Monday, March 24, 2008
Trekkers Paradise & Photo Buffs delight
Vijayanagar empire was attacked furiously by the Bahamani sultans ferociously in 1565, with unrivalled brute force. The capital Hampi was meticulously erased to ground by the plundering armies, who looted the gold, rubies and the world famous diamonds of Hampi for a period of six months.
The rulers began spreading their wings to other parts of their empire. In the bargain the construction of temples and forts served as back up for employing the skillful artisans of the time.
Devaraya and his men fled leaving behind their women and children to be slaughtered by the Sultans. Blood flowed like a river @ the Krishna temple with blazing fire to camouflage the carnage perpetuated by the enemies.
The immediate shelter for Devaraya was Penkonda Fort and Gagan Mahal Palace, which was no where in comparison with Hampi palaces. This became a focal point to spread their wings to other parts of the south.
Pavgada fort was commissioned with great sense of urgency, along with Madaksira fort to act as a back up. The sheer adventure of trekking up into the sky is demanding physically, which takes around 45 minutes without break, and with break it can stretch upto 90 minutes.
Even the heavens were at their best with slight drizzle, gust of cool breeze and sun playing hide seek was great fun. We were able to shoot beautiful pictures of this picturesque Fort. When compared to other Forts in the region, this unfinished Fort is in pristine condition.
At the beginning of the ascent one comes across a Hanuman temple, on the left a purported Ganesh temple is located. Midway one comes across the first arch where a Hanuman rock carving is present. Further on the top a grand design was formulated to have a palace for the king with underground bunker, a pond for bathing of queen and king. Watch tower on all four sides of the fort gives an expansive vision to survey the area for any enemy troop movement. An unfinished Nandi formation is laden on top of the hill. The statues of unfinished deities and pillars have been either stolen by the British or lying in safe custody of ASI is subject of speculation.
Overall one can spend 2 hours on the peak exploring the unkown architect plans for completing the grand fort, which has remained on the drawing tables. The frequent change of rulers in the deccan plateau with Vijayanagar empire crumbling, Sultans retracting, Moghuls invading, Tipu Sultan exploring and the Nayaks succumbing to the wodeyars the time and inclination to finish the Grand Fortress was not available.
If ASI can spare some resource or funds, or even worse cum worse give it to a hospitality group a Grand heritage site can be created, an unfinished dream of Vijaynagar rulers can be fulfilled. It is an absolute photographers delight to shoot pictures on Pavgada fort. I found there was no material on the internet nor any of the sites to fill in the details. My hunch is that palegars who migrated from Hampi were instrumental in building this massive structure, but midway they have aborted their effort due to lack of facilities and fear of moghul invasion.
For accommodation down the hills a DSK rest house is available @ Rs 120 for a double accommodation. Pavgada is famous for Shan mahatma temple, one has to visit preferably on Friday to have darshan on Saturday dawn @ 4.30 am. A special pooja is performed @ 5 am. There is a devi temple 3 kms away as one enters the Pavagada town from Leepakshi route. One gets to see the Madaksira massive fort enroute too.
For trekkers and adventurist a visit to Madaksira Fort and Pavgada Fort can be an enriching experience. It is advisable to seek proper guidance for visiting both the Forts, because it is lonely on the top out there. One should start hiking with water, glucose, salt and food supplements along with basic first aid kit.
Pavgadacan be reached through NH4 or through NH7 route via Penukonda. If one wants to make a circuitious trip of forts one can try Madhugiri Fort, Pavgada Fort, Madaksira Fort and then Penukonda fort which will be absolute trekking adventure all the way. Friends obviously all the good photographs have been screened for my personal collection and future usage. I am sure with your photo skills and better fitness you all will be able scale bigger heights because 3 of the destinations we were not able to conquer for lack of proper training, maybe next time around we will be better equipped to reach the peak.