April 30, 2011
The drive between Mundargi and Shrimantgad was interesting. Plenty of hills and roads flowing through the valleys. Most hills were covered with shrubs and trees. Few hills had windmills towering over them and we could see activities of setting up new wind farms. We took a wrong turn at Belavadi towards Shirhatti and ended up travelling a round about route. I realized my mistake- should have asked for Havalavvagudda instead of Shirhatti (shortest route from Mundargi to Shrimantgad is via Bannikoppa, Suganahalli and Belahatti). Few kilometers from Shirhatti, we took a turn towards Varvi, a village known for Muneshwara Matha. We stopped at the Matha for some time. It was around 12-30 when we reached Shrimantgad. Local people call it Havalavvagudda but officially it is Shrimantgad.
The drive up the hill is a short one. I stopped few times to take these 3 shots on the way up.
Google map grab of the fort.
A - Gateway
B - Havalamma Gudi
C - Flag Bastion
D - Secret passage
E - Water tank
We park the car close to the gateway and walked to the flag bastion. I wanted to walk the entire perimeter of the fort. I start off clock-wise. The portion where I'm standing on has been repaired. Thanks to the people involved in maintaining this fort. That's the flag bastion at the end of the wall.
Steps like these at regular intervals. Walls in this part of the fort are at the tallest.
As seen from the flag bastion.
A small passage. This is one of the 5 or 6 I could spot. I wonder why so many, they would compromise security. Of course they would be heavily guarded yet I fail to understand why so many. Chitradurga fort, a much bigger fort had just one known secret passage which eventually was used by enemies to enter and capture.
No that's not how thick the wall is, its 3 times wider than it appears. The outer side is higher than the inner side to shield soldiers walking on the wall.
I came out through that little passage.
Sad to see this fort crumbling away. Not an easy job to maintain forts but if taken seriously all our monuments could be preserved and protected. Perhaps our government can stop building Vidhana Soudhas and money could be spent on preserving our history.
Standing on one of the bastions... you can see a seat in ruins on the right.
Looking along the wall from the bastion.
That's Havalamma Temple in the background. The annual fair held here is attended by thousand of people.
The hill's gets narrower and steeper from here. The walls are not as high and stand on edges.
Looking back the way I came. Close to here the wall takes a U-turn.
Now I'm on the northern side looking at the tank to capture rain water. Close to this is the temple.
I was tired and uncomfortable after the walk around the fort. The break was welcome. At the temple a little boy showed me the way to a water tap. The wash freshened me up. The temple is small. During the pooja a man sitting in the temple played his drum as the poojari waved the holy flame at the Goddess. The sound of drum broke the silence of the place for a minute.
The little boy asked me to have Prasad. Right on time, I was hungry. Yellappa and I sat in a tiled roof hall right next to the temple and had anna-saru. Saru was spicy and tasty, I asked for a second helping. We washed our plates and put them back on the serving table. Said bye to the little boy and his father. They were in charge of serving Prasad to visitors.
At the temple office we inquired for a book about the place, no such luck. There's no information board about this place. Shrimantgad could have been under Chatrapati Shivaji... that's my guess. ...should've inquired with the temple priest.
Here's one of the two videos shot at Shrimantgad.
We head towards Laxmeshwar, the temple village.
Shrimantgad Fort Coordinates: 15°6'54"N 75°36'43"E