Showing posts with label Marathas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Marathas. Show all posts

Maharajakadai - The Mighty Hill Fort Near Krishnagiri

Our hunt for the 12 forts of Baramahal led us to 'Maharajakadai', situated about 10 km from Krishnagiri towards the border of Andhra Pradesh. This place was ruled by the Vijayanagara Kings until their downfall and later fell into the hands of Jagadevaraya, one of the strongest Palegars who had his capital in Channapatna of Ramanagara district. Later this place came under the rule of the Nawabs of Cuddapah, then was ruled by Shivaji, after which it was captured by Hyder Ali and brought under the state of Mysore. Finally after the death of Tippu, the British occupied the entire region. As per the Chola inscriptions found here, Maharajakadai was called as "Arsar Nilai" meaning the "King's Market". It was only during the rule of Shivaji Maharaja that this place was named as Maharajakadai.
Pre-historic Painting
Though some information about this hill-fort was available, we were unsure of it's size. The Sri Anjaneyar Temple on the hill is quite popular among the locals, attracting many  visitors on  the day of Amavase (no moon day). The visitors on the other days are mostly local grazers who come here with their cattle for grazing purposes. Our regular visits to Krishnagiri and its environs this year only made it easier for us to reach the village. It was only after reaching here that we realised this hill is massive and weren't prepared for this long a trek! Our friend Sunil had accompanied us for this trek and as suggested by him that we carry breakfast, so we did. We actually had to wait for the breakfast to be ready as it was an early hour of the day, but in no case would we go ahead without it! We waited patiently for the food to be ready and finally got the parcel. Thanks to Sunil, we surely would have starved otherwise owing to the length of trek!
The Beginning of the Trek
Lord Anjaneya
The hill on which this fort is situated is called "Angana Malai". At the base of this hill is a temple dedicated to Lord Muneshwara Swamy and upon inquiring with the priest about the directions to the fort, he straightly replied in the negative saying the trek is not possible by us as it was a forested area and to top it, we were seen with two young kids! Little did they know that we weren't new to such an adventure and would take the risk to reach the peak! Their behavior was justified as they wanted us to be safe. As we got ready to start the trek with not much information regarding its route, one elderly man who takes charge of the parking here helped us with the start point of the trek and also volunteered to guide us to the start point on request. He told us to follow the directions marked thereon. One hard rule we follow religiously while trekking is to find and follow the existing trail and not create any new routes until its really necessary! Thus began our trek to the mighty fort of Maharajakadai.
Maharajakadai Fort Wall
The Climb
The site of Maharajakadai is declared under the Tamil Nadu State Archaeology Department as a prehistoric site. Many prehistoric artefacts have been found here. During our trek, we were also able to spot a prehistoric rock-painting, thus confirming this to be a prehistoric site. We surely wish to revisit this place to explore further on these lines and find out other prehistoric evidences. Further into our trek, we found a cave that seemed perfect for finding more paintings but after exploring the cave, we found nothing. We moved ahead only to be welcomed by the first tier of the fort. From here, we spotted railings high atop the hill which made our trek more interesting. A little further we were greeted by a small murti of  Lord Anjaneya and after taking his blessings we continued our trek.
Colorful Climb
The trek turns difficult hereon and one needs to ensure the directions are carefully followed. We reached the second tier of the fort and much of the fortification here was pretty much intact. We were able to see the peak of this hill from here. It was a 'so near, yet so far' kind of a situation! In no time we reached the next tier and then we were on the top of this hill, close to reaching the Lord Rama temple situated at its summit. As we observed the surroundings from here, we realised there is more to explore and moved towards the area carrying the fort ruins. One of it was the Mahal as the locals call or the palace, where we also decided to take some rest and have the breakfast we carried. Two significant features of hill forts are the presence of water harvesting structures and granaries, required to help them overcome adversities and wartime.
Lord Rama and His Abode
Lords Rama, Lakshmana, Goddess Sita and Lord Anjaneya
Ruined Building
Fortification
Mahal and Granaries
Our next task was to find the huge carving of Lord Anjaneya as per the details shared by the person who guided us with the route. It was supposedly situated close to the Lord Rama temple. We thus back tracked to finally find the ruined gateway of the fort and as per the usual practice, Lord Anjaneya swamy was carved in the premises of the gateway as the mighty guardian and protector of the fort. We offered our prayers to him and looked around for the presence of other ruins. It was now time for our descent as we had a long way to reach the base. It took us a good one and a half hours to descend, thus ending another day of fort quest!
Fort Gateway
Nature Finds its Own Way When Left Alone
Lord Anjaneya Swamy

