May 15, 2011

Hooli Fort

First glimpse of Hooli fort was during my first visit to Hooli village, the day we visited Parasgad fort. It was after sunset I noticed a stone structure at the top of the rock hill... I guessed it must be a watch tower but instinct said there must be a fort. Somehow missed checking it with the locals. Ever since the day I wanted to go up the hill and check if Hooli had a fort.

April 2, 2011. I arrived at Hooli from Amminabhavi. I drove straight to Hari Mandir, a group of elderly people were chatting. I told them about my plan of exploring the fort. The friendly people appointed Ningappa as my guide.

That's one of the many temples we passed by with the hill in the background.

There's Ningappa posing in front of Nandikeswara Temple.

We went straight up, it was almost as good as climbing a stair-case. The entire hill is one huge rock-bed. Local people run a full time business of quarrying stones from here. You see the black patch in the picture below, that's rubber laid down by tractors.

That's Hooli lake. According to Ningappa, when the lake gets filled to the brim, it is capable of lasting for 3 years. The lake is fed by two streams flowing down from the hills. few years back lake water was used for irrigating agricultural land but some villagers jammed the sluice gates so that water is used only for cattle and people's needs.

We move up. That's the fort... I was told by village folks that it's just a heap of stones. Description is almost on mark.

This father & son duo were gathering firewood. They were thrilled to pose for the picture. The little boy was asking his dad why I was taking pictures. In the background are two bastions, this is supposed to be the main entrance. For local people into stone-business this fort was an easy source of dressed stones.

The inside is equally pathetic. A naturally formed water tank. A tank in which Ningappa played as a kid and teenager. He would come here almost everyday herding cattle to graze.

Google Map screen-shot

A - Main entrance
B - Water tank
C - Well
D - Palace ruins

It seems the fort was in a much better shape. Ningappa remembers taking shelter under one of the bastions during rains. Looking from the main door, the wall running East-West.

Again, looking from the main door, wall running South-North.

Remains of the palace and a bastion in the background.

The well. Notice the stone bucket in the fore-ground, that was for horses to drink water from. From outside walls look simple but take a look inside.

A pipeline returns spilled water back into the well. People back then used to conserve water.

Now we are standing on the remains of North-East bastion looking back into the fort. Terrible mess!

Looking along the Northern wall.

The Eastern wall. Young Ningappa's shelter at the end of this wall is in ruins now.

A portion of the wall still intact.

We walked around the fort... the outer part of the Western wall is in a much better shape.

That's it! No information about who built it or when it was built. But the look of the well is similar to the wells of Subapur fort. Hooli Fort could be constructed during Chartapati Shivaji's era.

We walked away from the fort towards Sivakasi, one of the temples where pooja is still performed on daily basis. On the way we happened to see this abandoned image of Lord Ganesha.

I could see signs of hectic activity all over the hill. At this rate ecology is at stake. Ningappa kept telling me to come again during Shravanamasa i.e. August-September, the entire hill would be green, scattered with fresh-water ponds and alive with streams, cascades, waterfalls, cattle and cowherds. As we spoke Ningappa suggested we visit Varavi Siddeshwara Temple... 30 minutes walk from here or we could take the road. I chose the road.

The roads I traveled.

Hooli Fort Coordinates: 15°48'11"N 75°11'41"E


1 comment:

Ace said...

Loos like missed this fort during my Hooli Panchalingeshwara temple visit. The Ganesha in stone is fabulous.