Showing posts with label Tippu Sultan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tippu Sultan. Show all posts

Ambajidurga/chintamani Fort



Caution: An entry to this hill is strictly restricted and a board instructing the same has been put up in order to prevent people venturing into this hill. Updated: As per the comments by Umesh Sir and Sudhakar, the restrictions have been removed and people can visit this place.

Good Morning Ambajidurga
          Ambajidurga, the second fort we were on a look out for, between Kaivara and Chintamani, seemed so near yet so far way. Ambajidurga is situated atop a hill adjacent to the very well known cave temple of kailashgiri and the temple authorities have banned the entry to this hill fort owing to the unfortunate incidents that have taken place here a few years ago. long back, during our visit to Kailashgiri, we had inquired about Ambajidurga and temple authorities  simply denied its presence and refused to give any information, only saying that Ambajidurga was another name given to Kailashgiri. When we told them that the fortification on the neighboring hill was clearly visible and insisted on details about the fort, they replied that there was no route to the hill and no one can go there. So we did not bother much about it, and thought we will explore this place when the time is right. This day was not too far from the day that we conquered Rehmangarh! We were much eager to conquer Ambajidurga. We reached the spot from where the hill base from where fortification was clearly visible. An old lady who stopped by told us about the route to the hill top and gave us directions. We were glad that a route to the hill top existed and went ahead following her directions. The hill was gigantic and we looked too small in comparison to its massive size.
First tier of the Fort
Lord Hanuman Temple and The Fort Wall
Broken Gateway Arch
   Overnight rains had made the path slippery, but that didn’t matter much to us as we were engrossed in the thought of reaching the fort. Our initial climb was a little tricky as after reaching a certain point, we realized we were heading in a wrong direction. We halted and to changed our course of climb and headed in the right direction. After a few minutes of trek, we reached the first tier of the fort on the first hill (or the lower hill) and rested here for a while. Later, a short walk lead us to the  top of the first hill which was an open plain land having a temple dedicated to Lord Hanuman and a few fort ruins. We were able to view the fortification on the upper hill but found no specific route. After investigating, we finally decided to make our own path and succeeded in our venture within no time.  We were at the fort entrance, and had a bird’s eye view of the surroundings including the now dwarfed fort of Rehmangarh.
Fort Entrance and Rehmangarh

Water Tank
Lord Shiva Temple
  The hill rises to about 4400 ft above mean sea level and was initially fortified by the local Palegars, which was then rebuilt by Tippu and finally fell into the hands of the British. There is a small temple atop the hill dedicated to Lord Shiva and a few ruined structures and water tanks. We were quite happy for having explored this fort too. We spent some time at the top and started to descend slowly and carefully down the hill. Our descent was a little tiring but calm, until we heard a person standing at the hill base shouting and signaling us to come down quickly. Initially, we thought of him to be a shepherd boy   calling out to his cattle, but later realized he was indeed waiting for us! Once we reached the base, he literally started shouting at us asking whose permission we had taken in order to go to the fort and my wife retaliated saying, we had inquired and only at the old lady’s suggestions, we decided to climb as she had not warned us about any restrictions. While he forced us to accompany him to the temple authorities, we insisted him on showing his identity card and if he did, we would surely go with him. Somewhere, we thought he was boasting about himself being a guard to the hill we had just explored. He argued saying there was a big board put up right at the entry point which strictly restricted any further entry. Truly, we were not aware of such a board. There was an exchange of words between him and us, and on demanding him to show where the board was put up, he took us a little away from where we started our trek and alas! There was the board! We told him that we had taken the path present much before this board and therefore had missed seeing it. We also questioned him about his absence during the time of our entry at the starting point. If he were to be a guard, he should have done his duty and cautioned us. We would have not ventured further at all. Finally a person associated with the Kailashgiri temple management who by chance had come to pick him, spoke to us and warned us in a rough tone saying that the place we had just ventured was really not safe and we shouldn’t have gone so far. On saying that we were not really aware of the board as it was put up in a wrong place and  since we had already made a safe return, there was no use of telling us now not to have ventured. There was an exchange of words again. It was slightly upsetting as this was the first time we had encountered such a rude behavior. Though our conversation ended sourly, we were quite happy that we had already explored the fort before they came and realized we would have missed so much, just in case destiny had taken us on the route towards that board! 
Lord Hanuman
 Mt Kailashgiri

Dwarfed Rehmangarh
Kissing the Clouds
     This was our dual-fort-adventure that ended with destiny being on our side. With both the regions being popular tourist spots, it’s quite hard to believe the fact that these hills are actually unsafe. We personally did not feel so, but who knows. Many places in Kolar district are considered unsafe, including the Antharagange hills. 

