A rotund turret, a remnant of an ancient fort at Vangarlapalli, Bagepalli taluk built by the feudal lord Narasimha Nayaka around 1243 AD, is drawing visitors in large numbers in the taluk.
The pillar was used as a look-out by Narasimha Nayaka's army to keep track of enemy movements in the area. Narasimha Nayaka served King Gumma Nayaka.
Similar turrets have been built in the same region by feudal lords and smaller kings at R Nallaguttapalli, Vyangarlapalli, Digavagollappalli and other places.
During the time of the Wadiyars, Gumma Nayaka had united many smaller territories and ruled them as a feudal lord, making the taluk as his capital. This fact has been recorded by recent historians.
However there were frequent conflicts between the dynastic kings, feudal lords and smaller 'palegaars' (tax collectors) due to differences among them. In order to protect their people and wealth most of the 'palegaars' are documented to have constructed turrets and forts to keep a watchful eye on enemy movements.
These turrets were manned by soldiers who would sound the alarm when an enemy approaches. In olden times, the turrets contained wealth, gun powder, weapons. The soldiers would spot enemies through the windows of the turrets and fire at enemy armies.
These turrets were usually 45 feet in height and contained a well to provide drinking water to the soldiers. They also contained mud pots used for cooking, hiding places for gold and idols of goddesses.
Even in present days this goddess called Gangamma, is offered worship on certain days of the year. The goddess is offered worship also when an epidemic breaks out in the villages according to K L Mohan Reddy, local resident.
Vangarlapalli resident T G Jayaprakash lamented that the government was not doing enough to protect the historically significant forts, turrets etc. "They are now in ruins and have become a fertile ground for nefarious activities," he added.
This 600-year-old turret has cracked in many places and is on the verge of crashing. The archaeological department has to take up the maintenance of these monuments and make them popular for tourists, the local residents opined.