Showing posts with label Tumkur. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tumkur. Show all posts

Huliyurdurga Fort - A Legacy of Sri Kempegowda

'Huliyurudurga/ Huliyurdurga', literally meaning 'the fortress of  the tiger town' is located about 28 km from Magadi and 75 km from Bengaluru. Huliyurdurga is currently a hobli of Kunigal taluk in Tumkur district. A visit to this place was long time pending for us and after reading many articles about the failed attempts to reach the peak, we were a bit skeptical to step ahead. While our dear friend Prashant (popularly known as Payaniga) who has spent considerable time in this town confirmed that very few have made it to the top, we only imagined how challenging the trek would be!! Also, most of the locals acknowledge that it is quite difficult to reach the top. Last week, while doing a research on the same, I came across an article that gave details about the completion of Huliyurdurga trek in 20 minutes! Inspired by this, we  were bent upon reaching the peak top of Huliyurdurga. There was  no looking back this time around!!
Huliyurdurga Fort/ Kumbhi Betta
 The Fort of Huliyurdurga is popularly known as 'Kumbhi Betta' and the hill fort here was built by Sri Kempegowda, who was the then chieftain of Magadi town. This hill though small in size, carries natural advantages of being incorporated as a hill fort. The fort later came under the rulers Chikka Devaraya Wodeyar, Hyder Ali, and Tippu Sultan in turns, after which finally in 1792 the Marathas and the British together laid siege to the fort. They eventually captured and destroyed the fort as they believed it was not worth saving it. Up to 1873, Huliyurdurga remained as the taluk headquarters after which it lost its prominence and currently serves as a hobli. This place was surrounded by thick forests and we still get the feel of the same while traveling along the Magadi - Huliyurdurga highway. The name Huliyurdurga is attributed to the tiger (huli in Kannada), which was a frequent visitor to this place. There are a few ancient temples at the base of the hill believed to have been built during the reign of the Wodeyar's.
Huliyurdurga Fort Entrance
Sri Kumbhi Ganapathi
Vertical Limit 1
The Climb
Reaching the hill base of Huliyurdurga was quite an easy task and the fort seemed inviting. We parked our vehicle at the entrance of the fort. Hereon, steps are laid up till the temple of Lord Sri Kumbhi Ganapathi. We had a casual conversation with a local who was involved in work in his cattle shed. He informed us that climbing up till the fort is not advisable with kids around. Hence we decided to climb as much as possible and then take a call. We reached the Sri Kumbhi Ganapathi temple in no time and investigated for the trek path here on. Finding two routes, we took the one of which had which had directions marked, while the other path went around the hill. We reached a point where there were multiple arrows pointing towards 3 directions! We took the route as per directions towards the left and reached a point from where the route seemed to disappear. The only way up was to climb the steep hill from here or return to explore the other two paths. We continued to hang on, take time to strategize and challenged ourselves to trek further. While our 3.5 year old team-mate Adhi climbed up quite easily on directing him for multiple stops and then proceeding, our 1 year old was very cooperative and we three joined our team-mate in some time. Though the ascent was somewhat possible, we knew that getting down would be definitely challenging!! Meanwhile, Adhi led us to a door way and we followed him to another hill with gradual slope.
Path of Ascent on the Steep Slope
The Fort Wall
Final Frontier
Ruins of Building atop Huliyurdurga Fort
Ragi Grinding Stone

The upper most tier of the fort had ruins of a few buildings, springs (water ponds), powder magazines, durbar hall, granaries, etc. We spent some time here exploring the ruins. In the meanwhile, my wife wished to climb the brick wall of a ruined structure and did so. On spotting a dead leaf mantis on the inner wall, she spent time capturing the mantis who seemed really dead (owing to its name) and happily posed for us. After some time, we decided to head back and reached the spot from where the descent was challenging. Fortunately, our team work was fruitful and we were able to reach the safe spot without any mishap. The rest of our descent was easy. After reaching down, we visited the Sri Gopalakrishna/Venugopala temple built at the base of the hill. The temple architecture resembled that of the Mysuru Wodeyar style and must have been built during the17th century. This temple is a Trikuta and houses murtis of Sri Guru Shankaracharya and Goddess Lakshmi in the two garbhagrihas. Besides this temple is the Sri Lakshmi temple built during the same period. Sadly a few years back, owing to the greed of the people, this temple has been damaged in order to find hidden treasure, if any. During this incident, the main murti of Goddess Lakshmi Devi was damaged and now the temple is not in use. From here on our way back towards the town, we sighted the Kote Anjaneya Swamy temple and a Nandi Mantapa, probably indicating the presence of a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva on the hill. Thus ending another successful quest, which coincidentally also was our last capture of all the Navadurgas, the nine forts built around Bengaluru by Sri Kempegowda.
Dead Leaf Mantis 
Water Pond
Base of the Damaged  Murti of Goddess Lakshmi Devi
Sri Venugopala Swamy Temple
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Tumkur Fort, Sri Ramadevara Betta, Kyatasandra

