I've passed by Munvalli fort several times but never really bothered to venture inside. Here I am.
March 6, 2010.
We arrive at Munvalli from Subapur, via Tallur. On the way Shrikanth tells us his Indica had a flat. We stopped for a moment to take a snap. Believe me... it's Malaprabha river in the foreground not a gutter.
Shrikanth drops us off near the fort gate and goes of to get the tube fixed. The fort is surrounded by jaaligida a shrub with terribly pointed thorns. To an extent jaaligida has kept vandals away from the fort walls. We walk through the gateway, the twin doors are battered.
I was surprised to see a farmer cultivating a plot. We guessed all the land, which is not really much, within the fort is owned by one family. I'm not too sure, it must be Qilledhar family.
As we walk the small path, we met a youth, Manju, two minutes of talking casually bout the fort, he volunteered to be our guide. He showed us Udchammanagudi. Udchamma is a goddess, an avatar of Parvati (my guess) is quite popular in North Karnataka, especially Dharwad and Belgaum districts.
On the way to Hanuman temple, we stopped by to appreciate these bastions. In the background you can see another plot, a farmer was irrigating the cultivated land. It seems vegetables are grown here.
Left to right: Chetan, Neel, Manju and passers by we asked to join the group ...Manju knew them.
There's the temple. It's simply fabulous! It's a small temple but decorated with exquisite carvings. The architecture is similar to temples of Maharashtra.
Place was little tight and light was not favorable ...I still need to learn to shoot facing Sun.
The arch reminds me of Indo-Saracenic architecture. Art works on this temple are pretty to similar to works in Ibrahim Rouza, Bijapur.
I'm at loss of words to even describe this piece of work. I just cannot even imagine how those pillars and platform were created. Isn't mind-blowing?
I could get 5 of 6 panels, missed the top most. Each one of them is a unique theme. Bottom to top: Trace the band with your finger, you end up where you started. A lotus. A vase on a stand. 3 fishes with their heads together. I cannot make out the last one.
The platform support is elegant adorned with so many details; a chain runs around the neck of the support, floral carvings, two fish and a spiral. How did the artists imagine the combination? I wish i could travel back in time and see those artists at work.
I do not remember seeing anything this before. Three fish form a star. Chetan and I discussed a bit about it but failed to understand what the central triangular piece is. The symbol, to my eyes, depicts something powerful. If someone could explain...
Another no-start no-end maze. This one is much more complex.
A pendant hanging by a chain. take a closer look at this packed image, you'll find a crow, a parrot, two circular no-start no-end maze and two special creatures with dog's body and a pig's head. Amazing!!
These two pendants are pretty similar to 'pendants hanging by chain' at Inbrahim Rauza.
Another no-start no-end maze.
An array of floral and geometrical objects.
This little temple is at the top in my list of favorite temples.
I asked Manju if we could climb one of the bastions and get a good view of the entire fort. He was not sure but went exploring but no luck... either the shrubs blocked the way or the walls were too delicate to climb on. We gave up.
Manju told we could check from outside, I was skeptical but let Manju lead. The entire fort is surrounded by jaali-kanti. No way.
Our walk to the fort rear side did one good. We got to see four temples, two facing rows with two temples in each row. One temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, is maintained since the daily pooja goes on. The one we are looking at was the most beautiful one but neglected. The inside was filled with filth.
I guess it was 12 by then, all of us famished. We decided to end out tour and head to a restaurant.
The Google Map screenshot shows Munvalli Fort and Malaprabha snaking around.
A - Fort gateway
B - Hanuman Temple
C - Malaprabha river
D - Saundatti - Munvalli - Yeragatti road
E - Ancient temples
I invited Manju to join us for brunch. We had Pulav and Mangaluru Bajji. With the break we felt much better. Further we could catch up with some more rest during the ride to Toragal Fort- destination next.
If you are ever visiting or passing by Munvalli during day do stop at the fort and visit the Hanuman temple.
Munvalli Fort Coordinates: 15°51'17"N 75°7'24"E