14 photography interests in Chitradurga Fort


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Inside Chitradurga Fort

Chitradurga Fort's 600 hectares cannot be fully explored in a day, especially if one wants to linger to photograph every detail and note every story behind each part. Nonetheless, in a less than 2-hour marathon sight-seeing and photography, I was able to note some of the main attractions.

1. Neem oil tanks. These pool-like structures carved from granite boulders are actually tanks for neem oil. They use neem oil for their lighting. It is likewise a commodity that has to be guarded especially at night.

Chitradurga Fort
The big neem oil tank.
Chitradurga Fort
Small neem oil tank

2. Petroglyph. This petroglyph of a deer--was carved more than 10 decades ago. It is believed to be pre-historic. Over hundreds of years, however, this has been neglected and not protected. People can tramp on them--slowly erasing the carved figure.

Inside Chitradurga Fort


3. The defense system. The formidable defense system of the fort has stood the test of times for hundreds of years. Read my earlier blog on Chitradurga's formidable defense system.

Chitradurga Fort


4. Rock Formations. Interesting rocks formations abound inside the fort. The most popular ones are Noah's arc, the frog, and the elephant.
Inside Chitradurga Fort
Noah's arc.



Inside Chitradurga Fort
The Frog.

Inside Chitradurga Fort
The Elephant.

5. Ganapathi Temple. Ganapathi is the other name for zoomorphic Hindu deity, Ganesha.  Legend has it, that a boy, was created by goddess Parvati, wife of Lord Shiva. Shiva was not around at the time and no one else was around to look after Parvati as she takes her bath.

She instructed the boy that he should guard the door and stop anybody who will enter the door. So, when Shiva arrived, the boy did not allow him to enter. Furious about who the boy was and being kept outside his house, Shiva got mad and had a fierce battle with him that led to his death. Shiva beheaded the boy. When Parvati came back from her bath, she was surprised that her husband was already inside and asked about the boy. Shiva told her that he killed and beheaded the boy. She told him that it is her son, so she mourned and got angry for losing a son. TO appease her, Parvati ordered Shiva to give the boy a new lease of life. Shiva then ordered his men (Gana) to look for any sleeping creature with its head facing north. The Gana found a sleeping elephant and took its head off and gave it to Shiva. Shiva attached the head of the elephant to the boy and Shiva breathed a new life on the boy whom they named Gajanana--or Ganesha--one with an elephant head. Shiva made him the leader of his troop, thus the name Ganapathi. Shiva also bestowed upon Ganesha that whoever invokes his name before any venture or undertaking, will have good life or fortune.  

Inside Chitradurga Fort
A sighting of this along the pathway signals that a temple is nearby. The faithful offers flowers and betel juice to the Hindu deity.
Inside Chitradurga Fort
A few steps from the marker above is the Ganapathi Temple.


6. Wrestling Room. Just across Ganapathi Temple is the wrestling room. It is just like a box that is about 30 square meter in size. One interesting part of this room is the size of the door. It was built just around 1.5-feet wide by 4-feet high. The reason for the door size is to regulate the size of wrestlers. They cannot be too big for them to join the match. If they get obese or bulkier, they lose their wrestling career.

Inside Chitradurga Fort


7. The swing frames and the monolithic pillars. A tall pillar and an arch-like structure will meet anyone upon entering the main complex. The pillar is actually a night lamp post. The basin on top is filled with neem oil, and being lit up at night. However, it can only be filled and lit up by using a swing across it--the arch-like structure on the right.

Notice the hinges below the arch where a swing was attached. The soldiers would swing to and fro until they reach the top of the pole to fill it with oil and light it up. This makes me wonder if they never thought of using a ladder instead. But then long lumber may not be available at the time.

Inside Chitradurga Fort


8. Holi Day pool. This inverted-pyramid pool was used by the king during the Holi Day celebrations. Different Colors are mixed in this pool and people would gather in and around the pool to throw colored powders on each other. Holi Day is being celebrated all over India to signal the ending of winter and welcoming of spring. The vibrant colors represent the beautiful spring colors. To this day, this Holi pool is being used by the locals.

Inside Chitradurga Fort


9. Mint and Palayegar Kacheri (The Treasury). The story goes that when the King was defeated, nobody knew there was a great amount of treasure one can ever imagine. Apparently, these were stacked beneath the hidden vault. The room was just a simple room, but nobody knows it had a secret passage on its floor. Hundreds of years later, these treasures hidden in the labyrinths of the underground vault were recovered by the government of India.  Nobody knows the exact volume and value but it would definitely amount to billions or even trillions of dollars today. They found gold coins, and other precious golden, silver, and precious gems and stones and pieces of jewelry. Now it appears like an Indiana Jones story, isn't it? To where did it go, nobody knows.

Rumors have it that there are more treasures in secret chambers but no one dares to hunt for them anymore since it would be too dangerous in the underground maze. Perhaps, they all got what they had to get.

Inside Chitradurga Fort
Inside the Treasury. The small room at the far end is the vault.


Inside Chitradurga Fort
The entrance leading to the underground vault chambers hundred of meters deep.

