After covering Warrangal fortress we boarded a passenger train heading towards Secunderabad from Warrangal, which was packed to the brim because of the intervening holidays. We had purchased a ticket for Howrah exp towards Secunderabad, which was delayed by almost 3 hours, which was the ultimate saviour when we had to reach our hotel Spearmint at Hyderabad. All trains were so jam packed in the evening, that TC advised us to board any train or any compartment. We realised that it was a great risk we took, it was akin to struggle of a different kind altogether. But remember the adage that fortune favours the brave, the weather was kind enough, and it rained to cool the temperatures drastically.
We reached the fortress after the closing time at 5.30 ( 10 am to 5 pm ), we requested the counter guy who asked us pay the fee of Rs 16/- and quickly finish the trip. The ascent to the fort was quite steep, but the weather was so lovely with breeze and slight drizzle that it made our trek so easy that we reached the height of 609 meters within 40 minutes, which may be a record of sorts.
Luckily the rain gods decided to have a break. If it had to continue the drizzle the climb into the steep fortress would have been slippery and impossible to trek. We saw many a tourists returning back to their pavilions since it was fading light. Enroute i was shooting pictures and taking a short break to catch up the breath. We had luckily picked up 2 litre Bisleri water. It served us well to avoid getting dehyrated and helped us to recoup.
Once we reached the peak it was almost as if conquered Everest in quick time. The feeling was smothered by cool breeze blowing over. Dark clouds were accumulating. We quickly had a detour of the Palace on top which was built with Islamic architecture. The palace had literally collapsed and was in a state of absolute ruins. Below there was a cannon point, signifying that it acted more as strategic battle place.
HISTORY OF THE BHUVANGIRI FORTRESS :
Earliest known history of the Bhuvanagiri refers to the trade route of the Budhhist in the 10th century.
The credit for this fortress is given to Western Chalukyan king Vikramaditya VI ( 1076 -1126 ) who had ascended the throne after dethroning his elder brother Somesvara II. Since his reign lasted almost 50 years it was a golden era of the empire. He patronised arts and literature with Kirtivarma wrote Govaidya ( vet science ) and Bramhashiva wrote Samayaparikshe and earned the title Kavi Chakravathi. Bilhana a noted poet from Kashmir wrote treatise in the form of Vikramankadevacharita. Vikramaditya VI followed a ritual of donating land daily to the needy. Thus Vikramaditya earned the title Tribhuvanamalla ( lord of three world )
He is also associated with building a number of fortress located in and around the capital Basavakalyan. Bhuvanagiri happens to be one of the prominent ones close to his capital. He built a stone wall which still stands the testimony of times. The stairways and gateway through arches was built during his reign. He ensured building reservoirs for rain water harvesting in various strategic point at Bhongir. He is also associated with building a number of temples in his domain the famous one being Mahadevi temple at Itagi. After his death the fortress was taken over by the kakatiyas. Queen Rudrama placed her guerilla contingent in this fortress to defend her empire. It is speculated that the Nayaks made this place as their bastion to defend the kakatiya domain. Eventually they succumbed to intense war by the raiding sultanate army. The battle was so fiercely fought that enemies suffered a major blow and loss before Nayaks perished. In honour of their valour a statue is erected at the enterance of fortress of Narasappa Nayak. The fortress than fell into the hands of Vijayanagar emperor Krishnadevaraya under Timmarsu.
The Bhongir fortress was repaired and further strengthened by Ibrahim Qutub Shah ( 1550 - 1580 ) after the downfall of the Vijayanagar empire in 1565. Ibrahim Shah who was once sheltered by the Vijaynagar Emperor became a triator, and joined the confederation of the Bahamani sultanates to vanquish the Vijayanagar emperor Aliya Ramaraya. He established a mosque and a garrison in this very fortress and stationed a large army as a reserve to protect his kingdom. A local governor was positioned at Bhongir fortress. A prison was built to house the criminals and traitors to the kingdom.
A bitter communist rebellion in late 1940 which destroyed the Nizams domain put Bhongir on sleep mode. The genesis of the communist rebellion was undue exploitation of farmers by landlords. The psychological scar even remains today with greetings from locals " I am your slave " Bhuvanagiri was one of the hub of protest against exploitation from 1946 to 1951. The Nizams refused to join the Indian union, and formed an army of supporters called Razzakars to suppress the rebellion. The Sardar ( Iron Man of India ) issued the ultimatum to the Nizam, and he had to surrender on 17th Sept 1948. Ultimately the communist rebellion was quelled and state elections were announced. The good news is that the govt. of India has sanctioned substantial funds to spruce up this majestic fortress which is spread over 10 square kms.
Thus a visit to Bhongir fortress which is filled with historical events came to an end, we are longing for more such adventure.
Ack : Wiki, India culture, India Today, AP tourism, Hindu.