Forgotten but still interesting

Forgotten but still interesting

from here & there

in ruins Barekal Batheri.

Driving from Shivamogga along the State Highway towards Nagara, one can see small, quaint hamlets and towns, set amidst sleeping fields and swaying palms. As you reach Kargadi Circle, 70 km away from Shivamogga, take a break to explore one of the historical places located deep in the dense forests, between Kargadi Circle and Nagarkodige. It is Barekal Batheri, a fort made of stones. Interestingly, Barekal means ‘only stones’ in Kannada. It was built by the Keladi rulers and subsequently came under the control of Tipu Sultan. It was also used as an armoury for many years. 

The fort was used to keep a reserve army. There were some buildings for the army personnel. The use of a catapult to repel the enemy was common in those days. The fort held prominence since 1681, during the reigns of various rulers like Venkatappa Nayaka, Veerabhadra Nayaka, Shivappa Nayaka, Keladi Chennamma, Keladi Veeramma, Hyder Ali, Tipu Sultan, the British and the Mysore Maharajas. But after independence, the fort and the site lost their significance. 

There is no road to the fort and a proper guide is required to locate it. The fort is atop a hill. One has to walk around eight kilometres in the forest to reach the top. But the view from the top makes one forget the tough trek.

The hillocks, valleys and streams that dot the dense forest leave one spellbound. There are many picturesque locales here like Sulagudda, Hanumana Bagilu, Karimane armoury etc. While huge rocks of different sizes enthuse the trekkers, the bad state of a T-shaped pond in the surroundings makes one feel sad.

If developed sustainably, this locale could be on the list of popular trekking spots in the state. Both the Forest Department and the Archaeological Department should join hands for this. While returning from the fort, one can enjoy the scenic Sharavathi backwaters behind Kargadi Ganapathi Temple.