Tale of the timeless fort- Chitradurga

13th Jun 2018

View from top of the Chitradurga fort

Photo of Tale of the timeless fort- Chitradurga by Varsha Bhaskar

Located in the heart of Karnataka, Chitradurga is the land of stones and stories. The drive to 'Durga', as it is locally called takes about 4-5 hours to reach from Bengaluru. The drive on NH48 is mostly enjoyable, except for some rough patches en route, literally!

Photo of Chitradurga, Karnataka, India by Varsha Bhaskar

You know you are nearing Durga, when the local sellers around the toll gates have baskets laden with mirchi (chilli fritters), mandakki, (Spiced puffed rice) along with the common cucumber, fruits and groundnut. The windmills that dot the landscape is also a welcome sight as one nears durga.

Chitradurga has a characteristic small-town vibe and the place literally revolves around 'yelusuttina kallina kote', (stone fort located in a series of seven circles). The fort itself is now only limited to the innermost tiers. The rest of the six tiers are a part of the the town with many residential areas and shops.

Photo of Tale of the timeless fort- Chitradurga by Varsha Bhaskar

The 11th century fort completed in the 13th century holds many tales of the Chalukyas, Hoysalas and other dynasties. But the one that is immemorial is that of the Nayakas of Vijayanagara. Ruled by the mighty Madakari and whose legacy is indespensible without the story of Obavva.

The history and grandure of the fort is such that, it demands a blog-post solely dedicated to it. Hence I will, be writing another post exclusively on the fort of durga.

Photo of Tale of the timeless fort- Chitradurga by Varsha Bhaskar

A structure inside the fort of durga

Though the fort steals the limelite in this small town, there are many other places which hold charming stories of the past. Chandavalli totha is one such place. It is a prehistoric archaeological site which has yielded many ancient artifacts such a coins, earthen wares and painted pottery from the various dynasties that ruled this region. Interestingly, there have been coins excavated from this site which belonged to the ancient Chinese dynasty of Han. Now the visitors are allowed to enter some of the caves, whose main residents are now bats. There is a large tank adjoining the site. The ideal time to visit this place is early evening as the place shuts down at 05:30 pm.

Photo of Tale of the timeless fort- Chitradurga by Varsha Bhaskar
Photo of Tale of the timeless fort- Chitradurga by Varsha Bhaskar

The one thing that cannot be missed when you visit durga is the mirch-mandakki. It is a preparation of spiced puffed rice, chillies, onion and sev. Accompanied by the hot mirchi (chilli fritters), bonda (potato fritter), onion bajji (onion fritters). This snack is famous all over north karnataka, but chitradurga stands out for its brinjal fritters along with the above mentioned snacks. It is served on newspaper and the shops selling the snack are present all around town and are hard to miss.

Photo of Tale of the timeless fort- Chitradurga by Varsha Bhaskar

The murgha vana, is a good choice for visit if one wants to relax, enjoy with kids or just walk around. Its constructed really well with many attractions, History, art, culture, and modern art are well portrayed. It adjoins the murghi mutt, (a place of religious significance).

Jogimatti, is a small hill with a beautiful view of the surrounding scrub jungles, windmills and greenery. It is also surrounded by many small hills and the best time to visit is early morning or evenings. as afternoons get pretty hot even during non summer months. One can hire a local car, or go by own transport to this hilltop. However, permission from the forest department is required to enter it. The permission can be obtained before-hand by contacting the Karnataka forest-department. One can also stay-over here n the IB, for which prior permission is mandatory.

The road only leads to the IB, from there one has to climb about 100 steps to reach the view-point.

Photo of Tale of the timeless fort- Chitradurga by Varsha Bhaskar

View from atop Jogimatti

Another site close to Chitradurga is the Adumalleshwara Temple and the adjoining zoo garden, housing many animals and birds. It has a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva inside the premises.

Quick Pointers

Chitradurga is accessible by road and rail from all the important cities of Karnataka.

The nearest airport is the Kempegowda International Airport, in Bengaluru. Going by road is a faster way to reach the town

The state transport department (KSRTC) has daily buses from all important cities to durga, it is well connected.

However to travel within the town having own transport is convenient. The town also has its own public buses and auto service.

Places to visit around Chitradurga: Jogimatti hill station, Chandavalli archaeological ruin site, Murga Vana, Ankali Mutt, Adumalleshwara Temple, Vani Vilas Sagar Dam.

Things not to miss- Mirchi-Mandakki

Important Pointers: Obtain permission from the Forest department before going to Jogimatti. The hill is home to bears, leopards and other small mammals hence maintain silence. While travelling to Chandavalli site, carry hand-held torches or head-lamps for going inside the caves. Watch out for bats!

Lastly the most important things: Do not litter the places you visit, please carry back your trash, respect the local rules and mostly enjoy your journey and make memories to have a wonderful travel story.