I heard Haliyal has a fort while I was researching forts in Karnataka. I decided to check it out one of the weekends. Deepawali morning, with one of my maternal uncles, I was driving towards Haliyal. I noticed a board pointing to the right "Bada Lake 1 km". I assumed it must be a big lake and turned right towards Bada. It was a disappointment! We saw many such boards at almost every village Nigadhi Lake, that lake, this lake, etc. We were cruising through the jungles and I noticed a scorpion in the middle of the road. I stopped, reversed and parked the car to a side.
I was happy to shoot my first scorpion video.
Soon we were in Haliyal, we went past the bus-stand and drove through the narrow lanes to the outskirts of the town. People were busy shopping for Deepawali and we were sight-seeing... The fort walls made of large boulders stood about 25 to 30 feet tall. We drove through the narrow gateway leading into the fort. I saw two locals walking by, I stopped to fin out some information about the fort.
The locals- C B Shetty and S A Patil -were friendly and happy to share what they knew. It seems Kadambas of Goa built this fort first. Later the fort was under Chatrapathi Shivaji. During the 19th century, it was under the Britishers. Britishers used to conduct court inside the fort. Sangolli Rayanna had captured this fort from Britishers.
That must be an entrance to an underground passage.
The three elders were busy chatting away. Both Mr.Patil and Mr.Shetty seemed to know a lot about Haliyal fort. I heard about Mallikarjuna temple when asked if there's anything else apart from these walls. We asked them to show us around is they were free. I was glad they did.
Mallikarjuna temple is just beside the northern wall with the lake directly ahead of it. The lake covers about 25% of Haliyal fort's perimeter. This is the rear portion of the temple...
That's the shikhara... Chalukya or Kadamba architecture? I'm not sure.
...and this is the front portion which faces the lake. The temple is basically an old one with some additions made about 50 years back such as the front stone wall and the cement grill work bordering the terrace.
A hero-stone on the right of the temple entrance.
A massive umbrella shaped tree covers the temple front yard. This is an ideal spot for people to spend some peacefully.
Few yards away from the temple are these two stones with inscriptions on them.
The inscriptions are not very deep and fading fast ...effect of natural elements sun, rain and wind. As if that's not enough some ignorant people have contributed to the damaged these invaluable relics.
Some more relics which are actually inside the adjoining park maintained by Karnataka Forest Department.
This park was created recently after B S Yediyurappa, our CM, sanctioned few lakh rupees for developing the inside of the fort. The park is designed to look like a forest and create awareness about flora and fauna in the wild.
Few benches like these have paintings of rare birds.
These cement models are pretty impressive.
I remember seeing a hippo, bison & it's calf, a tiger, monkeys and few others. Some of them are already in a state of neglect; I could see stones in the hippo's open mouth. It's so sad that our people love to destroy what's created for them.
Done with the fort, we headed towards Sri Tulaja Bhavani Temple in Bramhin Galli which is a couple of minutes walk from fort entrance. We were on dot for the afternoon Mangalarathi.
We invited our hosts for some snacks and tea. We let Mr.Patil and Shetty choose a place; Hotel Vijayalaxmi which is next to Urban Co-operative Bank at the other end of Bramhim Galli. We had kandabajji while KT (KT = khadak tea, tea made out of milk) was prepared. The best KT I ever tasted. We thanked out hosts for their and patience and parted.
Haliyal Fort Coordinates: 15°20'4"N 74°45'14"E