A Fort To Remember

 Taniya John 20 May, 2020 5 mins read 1

The sun hadn’t risen yet. The air was cold but not the spirit of TAPMIans. A 200 k.m bike followed by trekking organised for MBA students by MBA students- what more can they do to alleviate the pressures of a B-school. I haven’t even heard of Kaveleduga Fort before. From the name it was obvious that it would be a historical place. And history means stories and legends. The history Kaveledurga Fort is believed to be built in 9th century AD deep in the forest amid the rolling hills. No one knows who originally built it. It is believed that the fort had provided shelter for the Pandavas at a certain time.
The sages Agastya and Valmiki are also said to have taken abode at the fort at various times. In the 14th century, Cheluvarangappa, a Belagutti king renovated the fort. He wanted to make use of its strategic location which offered natural defence against enemies. Due to the same reason, later in the 16th century, the then renowned Keladi ruler Hiriya Venkatappa Nayaka added seven battlements to protect the fort. He renamed the fort as Bhuvanagiri fort.

In the 18th century, Hyder Ali, the Sultan and de facto ruler of the Kingdom of Mysore, captured the fort. From him, it was passed on to Tipu Sultan. En-route Kaveledurga the trip began around 6 am. While I was excited to see the fort, I never thought of the road that we travelled would be even more beautiful. The wind blowing through my hair and the golden gleams of sun rays through the canopy of trees, often making a Tyndall effect mesmerized me. Watching the sun rise while riding a bike was indeed a different experience. We stopped at an ordinary restaurant. One of my friends who was familiar with the restaurant suggested we eat Neer Dosa, a very tasty option according to him. And he wasn’t wrong. After a hearty breakfast we set on our journey again.

We passed a number of rivers, incredibly beautiful, surrounded by hills and greenery. We stopped at one of the bridges, just to enjoy the view. But we had to continue the ride as sun light was becoming hotter. The path leading to the fort was not so distinguishable that we almost missed it. The road wasn’t even tarred. There were two small shops selling mineral water and snacks. There were locals here and there who seemed unfazed at the number of bike riders who just arrived. Perhaps they see this every other day. The Fort The path was laid with stones. As we progressed, the fort finally came into view. The first thing we saw from afar had been a shrine atop a hill. Another hill still held the remains of stone brick walls. We passed four gates as we paced along the stone paved path. There were cubicles on either side of each gate which I assumed to may had been guard quarters. After the 4th gate, we came across the magnificent Kashi Vishwanath Temple. Most of its structures were intact. There were 2 pillars at the entrance. The temple had carvings of snakes, warriors, elephants etc. Atop the hill stood Lakshminarayana Temple, facing the Kashi Vishwanath Temple. The view from the top was breath-taking. There was greenery stretching far and beyond with occasional watery patches here and there. And surrounding that painted picture, were hills standing in all their might. As we moved forward we were greeted by a stone sculpture of Nandi and a broken stone tub. And then there it was-the palace. Only the plinth survives now along with some of the walls. There was also step well situated at one side of the palace ruins. It made me think about the systems of water management or water storage employed in the older times. The Return Although we were pretty tired and hungry, the return journey was less tedious thanks to the scenic beauty along the way which had been refreshing. I later came to know that the water patches I saw from atop the hill and the ones we met along the way were backwaters of Varahi Dam.

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Taniya John
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