Oct 18, 2014

Venkatasubbayana Kallu, Chitradurga

There are two Kannada movies which ignited my interest in forts, they are Bara and Hamsa Geethe, shot at Bidar Qila and Chitradurga Kote respectively. Anant Nag has played lead roles in both movies. Hamsa Geethe is the story of a 18th century Carnatic singer Venkatasubbaiah. The story's connection with Chitradurga is deep; the massive rocks and howling winds created perfect effects, captivating viewers' attention. Locations of these two movies remain etched deep in my mind. Years later I visited these formidable forts, the largest forts in Karnataka. It was during the third visit to Chitradurga, I was particular about seeing the spot where Venkatasubbaiah practices Bhairavi Raga countless times. The same spot has been also portrayed as Madakari Nayaka's hill top open air theatre where a dance competition takes place. I cant imagine the hardships Hamsa Geethe movie crew had to put up with in shooting at this location. Do watch this short video of the location back in 1975, then we'll move to the present day pictures.

March 16, 2014
I'll start from the fresh water pond Gopalaswami Honda one of the sources of water for this fort. This pond being in the vicinity of Gopalaswami temple hence its name. Part of the temple is visible at the center of the picture. At the top left is a massive rock formation, with one free standing rock - that's Venkatasubbaiah's Rock.

The rock formation as seen from the wall.

southern view
Moving quarter way uphill. With no one to give precise directions I took a hard way up. At one point I had lost hopes of reaching the spot but something inside refused to give up.

eastern view
Finally I reached the spot.. almost there.On the left is the free standing rock.

The spot gives a commanding view of the western perimeter, including Chla Gudda (not seen here).

This is the other standing rock, very close to the main group. At the base of this rock is a level platform which may not have existed before the movie was made. The stage might have been created as part of the Madakari Nayaka's open air theatre in the movie. In fact this rock was the backdrop for the dance scene.

To the right of the stage is the free standing block. Standing by itself, it seems to declare its freedom. Below this rock, the depressed Venkatasubbaiah spends years singing Bhairavi to himself. He lives here all alone days and nights never going home. I'm not sure if Venkatasubbaiah's story if fact or fictional. If he did exist and the story is real, this should be the right place for him to be.

 Notice the sloping rock to the right. Its has a face when seen from a different angle.

There we go.. you can recognise lower jaw, chin, lips and nose, eyes are shut. If you notice closely chin and lips are not part of the rock rather they have been created by some highly skilled artists. The material used to create lips and chin seems like mortar, it could even be cement.

This rock is a good geometric specimen- the face facing us has three right angles, a straight edge and a curved edge. I wonder if this is the original condition or was it's shaped modified during the fort's construction?

Here's a blurred video of the spot shot in my not-so-smart mobile phone. Swalpa adjust madkondu nodi.

Visiting this spot made my made. One of my wishes had come true relatively quickly :)

If you can get to watch Hamsa Geethe and Bara, don't miss it. Later, you too might want to visit the glorious locations.



Just watched the movie on you tube. A search directed me here. Thanks for the photos

siddeshwar said...

Thank you, Raji