Sep 7, 2013

Kanakuppe fort

March 6, 2013
The day went by swiftly, it was hectic, four forts already conquered- Arani, Uchangidurga, Kardidurga and Hosadurga -and we were looking forward to the fifth.. Kanakuppe hill fort. The hill fort is situated next to Kanakuppe village in Jagalur taluq of Davangere district.The hill is a unusual, three elongated crests emerging out from one point.

Kanakuppe hill as seen from south-west
As we approached the hill we saw a man walking in the opposite direction. We asked him the way to fort, he asked us to follow the dirt path until we found a gateway, that's would be the fort entrance. We asked if he could show us the fort, he said he was in a hurry. We thanked him and turned into the dirt path. Ravi drove his cab as far as the surface was good, parked it close to a tree. We had no idea how long we had to walk.. anyway we had to be fast because dusk was approaching fast. We are walking between two crests. Notice the tree top? It's shaped like a bird.

We tripped over few wire-traps laid out for birds/animals like partridges and rabbits. The wires were fine and thin, the traps looked like an experts work.

The crest to the left, I'll call it #1. I went up the narrow bridge but half way up I did not feel safe and turned back. Meanwhile Ravi and Malatesh had gone way ahead, almost near the fort gateway.

This is the crest to the right, call it #2. #2 is much longer and higher than #1 but it is pretty narrow.

Crest #2 is nearly 500 meters long with steep faces.

That's the gateway we were told about. The walls are made of small sized stones.. could be 600 to 700 year old construction.

The gateway as seen from inside.

The short distance from the gateway we came to a fork, left lead to #1 and right to #2. We choose to start with #1 because it looked easier.

Though the climb was steep, the rough surface made our climb easy. Soon we reach a gateway with a sculpture of Lord Hanuman in it (see inset). Notice the large boulder forming the wall to the right of the gateway.

That's crest #3. Fort builders have reinforced the hill with walls at all weak points. Notice the wall connecting crests #1 and #3.

We pass through the gateway, turn left and go around the huge structure looking for an entrance. The inside is collapsed walls and thorny bushes; we did not enter. Just behind this structure is a small water tank.

I climb to the highest part of crest #1. This is indeed a great fort neglected badly. This fort offers commanding view of the surrounding plains.

Now we are looking at crest #2. Notice the wall with the gateway we entered.

With light fading, we decide to descend. We had to see as much as possible before sunset. We came back to the fork. That's Malatesh, crest #1 looming over.

The lower part the path leading up to crest #2 was riddles with thorny bushes. We made our way up to see another challenge ahead of us. We had two paths to reach the gateway up there; I took the longer but safer path.
Looking back the way I came. Malatesh and Ravi are still down there. This hill fort is really a complex one. To the right is crest #3.

..and to the left is crest 1. Ravi and Malatesh are debating which of the paths to take. Malatesh takes the safer path while the agile Ravi negotiates the narrow steep shorter path.

Looking towards south, that's the tip of crest #2, we did not go that far, the path wasn't really friendly.

We could see rainfall on the west, the direction we were earlier today. On the horizon, to the right is a small bump- that's Uchangidurga hill. Ravi was probably pointing out Uchangipura to Malatesh. We expected the rain to come in our direction. However, we sat for some time enjoying the sun play hide & seek in clouds. Ravi suggested we take a short cut by climbing down straight but we voted against the idea.

On the way down I noticed some thing we has missed on the way up. Hanuman's caricature embossed in sandstone. This is an amazing piece of art indeed. It's easy to engrave but to emboss is something else. Wonder how this was created.

As we reached the fort it was quite dim, we had no time left to scale crest #3. I don't if that will ever happen.. let's see. At the base of crest #2, a path went to our right, that was the way to the eastern side of the hill, there's a village there.

Do check out the video by Malatesh-

Close to the hill on the western side there's a small Lingayath Matha named Kanakuppe Gavimatha. We decided to go there, freshen up relax for some time and start our journey to Bellary.

Kanakuppe fort coordinates: 14°33'4"N   76°17'16"E

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