References:
1."Hill Forts of Tamil Nadu"- A book written by Vittal Rao
2. East Indian Gazetteer

Related Posts:
1. Krishnagiri Fort
2. Periyamalai/Gaganagiri Fort
3. 125 Forts in Karnataka 

A Short Trek to Krishnagiri Fort, Tamil Nadu

Krishnagiri Town
A Bird's Eye View of Krishnagiri Town

Krishnagiri is one of the large towns of Tamil Nadu and is the district head quarters. It is located on the Bangalore - Chennai Highway. Having traveled this highway many times, we have always eyed on exploring the Krishnagiri fort, which is clearly visible from the highway. 'Krishnagiri' gets its name from a hill here, on which the Vijayanagara king Krishnadevaraya built the fort. This fort may have been a military outpost kind of fort, which was built to house a section of army to protect their kingdom. None of the structures built here by the Vijayanagara kings survive today apart from its  fort walls. However, a few British structures and a Darga built during the rule of Hyder Ali is still seen today.
Krishnagiri Fort
The Fort Walls of Krishnagiri
British Colony of Krishnagiri Fort
19th Century British Colony
Krishnagiri fort was built during the early 16th century by king Krishnadevaraya which served as a head quarter of the Bara Mahal (12 Palaces). It is believed that  the Vijayanagara kings built/captured about 12 around Krishnagiri and Krishnagiri was made as the head quarters. The fort here is a simple fort by any standards, with the natural profile of the hills ensuring maximum defense. Post the downfall of the Vijayanagara kings, the Bara Mahal came under the Bijapur Sultanates during 17th century after which it was captured by Maharaja Shivaji during his Deccan expedition. Later, the fort was captured by Hyder Ali under the Wodeyar Kings and remained with them until the death of Tippu Sultan. Finally, the British brought it under their control.
Hills of Tamil Nadu
K R P Dam, Krishnagiri
K R P Dam Surrounded by Hills
Climbing Together
Krishnagiri Town
Steps and Krishnagiri Town
Last Sunday morning, we started early and reached the base of Krishnagiri hill. Thanks to the rains due to which the entire area looked green and was full of life! There were many small waterfalls en route to the fort. The steps laid here ensured a moderately easy climb during such season. The trek was quite simple, except for two short stretches which were a bit tricky, owing to slipperiness of the rocks. Atop the hill, we were greeted by a ruined gateway from where there are two diversions, the  route on the left leads to a Darga and the other leads us straight to the other remains of the fort. While we were resting at this point and observing around, we sighted a prehistoric cave settlement. Wow! We explored this small cave settlement and found a few white colored paintings which were quite intriguing and similar to the ones we found at Mallachandram. Hereon we reached the summit of the fort. The terrain was perfect and I spent some time learning to handle the flight of our drone better. Being breezy, it was quite challenging to keep the drone stable during flight although I tried my best. My effort in the form of a short video is posted at the end of this post. Our descent was quick and we reached the place were our vehicle was parked, thus ending another enticing quest.
Slippery Path
Rock Cut Steps, Krishnagiri Fort
Rock Cut Steps
Krishnagiri Fort
The Young Trekker Leading The Path
White Prehistoric Cave Paintings of Humans and Birds
White Prehistoric Cave Paintings of Human and Birds
Pre-historic Cave Paintings, Krishnagiri

 

Places to Visit around Krishnagiri: Mallachandram, KRP Dam, Rayakottai, Theni, Shoolagiri and many such. 
How to reach Krishnagiri: Krishnagiri is well connected and located on the Bangalore - Chennai national highway. It is about 85 km from Bangalore and 280 km from Chennai.

