Wednesday, 6 July 2016

1000 year old historical Chandragiri fort, Andhra

Chandragiri fort, Andhra.
 Raja Mahal, Chandragiri.
  It is a historical fact that the subcontinent of India was ruled by several rulers across the land. Several dynasties like the Cholas of Southern India ruled the land more than 1000 years ago and their primary defense against the invading army of the enemies was fortification around their place. As time went by, they had introduced innovative methods to build strong and impenetrable forts to  beef-up their defense against sudden  unprovoked attacks from their neighboring rulers. In India there is no dearth of  such forts older than one thousand years. The historical Chandragiri fort, which is  now not it was in the by-gone years, is a case in point. Though the structure is not in good shape, none can deny that once it was a major center of imperial power.  

The historical Chandagiri fort, built on the 183 meter high hill, is one of the  rare oldest forts in India. Chandragiri is a village in Chittoor district of the Indian state of  Andhra Pradesh. This 1000 year old fort was under the control Yadvarayas for three centuries and they built the place as barricades and ramparts to safeguard them against raids from other rulers.  The fort was seized by the rulers of Vijayanagara in 1367 as it became a powerful kingdom in that region. Vijanagara rulers were great builders and  obviously they built impressive buildings and temples, Consequently the area of the fort  was also expanded. The Vijayanagara Dynasty made valuable contribution in literature and art and they encouraged scholars, poets and artists.Their kingdom saw expansion all around, particularly as far south  as Thanjavuur and Madurai in Tamil Nadu where their resident representatives were Naiyaks.   Vijayanagara  gained popularity  during the reign of  Saluva Narasimha  Rayalu. Chandragiri was the 4th capital of Vijayanagar Empire. Because of frequents threats from the Golconda Sultan,  Rayas shifted their capital from Penukonda to this place here.

Chandragiri  fort witnessed  several  seesaw  battles among the local rulers to control over the area. In 1646, it became part of the Golconda territory under the Sultan. Later the ruler of Mysore took control till 1792. After that the fort was never occupied and there is a big hiatus. Nothing is left of this once famous fort where, it is believed, the most popular ruler  Sri Krishnadeva Raya grew up.

The fort  has several parts, besides ruined Vishnu and Hindu temples. The building here is made  of stones and bricks and lime mortar. Amazingly no timber is used . The two Mahals in the fort are in the lower and upper levels. There are separate quarters for the king and the queen. The king's palace is called Raj Mahal which is a three-storied structure  built in Indo - Saracenic style during the Vijanagara period. The crowning towers, typical of Hindu architecture, are made of bricks instead of stones to avoid additional over load. The queen's palace Rani Mahal is a big hall with flat roof. It has well designed private quarters.