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Chitradurga Fort is locally known as Elusuttina Kote (meaning the fort of seven circles) and is one of the country’s strongest hill forts. The fort originally had to have had 19 gateways, 38 postern-gates, 35 secret entrances and 4 ‘invisible’ entrances. Many of these have gone out of existence now. The doors were made of strong and thick wooden beams fastened with iron plates. The soaring ramparts are hewn from rock complement the craggy landscape and were designed so that each line of fortification overlooks others below. Zigzagging pathways slowed down enemy soldiers and prevented the use of battering rams. The doors of the main gateways were, in addition, bristling with iron spikes to ward off elephants.
Chitradurga fort is famed for its sophisticated water harvesting system. Interconnected reservoirs collected and stored rainwater, which overflew from each tank flowing into other tanks below it. Such an effective system ensured that the fort never ran out of water. After filling all these
tanks, the water used to flow to the moats round the fort-walls.
Temples in Chitradurga Fort: The fort has numerous temples like the Sampige Siddheshwara, Hidimbeshwara, Ekanathamma, Phalguneshvara, Gopalakrishna, Anjaneya, Subbaraya and Basava. A big piece of bone has been kept in the Hidimbeshwara Temple and is shown as the tooth of the demon Hidambasura, and a cylinder of iron plates, six feet high and ten feet in circumference, as the bheri or kettle-drum of Bhima. A figure of Hidambasura is sculptured on the Vimana. In the Siddheshwara Temple also is kept a piece of bone much larger than that kept in the Hidimbeshvara temple, which also is believed to be as the tooth of Hidambasura.
Onake Obavva Kindi: A must-see in this fort is the Onake Obavvana Kindi, named after a brave woman Obavva. It is connected with the famous attack of Haidar Ali on Chitradurga. Haidar’s forces were unable to enter into the fort, in spite of a long siege. They soon found a small crevice through which they could get into the fort. It was a very narrow crevice, hardly admitting a human being in a kneeling position. Obavva hid there and saw the enemy trying to get inside. Displaying remarkable courage, she grabbed onake (a pestle) and killed each soldier getting inside.
Chitradurga Fort visiting time: Chitradurga Fort is open from 6 AM to 6 PM on all days. Certified guides are available near the entrance who can be hired to give a guided tour and narrate historic importance.
Places to visit near Chitradurga: Vani Vilasa Sagara Dam (60 kms), Davanagere city (62 kms), Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary (135 kms) and Hampi (152 kms) are some of the places that can be included as an extension of your trip to Chitradurga.
How to reach Chitradurga: Chitradurga is 200 kms from Bengaluru. Vidyanagar airport in Bellary is the closest (140 kms) but Bengaluru airport (225 kms) is the better choice because of the higher number of flights. Chitradurga has a train station and excellent bus connectivity from Bengaluru and other parts of Karnataka. Chitradurga Fort is less than 2 kms from the city centre.
Places to stay near Chitradurga: KSTDC runs budget Hotel Mayura Durg in Chitradurga. Additional budget and mid-range hotels are available in Chitradurga town.