Metukudurgam to regain its past glory
One of the iconic structures of Medak which has withstood several invasions and has seen dynastic changes for over eight centuries is the Medak fort, which was also known as Metukudurgam.
One of the iconic structures of Medak which has withstood several invasions and has seen dynastic changes for over eight centuries is the Medak fort, which was also known as Metukudurgam. The fort which was built between 1139 AD and 1157 AD by the 2nd Polaraju (Pratapa Rudra II) of Kakatiya dynasty continues to amaze tourists coming from all over the world.
What we know as Medak today, has seen many changes in its nomenclature such as Vaidikapuram, Rachaveedu, Siddapuram, Gulshanabad, Sadapur Vedik and so on, under the rule of Kalyan Chalukyas, Kakatiyas, Bahmanis, Qutub Shahis and Asaf Jahis who have left their architectural marks on the fort.
Medak fort was built as an expansion strategy of Kakatiya dynasty which held control of Warangal, but extended its control into Saddinadu (the western parts) including Medak, Karimnagar and Adilabad districts of the present. The fort is located on a hillock with a strategic military advantage, being close to the confluence of Haldi Vagu and Manjira River. Methukudurgam was built for military defence of the area covering around 300 settlements.
Massive walls, rooms, burjs (towers), palace, grain and gun powder storage rooms made of granite and sand stone built and rebuilt over several centuries by various rulers on the hillock speaks of the amount of labour that went into maintaining the fort through history. Smell of gunpowder still emanates from one of the rooms.
There are a few statues of Gattamma goddess (local deity) in some of the caves and people still offer prayers there. There used to be a Shiva temple at the top of the hillock, where now stands a mosque which was built in the 17th century by the Qutub Shahis. There are several gates to enter the fort and each gate has a unique identity. Two lions, two elephants with riders wielding bows and arrows, two peacocks and other sculptures are still intact on the pillars of the gates.
The top of the hillock presents a spectacular view of water bodies on all its sides and devotional and celebratory music from the town can be heard quite clearly at the top. There is a pond called Raju-Rani cheruvu which is currently full with water and is a perfect location to shoot a romantic scene for any movie. There are also naturally formed wells on the hillock from where water used to be supplied to the fort using pipelines and simple physics of the ancient times.
There is also a 3.2 metres long 17th century cannon still intact at the fort. Though much of the fort has been destroyed, there is much scope for protecting it by making structural renovations. The fort certainly needs more security personnel and stricter regulations with respect to use of plastic and disposal of garbage on the hillock.
Gulshan Mahal, a palace located on the hillock has now been transformed into Hotel Haritha Resort and is managed by Tourism Development Corporation. There are 4 rooms (AC Suite- Rs 1500 and AC room- Rs 1200 per 24 hours) and a restaurant with a very reasonably priced menu. Reservations can be made at 9133533917.
The Hotel is currently catering to private parties and is a perfect venue to hold birthdays, coming of age functions, even wedding receptions. “It would be great if parks can be developed on the hillock and kids’ play areas are setup. That would really enhance the look of the fort,” suggested Sebastian, Project Manager of Bahubali movie, who was flying a drone at the Raju-Rani cheruvu, trying to film his mother and wife who seemed to be having a great saas-bahu chatting time sitting by the pond during sunset on Sunday.
So, if you are one of those adventurous types, archaeology enthusiast, nature lover, a school, or even if you are a honeymoon couple, Medak Fort is one heritage protected site which should be on your list of places to visit during a lifetime- better sooner than later. Above all, there is no ticket to have this out of the world experience which would take you back in time during the days of old when the knights were bold. You may actually stumble upon something of historic significance, you never know.
By Vivek Bhoomi