A fort in need of renovation

As the visitor enters the main ornamental gateway, a huge ancient banyan tree greets the eye. Nearby is a prison cell and barod khana (ammunition store room).

There is a temple without a deity in front of which is a square pond. Some of the interesting places inside the fort are: Rajmahal, a palace with decorative arches inside a rectangular hall, Haidar Mahal, Rangin Mahal and Darbar Hall, a place for public audience, with a fountain in front. The fort had several canons placed on the rampart, some of which had decorations including Nav Gaj Thope and Kadak Bijli Thope.

A number of steps lead to the top of the fort.

The fort area has an abandoned masjid, with a large dome. An interesting place for the visitor is a room meant for birds, which shows the rulers’ love for birds. They might have been pet birds used for sports. A room designated the Talim Khana was meant as a gymnasium for exercises. The Archaeological Department is slowly taking charge of the fort. There are no signboards, but some signs are painted on the walls to indicate the various places of interest. The fort is in a bad shape with undergrowth and vegetation on its walls, some of which are in poor shape. There is graffiti on many walls and the pillars are crumbling.

A few decorative panels that were part of the fort have been displayed near the entrance to the second gateway. Decorations and paintings have been stripped or defaced in all the structures inside the fort.

Much more needs to be done to spruce up the area inside the fort and make efforts at renovation. The State government and corporates  should chip in to fund the conservation efforts. Basavakalyan is about 650 km from Bangalore and 80 km from Bidar. The fort is open for visitors from 10 am to 5:30 pm and closed on public holidays. 

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