During the reign of the Vijayanagar Empire, Hanumappa Nayaka built the upper Ballery fort on top of a hill known as the “Ballari Gudda” or the ‘Fort Hill’. Located in the historical city of Bellary in Karnataka, the Ballery Fort was captured and possessed by several prominent rulers of medieval India. Even the great Maratha warrior shivaji once captured the fort and forsook it for a handsome tribute. The fort consists of two parts namely, the lower fort and the upper fort which were built during two different eras. When the ruler of Mysore Hyder Ali seized the fort during the latter part of the 18th century, he commissioned a French engineer to erect the lower fort. The fort with its rich historical background and numerous religious monuments is certainly a site worth visiting. Here you will find all about the Bellary Fort.
Location: Ballery, Karnataka
Built In: 1769 (Lower Fort)
Built By: Hanumappa Nayaka
Dynasty: Vijayanagar Empire
Bellary Fort Karnataka India
History Of Bellary Fort
A feudatory of the Vijayanagar Empire, Hanumappa Nayaka, built the Upper Fort. The decline of Vijayanagar Empire in 1565 instigated a great power struggle and political uproar in the region. Finally, it came to a halt when the British forces captured the region in around 1800 AD. The region then came under the possession of the Bijapur Sultans. In 1678 once Shivaji during one of his campaigns was passing through the fort, seized it to provide ambush to his force by the garrison lying inside the fort. However, later, he lifted his control on promise of a tribute. In 1761, Basalat Jung of Adoni earned its possession but the Nayaka Chieftain refused to pay the tribute to Basalat Jung. Later, with the aid of Hyder Ali of Mysore the Nayaka Chieftains attacked the Adoni Sultan, Basalat Jung. Hyder Ali thrashed Adonis in the battle and seized the fort and the region himself. During his possession he rectified the Upper Fort was and built the Lower Fort with the assistance of a French engineer. Later, when Hyder Ali’s son Tipu Sultan was defeated, at the hands of the British during the Third Anglo-Mysore War, the territory was split and the Bellary district and the fort was handed over to the then Nizam Salabat Jang. From 1823 to 1864 Muzzaffar Khan, the Nawab of Kurnool was held captive here for allegedly murdering his wife.
Architecture/Layout Of Bellary Fort
The Bellary Fort is divided into the Upper Fort and the Lower Fort. The Upper Fort is a polygonal walled building which has a single approach, and has no room at all for a garrison. At a height of 1976 ft. there is citadel on the crest of the rock and strengthened with three outer lines of fortification, lying one beneath the other. It also comprises of a number of cisterns. Lying outside the turreted rampart there is a ditch. An immense painting of the Indian Flag lies on the main turret on the east. The only access to the Upper Fort passes through a tortuous rocky terrain. On the top, beyond the citadel, a small temple, the remains of some cells and some deep pools of water are located. Inside the citadel one can find several strong buildings and water reservoirs, constructed in the clefts of the rocks.
The Lower Fort is situated on the eastern base of the rock and is around half a mile in diameter. The section of the fort probably had an arsenal and barracks. It has a surrounding rampart and several bastions. There are two entrances to the Lower Fort, one each on the western and eastern sides. Beyond the eastern gates of the Lower Fort lies a Hanuman temple, the Kote Anjaneya temple (Kote means fort in Kannada). In later years, when the British gained control of the Lower Fort they built commissariat stores, a protestant church, a Masonic lodge, an orphanage, a post-office and numerous private buildings.
The Lower Fort now accommodates several public buildings, government offices, schools & educational institutions and also churches.
Best Time To Visit
The best time to visit the Ballery Fort is between the months of October and March when the weather is mild and pleasant.
How To Reach
- By Road: The city of Bellary enjoys great connectivity to all major cities of the state, towns and also important cities of neighboring states through the highways.
- By Rail: Through railway the city is connected to Bangalore, Raichur, Hubli, Guntakal, Tirupati, Vijayawada etc. Guntakal, a major railway junction is located near Bellary where one can board trains for Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and some other major cities.
- Air: The nearest airport is Bangalore around 300 Km from Bellary from where flight are available for all the important cities in the country.
Other Tourist Spots In & Around Bellary Fort
Apart from the Bellary Fort some of the other tourist destinations in and near Bellary include Hampi, which was once the capital of the Vijayanagar Empire and also Pattabhirama temple which was built between 1530 and 1542. There is also a monument called Lotus Mahal in Ballery which used to be the resting place of the kings and has now been converted into an archaeological museum.
Today, with the help of 188 special lights the fort of Ballerry is illuminated across a stretch of about 2 km. if you are planning to visit the fort then go through the lines above and collect all the requisite information.