A study of ancient fort

A study of  ancient fort

The role of Gandikota is significant in the history of peninsular India. It was a place of consequence even in the 8th century AD as evidenced by the...

The role of Gandikota is significant in the history of peninsular India. It was a place of consequence even in the 8th century AD as evidenced by the available epigraphical material


J Hanumanth Sastri

The role of Gandikota is significant in the history of peninsular India. It was a place of consequence even in the 8th century A.D. as evidenced by the available epigraphical material. Gandikota, a gorge fort, is at a distance of about 12 Kms to the West Jammalamadugu in Kadapa district in Andhra Pradesh. The inside width of the fort varies at places; at its maximum, it is about five and a half furlongs. Diagonally from the north-west to the south-east, it measures a mile almost. Parts of the fort being in various stages of decay, it is full of debris in side.

The Jamia Masjid, part of the fort, has two majestic minarets. A large granary with a vaulted roof is now used as travelers bungalow. There are two temples in the fort, one of Lord Madhava, the other of Lord Raghunatha. Other structures inside the fort are another large granary, a magazine, a graceful pigeon tower with fretted windows, an extensive palace built of bricks with plaster decorations. The palace has some wells too in it. There is an old cannon still lying in the fort. Then there is a royal tank, its perennial springs irrigate lime and plantain gardens. It is said that this tank is connected by pipes to a fountain in Jamia Masjid. Remnants of the pipes can still be seen.

There were gardens and springs during the Muslim and the pre-Muslim rule. There is an undated inscription on a boulder near the Nagaihari (large kettle drum) outside the fort .It records gifting of two gardens at the place to a temple. There is also a garden called parebagh with a waterfall at the foot of the hills on the bank of the penneru (the river Penna). Then there is at this place another boulder with a persian inscription.

Higher up the hills, near the hamlet, Kottapalle, two miles to the south -west of the fort, there is a temple dedicated to Venkateswara Swami. The picturesque, wooded hollow is locally known as 'Guriginjakona' (a small vale of Arbus Precatorius plants or wild liquorice Plants). Another beauty spot here is the Agasthyasram.

Lying in a depression in the hills along the penneru, the Ashram is about a mile away from the fort towards the north -west, the hills along the Penneru. Bulls, asses and other pack-animals are used for transporting fruits, vegetables and other produce grown on the Gandhikota bills to Jammalamadugu and Kondapuram railway station and other places. Tavernior the famous French traveller, who halted at Gandikota for nearly a fortnight in A.D.1652 claimed that the fort had been captured only a few days earlier by Mikjunla on behalf of his sovereign, the sultan of Golkonda, Gandikota also appears to have been inhabited by a number of fishermen.

According to the Gandikota Kaifiyat ,a certain Kakaraja built the fort in S.1044 (A.D1122).According to an inscription of s.1212 (A.D.1290) at Tripurantakam, it can be presumed that Ambadeva, the Kayastha chief shifted his headquarters to Gandikota from Valluru. While an inscription of S.1230 (A.D.1038) at Kanala reveals that an officer of Prataparudra was stationed at Gandikota. An Epigraph of S.1236 (AD 1314) At Upparapalli states that a subordinate of Prataparudra reduced the fort into captivity Juttaya-lenka Gonka Reddi was appointed by Prataparudra to govern Gandikota.

fort3'Futuhus Salatin of lsami mentions Gandikota among the places captured by the Delhi sultans. During the time of Bukka I. one Ellamarasa was ruling at Gandikota. During Vijayanagar times, Gandikota was the headquarters of a 'sima' (a territorial division). After the battle of Tallikota Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah took the fort by dispatching an army under his minister amir�ul-Mulk, But soon after Venkata ll re-captured the fort.

About the middle of the seventeenth century Mir Jumla, a commander of Abullah Qutb Shah, took the fort and it remained in Qutb shahi possession till the kingdom fell to Aurangazeb in 1687. It was finally taken over by Abdul Nabi Khan, the founder of the Mayana Chiefs. When the fort came into the possession of the British, they demolished most of the buildings within it. The fort and the remnants of the buildings within are now protected monuments.

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