Are you on your way to Mookambika? Then don’t miss Nagara Fort!
It was in a dusky evening that we started our journey from Shimoga to Kollur. The villages in North Karnataka seemed typical countryside with human settlements amidst vast farmlands and lakes brimming with water.
As I passed by Hosa Nagari, an old fort appeared in the dim light and it was totally surprising to find such a fortress in a deserted place. Even in wrecked state, it looked magnificent. The tourists had started retiring and the premises were getting deserted.
The fort has several guardrooms. Its Darbar hall was in ruins and the rock walls were almost falling apart. I found water reservoirs build using ancient technology to collect the water flowing down the hills. Water-filled trenches were built around the fort. It reminded me of a dynasty who lived in constant fear.
The silence, dim light, the lush green valley spread behind the fort, the cool breeze, the stagnant water in the dam reservoir, various tributaries of the Sharavati river, the sleeping Sahyadris and the vast farmlands --- the view was truly a visual treat for the eyes.
Later, I traced the history of the fort-- Nagara -- from a travel blog. Also called as Bidanur fort, it was the last capital of the Keladi dynasty who ruled the area in the 16th century. The fort was their headquarters for almost two-and-a-half centuries.
It was built in 1640 by Veerabhadra Naicker of Keladi dynasty who is a successor of Vijayanagara kings. Renovated by Shivappa Naicker, the fort was later destroyed by the Hunas.
The Fort also shares a story of female reign -- the wife of Somasekhara Naicker who fought against the tyranny of Aurangzeb. Hyder Ali renamed this place after him as Hyder Nagar.
History also reveals that the Nagara Fort was set ablaze during the Mysore war during 1763. The fort was modified by Tipu Sultan later on. Slowly, the fort slipped into oblivion.
The fort, which has been acquired by the Archaeological department, hasn't got much attention and it is evident from the way it looks.
The majestic old engineering marvel was the wonder of the trip and the bewitched traveller fell to its serene charm.
This fort is situated in Shimoga district of Karnataka. It is located 85 km away from Shimoga, 17 km from Hosa Nagari, 45 km from Kollur and 153 km from Mangalore. Those planning to visit Mookambika Temple can include Nagara Fort and Jog falls in the itinerary.