(Part of a series of posts starting with "A Trip Down Memory Lane")
Bellary is pretty near to Hospet - around 80 kms. It took us around 2-3 hours to drive till here from Hospet. Bellary is known for the Bellary fort. Today, Bellary is known for its granite mines (there are stones all around!) and iron and steel plants (owing to nearby mines). The drive was good. The fort is on a hill and is visible right from the highway. We however still needed to ask people to find our way inside the town and towards the base of the hill from where we could go up to the fort.
The fort is in two levels - the inner top level was constructed during the Vijayanagara empire, where as the outer bottom level was constructed during the reign of Haider Ali (around 1800 AD). The lower fort was built by a French engineer. It is believed that Haider Ali later found out that the fort is not really the highest point in the neighborhood. The highest point was another nearby hill which put the fort at a great disadvantage militarily. Haider Ali was so upset that he ordered execution of the French engineer.
The entrance to the inner fort passes through an impressive huge rock facade. The ancient stone living quarters are today dirty and smelly from bat dung. Large halls had ventilators on the roof that provided light and air. It is also sad to see people dirtying the place by leaving behind beer bottles and stale food.
Notable among other things are huge reservoirs of water build at many places in the fort. These reservoirs collect and store rain water for sustenance of people residing inside the fort. There are many of them and they are connected by subtle channels. Even during times of invasion, these pools are said to be able to support around 1000 people inside the fort for months. Standing at the top, one gets a birds eye view of the city below. Standing near one of the gun turrets, it is easy to see why this was a great vantage place to fight from.
It would be nice to be there early in the morning or late in the evening and watch the magnificent fort under the golden glow of the Sun. There are not many good places for food and stay nearby, and it could get very hot in the afternoon with all the bare rocks around. It is advisable to wear a cap and carry enough water and some snacks while exploring the fort.
We spent around three hours there, had some biscuits for lunch and started off towards Chitradurga, hoping to find a good place to stay. More about Chitradurga in the next post.
Back to "A Trip Down Memory Lane"