Anchettydurgam Fort, Krishnagiri - Unravelling the Past

Anchetty is a well known destination located on the route to Hogenakkal waterfalls. However, we were pretty sure that this place had no fort as we have traveled quite a few times along the same route. A visit to "Anchettydurgam" however remained pending for a long time. While researching for Anchettydurgam on the net, I realised it has got nothing to do with Anchetty, and is situated much closer to Bengaluru. On a late Sunday morning we decided to explore this place and little did we know that this place was going to unravel its past. Not much of history of this place is known or available on the internet. The fortification here is similar to that at 'Balagondarayanadurgam', and was probably built during the period of Ankushagiri Palegars. Later, it fell into the hands of Tippu and finally the British in 1799. This fort acted as a military outpost to Kelamangalam.
Anchettydurgam Fort
 Thanks to the wonderful weather that day, we were able to start our trek late. This being a small hill we were able to trek slowly and enjoy the place to the fullest. At the outset, this place seemed like a prehistoric site. But surprisingly it does not find its mention in the Archaeological sites of Krishnagiri. There are two temples in the village of Anchettydurgam dedicated to Lord Shiva and Goddess Mallamma probably built during the same time as the fort. Walking through the small lanes of this village, we reached the base of the hill fort from where the path lead us to the top of this hill. The trail is pretty simple and remains of fortification were quite evident. Most of the gateways here are of a much simpler type and sadly remain damaged.
Ruined Mandapa
Rock Cut Steps
Under the Rock
Meditating
 We inspected every rock for the presence of any kind of rock art. Unfortunately, we weren't successful and there were many such probable rock sites which were out of reach for exploration.  Once we passed by the second gateway, we came across a small cave temple which consisted of many small stones that represented the local guardian deities of the village. We came across debris of pottery all through our trek, most of which belonged to the historic era except for a few. Some carried interesting design patterns on them along with others which had color. We reached the third entrance on either side of which were present carvings of Lords Anjaneya and Garuda. The artwork was simple and seemed quite different.
Ramparts
Layers of History
Stairway
Third Gateway to the Fort
 Hereon the trail turned interesting and at one spot, we felt that this place was a prehistoric settlement. Though dating it will be a very difficult task, some of the stones found here resembled prehistoric man made tools, especially that used as a hand axe. Also spread across the site were many pieces of pottery. However, it is quite difficult to ascertain whether they belong to the historic or pre-historic period.  This place needs a thorough investigation and should be excavated for further details. We inspected the nearby rocks for any carvings, but found none. Further from here we reached the top tier of the fort where there was a small temple like enclosure on our right. We decided to check it out. There were seven stones lined up next to each other. To our surprise, five out of the seven stones closely resembled polished hand axes belonging to the neolithic period. Thus indicating that prehistoric people indeed lived here. Hence a scientific study of this site needs to be carried out and this place needs protection.
Neolithic Polished Stone Hand Axes
Lord Shiva Temple, Anchettydurgam
Clear Water Pond
Keep Me Clean
There was a small rock at the top which had a carving of Lord Hanuman, most likely carved in the recent years. We could find many stones of different colors and shapes along our way and this sight left us puzzled. We wondered about what they could be and how could they get there!? Many such questions kept us engaged while we reach a small temple on the peak of this hill, dedicated to Lord Shiva. This temple is believed to have been built during the Chola reign and has undergone renovations during the Palegars rule. We rested for sometime here at the top, while I was scanning around the area to find out if I can spot any area of interest. Overall, a beautiful and serene place to explore. Thus completing another adventure.
Colorful
Fort and the Farm
Zebra Blue Butterfly (Leptotes plinius fabricus)


Related Posts:
1. Mallachandram - Largest Dolmen site of Tamil Nadu 
2. Kurugodu - Fort, Prehistoric site & Ancient Temples
3. Gudekote - Fort, Prehistoric site & Bear Sanctuary

