Feb 16, 2013

Varlakonda fort

Mid 1990s
Having driven by Varlakonda hill several times I dreamed of climbing it.

August 14, 2012
After Gummanayakana Kote and Gudibande forts, we passed by Varlakonda but it was a bit too late to start a climb.

Varlakonda is right next to NH7, about 80 kms from Bengaluru. The east-west oriented hill looks like a long fish in bird's eye view, measuring about 1400m in length and 375m at the widest point.

August 14, 2012
The long time wish came true, finally. I had left home early morning when it was still dark. Sudhakar's driving was consistent. We passed by Nandi Betta and Skandagiri around 7-15 AM.

After a quick stop for breakfast we reached Varlakonda. Close to the base of the hill, we managed to get a guide.. that would be Ramappa. The initial climb was steep and rough, I had to hold on to shrubs for support. After a 10 minute climb we reached ruins of a low wall. That's Varlakonda village and NH13 right next to it.

The outer most wall of Varlakonda fort. Though the wall is not high its not easy to climb over it.

We reach a stage where the surface is less steep, in fact it was almost horizontal in some places. That's Ramappa in front of a short flight of steps, perhaps the fort entrance.

Further up we come across a rain water tank. With monsoon failing this year, the tank is almost dry.

Varlakonda's version of Siteya Seragu.

We encounter the second ring of wall, nothing much is left of the wall though.

Behind the wall are ruins of several structures which are believed to be houses. Ramappa has no idea who built this fort.

After a twenty five minute climb we reach the summit. More ruins of walls and houses. A small temple dedicated to Lord Rama stands here. Of the two pillars one is broken.

On the broken pillar are some characters which could be Halegannada characters.

Local folks perform rituals here, perhaps once a week. The pillars indicate the temple could be of Vijayanagara times.
A sparsely decorated temple taken care of by village folks.

We continue our tour of the hill beyond the temple. The protective wall around the temple too has collapsed.

Behind the temple is a lone stone structure standing close to the edge of a steep face. This could be a sentry house. Close to the stone house is another rain water tank.

Even this pond is dry :(
The western slope is much steeper than the eastern one, can't be scaled easily.

Nothing much to see here, we decide to turn back. On the way back, past the rain water tank was this formation.. frogs' cave.

Further down I saw some interesting looking natural designs in rock surface, This one looked like a lotus.

The entire tour lasted about an hour and half. Ramappa would be climbing again with his herd of goats.

Besides Varlakonda fort, there are seven more forts in the vicinity-
  • Gummanayakana Kote
  • Gudibande Fort
  • Makalidurga
  • Skandagiri fort
  • Nandidurga
  • Kundana
  • Devanahalli fort

Varlakonda fort coordinates: 13°38'12"N   77°46'41"E


ಕನಸು ಕಂಗಳ ಹುಡುಗ said...

s... nice photos and place...

siddeshwar said...

Thank you, Raghu.

Team G Square said...

There are some stone circles and dolmen on the eastern slope of the hill .http://teamgsquare.blogspot.in/2011/10/mysterious-stone-cricles-varlakonda.html

siddeshwar said...

@ TGS my guide could not locate the stone circle :(