A forgotten fort in Pavagada

A forgotten fort in Pavagada

Quietness at the height of 700 metres tells stories of wars with the majestic 600-year-old Pavagada Fort standing tall but forgotten in the middle of a thickly populated Pavagada town in Tumakuru district. Built by a Vijayanagar chieftain, the fort is a multi-level structure with several enclosures, massive watchtowers and bunkers.

The towers at different levels are surrounded by undulating stonewalls that capture one’s imagination. The gigantic boulders of various shapes appear as if they have been placed to enhance the aesthetics of the structure. The large rock walls that hug the towers appear like a shield of stones protecting the towers and are indeed intimidating.

The enclosures are said to be used by the soldiers as ammunition storage. These units do not have doors and it is assumed that this set-up enabled soldiers to get immediate access to the weapons.

Steeped in history
The Shanimahatma Temple in Pavagada town is famous and attracts devotees from far-off places. Tiny lanes next to the Temple lead to the foothills of Pavagada Fort. These streets are not well maintained. The stink of human waste, piles of plastic, destroyed interiors of the enclosures, and broken fort walls indicate the lack of maintenance and human apathy towards it. If one ignores all that, a two-hour-long trek will take you to the two large towers situated at the top of the Fort.

With seven levels of fortification and a secret tunnel for the king to escape, it only contributes to the fact that the Fort was fully war-ready. The complex also houses a mosque, a pond and a massive bunker that gets ample sunlight. The architectural marvels are visible as you trek up to the top of the Fort.

The sturdy Fort is in a better condition holding evidence to the indigenous engineering skills of the period. The Fort is said to have witnessed many royal battles.

The trail to the top goes through large entrances, stairs and rocky patches with enough resting places. This makes the trek tolerable even when the temperature soars in summer.

Halfway through, there is a small Hanuman Temple. Offerings at the Temple suggest that the locals visit the Temple regularly. Once at the top of the hill the cool breeze will only help you to explore around.

Pavagada Fort is a magnificent monument that is virtually screaming to be preserved. It is a photographer’s muse, an architect’s inspiration, a trekker’s delight and a rock climber’s Mecca.

A piece of history, an architectural marvel that we need to be proud of is left to ruin. Pavagada, situated about 150 km from Bengaluru is a small town with minimal facilities. There is an urgent need to improve the infrastructure.

It’s time the local administration and the state tourism department take notice of the bad condition of the Fort and act to restore and preserve the heritage structure while taking necessary measures to promote it as a tourism destination. 

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