Reference:
1. Madras State Gazetteer - Salem    

Udedurgam Fort, Krishnagiri - History with Mystery

'Ooria-Durgam' is one amongst the 12 forts that constituted the 'Baramahal' (the earlier name of Krishnagiri). Locating this place with the name of 'Ooria-Durgam' was quite a difficult task for us as google search engine failed to show up any results for the same. However, I came across an article which  mentioned that Ooria-Durgam was the erstwhile name of Hudedurgam, and is today being called as Udedurgam. Udedurgam is a nondescript village near Kelamangala and we reached this place without much difficulty. The fortification on the hill was quite evident and when we drove in its direction, we missed a right turn and went further. After realizing that we were heading in the wrong direction, we inquired with a passerby and tracing back as per his instructions, reached the missed turning point. On finding it inappropriate to drive, we took the available deviation and reached a dead-end, where we found an elderly person involved in his farm chores. When asked about the route to the hill of Udedurgam, he kindly replied by telling us to park our vehicle under good shade after which he volunteered to accompany us till the start of the trail from whereon the route seemed clear and the ascent quite comfortable. He was a very interesting and a joyful person, hailing from  the state of Andhra and having settled here long ago.  Since he spoke the language of Telugu, our communication with him was easier.
Udedurgam Fort, Krishnagiri
Udedurgam Fort, Krishnagiri
Pattern on the Rock
 As we started walking towards the hill, I happened to notice a structure similar to the prehistoric stone circle and Bingo! I was indeed right! It turned out to be a prehistoric cairn circle. 'Cairn Circles' are a type of megalithic burials, which were constructed using rough boulders with cairn/ urn packing at its centre. It turns out very difficult to date these structures and can be roughly assigned to a period anywhere between 2000 B.C.E to 500 B.C.E. Only a proper and systematic study can help reveal the exact or the closest date. Sighting a cairn circle only doubled our excitement as it seemed to be a perfect ' History with Mystery ' kind of an exploration. There were many hidden secrets waiting to be discovered. We continued to walk towards the hill and were welcomed by a ruined fort gateway. It was also pleasing to witness some portions of the fortification intact. The environs here had an endless vista of hills and valleys apart from its history/ pre-history. It looked like a place where every layer of history remained evident and exposed.
History with Mystery
Megalithic Stone Circle
Butter Ball
 This place may have been inhabited from a very long time back, as tools found here belong to different periods - the Neolithic, Mesolithic period and Megalithic periods. The site is perfect to carry out pre-historic studies, as it is quite evident from the environs to be a perfect place for pre-historic human  settlement. The ascent was pretty much straight forward and easy. It was a first for our youngest trek partner Ms.Diya who took it up on her own and trekked covering a decent distance. However, this was just her beginning and she proved to be a good learner! After sometime, we reached a big boulder that carried a painting of Lord Hanuman. A little further was another gateway with much of its fortification intact, after which the terrain turned flat. We passed by a small water pond and a little further from here was a damaged strucutre that looked like a room, probably constructed during the British period. We continued to explore this region and stumbled upon another intact stone circle! Simply wow! This sighting deviated us from following the original route as we spent sometime exploring this area. However, we were unable to find anything apart from a few ruins of the fort. We returned to our trail and spotted a big stepped water tank or kalyani that remained empty.
A Water Pond
Young Trekker Leading the Way
Bless Me "Lord Anjaneya"
Lovely Vista
 We continued our climb and came across the third gateway, which eventually lead to the top most tier of the fort. Atop the hill were two temples dedicated to Lords Hanuman and Shiva. While the temple dedicated to Lord Shiva is at the summit, at a much lower elevation is the temple dedicated to Lord Hanuman. While the Shiva Linga seems to belong to a period much older the fort, the temple structure belongs to 15-16th century. The temples were surrounded by many water ponds which remained clean. Many broken pieces of pottery were seen fallen all over the place, probably belonging to the historic era of 15- 16th century CE.  Although not much of history is known about this place, it is very clear that the fort existed much before the 16th century. Later during  the third Mysore war, Tippu garrisoned this fort and surrendered it to the British in 1791. After the peace treaty between them, the fort was returned to Tippu. Finally, in 1799 it fell into the hands of the British and was annexed to the Madras state.
Lord Anjaneya Temple, Udedurgam
Lord Shiva Temple, Udedurgam
Panoramic View 
Om Namah Shivaya
The view from atop the hill was simply magnificent and the lovely moving clouds added the required glamour. We could spot various other forts from the hill top, some of which are Ratnagiri, Rayakottai, Anchettydurgam, Krishnagiri and many such. After having the snacks and bananas that we had carried, we spent a good amount of time at the top. The surroundings seemed to have many hidden mysteries. We spotted a cave that resembled a shelter for the prehistoric human, and hence wished to check it out. However, we could not find any trace of prehistoric humans. The place may have been  used by the soldiers who guarded the area. We then headed towards our parked our vehicle. We greeted Mr. Venkatesh, the person who had guided us in the morning and thanked him. It was lunch time and he insisted us to join them for lunch. We were hesitant initially as we had to return home and the weather was extremely hot, but later agreed to join them as we were hungry. And we were pleased for having joined them for lunch. It was one of the best lunches we have had, sitting under the canopy of tamarind trees and amidst people with big hearts, who were more than happy to feed our children and us by sharing their food. The elderly man also gave us the freshly harvested beans and tomatoes from his farm. Finally, we bade a good-bye, after thanking them. Exploring Udedurgam was an amazing experience overall. An other day, another adventure!
Cave Bunker
The Lost Wood