10. Akka Tangi Honda. Ancient as it is, rainwater harvesting it is being practiced today in many parts of the world. Rainwater harvesting was very important in India where underground water is scarce. On the dry season, the underground water level can run deep at 400-500 meters. In this part of India where the dry season is pronounced, they have to learn how to preserve and conserve water by building dams and a adopt natural filtration system. The dam has several layers of filtration until it reaches the pool where the people can fetch their water for their household use.  It is where Onake Obavva fetched (See Obavva's story below) water, too.

Inside Chitradurga Fort
Akka Tangi Honda is a dam system or an ancient rainwater catchment system.

Inside Chitradurga Fort
Illustration of the dams.

Inside Chitradurga Fort
The last stage of the natural filtration. This is pond where the people of Chitradurga Fort fetched their water--that includes the heroine Onake Obavva.

11. Historic spot as a tribute to Onake Obavva. Onake Obavva was probably India's first heroine. Obavva was a plain housewife of a soldier during the reign of Madakari Nayaka (1758-1779). One day, when her husband and the rest of the troops manning the spot that happens to be a secret passage, she went to fetch water from the nearby pond (above), when she heard a commotion. To her surprise, enemy soldiers were trying to sneak in through the hole between boulders. With the presence of mind and courage, she took her pestle (onake) and hit each enemy soldier as they emerge from the crevice. When her husband arrived from lunch, he was surprised at the several bodies lying on the ground. She foiled the enemy's attempt to capture Chitradurga that day. This portion of the fort was named in her honor and heroism. Since then, she was called Onake Obavva.

Inside Chitradurga Fort
Trying out how the enemy soldiers went through it. It was difficult. No wonder anyone can be killed instantly with this helpless position


Inside Chitradurga Fort
An artist's rendition of how Obavva killed enemy soldiers with her pestle.

12. Temples and other structures. One of the more interesting and preserved parts of the fort complex is the Hidimbeshwara Temple. According to the legends, giant Hidimba and his, sister Hidimbi, used to live in this temple.

Inside Chitradurga Fort
Hidimbeshwara Temple

Inside Chitradurga Fort
Hidimbeshwara temple as seen from the gate. 

Another temple nearby is the Sampige Siddeshwara Temple. On top of the hill is the "tuppada kola" which is a storage tank for ghee, a type of clarified butter. Unfortunately, for lack of time, we never had the chance to climb up the hill where one can see other fortifications and structures on the other side. In the middle is the Chamundi Temple.

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Sampige Siddeshwara temple is on the far left (the one with vegetation). Chamundi Temple in the middle and the Hindimbeshwara temple on the right and where I stand. The cylinder on the top of the hill is the "tuppada kola".

13. Flora and fauna. The fort features some indigenous flora and fauna, although there is not much vegetation, there are wild animals roaming around the area.

Inside Chitradurga Fort
Squirrels are a common sight inside the fort.

Inside Chitradurga Fort
Like the house sparrows in the Philippines, crows abound in India. 

Inside Chitradurga Fort
Macaques are also roaming in the fort. People are feeding them with carrots and other vegetables during the day. 
Inside Chitradurga Fort
Part of the gardens at the lower part of the fort.

14. People. Needless to say, people are most interesting of them all. Locals make the fort their place for worship, physical fitness or simply loafing around. It is just exciting to see women in their saree and the men in kurta and dhoti.

Inside Chitradurga Fort

Inside Chitradurga Fort 

Chitradurga gives one a better perception of how Indian royalties and commoners have lived their lives in the ancient times. The richness and color of Chitradurga's history are one for the books and I am glad I am able to see it in my lifetime. What is most striking is the ingenious war tactics that the fort employed. Moreover, it is also enlightening to know that the indigenous and time-tested technologies and traditions that began in their time are still being applied in this modern era.

Albeit the visit to the fort was only less than two hours, it was definitely aesthetically and culturally rewarding. This is not just another place explored. More than that, it is a lesson learned.

For more photos, please visit: Part 3 | Chitradurga Fort's Main Attractions


This is the first leg of my
Please come back for more stories while exploring and learning about the State of Karnataka in India.

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Aside from my day job, I love photography and storytelling. Going places--be it a cliche destination or the far side of the road--stoke and free my soul. I dig deeper into the people’s psyche, culture and ethnicity, and heritage. I love to observe how they thrive and build social institutions, preserve their culture and traditions.

11 comments :

Traveling Morion said...

Ganda ng mga shots sir Ding! specially the first en the last 2. Very interesting talaga ang history ng India- one of the oldest

DingF | The Pinoy Explorer said...

Salamat Jeffrey. Indeed, India's culture is very rich. It is a photographer and travel blogger's Mecca!

Micamyx|Senyorita said...

Isa lang ang masasabi ko: You ROCK! :D

DingF | The Pinoy Explorer said...

Thanks, Mica!

Edmar TownExplorer said...

Ang gaganda nga! Iba talaga ang India. Diverse :)
Kainggit ang series na 'to gawwd, haha..

DingF | The Pinoy Explorer said...

Salamat Edmar!

OLAN | The Travel Teller said...

VERY INTERESTING ROCK FORMATIONS INDEED! :) India is one of my dream destinations! :)

DingF | The Pinoy Explorer said...

Indeed, Olan! Thanks for dropping by!

Anonymous said...

We are really feel great for her. And we need that when was died ? that means her death date. ?

Anonymous said...

what is the death date of Onake Obavva ???

Ding Fuellos said...

Hi "Anonymous"I am not sure the date she passed away. Thanks for dropping by.