May 4, 2013

Navarang Darwaza, Raichur fort

December 26, 2012

The last day of our 5-day trip. Our plan for the day was to visit Raichur fort's northern gate 'Navarang Darwaza' and then travel back to Dharwad. We met our friend from Raichur, Veerayya Swamy near the railway over-bridge. We had to take a round about because the bridge was under major repair. We followed Veerayya Swamy's Honda Activa all the way to our destination. The entrance gate looked like it was closed and locked but our friend pushed the gate and lead us into the security complex. The front portion is an open air museum. We got introduced to the care-taker who showed us around a bit.

The five gates ~ Darwaza of Raichur fort are Navarang in the north, Kati in the east, Khandak in the south, Doddi in the south-west and and Mecca in the west. This is a rough plan of Navarang Darwaza.

A - courtyard
B - central courtyard and museum
C - monument entrance and open air museum

We started our tour of Navarang Darwaza from point A. We are very close to the curved entrance but a grill gate blocked our path. Walls are solid, 20' to 25' high.

If we went through that passage we would have gone through the curved passage and be outside the fort.

As per a signage Navarang Darwaza was built in 1294 CE. The gateway is revered by Hindus because of the presence of sculptures depicting various scenes from Hindu epics Mahabharata and Ramayana. Sculptures include scenes of Cows listening to Krishna's flute, Krishna sitting on a tree after stealing Gopikas' dresses, Avatars of Vishnu, Bedara Kannappa offering his eyes to Shiva Linga, Slaying of Hiranya Kashipu, Narasimha and Prahlad, Shanta Narasimha, Ravana abducting Sita, Slaying of Jatayu, Vali-Sugreeva duel, Hanuman visiting Sita in Lanka, Rama and Vibhishana, Ravana fighting Rama and monkey army, Lav-Kush capturing Rama's Ashwamedha horse, battle between Rama and Lav-Kush and other sculptures.

Images of Hanuman, Vali-Sugreeva, and other characters.

This is the central courtyard with a viewing gallery on one side. A huge net is fixed to keep out pigeons.

Sculptures of various forms of Narasimha seen on lower parts of columns.

These are the various sculptures on display. That must be Vishnu & Laxmi. Was this standing Ganapa part of a window grill.

Vishnu and Laxmi on Sesa.

Bedara Kannappa offering his remaining eye to Shiva.

A Vaishnava monk and Lord Hanuman.

Hero-stones. A pair of entwined serpents flanked by tiny serpents. Fish and flowers form a wavy pattern - this is a rare art form.

Another hero-stone.

A damaged slab with Telugu inscription. This inscription is different from the ones seen earlier because it has a face embossed at the top.

A Devi with 5 heads and 5 pairs of hands. That's the museum care-taker.

Another hero-stone. This man looks like a pirate because of his bandana.

A wide stairway leads to the terrace. This design was required for quick movement of soldiers during emergencies.

The viewing gallery seen from the central courtyard.

Beyond the fort walls are modern buildings..
This is the inner side of the security complex.

That's Raichur forts innermost and highest point as seen from Navarang Darwaza.

It was good of Veerayyaswamy for insisting on visiting this monument. We thanked him and promised to be in touch.

Here's a link to the video of Navarang Darwaza by Malatesh.

Coordinates:   16°12'25"N   77°21'9"E


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