Dori: Rayanna's deception & capture

Over the past few years I have been visiting places connected with Rayanna, the valiant warrior who fought the British forces to defend Kittur kingdom. Here are the places-
Oct 2010: Rayanna memorial at Nandgadh - Rayanna's execution & burial
Nov 2010: Haliyal fort - Rayanna had captured Haliyal fort from the British
Mar 2011: Sangolli village - Rayanna's place of birth
One other place I wanted to visit for a long time was Dori-Benachi the place where Rayanna was captured. I knew Dori's approximate location, Google Maps/Wikimpaia helped in getting the exact location of Dori.

January 5, 2013
Malatesh and I started the day by locating the European cemetery. Our objective was to locate the tomb of John Thackrey, a British collector and political agent for the Southern Mahratta Doab region, who was killed in the rebellion at Kittur on 23rd October 1824. Most tombs in the cemetery are destroyed beyond recognition or repair. Thanks to the butchers of Dharwad who have encroached upon the cemetery land. Then we visited the Thackeray's memorial at Kittur Chennamma Park. Then a quick stop for breakfast and headed towards Kelgeri where Pushpa joined us.
About 25 kms from Dharwad, off Alnavar road is Dori village. Dharwad-Alnavar road repair is almost complete, it was unusable for almost a decade. We cruised most of the way except for some undone patches. At Arvatgi we turn left towards Dori. At the village entrance we talked to locals and got directions; the spot is under a big Aalad-Mara, less than a kilometer from the village. Close to the spot, we met Lakshappa, a farmer who was monitoring the sprinklers in his Bengal-gram field. He agreed to take us to the spot :)
Along Lakshappa's field borders are two streams. To the west is Dori Halla (Halla is the Kannada word for stream) and to the north is another stream. Sadly both are dry except for stagnant pools in the beds. The nameless stream joins Dori Halli about 70m from where we are.
Dori Halla is on my left and the confluence of streams is straight ahead, out of sight. Lakshappa and Pushpa lead the way to the Aalad-Mara.

Google Map view of Dori and its surroundings- a combination of plains and hilly terrain.

 Closer look at the area enclosed in the white rectangle. Dori Halla flows North-South along the base of a hillock.

I was surprised to see this check-dam.. which means the water flow is slow because of S-bend. Hence this would be an ideal spot for swimming and bathing.

I was trying to imagine this spot sans the check-dam and with flowing water. With good rains this stream would be 6' deep and 30' wide. An ideal place for swimming. Lakshappa mentioned few facts of Rayanna; he was 7' tall; he could cover 20' in one leap; never let go of this sword; even while swimming he would clutch his sword in his teeth.

Rayanna was an expert in guerrilla warfare, he and his band of soldiers looted British offices and rich landlords. The booty was used to to fund their struggle for freedom from British highhandedness. After the incident of destruction of offices at Bidi by arson, British decide to put an end to Rayanna. British officers hatched a plot with two landlords, Bodnapur Ningangouda and Neginhal Venkangouda to capture Rayanna. A man named Lakkappa in Rayanna's band happened to be an associate of Ningangouda and Venkangouda. On the fateful day Rayanna handed over his sword to Lakkappa before getting into Dori Halla for bathing. Grabbing the opportunity Lakkappa signals his fellow conspirators and suddenly nine men converge on Rayanna and immobilize him. Later Rayanna was handed over to the British who take him to Nandgadh. Rayanna was executed by hanging from a Banyan tree about 3 kms from Nandgadh. Rayanna's mortal remains were buried near Nandgadh. Few days later a close associate of Rayanna plants an Aalada-Gida on the grave. Today, that plant is a large tree and stands there in memory of the brave warrior who sacrificed his life for his country.

Dori village folks light lamps and offer flowers to this rock as a mark of respect for Rayanna.

Lakshappa mentioned this sculpted stone could be a Shiva Linga base or a grinding stone. No idea why its placed here.

Earlier at the village we had asked people if they had seen 'Sangolli Rayanna' movie. Folks said they had not seen but they had heard that the movie was not correct historically. They felt the movie was an insult to the great warrior :-( Even I've not seen the movie.. somehow the movie posters were a put off.

Here the video of Dori Halla-

We were curious to know what lay beyond the stream. Lakshappa mentioned a hamlet of cattle herds. Hmm sounds interesting. We asked our host to join in but he declined, said he'll be in his fields. A minutes trek we were at the hamlet Pushpa found a peacock feather lying on the ground.

These are Marathi speaking tribal people, making a living by breeding buffaloes. These people are basically shy and the kids took a while to get used to our presence. The little one in yellow-blue frock was really scared, paap little creature!

With trust gained, they let us into their dwellings. There are five or six families here.

We asked if they had peacocks.. Yes! We got two bunches to take home. They offered us tea and we accepted. Preparation took a while.. smoke coming out of the hut.

They have been living here for four years now.

Calves remain at home. They are fed hay or sugarcane leaves every now and then. Once they finish eating they get back into shade.. smart little fellows.

I noticed that all female members of the hamlet had red bindi between their eyebrows.

 Their kids don't go to school.

Pushpa had made herself comfortable inside a hut. She's holding a peacock feather bunch that has multiple uses; fan, duster, etc. Tea was thick because buffalo milk is thick. It tasted great!

It was time we left. We said bye to all, they did wave back. Back at Rayanna's place we explored the stream few minutes..

..and we were back with Lakshappa at his kadli hola. We thanked for showing us around and said we'll meet again.

Malatesh and Pushpa were not aware of my plan to visit Haliyal fort. The drive to Benachi was really interesting.. tight twisty tree lined road, not a pothole. We saw kids heading back home after half-day school. We drove through Benachi, crossed Dori Halla again, reached Alnavar outskirts and 8 kms to Haliyal...

Dori Halla coordinates: 15°26'6"N   74°47'29"E
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