Madhugiri Fort ~ part two

....continuing from Madhugiri Fort - part one.

In through a gateway and we look up to another gateway.

Beyond the gateway, the path ahead was daunting. Steep and wet ...if not for the railings we would not have gone up in this weather. Deepak and Gulli were lagging behind, out of sight. The railing gave way to this brick wall. As I climbed along the wall, I could see it was actually leaning outwards! I was careful not to put too much weight, I touched the wall with my finger tips. Surely the wall would be strong enough to take my weight, may being careful is better. Standing in the doorway fighting the wind, I looked back at the path I just climbed. What an experience!

The gateway was L-shaped in plan. With the wind howling away, this literally was a wind tunnel.

I climbed up little further and stopped. No sign of my company. All I could hear was wind howling and see  mist swirling around. I could not see anything beyond 10 meters. The mist cleared for few seconds, what a break. Yet, visibility was restricted till the gateway I just passed through.

It was a good fifteen minutes wait until we regrouped. I asked Deepak how much further. Still a long way to go. Perhaps we were 3/4 way up. The terrain changed little, smaller boulders scattered around and our path wound through it.

Another tricky gateway ahead of us. As we climbed higher wind got stronger. Gulli had an additional problem, looking through his glasses. Most times he would look over it.

Deepak leading the way. We had to do a bit of circus to get through this gateway.

From where Deepak is standing (to his left), much of the side wall is gone. We had to be very careful tackling slippery patches and gusts of wind. The tricky part was to climb a wet rock. The only hold we had was insert two fingers into a dead hole to our right and haul ourselves up. Deepak was the first to go up followed by me and then Gulli. We made it safely :)

A short walk, we reached Gopalakrishna temple. The temple has an outer wall with shelters for pilgrims. Typical Vijayanagara architecture. The temple has no idol, so no rituals are performed here. The temple is vandalized thoroughly, surely work of treasure seekers.

We went into the temple, it actually looked more like a bhooth bungalow. We got a break from the drizzle and wind. Deepak and Gulli rested a while longer than me. I left my bag and went exploring. And suddenly Deepak and Gulli heard a woman singing, just like a ghost in Indian movies. It seems for a moment Gulli thought a Mohini was around. Few seconds later they located the source of the sound- my bag. It was cell phone's ring tone :) ...a song from Eklavya aaa aa a. I was Vidya Balan's admirer ever since I saw Eklavya. In fact Vidya Balan was the topic of the day even before my phone scared Gulli. Courtesy Dirty Picture. Each one of us were smitten by Vidya Balan's beauty.

Deepak and Gulli standing next to a dome just like the one we saw below earlier.

Two more in the backyard of the temple. We all took turns to see how deep they were. The inside surface was smooth and white. Surely these were made to store grains and oil. See how badly this age old monument is damaged by thoughtless characters.

Behind the temple is this structure, probably army barracks. See how vandals have dug out.

Deepak found an insect to shoot. Gulli and I found an inscription in stone. Treasure seekers have almost succeeded in turning this place inside out.

I guess it was past noon. We estimated going down will take at least 75 minutes. Let's get going, we'll be hungry soon. Wind was still going strong. This 29 second video was made by Deepak at the tricky gateway to capture the force and sounds of wind.

Deepak and Gulli would duck into any shelter they fond. Wind  was tiring them out but I was OK. I normally do not sit down to get rest or drink water while climbing.

Back at the tricky path, we spread out so that we don't load the railing at one point.

We are almost 3/4 way down. Gulli's toes were hurting because his shoes were tight fitting.

Madhugiri Betta is much higher than Savandurga. In fact climbing Savandurga is a lot easier.

We passed through gateways, more discussions about Vidya Balan and questions about why stones were sticking out of this walls. We paused for a moment to check if it was possible to climb holding on to those stones. It wasn't easy. If at all anyone climbed it had to be an expert wall climber.

Turrets are different levels; the fort has good watch points, difficult for enemy soldiers to sneak in.

I went up to the check out a turret on the North-western side.

Back in the car, while searching for a mess we saw this part of the fort. Looks like a prison to me. The white building behind the tree is a school.

We located Annapurneswari Hotel, a family run eatery.

 We were glad to know that mudde-anna-avarekaal saru meal was on the menu, in fact that was the only item on the menu. I readily ordered mudde oota. Gulli was reluctant to have mudde. Deepak found a way out- he asked for by-two mudde. See he's very creative :) The hotel owners were smiling yenu? by-two muddena? What started with by-two mudde ended up with five muddes followed by rice and avarekaal playa. We thoroughly enjoyed the meal.

It was my idea to check out Midigeshi fort, about 30km from Madhugiri. Midigeshi is another rock hill and for the day half the hill was covered by clouds. Some other day. We drove back- Madhugiri, Kortagere, Tumkur. Close to Kortagere we saw a fort to our right, I guess it was Channarayana Durga. Some other day :(

It was almost 5-30 PM and Gulli wanted tea badly. Gulli located a tea joint, fresh tea was being prepared. We had two rounds each. It felt great! We head back towards Benagluru.

Madhugiri Fort Coordinates: 13°39'9"N   77°12'14"E

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