References: 
1. Wikipedia  

Related Posts:
1.  Drive to the Cape 
2.  The Rat Tail Waterfalls  
3.  Kolli Hills 

"Wishing All a Very Happy and Safe Deepavali"

MP Diaries - Asirgarh, Gateway to Deccan

Asirgarh, a hill fort in Burhanpur of East Nimar district, Madhya Pradesh is located in the Satpura range, 259 meters high from the base and 696 meters above sea level. Asirgarh was an invincible fort of the medieval times covering an area of 60 acres at the summit of the hill. The fort was regarded as the gateway to the Deccan and the emperor who had the authority over the region not only had access to the Deccan region but also had a control over land and water routes and could regulate the inland and foreign trade that resulted in a prosperous economy. The west side of the hill is well defended by three lines of defenses namely, the lower most Malaigarh, middle most Kamargarh and the top most Asirgarh. Over time, the fort was ruled by many dynasties and the fortification was strengthened. The fort comprising of strong walls and bastions had mainly seven gateways.
Asirgarh Fort , Burhanpur
Asirgarh Fort 
Asirgarh fort finds a mention in the epic Mahabharata as Ashwatthamagiri. Firishta (Persian historian) derived the name of Asirgarh from Asa Ahir, to whom he attributes the foundation of the fort; but this is speculative as the name Asir is repeatedly mentioned by the Rajput poet Chand. It may have come from the Asi or Haihaya kings who ruled the Narmada valley from Maheshwar. The literary sources proclaim that from 9th to 12th century, the fort was under the dominion of Tak and Chauhan Rajputs. In 1295, the fort was a stronghold of the Chauhan Rajputs and was captured by the Sultan of Delhi, Alauddin Khilji after retreating back from his Deccan campaign. Later in 15th century, the fort was held by the Faruqi kings of Khandesh and taken by the Mughal emperor Akbar in 1600 who opened the gateway to the southern India. After the decline of the mughals, the fort was controlled by Nizam, Peshwa, Scindia and Holkar. In 1904, the fort was transformed into a British cantonment under the command of General Doveton. The legendary freedom fighter of Sambalpur (Odisha/Orissa), Veer Surendra Sai along with his family members and followers were brought here against the charges of revolutionary movement against British. They were kept here as state prisoners until the death of Veer Surendra, after which the rest were released. The Persian inscriptions of Akbar, Shah Jahan and Aurangzeb found here speak volumes about their association with this fort. 
Persian Inscriptions
Jama Masjid
The Jama Masjid was constructed by the Faruqi ruler Adil Shah IV in the year 1590. The masjid is entered by three elevated arches that open into a quadrangular courtyard that is surrounded by elevated arcaded colonnades (a series of arches supported regularly spaced columns) on three sides with a prayer hall on the west. The arched cloister of the prayer hall has a qibla at its center. The two ends of the prayer hall are supported by two lofty minars.
Jama Masjid Asirgarh
Jama Masjid 
British Cantonment
On the southwest side of the fort, structures, cells and cemetery of the British period is present. These underground cells were for the prisoners made captive by the British. Topographically, the hill was a natural barrier for the intrusion and extrusion that resulted in a difficult prison break. Apart form many patriots, revolutionaries of kuka movement headed by Guru Ram Singh were also detained here in the year 1872. Of the kuka revolutionaries, Rur Singh and Pahar Singh died during their confinement whereas Muluk Singh, during his last days was sent back to Punjab in the year 1886.
Queen's Lake (Rani Ka Talab)
Portion of the British Cantonment
Mahadev Temple
The legend says that, the son of Guru Drona, Ashwatthama of Mahabharata worships this ancient Shiva temple every day. The temple was constructed in 18th century in the Maratha style of architecture. The temple comprises of a garbhagriha and a mandapa. Close to the temple are a baoli (well) and few rock-cut cells and passages.
Lord Mahadev Temple
Phansi Ghar (Place of execution of criminals)
British Cemetery Inside the Fort 
Moti Mahal
The beautiful palace of Moti Mahal was built by Shah Jahan, which is now in ruins and neglected. This two storeyed palace was built for his beloved wife Moti Mahal, where he spent private time with his queen.
Moti Mahal
Moti Mahal 
Inside Moti Mahal
References:
1. Krik Kitell
2. Travel Magic 
3. Saini Online 
4. Imperial Gazetteer of India.

