Remarkable Raichur fort, Karnataka

 The state of Karnataka has lots of forts built by the early Indian rulers to safeguard themselves against raids from enemies. Their safety and security had to be taken care of and for which the built massive, self-contained forts. The Raichur fort is an interesting one, as it is one of the oldest forts in India.

The Raichur Fort at Raichur, Karnataka  was an important fort several centuries ago and would have witnessed numerous fierce battles between various dynasties and their roller-coaster journey through centuries. Record show that the British did not lay their hands on this fort. Nor was there any British occupation of this fort during their reign. 
The Raichur fort has been in existence since the time of the Chalukyas of Badami, and then during the rule of Chalukyas of Kalyani, the fort was renovated. In 1294 AD the Kakatiyas of Warangal strengthened the fort.  The fort  is atop a rugged hill.  According to an inscription on the wall of the fort, it was built by Raja Vitthala on orders of  Raja Gore Gangayya Raddivaru, the minister of the Kakatiya Queen Rudramani Devi. The added advantage is the town lies midway between the Krishna River and Tungabhadra River. When Bijapur  became  independent in 1489, Raichur was its first capital.
Raichur fort, krishna river 

The  massive fort construction work shows the influence of Hindu as well as Muslim rulers. The intriguing feature about this  fort is double fortification, consisting of inner walls made of  huge blocks of tightly packed stones  built by the Hindu  rulers, and the  outer walls of  rougher stone masonry,  built by the Muslim rulers  as confirmed by the presence of  various inscriptions in Arabic and Persian on its bastions and gateways. The strong double walled fort is at a height of  290 feet above the plain, offering a picturesque sight.  As part of the Hindu fortification, there are two  arched entrances - gateways the Sailani Darwaza , named after a saint  Pir Sailani Shah, in the West and the Sikandari Darwaza in the East. The  battlemented parapet on the eastern part is damaged.

The Muslim fortification has five gateways  and they areMecca gate (
Darwaza; builit in 1470 during the reign of  the Bahmani dynasty - Muhammad Shah 
III) in the West, Naurangi Gate in the North, Khandak Gate in the South, Kati Gate in the East and Doddi Gate in the South-East.  Near  the  Doddi Darwaza lies  a beautiful circular well made of fine stone masonry work with long staircase going down to the bottom . The deep moat that surrounds the fort protects the entry of enemy on all three sides, the fourth side being protected naturally by rugged hills. Further, the fort is strengthened by  massive ramparts.

Inside the fort there  are many buildings and mosques that were built presumably after  Bahmani and Adil Shahi period as revealed by the inscriptions. Some of them are: 

01. The citadel or the Bala Hisar is situated on the summit of the middle hill, approachable  by a two way road-partly by a flight of steps  through a doorway in the middle; 

02. There is a small mosque  with  two slim minarets and a single arch built in the Bijapur style.
 Long gun more than 20 feet, Raichur fort.karnatakatravel.blogspot.i
03. There is a circular platform for the gun which is mounted on a turn table. 

04. On the west, there is a Dargah -  Panch Bibi Dargah for five female saints.

05. There is a stone carved Nandi in sitting position at the back of the Hall.  

06. On the Eastern side of the Fort there is a small Masjid called  Jami Masjid. The Mihrab  has a dome  adorned  with a circular row of lotus petals. It is has two entrances - one in the East and the other in the South. The eastern gateway is characteristic of early-15th-century gateways. The  cemetery in the court yard  is believed to contain the graves of some members of the Adil Shahi dynasty of Bijapur.

07. The remains of an ancient Hindu palace is  across the  Jami Masjid. No details are available about the ruined palace.

08. The Daftkari Masjid  near the  Sikandari Darwaza is believed to have been built, from masonry materials taken from a Hindu temple. The pillars in the prayer hall  suggest Chalukyan workmanship.

09. The tomb of a Muslim Saint, Pir Sailani Shah lies near the wall built by the Hindus. The  arched tomb structure built in  Bijapur style has  a small rectangular hall, with a one-arched opening in each face. The  arches rest on small stone pillars carved in Chalukyan fashion. There are  four small slim turrets at the corners. The Sailani gate draws its name from the name of this saint.

Raichur fort.
10. The Kali Masjid is yet another place where  Hindu material was  used in construction as confirmed by the presence of  beautifully polished Chalukyan pillars of black basalt and the fragments of Kannada inscriptions found on the slabs in its walls.

11. The Ek Minar ki masjid, oldest place of Muslim worship in Raichur,  also shows  instances of Hindu influence in the form of the Chalukyan pillars. This Masjid has just one 65 feet tall two-storied  minaret built in the Persian style. The windows and the surrounding galleries on the two floors suggest  the Bahmani style of construction. The top is accessed by a winding staircase.

12. The main attraction of this fort is a large 41 feet long stone. This slab carries records in Telugu along with a scene where huge slabs are hauled up  hill with the help of buffalo driven carts.