Oct 19, 2013

Sandur fort

March 9, 2012
Guess what comes to my mind when I think of Sandur? The answer is Puttanna Kanagal's movie Manasa Sarovara. To my knowledge the entire movie was shot around Sandur. The movie is excellent and I've watched it several times though it has a sad ending. Some of the fascinating scenes were shot at the Naari Halla, the reservoir with two massive rocks formations.

The movie scenes have water but during our visit..

In the movie, the lead character (by Srinath) says Nari Halla is not a fitting name for such a beautiful place, instead it must be called Manasa Sarovara. Indeed the place was amazing back in 80s. Well now, the drive through these hills was an hellish experience! Thanks to the noise and air pollution created by mining tippers. Anyway, I hope to see this reservoir full during my next visit.

We were coming from Bellary, as we drove down the hill road I had noticed ruins atop a hill to our right. During the stop, I checked the hill top through my telephoto lens. yes, it was ruins. Ah, another fort to the list - that would be Ramana Kote or Hosamaledurga. However, we may not be able to go up there because of time constraint. 

Finding Sandur fort wasn't difficult because it's located right next to the state highway. Here we are looking at the fort's main entrance. 

Here's a rough plan of the fort, marked are few spots we visited.

In plan its a square, simple in design but seems secure because of number of bastions on the perimeter. The entrance is secure by a complex gateway; to enter the fort one has to go through a zigzag path passing through three gateways; gateways are flanked by raised platforms. Tight security indeed. So, this must have been a garrison and treasury for this region.

The curved path between the first and second gateways.

The second gateway. The door-frame has a pair of drooping flowers - typical of Vijayanagara and Hoysala architecture - hope I'm not mistaken here. Note the small side entrance, it connects directly to the raised platform inside.

Traffic flowed in and out quite frequently, sign of residences inside.

Now we are inside the fort and looking back at the third gateway. This gateway is actually on the square's perimeter while the first two gateways are on the extension wall.

Well, inside its a whole town, houses packed closely with narrow lanes in between. I did not other shooting pictures of houses.

As expected people were curious to see strangers armed with cameras. two people approached us and we had to face the usual questions about who we are, purpose of the visit, etc. etc. One of our hosts offered us to show us something important. I hesitated, then relented. He lead us to bastion in the western wall (marked C in the plan). This bastion is octagonal in plan and has a simple structure.. probably a row of rooms inside it. Few more people had gathered and one youngster said that's a mosque. His tone of message was not really friendly, he was trying to establish that structure was a mosque. Well, what ever it is, it's ruins now and definitely not a place of worship.

In the background, to the right is the very hill on which Ramana Kote is.

Our hosts suggested we see the side entrance of this fort. We walked along the  southern wall and came to this low and narrow passage close to the south-western corner.

The tunnel is a very busy place, constant traffic of pedestrians, cyclists and bikes flows in both directions. We walk through to the outside. Not the floral motif, Sun and Moon on the door frame. I think this fort was originally built by Hindu king.

The open spaces flanking the road we stood on is filthy - this is a common phenomena in many of our historical monuments. We walk back to our cab, thank our hosts and leave. We go into Sandur town in search of a Lingayath Khanawali; no, we couldn't find one, instead we found a Andhra mess. After lunch, we debated whether to go to Kumaraswamy Temple Complex about 12 kms drive. We decided to drop the idea and move on mainly because of the conditions of the road here.

Here's the video by Malatesh.

Sandur fort coordinates: 15°5'43"N   76°33'16"E

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