Saturday, July 7, 2012
Situated 300 km from Bangalore is the spectacular and historic Bellary Fort, which sits atop Ballari Gudda, otherwise known as the Fort Hill. During the Vijayanagara era this fort was built by Hanumappa Nayaka. In 1769, Hyder Ali of Mysore stormed the fort and occupied it. The fort was then renovated by a French engineer who, according to legend, was executed because he miscalculated its height, making it visible from a hill called Kumbara Gudda, and thus compromised its military location. The French engineer's grave can still be found at the east gate of the fort. The Bellary Fort is home to an Upper Fort or Fort Hill (constructed by Nayak) and a Lower Fort or Face Hill (constructed by Ali), symbolizing the two rulers. The only way to get to the Upper Fort is to navigate a rocky, winding path over boulders. This polygonal walled site has no garrison room. On the other hand, the lower fort is easily accessible from two gates from the western and eastern sides respectively. A Hanuman temple, the Kote Anjaneya Temple, is located at the eastern side of the fort. The lower fort housed barracks and arsenals. The British added their own structures in the Lower Fort including stores, a post office, a church, an orphanage and private homes. Today, one can find a number of public buildings and other institutions.