Chitradurga gets its name from Chitrakaldurga (or Picturesque castle) as defined in the Kannada language. The Chitradurga fort was built and developed over a period of time (10th - 18th C). Chitradurga Fort which is also called as 'Kallina Kote' (Stone Fort) is a popular tourist spot in Karnataka.
Chitradurga fort is mainly famous for Madakari Nayaka (The king of the last dynasty) and the legend of Obavva during his reign. "Onake Obavva's" story is a highlight in the history of Chitradurga fort. The legend is about a woman called Obavva, wife of a soldier. Obavva upon seeing Hyder Ali's soldiers entering the fort through a secret hole, kills them one by one with her Onake ( masse or pestle). Her husband, shocked to see dead bodies, alerts the other soldiers. However, both Obavva and her husband died during the battle.
There are 18 temples in the upper part and one huge temple in the lower part of the fort. Among these, Hidimbeshwara temple is the oldest and most interesting. Chitradurga fort is also supposed to be the place of Hidimba Rakshasa of Mahabharata epic.
Some of the must-see spots in this fort are :
- Snake Inscription: This is right behind the ticket counter; (the whole fort was built on this simple design.)
- Gates: There are 7 main gates, and many secret passages.
- Kamana Bagilu: The pathway is at right angles to each other as it helped immensely to counter the enemy attacks.
- Enne Kola (Oil Storage): This is at the entrance only, huge rock storage tank, oil used to be stored here. There is also a small tank next to it along with a cave for the guard.
- Cannon ball shots: All along the fort wall you can observe the deep grooves due to the cannon balls.
- Bombe Mantapa: Place where they used to bury the animals which died in the war, or during construction.
- Deer Drawing: Early men’s inscription of a deer on a rock.
- Raja’s Gym: The place where the King used to work out.
- Ancient art of Rock cutting: They used to make holes in the rock with a chisel, stuff wood into it, and allow water into the holes. The wood would expand and cut the rocks.
- Ganesha Temple: This temple was built for a reason, the huge boulder which is right behind it looks exactly like an elephant.
- Weird Rock formations: The weird rocks & boulders to watch out for are Fish-shaped, Ship shaped, Toad shaped, Alligator Shaped, Turtle Shaped, Shanku Shaped.
- Hidimba Temple: Hidimba the famous demon in the epic Mahabharata used to terrorize village people, staying on this hill.
- Ghee Storage: This is one of the main attractions of this place.
- Bank & Safety Locker: Place where they used to mint coins. They used to bury the coins 15-20 feet below the ground; a small temple was constructed on the surface.
- Akka Thangi Kola: Two small water bodies where the king’s wives committed suicide once Hyder Ali won the war.
- Obbavana kindi:Here is the main attraction of this place for all tourists. Obawa whipped the soldiers at this place as only one could squeeze through.
- Gali Mantapa: This was the place where the king was worshipped during festivals.
- Murugha matha: This was a residential school for young kids of Chitradurga.