One of the oldest and most important forts in the region, the Belgum Fort in Karnataka has witnessed many upheavals and power struggle. Explore to find all about its past and present.

Belgaum Fort


Belgaum Fort

Belgaum Fort, situated in the city of Belgaum, Karnataka is one of the oldest forts in the state. Constructed in1204, by Jaya Raya who was also known as Bichi Raja, an ally of the Ratta Dynasty, the Belgaum Fort served as a great rampart against the invading armies. After the Ratta Dynasty, the fort came under the possession of several rulers such as Vijaynagar emperors, Bijapur sultan, Marathas, and then the British. Through, the ages the fort also went through several renovations under different rulers. It is also the home of the most significant historical and religious monument belonging to the Adil Shahi dynasty. In modern history of India the fort bears special significance as the father of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi was imprisoned here by the British during India’s freedom struggle. Read on and explore more about this ancient monument.

Fast Facts

Location:      Belgaum, Karnataka                      

Built In:          1204                          

Built By:        Jaya Raja                             

Dynasty:       Ratta Dynasty

 Belgaum Fort Karnataka India

History Of Belgaum Fort

The Belgaum Fort was built in 1204 AD by Jaya Raja, under the patronage of the Ratta dynasty. The city of Belgaum remained the capital of Ratta dynasty from 1210 AD to 1250 AD. Later, the Yadavas defeated the Rattas when the Rattas were defeated by the Yadavas of Devagiri the fort passed to their possession. At the turn of the 14th century, the Khiljis of Delhi invaded the region and succeeded all the powers prevailing in the region such as the Yadava and the Hoysalas. Then, under the command of Mahamood Gawan, the Bahmani Sultan attacked Belgaum and captured the fort in 1474. However, later in 1518, when the Bahamani Sultanate was divided in five small individual states, Belgaum came under the possession of the Adilshahi sultanate of Bijapur. The Ismail Adil Shah of Adilshahi Dynasty later made several rectifications to the structure of the fort, which makes the significant part of the existing structure. The Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb defeated the Bijapur Sultanate in 1686 and captured the fort. In 1776 Hyder Ali of Mysore captured the region, but soon the Peshwas and the British launched a giant strike and defeated Hyder Ali and gained control over Belgaum and the fort. Ironically, decades later, the same British force laid a siege from 21 March to 12 April 1818 and snatched the fort from the Peshwas. As Shivalinga Raju, the Kittur Desai, assisted the British in the siege, he was established as the ruler over the Belgaum town and the fort by the British authorities.

Architecture/Layout Of Belgaum Fort

Built in the 13th century, the oval shaped fort is made of stone and mud and is encircled by a deep and wide moat. There are bastions which rise as high as 32 feet (9.8 m) from the bottom of the moat and lie on the outer esplanade. Form the inside, the fort is around 1,000 yards (910 m) long and 800 yards (730 m) wide. Two of the gigantic bastions which were flanked by a large gate and served initially as an entrance have long been blocked. The gate which now serves as the entrance was designed by a Brahmin and is hailed as one of the exemplary entities of Indian architecture. It constitutes a guard chamber, and a “groined roof once ornamented with pendants”. The exterior of the gate is adorned with large motifs of animals and birds. Huge doors, made of iron provide defense to the gateway. There is an inscription in Persian on the top of the arch of the gate, attributed to Jakub Ali Khan.

Current scenario

The Belgaum Fort is under the Archeological Department. The State government sponsors the renovation and maintenance of the fort. Some of the parts in an around the fort have been occupied by the government offices and other agencies.

Best Time To Visit

Owing to a maritime climate, Belgium’s weather doesn’t border on the extremities. The summers are arid and moderately hot, while winters are cold. The best time to visit the Belgaum Fort is during the period between mid-April and mid-October when the climate is most pleasant.

 How To Reach

  • By Road: Belgaum is one of the important cities of Karnataka and is well-connected to all other cities of the state including Bangalore. Through the National highway no.4, Belgaum is connected to some of the cities in the neighboring states as well.
  • Railway: The Belgaum railway station is located closed to the fort and is connected to several major cities in the country.
  • Air: The Belgaum airport lies just 10 km away from the fort and is connected via flights to other parts of the country.

Other Tourist Spots In & Around Belgaum Fort

There are two temples lying within the premises of the fort, one dedicated to the Lord Ganesha and other to Durga Devi which are important tourist attractions and are visited by hordes of tourists and pilgrims every year. Apart from these, the other attractions include basadis and a Jain temple which were built in Chalukyan style. There are also two Masjids inside the fort, Safa and Jarnia. Waterfalls like Vajrapoha Falls, Godchinamalaki Falls and Gokak Falls are located at short distances from the city of Balgaum.

Apart from a detailed account on the historical background and the architectural layout of the fort, a brief info on how to reach this historical monument, the best time to visit and other prominent tourist destination nearby have been provided in the article above. Hope this article familiarizes you with all the aspects of Belgaum Fort.