Jan 24, 2011

Yellur Fort

I had seen this hill from a cousin's place in Belgaum long time back ...late 90s. I cannot remember if I asked my cousin about the hill but ever since I laid my eyes on it I wanted to visit it. Recently, that's after I started with this blog and my research on forts I happen to come across Yellur fort which happens to be the one I saw 11 years back.

About a fortnight ago I read about Belgaum International Kite Festival scheduled for January 16th and 17th. I'd never seen a kite festival and decided to visit this one. While exploring new places or events I normally plan for multiple places... Yellur got added to Sunday's itinerary. Suresh mama, maternal uncle, agreed to accompany.

We left Dharwad Sunday morning 9:30, terribly late by my standards. By 10:15 we were at Wadgoan, asking for directions to Yellur. Road to Yellur is full of twists & turns and flanked by farms... sugarcane and bengalgram were the crops of the season. We could Yellurgad in the background. Yellur is a large village with a medium sized tank. At Yellur we learnt that we need to reach Rajahansgad to take the road going uphill to the fort. Yellur - Rajahansgad road was littered with pot-holes, dry and dusty. We could mostly see hilly terrain covered with dry-grass. Half-way through we stopped to take a snap of the hill.

We are on the northern side of the hill.

Rajahansgad was about 2.5km. It's a small village located on the hill slope. Just outside the village is the road leading to Yellurgad. About 1km downhill the road dips into a stream bed. Here ends the metaled road. A Bolero and a WagonR were parked here. The uphill dirt track is littered with fist sized stones with narrow strips of clear tracks on either sides. I pushed my Maruti 800 gently up the track... 200m uphill the gradient increased... front wheels started spinning. I had no plans of ruining the tires, I stopped, reversed and parked to a side.

As we went up the hill, two boys on a Honda Unicorn were riding down. Further up the hill we saw another group of adults and kids coming down. Early morning is the right time to be here.

Anyway... we could see the fort looming above us.

The gateway to the fort is designed to confuse enemies.

The gateway is designed to surrounded visitors on 3 sides. Check them and then let them in.

The fort is more or less in good condition except for few damaged parts. Right opposite the gateway, inside is a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva.

Yellurgad offers a commanding view of the surrounding areas; it's supposed to be the highest peak in Belgaum district. This could be a major watch tower of which ever kingdom it belonged to. However the fort has a small shelter (for soldiers to rest and sleep) right next to the main door ...probably a handful of them were stationed and a bigger group lived in a camp down the hill.

There's not a single information board here. No idea who and when the fort was built.

A Kalyani. By the looks of the step, this fort could be constructed by any of the Maratha kings - that's my guess.

Ruins of a small temple or a house next to the Kalyani.

This is the inside of the existing temple dedicated to Shivalinga.

The lady, in this undated picture, is a singer by name Kalavatidevi of Belgaum. This photo was on the wall right above entrance to the inner temple.

A mini temple next to main temple.

One of the twin shelters which are part of the fort's gateway. This could be used as an office or residence.

I wanted to walk the foot-path etched around the fort and take few snaps along the wall but we had to leave for the kite festival. Also we were hungry. One last snap shot from Rajahansgad. Hope to visit again sometime October 2012... part of the year when fields are green.

I thought a road-map could help visitors new to this area. Do click on the image to enlarge it.

If you ever plan to visit make sure you reach early... by 7 in the morning.

Yellurgad Coordinates: 15°45'25"N 74°31'36"E



Team G Square said...

Lovely write up , never heard of this fort . Will for sure visit this place when in that area .

rajshekar said...

The lady in the picture named "Kalavatidevi" was a saint and not a singer. She is fondly called as "Aai" meaning mother.

siddeshwar said...

Rajshekar, thank you for pointing out the error ...I imagined Kalavatidevi was a singer of spiritual/devotional songs.

Ganapati Hegde said...

Nice write up. Yellur always fascinated me, whenever I used to view it from a passing train. I lived in Belgaum and this is the plce, whcih I still have not visited.

Thanks1 for the nice photgraphs.

Sandeep M said...

Thanks for uploading the pics of yellur fort.I'm from Belgaum itself..Wanted to share small info:
Yellur Gad(Rajhuns Gad),was ruled by Maratha King Shivaji Maharaj,This fort was basically used to maintain the documentary purpose during the wars with Portuguese(Goa) and was held as a resting place after the war with Portuguese..

siddeshwar said...

@ Sandeep Thank you for the informative comment.

Sandeep M said...

You're most welcome Sid..