Today I visit he birthplace of Tipu Sultan for a photo-walk. For all the sad things he did, he also did some good things..
A tale written in blood
Devanahalli is a small town on the outskirts of Bangalore not more than 40 mins away on the NH7 Highway. Devanahalli Fort is one of the rare forts in Karnataka to be built on flat ground. Because of this very structural weakness it has seen many rulers since the 1500’s. The fort was originally built in 1501 by Malla Byre Gowda, son of a refugee from Kanchipuram in Tamil Nadu. It was made of only mud back then. It remained under the control of his descendants till 1747, until the Dalwai of Mysore attacked and occupied the fort. Subsequently Devanahalli was usurped by the Marathas.
Later the fort was taken over by Hyder Ali and his successor Tipu Sultan. It was during the reign of Hyder Ali that this fort was converted from mud to the present stone fort. Finally in 1791 the control of the fort passed to the British under Lord Cornwallis.
Ride to Devanahalli
I woke up early and by 5 a.m I was out on the road looking for a bus. I caught a bus to Kempe Gowda Bus Stand. I was surprised when I reached there in 30 minutes. In daytime it usually takes around 2 hours to reach there, such is the beast, the Bangalore traffic! I didn’t have to wait much for a bus to Devanahalli. On the way as I was passing the Airport stretch, I saw the sun looking like a golden ball on the horizon rising in the background of a bunch of teak trees. The bus dropped me off at the back side of the fort. I had to walk some 10 mins to get to the fort. The road to the fort is full of monkeys loitering around. I was surprised to see the inside of the fort encroached by small slum type houses.
The ruins of a fort
On the insides of the entrance gates one can see some intricate artwork. There is a gate on the left right after the entrance gate that leads to the fortified walls. All along the caponier, gun points are provided at regular intervals through which soldiers could shoot at the enemy, staying hidden. I counted 13 semi-circular bastions at regular intervals all around the circumference of the fort. As I walked along the caponier, I could easily make out the rot that has settled in. The 500 year old heritage structure is slowly weathering away due to neglect and apathy of the government. The walls of the fort have developed cracks in many places and parts of it have also collapsed. The locals living inside the prohibited/protected area in the immediate vicinity of the fort are the main culprits. Most heritage buildings inside the fort have already been demolished to build their residences. The remaining few are being used as residential units.
The Jain Temple
After spending some time at the fort, I began walking towards a small hill a kilometer away. At the top is a newly built Jain Temple. The priest was just getting things ready for the prayers. Since I was alone and there was no one around, he allowed me to take some pictures inside even though its not permitted under normal circumstances.
Eventually I walked back to the bus stop and caught a bus to Majestic Bus Station. I was back home by around 12 noon.
How to reach Devanahalli
- It doesn’t take more than 40 mins to reach by car
- If you want to take a bus, there are a few available from Kempe Gowda Bus Station. They charge around Rs. 24 and takes around an hour to reach.
Use of tripod is not allowed. If caretaker sees you he will warn you. One has to take permission.