Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Madhugiri fort near Tumkur

We made an unscheduled visit to Madhugiri this Sunday. Our original plan was to cover Devarayana Durga and Shivagange and return by evening. (Ultra original idea was to go to Horsley hills in AP). We (myself, Arun Bhat, Ravi and Santosh) We left city by 5.30 and by 9am we were done with Devarayana Durga. On the way a display indicated that Madhugiri fort is some 30kms away. Since there was lot of time I thought we’ll drive there and try to cover it as well and then head to Shivagange. We had breakfast, took a detour, visited Siddagange, Namada chilume and then headed towards Madhugiri and reached Madhugiri town by noon.
welcome-gate fort
All of us were totally clueless about Madhugiri fort and had no idea how tall or how complex it will be. I had thought it to be a small to medium height fort which would take couple of hours to cover. However it was not possible to get complete height of the hill in one view, we under-estimated its height and soon embarked on what seemed like a never ending climb. Initial part was easy and soon we could get nice view of Madhugiri town, other hills around it and few water bodies at a distance.
madhugiri town watchtower and barracks
Fort is typical of any Indian forts- deteriorated over time, damaged further by graffiti of senseless people. A few attempts of restoration could be seen. Buildings which were supposed to be part of palace appears to destroyed completely. Tree roots could be seen in between rocks that made fort wall. Steps were carved on rocks to make climbing easy. But at many places there’s nothing to hold on to and steps are very tiny-can be risky if someone sees the down and gets nervous. There isn’t much shade, except few spots like entrances or big rocks under which one can take shelter. As expected there’s no water source either-A Kalyani is all dried up. Fort has a total of 7 or 8 rounds of defensive walls, numerous watch towers, inverted domes which looked like store house and several buildings which were either barracks for soldiers or were used as warehouses.
another-view climb
Half way through we came across a highly sloped rock with some very tiny steps carved on it and absolutely no support to hang on to. (Actually this looked like top of the hill, only after crossing it we realized we’re just midway). At this stage we almost thought of giving up and returning, more so because a few who returned from top declared that there’s nothing exciting over there. However Arun Bhat continued to climb, called us from top and encouraged us not to give up. With some hesitation we managed to cross this risky section . Thirst and tired legs notwithstanding managed to reach to the top of Madhugiri fort.
tree-roots restored-walls
(Quick Trivia: Refer image above of the fort wall- Don’t you think it is a bad idea to leave projected stones like that-Will it not be easy for enemies to climb up fast?)
On top we found a ruined temple, a large warehouse, and a big man hole- which could be an escape tunnel. View on top is typical to any hillock. It was a little disappointing that after reaching all the way to top there isn’t much to see-the exercise and fun we had in climbing is the core advantage.
the final round of walls warehouses
Wikipedia says Madhurigi fort is at about 3930 feet (that is 1200 meters- higher than Burj Kalifa) The fort is built by the Gangas and eventually ruled by VIjayanagar Dynasty, Mysore Wodeyar and then by Hyder Ali. There’s no entry fee and no petty shops selling stuff. We came down and had two sweet tender coconuts (Rs 10 each). Guess we took about 4 hours to climb up and return. This meant there wasn’t much time left for Shivagange.(absolutely no regrets) We returned to Tumkur, had a feast at Kamat Upachar and returned to city by evening, as I had to return the car and catch train for Chennai.
DSC04066DSC04032

Madhugiri is an excellent trekking spot, non commercialized and drivable from Bangalore for a one day activity. However this place can be made more tourist friendly by creating wider steps, some support structures, rope way etc. Displaying some relevant information near the base will also help.
store entrance
Route: Bangalore-NH4-Right turn at Dabaspete-Pavagada route. Approx 130 kms from Bangalore. Road condition is excellent till Devarayana Durga- thereafter it is pretty decent with occasional bad patches/pot holes. Pavagada, another popular and historical fort town is about 50 kms from Madhugiri.

Update: Arun Bhat's write up on Madhugiri *

Related: Keladi Fort * Bekal Fort photos * Monkeyman in Chitradurga Fort * Skandagiri * Nandi Hills *Alamparai fort and backwaters * Mattur near Shimoga * Kodachadri * Gingee Fort * Golconda fort, Hyderabad * Hampi * Bidar * Chandragiri Fort, AP *

16 comments:

Mridula said...

2010 seems to have brought you a lot of travel!

Aravind GJ said...

Nice article. Even i under estimated the height of the fort and at mid way returned back!!

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Mridula,
Hope so. This is just the beginning of the year. let us see..

Aravind:
Yes, many people returned half way after hearing from others that there's nothing much to see on top...

Arun said...

Nice write-up. I am glad we made it to the top instead of heading back half-way. I differ about the views from the top though. I found the west-side views of the series of adjoining hills almost rising up to the height of Madhugiri Fort very dramatic.

Manjunath said...

yes recently i saw this fort on a programme called heeguunte on tv9.....

Planning to visit it shortly.

Tarun Mitra said...

Nice and interesting article..it helps to have a company to undertake such journeys...

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Tarun,
Thanks

Manjunath: Ok, share your experiences

Arun..
Thanks. Yes-may be I failed to notice the difference...

neelmoney said...

Thanks for this amazing photos of fort. shrinidhi keep going and keep capturing.

Anonymous said...
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sandeep said...

beautiful writeup and luvly shots

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Thanks Sandeep, Neelmoney

Sid said...

I know it has been some time since you posted about self-drive rentals. Maybe this time you could talk about the one you did in Bangalore.
Actually, I haven't been able to find too many good ones here, so I was looking to hear your experience.

Trails of a Traveler said...

That is interesting!

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Ram,
Thanks

Sid,
I stick with car-club or Hertz in Bangalore due to simple formalities. there're other operators who need cash deposit, original passport etc.

There's a separate post about finding self drive rentals in Bangalore: check http://www.enidhi.net/2008/09/finding-selfdrive-car-rental-bangalore.html

ಟಿ ಜಿ ಶ್ರೀನಿಧಿ said...

"highly sloped rock with some very tiny steps"

that's where I gave up too :-)

Shrinidhi Hande said...

:) Be sure to make it to the top next time...

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