Karnataka is a state with extremely rich heritage. The state has been ruled by fantastic dynasties such as the Chalukya, Maurya, Kadamba, Hoysala, Vijayanagara, and the list goes on. All these empires have left behind their relics in the form of temples, forts and palaces. We are lucky to view some of these places firsthand, and understand their stories.
Karnataka is, therefore, packed with majestic forts built by different ruling dynasties. Some of these forts might have been damaged due to wars waged during different times, nevertheless, they stand strong and tall. The forts reflect the history of various dynasties and have now turned into popular tourist hotspots. In this article, you can read about some of the famous forts that you must visit.
Built between the 17th and 18th century in various stages, the Chitradurga Fort located in Chitradurga, is a fabulous structure constructed and modified by many dynasties.
The fort has 7 circular walls of which, 3 are on the ground, while the other 4 are on the hill. This is why it is called as "Yelu Sutthina Kote" which means "Seven Circular-walled Fortification".
The fort consists of beautiful citadels, warehouses, masjid (built during the time of Hyder Ali) and a number of temples. It is located 200 km from Bangalore and 120 km from Hampi.
Badami used to be the capital of Badami Chalukya Dyansty, and is located amidst the outcrops of red sandstone. Badami is famous for its cave temples and the Badami Fort.
Right in front of the cave temple lies the exalted Badami Fort. Built in the style of Chalukyan architecture, it has double fortified walls. The fort houses huge cannons that were used for attacking the enemies during wars.
Although a lot of the fort's wealth was robbed after getting captured by the rivals, you can view some structures such as the watch towers, granaries carved temples within the walls of the fort.
PC: Ajay Panachickal
The Mirjan Fort located 12 km from Kumta on the west coast of North Karnataka, was built in the 16th century. The architect of this fort is not clearly known, although there are various versions regarding the origin of the fort.
The location is a haven for archaeologists since it consists of many unfurled treasures. The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) conducted excavations from which they discovered many intriguing artefacts such as Chinese porcelain, Islamic inscriptions, gold coins given to the Portuguese Viceroys and more!
The fort is built with red laterite stone and has four entrances. It is a double-walled fort with many wells that are all interconnected.
PC: Ramnath Bhat
Amidst the city's hullabaloo, the Bangalore Fort is located near the KR Market. It was initially built as a mud fort by Kempegowda I, the founder of Bangalore, back in 1527. Later it was replaced to be a stone fort by Hyder Ali, before it went to the hands of Tipu Sultan and finally to the Britishers.
Tipu Sultan's Summer Palace is located within the fort. It is built completely using teak wood and he named it as Rash-e-Jannat which means "Envy of Heavens". The fort was opened to the public in 2005.
PC: Indrajit Roy
The Bellary Fort, as the name suggests, is located in the Bellary city of Karnataka. It is built on the Bellary Gudda or the fort hill. It consists of two units of forts. The upper unit is said to be built by Hanumappa Nayaka of the Vijayanagara empire, while the lower fort was built by Hyder Ali during the 18th century.
The upper fort that stands at an altitude of 607 m, has a quandrangular layout and comprises of a citadel and a temple right outside the citadel. The lower fort used to comprise of arsenal and barracks during the reign of Hyder Ali.
Built during the Bahmani Dynasty, the Bidar Fort is a fine monument, wherein most of the fort stands majestically strong. The fort houses 30 monuments such as the Rangeen Mahal, Takht Mahal, Tarkash Mahal and so on, which served various purposes back in the time of the Bahmanis and Mughals.
The song Ishq Sufiyana from the Bollywood movie "The Dirty Picture" was shot in this fort. Since it makes for a fantastic shoot location, quite a few other Kannada movies have been shot as well.
PC: Amit Chattopadhyay
The Jaladurga fort of Raichur, was built by the Adil Shahi Dynasty of Bijapur. It is perched on a hill at the edge of an island on the river Krishna. Therefore, a side of the fort faces the gorges of river Krishna.
An eerie myth says that there was a spot within the fort from where rivals or wrongdoers were thrown off into the river or on the boulders! The beautiful fort used to have palaces, gateways and cellars, all of which are in ruins today. However, tombs of some rules can be found in the fort till date.
Formerly known as the Kalyani Fort, Basavakalyan Fort was built in the Bidar district by the King Nalaraja of the Kalyani Chalukya Dynasty around the 10th century. The fort was later was named after the great spiritual scholar, Basweshwara in the 12th century.
The fort consists of 7 gates, of which 5 are in good shape. The main gate of the citadel is called Akhand Darwaza, and has been built using 4 slabs of red stone. The entire fort is strategically built and scattered around the hill, in order to camouflage with nature, a classic strategy used by the Deccan rulers.
Within the fort, you can find the King and Queen's palaces (Raj Mahal and Rani Mahal) and a temple with a square pond in front of it. Although the fort is mostly in ruins, it is a magnificent structure that mustn't be missed.
PC: Manjunath Doddamani Gajendragad