Jun 21, 2014

Shahapur fort - part 3

..continued from Shahapur fort - part 2.
The uphill climb to western fort was again a thorny trek.. stepping over thorny twigs and brushed by overhanging thorny branches. Several months have passed by since the trek yet thorns remain embedded in my pair of Woodland. Whenever these shoes land over a stone or anything uneven, those thorns poke my sole.. painful at times.. another kind of souvenir :)

Pair of arched windows in the gateway.

Once inside the fort we had to negotiate a wet and slippery patch of rock. With Kamanna leading me, it was an effortless climb. In the valley, close to the fort wall is a large water tank. Locals call it Hathi Bawli ~ a tank for elephants to bathe.

Soon we reached the Kote Hanuman temple. Just behind the temple is a small shrine for three Lingas sculpted in the rock. This shrine will have a story of its own, some connection to our legendary tales like Ramayana or Mahabharata. This Hanuman shrine though ancient, the structure looks recent perhaps built during the Muslim rule.

The temple has its own water tank, again fresh and clean water. Kamanna said that people perform rituals regularly and believe in the powers of this shrine. I think this pond is called Mandakini Honda.

A short distance to climb and we reach the west end. View of the pond, Hanuman temple, the valley and eastern fort.

On the summit, its pretty flat here, more pits and ponds.
Kamanna waiting at the western tip, looking down Tavarekere ~ Lotus Lake. He seems to reminiscing his childhood days.. probably the days he learned swimming or fishing. I remember Kamanna telling their family members are fishermen by profession.
There's Tavarekere, the largest source of water for Shahapur fort, well protected by rocky hillocks. The sight was mesmerizing, I wish to come back one day and explore the lake bank and the hills beyond. Deep in the hills is another shrine which Kamanna wanted me to see but time was a constraint. Well, some other day..
The ever smiling Kamanna poses on a rock. All the while he carried my backpack.

Walls perched precariously on the western end of the hill. Note the gateway on the lower wall.

This shallow circular pit caught my attention. It's shaped like a oil lamp. This probably is man made, a place to eat food. Many places in North Karnataka have an ancient custom, during one of the festivals people prepare food at home and visit shrines on rocky hills. Rituals are performed and offerings are made to the deities. After rituals food is consumed without plates, instead items are served on a flat patch on the rocks as seen here. Of course the place is washed with water before placing food on it. Usually few items are prepared.. anna, saru, palya ~ rice, curry and a vegetable dish.

With Sun descending fast it was time to leave, we still have a long way to go. However, Kamanna suggested we take a different route, we'll not climb the eastern hill again rather we'll walk around the base. This path is well tread, people come here to gather firewood or graze cattle and sheep.

This path went past the tamarind trees and fields we saw from hill top (see Shahapur fort - part 1) where Mounesh was working. That's Mounesh, Kamanna's childhood friend.

Ruins of the eastern fort looming over our path.
Another view of eastern fort from the ground below. In fact we are on Shahapur hills, on the middle level. The path as a gradual slope weaving between rocks. One of the rocks bore an ancient etching very similar to two etchings at Yadgiri fort. The geometric etchings consist of symmetric concentric arcs.. no idea what it symbolizes.

We soon reached the spot where Kamanna and I met.

His sack was still there, undisturbed :) He hauled his sack on his shoulder and we continued our descent. He moved so easily despite carrying the load. I was slow but it is better to be safe than sorry. In fact Kamanna would often tell me be careful with these slippery blocks, he would turn back and check if I was OK.

Back at the cab, Kamanna gave us more baarikai, Suresh the cab driver loved the taste, he was very happy to be having these wild berries. Kamanna asked us to meet at a place close to his house where we could have tea. When we caught up he was looking fresh. We exchanged contact numbers and I noted his address to send his pictures. He introduced his father and brother. I was glad to have met Kamanna, it was a wonderful afternoon. It was dark, the day was hectic and we were tired. Time to say bye to my friend.

This is the ancient gateway to Shahapur fort on the plains, its right next to Shahapur-Shorapur road.

Shahapur fort is one of the largest I've seen. Sadly the walls are crumbling and its condition seems to deteriorating fast. It needs to be protected and preserved.
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