South India is a place of rich ancient architecture. The ancient wonders of architecture show a small part of India’s rich history which can be particularly seen in the Forts. They were built under the rule of different dynasties and the chance to explore any of these forts shouldn’t be missed.
15 Forts in South India:
South Report brings you a personal favourite list of Forts in South India which are still alive and reflect the architectural sophistication.
1. The Golconda Fort.
Going by the legend, a shepherd’s son found an idol in the area where the fort now stands. When this was reported to the Kakatiyan king, he ordered a mud fort to be built around it. This fort was eventually called Golla Konda (which meant shepherd’s hill in Telugu)
Today, even after 800 years, the fort still stands as one of Hyderabad’s greatest architectural wonders. This is one of those forts in South India known for its fantastic acoustic effects. It was built in such a way that one handclap at a certain point below the entrance dome, can be heard at the highest point of the pavilion almost a kilo meter away. This was said to be used for warning the royals in case of an attack.
2. Warangal Fort.
The centre of Warangal Fort is an archaeological zone containing an enclosure with the excavated ruins of a Siva Temple, demolished probably by invading armies. The infamous entrance archways of the Warangal fort were the only structures intact probably due to their non-religious designing.
3. Gingee Fort.
Famously known as the Troy of East by the British, the Gingee fort is known for its inaccessibility and for being one of the very few surviving forts in the state of Tamil Nadu. This fort had an eight-storied Kalyana Mahal (marriage hall), granaries, prison cells, a military gymnasium and a temple dedicated to its presiding Hindu goddess called Chenjiamman.
4. Belgaum Fort.
Present in Karnataka, this fort has a rich history and is traced back to the Ratta Dynasty. An interesting fact about this fort is that the British imprisoned Mahatma Gandhi in this fort during India’s freedom struggle.
5. Vellore Fort.
The Vellore Fort is located in Tamil Nadu. And one of the royal forts in South India that houses a church, mosque and a temple. This fort is known for a number of events that took place in it.
• The last king of Sri Lanka and Tipu Sultan’s family were held royal prisoners here during the British Rule.
• The first rebellion against British Rule took place here in 1806.
• The tragic massacre of the Vijayanagara family of Emperor Sriranga Raya took place here.
6. Chitradurga Fort.
Located in Karnataka, this fort is known for its beauty as the name suggests. The Fort homes 18 temples in the upper section and one huge temple in the lower section. Among these temples the oldest and most interesting is the Hidimbeshwara temple.
During Hyder Ali’s rule, he also made sure there was a mosque in the fort. The fort’s many interconnecting tanks were used to harvest rainwater, and one of the only forts in South India which never suffered from a water shortage.
7. Bekal Fort.
Located in Kerala, this is one of those forts in South India to have an advanced defence strategies in its architecture. There are holes on the outer walls served to defend the fort effectively. The other holes that were particularly designed at top were meant for aiming at the farthest points, and the holes below were for striking when the enemy was nearer. And finally, the holes underneath facilitated attacking when the enemy was very near to the fort.
8. Bidar Fort.
Located in Karnataka, with nearly five darwazas, Bidar fort is one of the last remaining testaments of the Bahmani sultanate. In 1724, Bidar became a part of the kingdom of the Nizams. Mir Nizam Ali Khan Asaf Jah III imprisoned his brother in this fort. Whoa! What’s with the forts and imprisoning people!
9. Bellary Fort.
The Bellary Fort was built on top of the Bellary hill by Hanumappa Nayaka. He was a feudatory of Vijayanagara Empire in the 14th century and was later conquered by Hyder Ali in 18th century. The fort have fine ramparts with a rich history and with several historical and religious monuments.
10. Gulbarga fort.
The Gulbarga Fort was originally built by Raja Gulchand during the Kakatiyas’ rule in 11th century. Subsequently, it was significantly enlarged in 1347 by Al-ud-din Bahmani of the Bahmani Dynasty after he cut off his ties with the Delhi Sultanate.
11. Mirjan Fort.
The Mirjan Fort is located on the west coast of the Uttara Kannada district. The fort known for its architectural elegance, served as a location for several battles in the past. Approximately, it is about 0.5 kilometres from the National Highway 17. Queen Chennabhaira Devi of Gersoppa under the Vijayanagara Empire is credited with building the Fort in the 16th century. She ruled for 54 years and also lived in the fort.
12. Chandragiri Fort.
Chandragiri Fort is located in Chandragiri, Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh. It was built under the rule of Yadava Naidus in 11th century. Later, it was captured by the Vijayanagara empire in 14th century. The most famous Vijayanagara emperor Sri Krishnadevaraya grew up in this fort as a prince. It is also said that he met his future queen Chinna Devi at this fort. Chandragiri was the 4th capital of Vijayanagar Empire, Rayas shifted their capital to here when Golconda sultans attacked Penukonda.
13. Vizianagaram fort.
The fort was the built by the Gajapati Rajas in 15th century and was named (Vizianagaram) after Pusapati Peda Vijaya Rama Gajapati Raju who was one of the most prominent kings of Gajapati dynasty and was later conquered by the Devarayas of Andhra Pradesh.
14. Kondapalli Khilla.
Kondapalli Fort (Khilla) is located in the Krishna district, close to Vijayawada. It was built by Prolaya Vema Reddy of Kondaveedu during the 14th century. The fort initially was a pleasure place and a business centre along with the Kondaveedu Fort in Guntur district. In the later years it was used as a military fortification and the British placed a strong garrison here.
15. Kondaveedu Fort.
Kondaveedu Fort is located in Kondaveedu village in the Chilakaluripet of Guntur district, Andhra Pradesh. It is a hill fortress located 1,700 feet (520 m) above sea level. It was constructed by Prolaya Vema Reddy and then ruled by the Reddy dynasty between 1328 and 1428. It was later taken over by Gajapatis and the Vijayanagara emperor Krishnadevaraya captured it in 1516.
Southie: Medha Muralidhar.