Forts of Krishnagiri:
1. Thattakaldurgam 
2. Krishnagiri 
3. Jagadevi 
4. Ratnagiri 
5. Balagondarayanadurga
6. Maharajakadai
7. Rayakottai 
8. Periyamalai
9. Ankushagiri 
10. Anchettydurgam
11. Thrayandurgam

References:
1. Madras state gazetteer - Salem
2. Archaeology of Krishnagiri District 

Rayakottai Fort


Rayakottai’ or the ‘King’s Fort’ is one amongst the popular fort treks near Bengaluru at a distance of around 100 km. One Sunday we decided to check out this fort and our journey to this place was quite uneventful. We reached the base of the hill fort and after enquiring about the route, we proceeded further. Steps are laid until the top and it’s a pretty straight forward climb. In no time we reached the first gateway of the fort. This arched gateway seems to have been renovated during the reign of Tippu Sultan as we can find a similar pattern for the gateway at Nandi hills. The fort was initially built by Jagadeva Raya, a Palegara of Channapatna town in Ramanagara district, thus the name Raya Kottai. A common misconception however is that this fort was built by Tippu Sultan. 
Bird's eye View of Rayakottai Town
Monsoon Clouds
Way Up to the Rayakottai Fort
Enter The Dragon (Rayakottai Fort Entrance)
  Jagadeva Raya had control over the entire regions of Hosur, Krishnagiri and Dharmapuri in Tamil Nadu. He served as a vassal king under the Vijayanagaras and also won the battle of Penukonda for them. Rayakottai was a strategic fortress connecting Mysore to the Baramahal. Post Jagadeva Raya, none of the Kings were strong enough to hold the entire territory and hence started to lose their territories to Hyder Ali. Later, Major Gowdie under Lord Cornwallis captured the Fort from Tippu Sultan in the year 1791-92. Hereon, they marched towards Srirangapatna and killed Tippu in 1799. Rayakottai then was held by the East India Company until independence. The East India Company made a few additions to the fort, which remained popular among Military Pensioners.  Ruins of buildings constructed by the British can still be seen here. There are many water tanks built here for providing water for the people. At one such big water pond, we found a carving of Lord Shiva in the form of a Linga along with Lords Nandi and Ganesha. The carvings are very much similar to the ones present at Krishnagiri fort; probably indicating that this fort existed even before the reign of Jagadeva Raya and may have been originally built during Lord Krishnadeva Raya’s rule. 
Rayakottai Fort Entrance
Fort Wall
Ruins Spread Across
Young Trekker
One of Many Water Sources Here
Hidden Treasure
House With A View
British Bungalow
Ruined Beauty
 Interestingly, on our way back to Bengaluru we also found a carving of King Krishnadeva Raya accompanied by his two queens offering prayers to Lord Shiva. There is no evidence for the presence of any temple in the fort premises.  However, there are chances that the same was destroyed during Hyder/ Tippu’s period. There exists a big cave Ashram used during 19th century saint, maintained in good condition. This gives us an indication of things that have occurred here. Overall, Rayakottai is a lovely fort to explore and preferably best when visited during early hours of the day to avoid sun’s heat. It is also better to carry along some snacks and lots of water to stay hydrated. Today, Rayakottai is a small sleepy village fairly well connected with Bengaluru by roads and rail.  
Lords Shiva, Ganesha And Nandi
Fresh Sweet Water Pond
Ashram
Lord Anjaneya
Trichodes alvearius (bee hive Beetle)
Monkey Puzzle Butterfly (Rathinda amor)
Delicate
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