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Thursday, January 01, 2009

Keladi Dynasty's Bidanur fort at Nagara near Shimoga

On our way to Sagara (in Shivamogga district of Karnataka) we stopped at Bidanur Fort, A small fort belonging to Keladi dynasty of 17th century, partially deteriorated and being restored.

The Bidanur fort is located adjacent to Nagara town, in Hosanagara taluk of Shimoga district. The fort is not that big (Compared to Golconda fort, Agra Fort, Bidar Fort etc, probably has a carpet area similar to Bekal Fort) but nevertheless big enough to defend a small royal family. There're no remains of a palace-Only a small foundation which is identified as ”Durbar Hall” of Shivappa Nayaka. There is a dry well, few tiny cave like structures which were probably meant for safe exit of royal family in case of invasion, and several watch posts. The fort walls had collapsed/damaged at several places and are being reconstructed using red brick. We also found an abandoned cannon. Unlike some of the forts which only have steps, this fort has drivable path inside to most of the places, most probably to move the cannons mounted wheels.
I am not sure if this place was strategic to build a fort. Though it is on an elevated ground and one can get an excellent view of several miles in all directions, the fort is not located on any hill, which is an usual practice while constructing forts. One can see western ghat few miles from this place. A canal dug around the periphery of the fort has dried up. Bekal fort had special provisions (holes) in the fort through which one could fire at the enemy or pour hot oil on those trying to climb up. Didn’t notice such provisions here.
While we knew that this fort is associated with Shivappa Nayaka and Keladi dynasty, there were no proper displays within or around the fort premises explaining the history of this fort. So I’d to refer to history textbooks and search the net after coming back. There was a board which declared it a place of historical importance and that’s it. It doesn’t get much visitors and there’re no one to man the fort or assist/supervise tourists. I found following brief from
a THE HINDU report
Veerabhadra Nayaka (1629-1645) of the illustrious Keladi dynasty built the fort in 1640 after the fall of Ikkeri, the original capital of the dynasty at the hands of the Bijapur Sultan. The fort, which saw the growth of power of the Keladi dynasty, now stands as a monument to two-and-half centuries of its rule.

Shivappa Nayaka, Veerabhadra’s uncle, succeeded him in 1645 AD as the latter had no sons. Considered the most benevolent among the Keladi rulers, Shivappa Nayaka did much to improve and enlarge the capital. His successors ruled there until its fall in 1763 AD to Haidar Ali. Though he renamed Nagar as Haidar Nagar, it became the practice to call it simply as Nagar, a name in vogue to this day. The fort, which is also known as the Shivappa Nayaka fort, offered excellent protection. The fort is entered by a gateway supported by two round bastions. The courtyard inside shows signs of a former guard room. Inside the third wall is a large open court facing which is a terrace overlooking the fort.

Here appears to have stood the fort palace or citadel of Shivappa Nayaka. Keladi Channammaji (1672-1697), the celebrated queen of the Keladi dynasty, succeeded her husband, Somasekhar Nayaka, and ruled the kingdom from this fort with great distinction up to 1697. She came into prominence when she offered political asylum and protection to Raja Ram, son of the famous Maratta warrior Shivaji in 1685. After the assassination of her husband, there were intrigues, rivalries and internal fights in which some agents of the Sultan of Bijapur had a hand. She tactfully thwarted them and restored order. When the forces of Aurangzeb invaded Bidanur she fought with courage for several days, finally losing to a powerful army in the war.
Related Information:
What are the other places of tourist interest nearby? Jog falls, Keladi Temple (Sagara), Ikkeri, Varahi, Tyavarekere animal sanctuary, Gajanur Dam, Kemmannugundi, Udupi (Sri Krishna temple), Malpe (beach), Agumbe (sunset)
How to go to Bidanur Fort?
From Bangalore-Shimoga-Hosanagara-Nagara (approx 350 kms)
From Mangalore-Udupi-Haladi-Siddapura-Nagara (approx 200 kms)
Similar posts: Bekal Fort * Golconda Fort Hyderabad* Bidar * Hampi *

Also see: Madhugiri Fort, Tumkur *Mattur near Shimoga *

10 comments :

Mridula said...

Shrinidhi how was Malpe? Is it also as isolated as Surathkal?

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Well, I didn't visit Malpe this time-it is more popular than Suratkal and is likely to be less isolated... St Mary's island will be crowded during school holidays.. Afternoon time, any beach you're very likely to find isolated...

Bhupesh said...

http://wikimapia.org/#lat=13.8208905&lon=75.0345612&z=17&l=0&m=a&search=nagara

Nice wiki map of the fort.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Thanks for sharing it Bhupesh,,, Nice to know that there was a Queen's pool, temple and other establishments on top-but nothing exists now...

Namratha said...

i want to suggest you there is some other tourist places nearby Bidanur fort.
1. Kodachadri-a trekking spot.-from nagar to kollur route you find Kodachadri,
2.Hidlemane falls-from nagar to kollur route.
3.Kollur-Mookambika temple-from nagar it is 40kms, it is a famous temple.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Thanks Namratha for additional info

Katte said...

Nice pics. I am basically from this place.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Is it? Good to know that

Anonymous said...

byndoor beach is beautiful than malpe beach try once

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Wanted to go to Vettinene beach.. heasn't materialized yet though