Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Winged Jewel - Egyptian Vulture

Egyptian Vulture

Egyptian Vulture

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Dual Fort Adventure - Ratnagiri Fort

It was time now for us to move towards Ratnagiri to explore the second fort for the day. Since the fort of Ratnagiri was about 10 km from Bhasmangi, we could reach in just about 20 minutes driving across the rural roads. Ratnagiri is surrounded by three hills with intact fortifications. We inquired the route to the base of the hills and decided to explore the main hill. A shepherd at the starting point of the trek informed us about Ratnagiri being a seven tiered fort and spread across three hills, which sounded quite interesting. There are many Kalyanis or stepped tanks at the bottom of the hills  which probably served as the main source of drinking water for the erstwhile residents of the fort.
Fort Ratnagiri
Dung Beetle
   We were unable trace much of the history related to this place, though we were sure that the fort had connections with the Vijayanagar kings and Tippu Sultan. Unfortunately, this fort was plundered by our generations in search of fortunes assumed to have been left by Krishna Deva Raya's kingdom, after the news of finding fortunes in Sree Padmanabam Temple in Thiruvananthapuram Kerala broke out. Sadly, many forts in Andhra Pradesh have been vandalized by people in search of fortunes owing to the misconception regarding the treasures left behind by the kingdom.
Last Tier
Water Pond
The ascent up till the first tier was difficult due to the absence of a particular trek route. Once we crossed  the first tier, the climb was comparatively easier as there were steps laid all along. We came across numerous water collecting ponds inside the fort. At the sixth tier, was a beautiful temple that stood to tell the act of vandalism. The rock cut steps leading us to the last tier reminded us of the Fort Midigeshi . The last tier comprised of an amazing two storeyed gateway and enclosed many ruins.After resting a while due to our tiresome ascent, we started our descent which was equally tiresome.
Rock Cut Steps
Vandalised Temple
Stepped Well
Mating Beetle
Green Bee Eater


Thursday, July 31, 2014

Dual Fort Adventure - Bhasmangi

  The regions of Madhugiri and Madakashira are home to many Forts, a few to name are the forts of  Madhugiri, Channarayanadurga, Midigeshi, Madakashira, Bhasmangi, Ratnagiri, Gudibanda, and Pavagada. Last Sunday we were on a mission to explore any two of the unexplored forts amongst the above and one of those was Bhasmangi. The Fort of Bhasmangi was built by Budi Basappa Nayaka around AD 1650 and was later captured by Hyder Ali in AD 1768. Hyder destroyed the old fort and built a new one which can be seen even now. The fort is a perfect example of the Forts built by Hyder Ali and serves a great example in showing much importance given to rain water harvesting in those times. 
The Mighty Madhugiri
 Bhasmangi Fort
Our Break Fast

 We left early that Sunday morning (around 5:00 am) so we could cover both the forts. We started our ascent to this hill fort and in some time reached the first gate of the fort. We were amazed to see the magnificent fort standing tall in front of us. Every stone here stands to tell a story and the glory of the past. We sat down and had breakfast that we had packed. We then  proceed further towards the second gate where we found a small temple dedicated to Lord Anjaneya. A few steps further lead us to a flat terrain which had a lot of ruins and water collecting ponds. Up above a small hill from here is a small temple dedicated to Nandi or Basavanna. The idol of Nandi is big and beautiful.
Second Gateway
  Other View of the Second Gateway
The Stairs
Lord Hanuman
 Continuing our climb up, we reached the last and the most intact tier of the fort comprising of many ruins and a doorway which probably lead to the location of the palace/ king's residence. The view from top was simply awesome. The descent was uneventful until we reached the first gate of the fort. Hereon, we took a simpler  route to descend till we reached  the roadway. There was a temple dedicated to Lord Anjaneya just outside of the fort, which is now being taken care by two elderly people. Resting a while here, we moved on, getting prepared to explore the next fort of Ratnagiri. It was close to 11:30 am while we reached our vehicle and started driving towards Ratnagiri.
The Fort Wall
Dodda Basavanna Temple
Last Tier of the Fort 
One Among the Many Water Ponds Here
Panoramic View of the Last  Tier
One of the Ragi Grinding Stones
Panoramic View from the Top
Fort Walls
What A View !
Ready to Jump
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