Jun 25, 2016

Muddebihal fort ruins

November 2013
On the first day of my tour of Bijapur, Gulbarga and Yadgit districts Talikoti and Muddebihal forts were on my list however I skipped the latter because it was slightly out of the way.

January 29, 2016
We were driving back from Dharwad to Hyderabad. My plan was to visit Bijapur, probably spend the night there and then continue the journey. Just as we approached Bagalkot, plans changed and we headed towards Kudala Sangama where we spent couple hours and then continued towards Bijapur. At Nidagundi I saw a board pointing direction towards Muddebihal. So our plan changed again.. I decided to visit Muddebihal to check out the fort ruins.

Muddebihal is taluqa headquarters town. The town has grown out of the fort itself.. in fact the localities in and around the fort are tightly packed with a network of narrow streets. Driving a four-wheeler through the narrow gullies wasn't easy.

Here's a snap-shot of from Wikimapia screen, within the black circle is Muddebihal fort ruins. There are seven bastions and some rampart walls surviving. Probably there were seven or eight more bastions i.e. 15 bastions originally.

This is one of the surviving gateways into the fort area. We went through it, barely 100 meters in the street got too narrow for a car. We turned back.. Close to this gateway is an ancient shrine under a Neem tree.

I left my car near the largest bastion, Pushpa chose to remain in the car rather then roam the filthy streets under the blazing Sun. A local volunteered to take me to the bastion. There's hardly any space between houses, ruins, gutters and what not :( No chance of taking a picture of the whole bastion. In this photo, under the open space is a wide gutter.. on the left is the fort area and on the right are recently built structures.

The fort area is completely encroached, even some portions of rampart walls. My guide spoke to one of the house owners who let me go to the terrace to take pictures. On the bastion top is a Hindu shrine.

The bastion is well built..

Portion of surviving rampart walls.

There's no information online about Muddebihal's history. With its proximity to Talikoti fort, Muddebihal fort might have been used as a garrison during great battle between the five Muslim armies and VIjayanagara army. The battle which brought the downfall of Vijayanagara is said to be fought in the plains between Talikoti, Rakkasgi and Tangadgi. Also close by is the island hill fort Jaladurga. The island sits in river Krishna's path, creating two streams which flow around the hill and merge into each other.

From Muddebihal we head towards Bijapur..

Muddebihal for co-ordinates: 16°20'2"N   76°8'6"E

Jun 18, 2016

Ruins of Navalkal, Hirehanagi and Kotekal forts

Dec 25 2013 and
While travelling on the road between Raichur and Mudgal, we passed through several villages; of them handful of them had some historical structures visible from the road. This road connects two important historical places- Raichur and Mudgal; their histories go back to prehistoric times. So the road connecting them should have stop overs for travellers and especially for ruler's convenience there would be smaller forts in between.

The first one is Navalkal village; its icon being a big rock formation. I'm yet to find what it's name means.. whatever it is it ends with kal ~ stone.  From the rock's top right portion, one can imagine a bull's face.
I'd ventured into the village to get a closer look at the fortifications. Here's a small temple, probably dedicated to female deity,

Here are the fort walls. It looks small from here but I guess it would be quite spacious inside. I did not go any further lest I disrupted the agenda of the day.

As we proceed further towards Mudgal, we passed through a village named Hirehanagi. The name literally means 'big comb.' The village is situated next to a hillock on which is ruins of a bastion and walls. Seems like a small fort existed here which is in complete ruins now.

Further down the road is Watagal, the hill which looks like a tadpole from air seems like a heap of stones when seen from ground level. Its my guess that the name could be derived from the Kannada phrase "Wattidada Kallu" (heap of stones) which turned into one word Watagal. On this hill are ruins of several bastions which indicates this hill was a fort once.

Next is Kotekal fort which is located on a hillock. The name Kotekal literally means 'fort stones'. This fort is small compared to Watagal but definitely big in comparison with Navalkal and Hirehanagi. I did not venture into the hill instead took few pictures from the state highway. Here'e the general view from south. This face of the hill is naturally covered with heaps of stones making it a barrier. However you can see a line of wall built over the heap of boulders.

Closer look of the walls. These guys were expert builders indeed.

Two of the bastions are fairly well preserved.

This one seems like the highest point of Kotekal fort.

Here's a rough map showing locations of these 3 forts along with other forts of this region. See the beauty of this place- 3 major rivers of Karnataka flow here. Tungabhadra, Krishna and Bhima. Bhima merges into Krishna and further east near Kurnool Tungabhadra merges into Krishna.

In this area held between rivers, there are 10 known forts and surely few unknown ones too.

Hirehanagi fort coordinates: 16°7'11.6209''N 76°50'58.497''E
Navalkal fort coordinates: 16°9'51.4292''N 76°58'12.3679''E
Kotekal fort  Coordinates: 16°6'24"N   76°41'35"E