Thousand-year-old Kangundi Hill Fort to regain its past glory

Thousand-year-old Kangundi Hill Fort  to regain its past glory
Highlights

The historic Kangundi fort near Kuppam is soon to regain its past glory with the massive reconstruction of the thousand year old hill fort and creation of facilities to attract more visitors going on at a brisk pace.

Tirupati: The historic Kangundi fort near Kuppam is soon to regain its past glory with the massive reconstruction of the thousand year old hill fort and creation of facilities to attract more visitors going on at a brisk pace.

It was from here as many as 28 kings of Kambi Nayudu dynasty based at Kangundi ruled Kuppam area uninterruptedly from 1026 to 1947 i.e. till the abolishing of zamindari after independence. The mighty fort which witnessed a glorious era of 1000 years of Kambi Nayudu dynasty, the kingdom which was spread over a vast area extended up to Bethamangala in Karnataka.

The fort was constructed by Kambi Naidu, the great grandson of Malli Nayudu, a Palegar of Pyapli in Kurnool district who migrated along with his family, paraphernalia and troops to Maharajagar near Krishnagiri (TN) near Kuppam and later shifted to Kangundi.

Nayudu while on a hunting tour was stunned to see the precipitous hill surrounded by a very dense forest and its strategic advantages and decided to make this place as his permanent settlement. He shifted to the area after the construction of a mighty fort and mantapams for the residence of royal family and the court and a village down hill.

Kambi Nayudu named the village Kangundi after the Yanadi tribal couple Kangi and Kanga (locally known as Irulas) who helped Nayudu when he went astray during his hunting tour in the dense forest to find his way back.

The fort and the hill area is full of marvelous constructions, temples, caves, natural tunnels and rare mesmerizing rock formations leave anyone awe struck. Locals say some of the tunnels extended to more than a km while the numerous caves dotted all over the almost vertical hillock are simply breath taking.

Many of the caves have narrow entrance but spread wide inside, spacious equal to a big hall airy and lighting, suitable for holding a small gathering or for people to live comfortably. A deep pond inside a cave which never dried up and another on top of hill are the main source of water supply in the olden days to the people inside the fort.

Even the trees looking like stony structure and the formation of the layers of huge rocks in different forms and shapes and at many places rocks on top of another quite amazing. The fort having many Prakarams, its strong walls (Buruju), welcome arches, imposing entrances and mantapams found all over the hill, an artillery gun in the fort and the graves Kangi and Kanga in a caveare the added attractions for the visitors.

PS Muniratnam, chairman of Kuppam Rural Electric Co-op Society who is from Kangundi village said in all works to the tune of Rs two crore were taken up for the rejuvenation of the fort. This include erecting railing for safety, repairs and restructuring of the steps and replacing the damaged steps leading to the top of hill, drinking water, toilets, resting places and a shed on hill top for the people to relax and have a bird view of the forest area down.

Muniratnam, a close associate of CM Naidu and one of the key TDP functionaries in Kuppam said the development works in the fort taken up after Naidu became Chief Minister but was stopped incomplete after Naidu lost power in 2004. The completion of the previous works and some more to provide facilities to attract visitors in good number is now going and will be over in a year, giving the much needed face lift to the historic hill fort.

By G Sridhar

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