Nov 1, 2014


Chandravalli is an archaeological site located about 4 kms from Chitradurga town. Chandravalli valley is formed by three hills- Chitradurga, Kirabanakallu & Cholagudda -this place is a known archaeological site. Chandravalli means moon shaped, was known as Chandanavati, named after Chandrahasa the place's one time ruler. Chandravalli is known for its subterennean cave temple. The place is also known as Ankali Matha because holymen from Ankalagi village (Belgaum) congregated here to perform meditation. 

March 16, 2014
After having spent the entire morning exploring the ruins of Chitradurga fort, we (cab driver Ravi and I) arrive at Chandravalli by 2PM, hungry and tired. The site is manned by a gate to restrict vehicular entry into the site. The parking area was well shaded by huge trees. We settled down on a circular platform around a tree trunk and spread out our lunch items.. however we had to be watchful of redfaced monkeys. One distracted moment, one of the thugs grabbed a jolada rotti from Ravi's plate. Anyway, we finished our meal without any more incidents. Ravi chose to stay with his cab while I went exploring the site.. On seeing this wonderful sight I regretted having not getting our lunch pack here. The place has a superb ambiance..

To the right was a short uphill climb to this shrine. Two gigantic boulders dominate the place. On the right is a small cave shrine and on the left is a shelter with entrance to an underground cave temple. A guide was about to start a tour for a father and son group. After striking a deal for Rs.100 with the guide I joined the group.

That's the entrance to the underground cave, steep steps descend into it. Once beyond the door it is pretty dim inside and few more steps deeper it becomes dark, totally black. Its advised to take a guide for a safe tour of the cave.Bats are residents of this cave.. so be careful not to point the light beam to the ceiling.. light might startle the bats and they might end up flying into faces.

The cave might be a smaller natural formation originally but the presence of stone pillars, beams, walls and floor makes it clear that it was extended deeper with an intention of gaining more room. According to the guise the cave is about 30' to 40' below its entrance. Between the four of us we has two torches which provided enough light to see but to shoot pictures I had to use my camera flash.

It seems like this cave was used by Lingayath Swamiji's to escape persecution by people of people opposing social reform. Without air movement the cave was stuffy, sweat poured out in streams.. The cave temple had almost every feature a regular temple had.. platforms to sit or sleep, private chambers to perform meditation, halls to hold meetings, etc.

Inside was a group of boys who were climbing back towards the entrance. This little boy was part of my group. Note a small doorway behind the boy, we would be coming out of that doorway on our way back to this spot.

A wash place- water tank and place to keep lamps.

One of the decorated pillars and walls. Note the wall is made of earth and covered in plaster with floral and geometric murals.

Doorway arches and lamp pocket arches are shaped like mosque domes. The builders/occupants have created required facilities. Surely they must have kept lamps burning throughout to light up the place.

Wonder why so many lamps would be required here.

Now we are at the lowest level of the cave. Note the boulder ceiling tapering down.

More murals decorate one of the pooja rooms.

This chamber has a seating on three sides.. a small conference room I guess.

These walls seemed to be built some time in XV or XVI century.

A creeper with flowers decorate one at an upper level.

Having spent 20 minutes in darkness and stuffy air was enough for one go. We had descended by one route but ascended by a different route. Flight of steps leading back to the main entrance.

This is the smaller cave with a shrine dedicated to a Shiva Linga.

Opposite the cave temples were several massive beams.. looks like these were to become a part of a grand structure.. for some reason construction was abandoned at an early stage. It is said that Chandravlli was well connected to Murugha Matha of Chitradurga. The original Murgha Matha is within the fort walls however later it was moved outside the fort to a spacious location next to a lake.

This tour was a quick one. Tiredness and a tight itinerary forced me to keep the tour brief. I wish to visit Chandravalli again to walk around the pond and check if any rock paintings could be found.



Arun said...

Thanks, adding this place to my list...

Been wanting to visit Chitradurga Fort for a long time now... now perhaps combined with this.

ರಾಜೇಶ್ ನಾಯ್ಕ said...

This is indeed a mesmerising place. Going down that cave is a great experience.

siddeshwar said...

Thank you.. Arun, Rajesh.