Tumkur Fort, Kyatasandra
A View from Top of the Ramadevara Betta, Tumkur
We had been eyeing this big hill since a very long time as every time we stopped by the Tumkur toll booth, the hill was visible and seemed inviting. But somehow, we never got a chance to visit here. I requested one of my colleagues, a local of Tumkur to gather information about this hill as the internet searches failed to yield much results. It was only after he gave out a few details that I realized the name of this hill as 'Ramadevara Betta'. Now that I knew its name, I searched the net again and found that some people had already explored this hill and their pictures tempted me to explore it as well. One fine day, I was joined by a few of my colleagues and together we attempted to climb this hill. After packing some food from Kyatasandra, we reached the base of the hill. There is an Anjaneya temple at the hill base where we parked our vehicles and first visited this temple. We inquired about the route to Sri Ramadevara Betta and moved on.
Ramadevara Betta, Tumkur
Entering The First Tier of The Fort
Following the directions of the temple priest, we headed towards the hill. The weather was perfect for climbing, not too hot, but cloudy and breezy. We had to cross a small hillock before we reached the base of the main hill, from where the actual trek began. The trek was wonderful, with the entire  hill range of Devarayanadurga being visible. After climbing for some time, we reached the first tier of the fort or rather the first surviving tier. As we climbed further, we reached an open flat terrain where we were welcomed by a beautiful lotus pond filled to the brim due to the recent rains. Hereon, the top most tier of the fort was at a striking distance.
The Beautiful Lotus Pond
Tumkur Fort and Temple
The Temple and Pond
Ramadevara Betta, Fort Tumkur
Inside the Top Tier of the Fort
We entered the last tier of the fort which had a small temple dedicated to Lord Shiva in the form of a linga. Going by its architecture, the temple seems to have been built in between the 9th and 11th centuries, probably by the Hoysalas/Cholas/Gangas. It's close resemblance to the 'Rameshwara Temple of Kaidala', situated very close to Tumkur in all likelihood indicates that these temples were built during the same time. The temple structure has a garbhagriha, an antarala and a  navaranga. The Shikara is lost and many portions of the temple are ruined and lay scattered. There is a small mandapa close by to the temple where we rested and enjoyed eating our packed food, ensuring to keep the premises clean. We later went around exploring the surroundings and found a few ruins. We were able to spot two caves, one of which had a perennial spring with a few Shiva lingas while the other probably was a meditating/resting place of a sage. It started to rain heavily by the time we reached this cave and taking shelter in this cave, we wondered how someone could stay here, secluded and away from the outside world.
Ruins of Some Structure
Arisaema sp.
There are many interesting legends associated with this hill. As it is believed that the Linga here was originally installed by Lord Rama himself, the hill is called as 'Ramadevara Betta'. During the exile of Lord Rama, he along with his wife Goddess Sita and brother Lord Lakshmana stayed here for a brief period. Once during their stay, Lords Rama and Lakshmana were away and Goddess Sita was having a bath. When she heard them returning, she hurriedly went away from that place as she dragged her Saree while draping it. The villagers here believe that the mark present on the hill nearby the pond is that made by Goddess Sita while dragging her Saree! Quite interesting it is! However, this story may not be completely true, since Sita was kidnapped by Ravana in a location somewhere in Maharashtra, and much before they entered Karnataka. But then, the association with Lord Rama cannot be discarded as there are many places in the surroundings which prove the same.
The Mark Made by Goddess Sita's Dragging of her Saree
Though not much history of the fort is known, it seems to have been built during the same time as the temple here, without undergoing any later modifications. The fort must have either been 2 tiered originally, which is quite unusual or it may be that the outer tiers failed to survive the test of time to give us an exact picture. Our descent was quick, though at a few places it was quite slippery due to the rains. We were pleased to have done this trek.
How to reach Tumkur Fort: Drive on NH 4 - Reach Kyatasandra - Take a right turn towards Siddaganga Mutt - Cross the Mutt, drive further and take a right at a brick kiln to reach the hill base, where there is an Anjaneya temple.

