Kavaledurga Fort is a slice of forgotten history amidst the Western Ghats. The Fort is a marvellous piece of engineering that includes complex defences and arrangements for rainwater harvesting. I had been to this fort several times. One of the most memorable trips was when my good friend Ashokavardhana and I purchased a new Honda 4 stroke bike. We wanted to break in the bike, so decided to cover three tourist destinations. We climbed Kundadri, Kotachadri and Kavaledurga on a single day.
This time I was with my friend Ajith Kamath. This particular day when I went there during an afternoon, the lighting was not conducive. So I used this opportunity to test HDR as a solution to afternoon harsh sun photography. Here I have used Canon EOS 70D with Canon EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USM lens for all these photos. All shots are captured as three shot and then converted to HDR. The auto bracket was at -2, 0, +2 setting and three shots are captured. All shots were handheld. They are processed using Lightroom so as to give more natural feeling HDR. Even though I have captured quite a lot of photos, I am present only few in this blog. Rest may be featured in the future blogs. In this blog, I am only concentrating on Fortification as well fort structures.
Kavaledurga is a modification of Kavalu Durga (guarding fort in Kannada). Part of the famous historical Nagarkhanda Banvasi area of Malenad region Kavaledurga is a forgotten price of history. Built by Mallava Kings in the 9th century as Bhuvanagiri Durga, this fort has seen several kings as well wars.
Mallava kings belonged to Keladi near Sagar. They built others forts we can see at Ikkeri and Nagara. Kavaledurga area was with two brothers, Tholethamma & Mandigethamma. Mallava’s defeated them to take possession of the hilly region in the 9th century and built this fort and named it as Bhuvanagiri Durga. Bahmani Sultan Adil Shah seemed to have attacked the fort in the 14th century to take possession and damaged it. King Cheluva Rangappa who took possession from them later, renovated it in the 14th century. In the 15th century, Venkatappa Nayaka of Keladi kingdom built a palace, horse and elephant stable inside the fort, along with several temples we see now.
Famous rulers of Mallava like Shivappa Nayaka, Rani Chenammaji and Rani Veerammaji ruled this fort. When the fugitive son of Shivaji, Rajaram escaped from Raigad Fort from clutches Aurangzeb, he took shelter in this same fort. Keladi Rani Chennammaji fought the jungle warfare which frustrated the Mughals, and the Mughals proposed peace accord for the first time with an Indian ruler, Keladi Chennamma ensured safe travel of Rajaram to Jingi by fighting the Mughals where he reached after a month and a half long journey on 1 November 1689. In the 18th century, Hyder Ali & Tipu Sultan took possession of the fort.
The fort consists of seven tier fortification. It uses the natural contour of granite hill and deep valley. Every fortification gets enforced with large granite stones. Each of them possesses a large gateway with guard quarters on both sides. Three temples survive at the top of the fort from supposedly fifteen. Kavaledurga was a taluk headquarters until 1882. Later shifted to Thirthahalli.
The fort walls built of granite blocks range from 30 to 40 ft in height. There are watch towers at strategic places. The entire fort is around 8 km in circumference with two types of defences. The village itself had two lines of fortification, while the fort had five lines of fortifications, following the natural contour of the hillocks. The original structure had guard houses flanking each gateway.
This Fort is in ruins to a large extent and what remain are two fortresses and three shrines. There were 15 temples of which only three temples are visible today are Sri Lakshmi Narayana, Kashi Vishwanatha and Shikareshwara The remains of the ones splendid and magnificent royal palace with Darbar Hall takes us back to the past. We can also see the remains of the Jail, Ammunition house, swimming pools, Ghalige Battalu (An ancient copper pot used for time measuring before the arrival of modern clocks and watches) and the Royal horse and elephant stable.
This fort has seven lakes and is always full with water till date even in summer. Rain harvesting technology was used by which all the water accumulated used to flow from the top of the fort to the bottom through a specially constructed water channel. Even the natural water flowing from the mountains through the dense forest was made to flow through the water channel into the lakes. Even today the water flows from one lake to another through the underground channel and gets accumulated into the big lake below the fort hill, and from here it again flows through a channel through the village and joins another lake, Thimmarasa Nayakana Kere.
I have also created several Panorama of Kavaledurga fortifications. Four are 180 degrees panorama, and one is 360×180 cylindrical panorama. These are all stitched using several HDR slices and merged in Lightroom as Panorama.
Panorama of the second set of fortification taken from the bottom
Panorama of the second set of fortification taken from the top of the steps
Kashi Vishwanatha Temple 180 degre panorama
360×180 panorama from top of the fort, Varahi catchment area can be seen.
180 panorama showing zig zag steps in all their glory.