Jan 18, 2014

Gokak fort

October 5, 2013
Gokak fort was the sixth and last item on my itinerary. From Samangad we drove down via Hunnur, Hidkal Dam, Konnur and Gokak Falls. Konnur is a archaeological site with 3 megalithic tombs; I was tempted to stop and inquire but time was tight; I decided to move on to Gokak. As Gokak town and its the hill-with-a-cap-stone came into view, the hill looked taller than expected - this is going to be a tiring climb. We took the road going towards the confluence of Markhandeya and Ghataprabha - some where close by is the flight of steps going up the hill. Parts of Gokak town is on the hill slopes, a maze of narrow streets and lanes cover ¾ perimeter of the hill and ¼ way up. The cab could go as far as this water tank, from here I had to go by foot.

This is one of the steep lanes going straight up the slope. Life of people having homes here is not so easy. No vehicles can be driven through these lanes, walking is the only mode of transportation.
A dirt track cutting across the path marks boundary of settlements. Hill slope up here is too steep to build homes. Looks like there's a shrine at the hill top.
This narrow passage  is the gateway to the fort.

A path has been hacked out of the rock. To my right was a small cave shrine, perhaps a Hindu shrine originally now a Muslim shrine.

Another steep flight of steps.. looks daunting. I was hoping the climbing ends soon.

View of Ghataprabha river and Gokak town from the summit.

The three men I met earlier had come here for a good view of the town and spend time in peace and silence.. away from the hustle bustle down there. The white building is Mallikarjuna temple, also known Malliksaab temple. Also this hill is called Maliksaab Gudda.

The summit is not exactly flat but gentle slope with plenty of rock beds. An ancient water tank close by remains almost intact (see inset).

Wall on the eastern perimeter of the cap-stone. This might have been one of the entrances to the fort.

Walls built over natural rock faces making it difficult to scale.

The cap-stone itself is a natural fort, building walls on rock faces have closed gaps. This fort commands a good view in all directions.

According to sources: In the 16th century Gokak was ruled by Kotwals who had a dispute with Rani Abbakka Chowta, the queen of the coastal kingdom at Ullal. Also, sources say that the tomb of Mallasarja Desai of Kittur (Rani Chennamma's husband) is at Arabhavi Math 10 kms north of Gokak.

On the northern perimeter of the capstone lies the majority of the fort ruins.
Fort walls built using the natural rock formations to advantage.

I was tired and it was late, decided not to explore the northern perimeter of the fort. I walked back towards Mallikarjuna temple. A wonderful sight below: Ghataprabha gracefully curves out of the valley forming an island. At the bottom right corner is the Sangama - river Markhandeya merging into Ghataprabha.
Time to descend.. this hill doesn't seem safe after sunset. By the time I reached the car it was dusk, I was exhausted after a tour of six forts - a cup of hot tea is what is needed now. I have to come back here again to locate the dolmens of Konnur and also see the much talked about Godchinmalki waterfalls.

Gokak fort coordinates: 16°10'6"N   74°48'53"E


Rajesh said...

Great views of the fort.

siddeshwar said...

Thank you.

Atul Sunalkar said...

Thanks for the lovely post and pics. enlivened my childhood days!!

siddeshwar said...

Your are welcome!