Kirbele Fort (Kagal Fort) between Kumta and Gokarna - eNidhi India Travel Blog

Kirbele Fort (Kagal Fort) between Kumta and Gokarna

I visited Kirbele fort on the banks of Aghanashini river. Kirbele fort is located south of Gokarna and accessible by road from Kumta side. Google map also shows the location as Kagal Fort. Visited the spot again in Dec 2022 and managed few drone clips.

Kirbele fort is about 13 kms from Kumta town. Without knowing what to expect, I made a visit to explore. Following google maps I rode towards Kirbele fort. The last 1 km was steep uphill mud road with loose gravel. Driveable with normal cars but be careful.

As I couldn’t see any fort from the road, I took a random left turn and followed my instincts. Rode through a narrow path and trekked further once the road ended. As I trekked for about 100-200 meters, I could see a vast open area with Gokarna’s Tadri lighthouse on the other side of the river. The scene was amazing, but I couldn’t locate where the fort was. Thus I walked around a bit and I could find a few rows of bricks, supposed to be external walls of the fort. This is all that could be found. Nothing much is left other than some bits of external walls and few spots which were probably once watch towers or canon points.

The view was great. Beaches on one side and river & lighthouse on the other.

Later I rode around some random spots and then proceeded to Aghanashini Jetty where I could get to the other side of the river (Gokarna)

If you are riding to Gokarna on a two wheeler or renting a two wheeler there you can plan a short trip across the river to visit Kirbele fort and nearby areas. On car it will be much longer- 45 to 50 kms on NH 66 with one toll gate.

Kirbele fort history

Unfortunately no information is available about Kirbele fort- which ruler last owned this or any other historic information. The nearby Mirjan fort is said to be built by Queen Chennabharadevi, so it is likely that Kirbele fort was also under her command. Kirbele fort is closer to the ocean while Mirjan fort is a bit interior. Maybe Kirbele fort would have served as an early warning system to detect enemies coming closer and provide the first line of defence. There is no remains of any buildings inside the fort- like a palace etc, so probably it was not used by kings or queens to stay.

If you are aware of any history of Kirbele fort do share.

Kirbele fort or Kagal Fort?

Google map shows another fort, named Kagal fort side by side of Kirbele fort. I am not sure if it is the same location known with two names, as it is unlikely anyone would build two forts side by side. Unable to spot any difference in photos or from existing articles on Kagal and Kirbele forts.. My feeling is Kagal and Kirbele fort are both the same. Because Kagal village is located in the South side while Kirbele village is located in the north side, the fort is known by both names by locals as there are no official historic records about this fort. If I go there again I will try to explore the area one more time, just in case there is anything else interesting.

Should I plan a visit to Kirbele fort?

I wouldn’t say it is a must visit and you should go there at all cost. It will be a couple of hours worth of diversion from NH66 and takes an hour or two to explore. But you can consider a visit if

  • You are rigging around in a bike and have an hour to spare
  • You’ve planned to take bike ferry across to Gokarna side from Kumta and have an extra 30 mins
  • You like the view and scenery
  • You are driving in a car and OK with bit of steep uphill drive on muddy road with lose gravel followed by about a km of trekking to reach the fort area

Nearby: Mirjan Fort * Gokarna * Honnavara * Yana


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