Impressive Kondapalli fort, Andhra - no ruler kept it for a long period.!!

Among the forts of Andhra, Kondapalli fort changed hands  many times through centuries and witnessed several battles between various powerful rulers.  The fort never came under the administration of one dynasty for a long period.

Aerial view of the Kondapalli

Kondapalli Fort, also locally known as Kondapalli Kota, in Krishna district of Andhra Pradesh is a historic fort  on the hill (Eastern Ghats) located to the west of the Kondapalli village and was built by Musunuri Nayaks during the 14th century.  Their kingdom spread over many parts of South India and to defend them, they had built many forts.  It was used as a military fortification and the British placed a strong garrison here on the hill (Eastern Ghats) fort.

Kondapalli Fort.GoRoadTrip

Though Kondapalli is  associated with the Reddy Dynasty, it was founded by the Eastern Chalukyas in the 8th century. Reddys established themselves here in 1360. Hamvira, the son of Gajapati Kapilendra Deva (1435–1466) of Orissa fought against the Reddys,  came out victorious and occupied the whole of Kondaveedu territory by 1454. With the help of Bahmini sultan, he ascended the throne sidelining his brother and he gave Kondapalli and Rajahmundry to the Bahmini Sultan as part of the bargain. The Gajapthi  rulers controlled the fort for some period  and later they were defeated by Krishna Devaraya in 1519. Circumstances led  Krishna Devaraya to marry Gajapati Prataprudra Deva’s daughter, Kalinga Kumari Jaganmohini and this matrimonial alliance resulted in an amicable   treaty between them, restoring all lands  up to the southern boundary of the Krishna River to Orissa, which included Kondapall. 

The period between 1519 and 1525, was indeed, crucial for them to defend the threats from the Golconda Sultanate. However, in 1531, Kondapalli came under the rule of Sultan of Golkonda, Quli Qutab. In the 17th century, the Moguls gained control  over  this region and later, after the disintegration of Moguls, the Nizams took control of the fort and the areas in the 18th century.  During this period, the British under the EIC was on an expansion mode.

 The British  recognized the Nizam’s rule and made  a treaty of alliance (12 November 1766) with Nizam Ali,  recognizing the control of the British over the territory. As per this treaty,  the company in return for the grant of the territory agreed to garrison troops in the fort for Nizam’s aid at an annual cost of 90,000.00 pounds. It is also stated that in 1766 the British, under General Caillaud, stormed the fort and took control of it not honoring the treaty.  Soon, the fort was converted into a military training base.

Kondapalli fort
The lower fort is accessed through  three successive entry gates. ‘The first gate is called Dargha Darwaja’ made of a single block of granite (12 feet -3.7 m wide and 15 feet - 4.6 m high); named after the tomb or dargha of Gulab Shah, who was killed in battle here.

The other entrance gate called the Golconda darwaza is  on the other end of the hill, leading to Jaggaiahpet village. Towers and battlements occupy within the fortified wall. The upper part of the fort has Tanisha Mahal or Palace that is perched on a crest between two hills. The palace has a colonnaded ground floor. On the upper level it has a reception hall and a few chambers.  Several buildings still standing in the fort are in ruins. Thre are several water tanks in the fort that go dry during the hot summer season. There is a deep spring-fed reservoir in the fort. An English barrack comprising eight large room along with an English cemetery is seen in the fort.

Kondapalli - location. Maps of India

People who have been to the fort will be hppy see this amazing fort return to itsold glory and grandeur. The state government  took up restoration work of the fort, including improving the link road from the highways, access roads to the forts,  strengthening the fort walls, etc. The state government of Andhra took interest in repairing this old fort and in October 2015 a sum of Rs. 10 crores had been earmarked for the Kondapalli Fort project. Earlier in 2012, the state government spent Rs. 4.25 crores for carrying out a major repair work. The fort is about 16 km from Vijayawada city.