Fort Hemagudda

Even though Hemgudda location was known, I could not locate the fort walls in Google Maps. I could not find much info about it except there's a temple. I wasn't sure where the fort was- on the hill or the plain below. I had to be patient until I saw the place.

December 22, 2012
This was the second fort on the itinerary of the day. The hill is situated next to Koppal-Gangavati road, about 11 kms from Budgumpe cross. There are no fort walls or ruins visible on the highway side of Hemagiri. A narrow leads to the other side of the hill. Here we are..

Of the two openings in the fort wall, this seems to be the main entrance. It's a narrow passage flanked by a pair of bastions. Right besides the wall is a temple. We saw a large group of men attired in dhotra, seated under a concrete shelter, chanting mantras.

We followed the road a short distance; we could see a gateway on the hill. A small group of people sitting outside a hut, felt they might help. They told if we wanted to see the temple. I replied, we'll see the temple also but our interest is to see the fort. One of the men pointed at the hill and told how to reach the ruins. I asked if any of them could accompany us. Yes, Indrappa was appointed our guide.

At the base of this hill are ruins of an ancient palace. Uphill path start here.
Indrappa was a silent type, he would not speak at all, even when spoken to. He and Mohan mama were ahead, Ravi and I in the middle and Malatesh lagging behind. What a strange looking rock!

The path was narrow, twisty and slippery at places. After a ten minute climb we reached this rock bed and found a shady spot. The shade was very cool... effect of water in the vicinity.

Indrappa was ahead of us but we decided to cool down a bit.

One part of the climb was little tricky because of a steep rock face but it was manageable. Second half of the climb seemed longer because Malatesh was lagging way behind us, he looked tired. Perhaps he had not expected another climb so quickly. We cajoled him by saying we reached the top, you are really close, few minutes more.. The gateway we saw from the plains below.

Interior seems well preserved but the exterior is in bad condition. Beyond the gateway was just rocks and shrubs, no ruins! We had more climbing ahead of us. Great!

We had to walk another stretch and turned right to climb towards the temple. I could hear Malatesh in the distance. Told the rest of the group to proceed. Finally, Malatesh caught up. The climb here was interesting. These rock reminded me of rocks near Moryara Mane on Hirebenkal hill. Those parallel groves might have been formed because of wind and rain.

The hill is a busy place during day, shepherds and their flocks are all over the place. If you take a close look at the picture below, you can see three boys on sitting on rocks. I wonder how they managed to clamber atop.

A little ahead is this semicircle of stones. All these hills have histories dating back to prehistoric times. hence we can expect to see megalithic artifacts such as cairns or dolmen. I wonder if this really is a cairn.. was this a complete circle originally?

Meadows Taylor in his book 'Megalithic Tombs and Other Ancient Remains in the Deccan' has spoken about cromlechs (megalithic structures) at Yemmi Good or Yemmi Guda (hill of buffaloes) which is situated North of Anegundi. Meadows has also mentioned Yemmi Gudda to be situated near Kanacgiri- he means to say Kanakagiri. Earlier today at Kumara Ramana Kote (Jabbalgudda fort) I asked our guide if he know which of the hills is Yemmi Gudda. He pointed out to a hill with 3 peaks and said "see that is Yemmi Gudda." Then I asked is it near Hema Gudda. His answer was its the same hill Hema Gudda and Yemmi Gudda are same. I was wondering if Yemmi transformed this way: Yemmi > Hemmi > Hemma > Hema. I could be wrong.

This circular structure built of stone and covered with mortar could be a granary. To the left, behind the granary is a small rectangular structure- that's a temple dedicated to Lord Hanuman. Indrappa performed a small pooja by lighting agarbathi. Close to the temple is a pole with saffron flag- this flag can be seen from the highway.

Further behind the temple is large bed of rock with a long depression at one side. Two walls built at either ends of the depression has created a tank to capture rain water. In the foreground is an ancient quarry, perhaps there were plans to strengthen the fort.

Seen from the other end- its quite a big tank. The small wall in the middle divides the tank into two parts- deep and shallow.

On the left are large stone formations.

Beyond the rocks is a very steep rock face and an amazing view. There is a small lake but the water body on the left is storm water which has flowed down from these hills.

The shade was refreshing- we sat down t enjoy the cool breeze. Mama took out his yeli-adki-sunna-thambaak kit. Chewing paan will multiply the pleasure of sitting on a hill, in cool breeze and enjoy the sight of water. To our shock, Indrappa spoke with being prompted. None of us caught what he said first, when mama asked him to repeat he said- thambaak kodri. Four of could not get a word out of him but tobacco made him speak out :-)

The cool breeze set my tummy grumbling, I was not sure of others but it was lunch time. We took a different path way down to the gateway. This rock formation looks like a helicopter. You can see few monkeys in the shade.

We climbed down quickly. As we reached the base, Indrappa took off without a word. We had noticed a temple earlier, we decided to take a quick look. I remember seeing this type of stepped shikhara at Hampi.

It seems very much a temple built during Vijayanagara times. A simple but strikingly lovely floral art was seen in the temple doorway, in the door frame.

Done with the temple, we headed back to the car, found a nice clean spot with a water tank close by and settled down for a home packed lunch- rotti, malki-kaal, cucumber, tomato, chatni and curds. After two hill climbs, lunch was bliss, I relished every bite. Post lunch yeli-adki session is a default setting. We head towards our next destination- Roudakunda fort.

Back home, research on Hemagudda yielded some info: Hemagudda fort was a part of Kanakagiri kingdom which was ruled by Palegars from XV to XVIII century. Hemagudda fort is well hidden because it is situated amidst high rocky hills and it can be entered only from its entrance in the east.  It was reputed to be a favourite hide-out for palegars during wars. Within Hemgudda fort walls are temples dedicated to Shiva-Parvathi, Kanakachala, Lakshmi-Narasimha and Durga Devi were constructed between 1510 and 1533 by Udacha Nayaka the second ruler of Kanakagiri. Every year a fair is held during Dasara.

Hemagudda fort coordinates: 15°26'13"N   76°23'14"E
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