For our next stop, we headed to the Kavaledurga fort. This time the right one. We sensibly went with ponchos and shoes meant for the heavy rains that accompanied us.
Note: Please do so because we saw most tourists soaked to the skin despite their jackets and umbrellas, the latter is especially pointless since the steps are very slippery and you really better have both hands free in case you fall.It’s not a long trek, just a slippery one- so take your time and walk with care.
The trek starts in a not-so-typical fashion- by walking through a pretty rice field. A bit of a trek uphill through the dreamy fort walls and you’d reach a temple in the midst of the hills. The outside of the fort itself looks very fairy-tale-like- actually more like the prettiest scenes from Game of Thrones.
The moss-covered surfaces and the greenery bursting out of the corners of the rocks with the gentle drizzle lending an idyllic look to the whole scene. We walked in silence absorbing the sights at each turn.
Each layer of the fort has an entryway flanked by guard rooms where you could almost imagine sentries from another time. The first big structure you’d see in the fort is of the Kashi Vishwanatha temple with 2 stone pillars prominently in front of it and the dense forest behind.
A little ahead and a short climb up later, there exists a huge rock on which you will see a small shrine named as “Shikhareshwara Temple”, despite it being even more slippery a bunch of folks including us gave it a go to climb up the black patches of the rock.
Most people return from here since the path is covered with grass and not obviously laid out, especially in the monsoons.
Moving on ahead towards the summit, if you don’t miss the opening through the shrubbery you’d see a few steps leading to the pond. Further on, and you’d come to the most dramatic structure in the fort- the palace in ruins. Since the base and the pillars are still present, one can experience strolling through the interconnected rooms around a spacious quadrangle at the centre of it all. While this is quite a scene, the highlight for me was the stunning pond behind this. The T-Shaped pond that one can reach via steps was full of water in a natural blue-green shade, even having tiny fish swimming in its embrace. It’s quite an enchanting spot surrounded by the overlooking hills with every spot covered with a huge variety of flora in every size.
We very reluctantly left the place since it was getting darker.
The next morning after breakfast we went to the 12th-century Rameshwara temple which was a small non-ornate temple with beautifully rounded pillars in glossy black.It is surrounded by a well-maintained garden frequented by butterflies. Yet again, the yard behind the temple is the most scenic since it’s at the confluence of the tributaries Tunga and Bhadra.
On our way back we made a stop at the Chennagiri fort. This is a fort with 2 layers of walls and a moat. A small Ranganatha Swamy temple at an elevation and several bastions and a couple of watchtowers. The fort has a small stepped pond too enclosed within its stone walls. From atop the fort, you’d get a 360-degree view of the surrounding village, fields, plains and even the hills in the distance.
We picked up a friend who had packed lunch and sweets for us too and headed of to the Muruga Rajendra Mutt Park in Chitradurga for a green spot to have our lunch. This is run and owned by a religious organization but is very much just space for the locals to spend a day out with the kids. It is a theme park except that it seems like they couldn’t decide on one theme and decided to do them all. You start off with life-size dinosaurs, funny cutouts to take ones pics, evolution of mankind and civilization, religious figures, poets in Kannada from the ancient times with snapshots of their lives, social messages on alcoholism and other evils, and even a small zoo which was admittedly better maintained than some others we had seen. It’s the perfect place to wander around and do nothing while keeping kids busy with each new display.
And that right there was the end of yet another trip- that had everything from breathtaking scenes from the bygone era to confusing ones from the current one!