on a rock. There is a beautiful water pond besides the temple from where water is used to perform abhishekam for the Lord. The water pond is home to many colorful fishes of different sizes and kept us engaged for a long time. While the kids and Sunil were busy spotting the fishes and tracking its path, we went around exploring the other remnants of the fort. Overall it turned out to be a wonderful outing apart from being a short and interesting fort-trek accompanied by a lot of mystery.
The Cave
Pug Marks
Lord Hanuman
Colorful Fishes
Spotting the Fishes
Bird's Eye View of Thenidurgam
Fort Walls

 References:
1.  Madras State Gazetteer - Salem     

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