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Places to visit around Bangalore/ ಬೆಂಗಳೂರು/ Bengaluru - Part 12

Continued from here..
Type: Hoysala Temples
Distance from Bangalore: 220 km
Directions from Bangalore: Bangalore - NH 48 - Tumkur - NH 73 - Arsikere - Left turn - Mavuthanahalli
About: The Mahalingeshwara Temple here serves as a very good example of Hoysala architecture which  flourished during the 12th century. The temple is extremely beautiful despite being in ruins. The locals offer their daily prayers. More.
Mahalingeshwara Temple, Mavuthanahalli
Mahalingeshwara Temple, Mavuthanahalli 
Type: Hill Fort, Temple Town
Distance from Bangalore: 70 km
Trek Distance: 2 Km (One way)
Directions from Bangalore: Bangalore - NH 77 - Hoskote - Left towards Chintamani - Till Kaivara
About: The hill fort here was built by Tippu and later improvised by the local Palegars. Much of the fortification remains intact and is currently being maintained by the Forest department. There is a temple dedicated Lord Veerabhadraswamy and a water pond. More
Rehmangarh Fort, Kaivara
Rehmangarh as Seen from Ambajidurga 
Type: Hill Fort, Temple Town
Distance from Bangalore: 70 km
Trek Distance: 2.5 km (One Way)
Directions from Bangalore: Bangalore - NH 77 - Hoskote - Left towards Chintamani 
About: The hill fort here was built by Tippu and later improvised by the local Palegars. Much of fortification remains intact but this place is now abandoned. Trekking here is strictly prohibited. There is a temple dedicated to Lord Hanuman. More
Ambajidurga Fort, Chintamani
Ambajidurga Fort 
Type: Hill Fort, Temple Town
Distance from Bangalore: 122 km
Trek Distance: 3 km
Directions from Bangalore: Bangalore - NH 47 - Dabaspet - Right towards Madhugiri
About: The hill fort here was built during the Vijayanagar period and later improvised by Hyder Ali. Though much of the fortification remains intact, the ASI have taken additional measures to restore this fort along with all precautionary measures in order to ensure a safe climb to people venturing this fort. More
Madhugiri Fort
Madhugiri Fort 
65. Nallur
Type: Bio-diversity Site, Temple Town
Distance from Bangalore: 50 km
Directions from Bangalore: Bangalore - NH 4 -  Hoskote - Towards Devanahalli - Nallur
About: Nallur's Tamarind Grove is regarded as the first bio-diversity heritage site in India. This site covers around 53 acres in area having more than 300 tamarind trees. The oldest tree here is confirmed to be around 410 years old. There are numerous ruined temples here which were built during the reign of Chola dynasty in the 12th century. More
Nallur Biodiversity Heritage Site
Nallur Biodiversity Heritage Site 

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Dual Fort Adventure - Bhasmangi

  The regions of Madhugiri and Madakashira are home to many Forts, a few to name are the forts of  Madhugiri, Channarayanadurga, Midigeshi, Madakashira, Bhasmangi, Ratnagiri, Gudibanda, and Pavagada. Last Sunday we were on a mission to explore any two of the unexplored forts amongst the above and one of those was Bhasmangi. The Fort of Bhasmangi was built by Budi Basappa Nayaka around AD 1650 and was later captured by Hyder Ali in AD 1768. Hyder destroyed the old fort and built a new one which can be seen even now. The fort is a perfect example of the Forts built by Hyder Ali and serves a great example in showing much importance given to rain water harvesting in those times. 
The Mighty Madhugiri
 Bhasmangi Fort
Our Break Fast

 We left early that Sunday morning (around 5:00 am) so we could cover both the forts. We started our ascent to this hill fort and in some time reached the first gate of the fort. We were amazed to see the magnificent fort standing tall in front of us. Every stone here stands to tell a story and the glory of the past. We sat down and had breakfast that we had packed. We then  proceed further towards the second gate where we found a small temple dedicated to Lord Anjaneya. A few steps further lead us to a flat terrain which had a lot of ruins and water collecting ponds. Up above a small hill from here is a small temple dedicated to Nandi or Basavanna. The idol of Nandi is big and beautiful.
 Hopper
Second Gateway
  Other View of the Second Gateway
 
The Stairs
Lord Hanuman
 Continuing our climb up, we reached the last and the most intact tier of the fort comprising of many ruins and a doorway which probably lead to the location of the palace/ king's residence. The view from top was simply awesome. The descent was uneventful until we reached the first gate of the fort. Hereon, we took a simpler  route to descend till we reached  the roadway. There was a temple dedicated to Lord Anjaneya just outside of the fort, which is now being taken care by two elderly people. Resting a while here, we moved on, getting prepared to explore the next fort of Ratnagiri. It was close to 11:30 am while we reached our vehicle and started driving towards Ratnagiri.
The Fort Wall
Dodda Basavanna Temple
 Nandi
Last Tier of the Fort 
One Among the Many Water Ponds Here
Panoramic View of the Last  Tier
One of the Ragi Grinding Stones
Panoramic View from the Top
Fort Walls
What A View !
Ready to Jump