Feb 25, 2012

Kelur Fort ~ ಕೆಲೂರ್ ಕೋಟೆ

Kelur fort is the fifth hill fort of the day. The ones visited earlier are- Belur, Wakandurga, Chikanal and Gudur -in this order. In all five cases villages are the bases of the hills.

We drove off Gudur-Aihole road towards Kelur village. We got directions to reach the hill. Motorable road ended near the government school. We parked and I started looking out for a guide. I finally managed to get few reluctant kids to agree. Just outside the village, we walked across a almost dry stream. Five minute walk we reached a pond right next to the hill and very close to the pond is a group of four ancient temples.

Google Map image of the fort and pond. Kelur village is north-east of the fort.

A - Lake
B - Temples
C - Bastion
D - Hollow Bastion
E - Temple

That's Kelur fort

and the temples surrounded by tall trees. Village folk use this pond to wash clothes, bathe themselves and their cattle. Opposite the temples is a small open field, a hang out for village boys. A game of cricket was in progress.

Closer look at the temples. The one farthest seems to be the oldest.

From here we trekked uphill through a dusty cattle trod path embedded with mud-coated slippery rocks. It was still hot. We paused for a quick rest. I wondered how this place would be after a good rainy season ...place would be alive with streams flowing down the slopes into the pond below. Perhaps a waterfall here and there. Back to reality, this region barely received rainfall this season.

One of the four bastions. This is similar to the one at Belur fort. From the architecture this seems to be built during Chatrapathi Shivaji's time. Two of my four guides take a break from the Sun. The boys are standing in a space barely 5 feet wide. One wrong step ...it would be a 30 feet fall.

The other side of the bastion and a rampart wall going up the slope. The bastion is hollow just like the one at Belur fort.

A narrow entry-exit point at the top. Through the opening a horizontal beam can be seen.

The space enclosed with the walls of the fort. Let me introduce my guides; Shivaraj is the one in red and the kid in yellow is Yellappa. Having worked at construction sites in Poona, Shivaraj considers himself street-smart and leader of sorts. Yellappa is his side-kick.

Condition of this bastion is not as good as the earlier one. Some how the boys seem to be impatient to move on.

This is supposed to be a temple of some sort. One of them mentioned that a tunnel from inside connects to the village below.

The boys were eager to take me to the plateau above to show a cleft... Phadi nod-barri. Half a kilometer walk from the fort we ran into shepherds With a good rainy season, a stream would be cascading down this rocky valley.

My other two guides- the one in red-white shirt is Suresh aka Surya and to his left is Basavraj aka Basu in navy blue shorts. These two were the friendly ones. Just below the rock Surya and Basu are standing on is a water-hole in the rocks, a source of drinking water in this rocky hill. Shepherd's use this water all the time. Water is available even in summer.

The shepherds. The man to the left is Shekappa Gadgyappa Chaluri. The goat is drinking water from the steel box.

We take a different path back to the fort. On the way I could see agricultural plots.

Kelur fort ruins. The fort gives a good view of the surrounding hills. No doubt a strategic point for a fort.

I zoomed into the bastion trying to get a look inside the bastion. Its a multipurpose structure; store-house for food grains & weapons, a watch tower, shelter for sentries...

We walk down the slope back towards the pond.

A cactus commonly seen in these hills.

Surya badly wanted me to take his picture with this bunch of flowers. I asked him if it was for a girl-friend. He said he wanted to keep it at home but the boys did nto believe him. They teased him some girl's name. Shivaraj suggested he should be giving either roses or marigold. Marigold!?

One last looks at the fort.

Back at the village, I noted an address to post their pictures which I did.

Back home, one afternoon I got a call from Chikanal postman to confirm the shepherd's identity. Also he was skeptical about the content of the envelope addressed to the one of the boys ...he said its unusual for minors to be receiving letters. When I told the envelopes contained pictures taken during my visit, he was OK.

Next destination for the day was Siddhankolla known as Sidhankal in archaeological circles. Siddanakolla is about 10km from Kelur.

Kelur Fort co-ordinates: 15°58'30"N 75°54'23"E


1 comment:

Team G Square said...

Wow , nice to know about this fort .Thanks for the detailed post .