Discovery of India - Ahmednagar Fort

Ahmednagar Fort
Entrance to Ahmednagar Fort
Ahmednagar is a district located in Western Maharashtra. One of the major attractions here is the fort built in 15th century which played an important role until the pre-independence period in India. This is where India's first Prime minister Shri Pandit Jawarhar Lal Nehru was imprisoned and during his imprisonment, wrote the famous book of "The discovery of India". This book gives an account of India's cultural wealth, historical significance and philosophy as perceived by the great Indian Freedom fighter. The fort currently lies under the  control of the Indian Armoured Corps Center and School, Ahmednagar. Built in an octagonal shape, this fort is considered as one of the best designed and the strongest of all land forts in the Indian sub-continent.
Leaders Block of Ahmednagar Fort
Pandit Jawarhar Lal Nehru
Pandit Jawarhar Lal Nehru was Imprisoned here
Pandit Nehru's  Room
The Ahmednagar  fort was built by Ahmed Nizam Shah in the year 1490 A.D. The name of this city is attributed to Ahmed Nizam Shah, the founder of the Nizam Shahi Dynasty who established the town after defeating the Bahmani Sultans. Later the fort and town, both fell into the hands of the Mughal Emperor Akbar  in the year 1600 A.D in spite of the valiant efforts of Chand Bibi, the princess of Nizam Shahi to save her territory. The fort was sold to the the Maratha King, Peshwa III in the year 1759 A.D. after which it went into the  hands of Shindia's in the year 1797 A.D. Finally in 1803 A.D, the British captured this fort under the leadership of General Wellesley and it remained with them until independence.
Preface of the Book"Discovery of India"
The List of Freedom Fighters who were Jailed here
 On the 9th of August 1942, Shri Pandit Jawarhar Lal Nehru along with 11 other freedom fighters namely, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel (iron man of India), Pandit Govind Vallabh Pant, Acharya Narendra Dev, Acharya J B Kirpalani, Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad, Asaf Ali, P C Ghosh, Pandit Harekrishna Mahtab, Shri Shankar Rao Dev, Dr B Pattabhi Sitaramayya and Dr Syed Mahmud were imprisoned here for their involvement in the Quit India Movement until April 1945. The block in which they were imprisoned  is known as the 'Leaders Block' and is being maintained exactly the same way as it was, during their stay here. All the paraphernalia used by Pandit Nehru during his imprisonment are displayed here.
Ahmednagar Fort
The Fort Wall and Moat 
 Bastion 
The Skillfully Laid Steps

Indian Flag Flying High
Though the movement inside this fort is restricted due to the control of Army, the outer fort walls and the Leaders block are accessible with least difficulty. As we approached an Army officer for taking permission  to walk around in the fort premises, he replied positively with a word of advice to stay within the said limits. We  had a chance only to visit the leaders block after which we could walk along the outer walls of the fort  for some distance. We thanked the Army officer in charge and circumvented the fort as we drove, only to find out that most of the fortification still remained intact. 
Cannon 
Fort Gateway

There are many other places to visit around Ahmednagar such as the Chand Bibi Palace, Meherabad, Cavalry Tank Museum, Rehekuri Black Buck Sanctuary, Shani Shignapur, Shirdi and so on...

Click here for location