Apr 17, 2013

Roudkunda fort

I discovered two forts from Raichur district website- Roudkunda and Mukkunda. Both are hill forts,  situated in Sindhanoor taluk, close to Koppal-Raichur district borders and also close to Tungabhadra river. Both places are said to be Neolithic sites.

December 22, 2012
It was almost 5-30 PM when we arrived at Roudkunda. We got delayed because of a stop to get the flat-tire fixed and also the interior roads' condition. This was maiden a journey for most of us in Raichur's paddy belt. This entire area is irrigated by canals and economy thrives here because of paddy cultivation. We happened to see neatly formed hay bales - this was something new to me.

Roudkunda has twin hills. This is the western face of fort hill and the village is on the eastern side of the hills. Though the fort hill is not really high its slopes are are steep and not friendly.

We stopped close to the tallest building in the village. We knew it was too late to climb, even with a guide. View of the hill fort was blocked by houses, trees, poles and electrical wires. We had to shoot from a height.. We saw a group of youngsters in the building premises and asked them permission to shoot from the roof. As we spoke we got introduced to Somashekhar Malipatil, he's an employee of the bank housed in the building. Notice the mutilated eastern face of the hill - quarrying. Somashekhar told us that quarrying activity was banned because of village folks opposition.

There are no walls seen at the lower or middle levels of the hill. A lone watch tower sits at the top. According to the district website, this fort seems to be of 16th or 17th century.

Somashekhar treated us with tea. We still had a 2½ hour drive ahead of us to reach Raichur. We exchanged phone numbers and said bye. I promised to come back and climb the hill some day.

March 8, 2013
This was the 3rd of the 4-day trip to Davangere, Bellary & Raichur districts. Earlier in the day we had visited several historical places in northern part of Bellary, after a lunch-break at Shirguppa we moved into Sindhanur taluq, Raichur district. First we visited Mukkunda fort and then traveled to Roudkunda. On the smaller hill is the fort.

At the village, we parked our cab at exactly the same spot during our previous visit. We got directions as to where to start the climb. As Ravi, Malatesh and I walked towards the hill we met two boys who agreed to show us the hill. The climb was really steep. Ravi and Malatesh took one route while I took a less steeper one. In a matter of minutes two more boys joined us :)

Malatesh could not negotiate a narrow ledge and returned to the point where we had separated. He took the less steeper route and joined us.

 
Some more boys joined us.. we had a platoon guiding us up the hill. The boys themselves were not sure of the path, so we had to explore and find a way to the summit. Ravi who was ahead of us told us he saw a python. By the time I reached the spot, it was out of sight. Finally we reached the summit. This small hill is really wild and tough. Suddenly it occurred to me that we would be responsible for the boys' safety. I looked around, the gang was scattered, kids running and jumping around all over the place. The first thing to be done was to run a head count. They were nine boys. Next, we have to keep them together, so I told them to pose for a picture. The idea worked! That's our gang :-)

 Roudkunda village in the background.

That is the burj ~ tower. Somashekhar had told that young men of the village hoist the Indian flag atop this tower on Independence/Republic days.

The fort is small, apart from this tower there is no other major structure.

Going by the color of the rocks, stones for this burj seems to be sourced from this hill itself. Many of the boys wanted to climb to the top but I was not comfortable taking the entire gang up there. More the doorway was pretty high too.

Walls can be seen only on the western face of the hill. In the background is the bigger hill of Roudkunda. Quoting a para about Roudkunda, from Raichur district official website: The place seems to be an ancient one, since it is one of the important Neolithic sites in the district. To the west of the village, there are two hillocks, one of them having a small fort on it belonging to the 16th or 17th century A.D. Artifacts were found in abundance both in the valley between the two hillocks and on the slopes of the hillock having the fort.

The fort wall seems incomplete, construction might be abandoned for some reason. Roudkunda is surrounded by paddy fields which stretch as far as the horizon.

The gang stuck together. Most of them were excited, eager to show something or the other. They were really happy :-)

We decided to descend while it was still light. Close to the fort entrance was a rain-water tank, we had missed it on the way in. I feel this tank was created first and later the tower.

Going down was easir because we knew the way. However, we had to be extremely alert  because of the steepness. Very close to the base of the hill, Ravi slid down a smooth stretch of rock and the boys loved it. They would slide down, run back up and slide down again and again, yelling with joy :-) it was a great way to end a day.. we had made a bunch of kids happy and we were happy too.

On the way back to the cab, I showed them the video of Malatesh playing the musical rocks at Mudgal fort in my mobile phone. Each of them watched and listened in complete silence. Their obedience touched my heart. Back at the bank premises, we meet up with Somashekhar. We get biscuits of the boys and tea for the ourselves. We promise the boys to send their pictures and say bye to our hosts and friends.. back to Bellary.


Roudakunda fort coordinates: 15°40'38"N   76°46'16"E

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1 comment:

Saru Singhal said...

Beautiful places, there is some charm in exploring such places. Good that village came forward to protect the beauty of the first place.