Channarayana Durga – Of Trekking and History

    Categories: Madhugiri

Are you an avid lover of history? Do forts, battles, conquests, formation, and destruction of kingdoms that have been part of the history excite you? If you answered yes then gear up for your next big adventure.  Around hundred kilometers from the city of Bangalore, Channarayana Durga, a perfect trekking destination, lies in the Tumkur district of Karnataka.  A fort that is situated on a hill at a height of 3734 feet, the fort has witnessed to the rise and fall of several kingdoms.

Channarayana Durga. Image courtesy Shyamal

Kings who ruled Madhugiri, who were not that popular, were the ones who originally built this fort.  The old structures that remain intact and few of the temples that are still there in the fort reminds us of the glory it held in the past.

History of the Fort 

The fort was built in the 17th century by a feudal lord called Chikkappa Gowda, who was the ruler of Madhugiri and the places surrounding it.  During the Medieval times, end number of battles was fought for the possession of this fort.

According to history, the Mysore Wodeyars and the Marathas continuously fought with each other for the place and the fort kept on being passed back and forth till the third Mysore war when the British gained control of the fort. Within in a short span of time, they abandoned it.

Over the years several attempts have been made by both the locals and the travelers to hunt down any treasure that might have escaped the hands of the rulers who conquered the fort at different times.  Even though luck has never favored the treasure hunters, the never-ending enthusiasm, and hope of finding the treasure inspire them to go back again and again.

Madhugiri Fort. Image courtesy Sangrambiswas

Trekking at the Fort 

The trekking at fort falls in the moderate category. In spite of having great historical importance this place is unknown to a lot of people in our country.  The number of tourists visiting this place is quite low, so don’t be surprised if you are the only person climbing.  With no signboards to direct the tourists the trek could be quite interesting.

The small village that’s located at the foot of the hill is where the trail begins. Once you reach the village you have the option to hire the villagers as your guides. At least half a day is required to reach the top and explore the place.  Don’t forget to carry ample supply of food and water with you as the trek could be tiring.

There are three stages of the fort. The lower portion is covered with rocks that are quite steep. A pond that’s filled with water and thick vegetation form a major portion of the upper part. In their search for treasure, the treasure hunters dug up, damaged and destroyed various structures within the fort. So the fort’s second stage ended up being damaged severely.

Best Season to Trek

The months from September to December are considered to be the best time to visit Channarayana Durga. The smooth rock would be really slippery during the monsoons. This would make the first stage of the trek really difficult. So it’s always best to avoid the monsoon season while visiting the place.

Temples to Explore in and around Channarayana Durga

Within the fort, you come across a few temples, some of which are ruined.  There is a Shiva temple that’s ruined and stone sculptures of deities can also be seen within the fort.  Some of the temples that are located close to the fort are the following:

  • Chandraprabha Temple is a Jain shrine in Mandaragiri village which is located at a distance of 9 kilometers from Tumkur.
  • Shri Kamakshi Sharada Temple is situated at a distance of 23 kilometers from Tumkur.  This temple lies in Hebbur, Karnataka.

Sightseeing in and around the Fort 

Medigeshi Fort

A place of historic importance, Medigeshi, is a rocky fort atop a hill. Medigeshi is situated in Madhugiri, Tumkur. A whole day is required to complete Medigeshi Fort trek.

Madhugiri Fort

Madhugiri, the second biggest monolith situated in Asia, is a single stone hill. The Madhugiri Fort was built in the late 1600’s. A Gopalakrishna Temple is also situated on top of the hill. A trek of more than two hours is needed to reach the top of the hill. Almost a day is required to explore the entire fort.

Siddara Betta

Siddara Betta which means a heap of diviners or a hill of saints is a rough slope covered in vegetation. There are a number of caves to explore and there is a Shiva temple within the caves. This place is also quite famous among trekkers.


Shivagange From Foot Hills. Image courtesy Manjeshpv

At a distance of 20 kilometers from Tumkur, there’s a place called Shivaganga (Shivagangae). It’s a hilly area with breathtakingly beautiful views. There are two temples here of which one is located in the foothills and the other towards the top of the hill.

How to Reach Channarayana Durga

By Air

Sri Satya Sai Airport, Bareli (83 kilometers) and the Bangalore International Airport (93 kilometers) are the closest airports to the fort.

By Rail

Tumkur is the nearest Railway Station.

By Road

On the Bangalore –Pune highway, once you have crossed Dobaspet there is a deviation to Koratagere. The place is situated on the way to Madhugiri, Tumkur.  It’s around ten kilometers from Koratagere.  Though there are plenty of buses operating till Madhugiri the number of buses towards the fort are limited in number. On the way to Madhugiri from Koratagere one has to take a deviation to the left after two kilometers.  Depending on your convenience and where you are coming from, plan and choose your mode of transportation accordingly.

Also See

Nearby Places and Forts 

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