India is a country with a large number of forts. Some of the forts were built as plain structures, some were complex constructions, and some were beautified with ornamental elements while some others were built to represent architectural grandeur.
However, there is another category of forts that have always generated keen interest among the people. They are the island forts or fortified islands. The fort islands are much less in number as compared to the mainland forts in India. Among the fort islands in India the Jaladurga Fort in Karnataka is a well-known one.
Jaladurga Fort is located in the Lingsugur taluk under the Raichur district in Karnataka. It is situated picturesquely on a hill that stands at the edge of on an island in the Krishna River at a distance of around 8 miles from the Lingsugur town. One portion of the fort overlooks the river gorge of Krishna. A bridge connects the island to the mainland.
History of Jaladurga Fort, Raichur
The Jaladurga Fort was constructed by the rulers of the Adil Shahi Dynasty of Bijapur. The fort served as an important structure during the regime of the Adil Shahi Dynasty. It is believed that there is a particular spot inside the fort from where the enemies and culprits were thrown off to the river or to the boulders lying at the base of the hill. Even imagining about the steep drop can be a scary thought for anyone.
The centuries old fort was under the control of many rulers from time to time.
The present day condition of the Jaladurga Fort, Raichur
Jaladurga is a unique fort that was built on a hill and commands a magnificent view of the river gorge of Krishna. The name Jaladurga is due to its exceptional location; Jaladurga in the local Kannada language means ‘fort on water.’
The fort was strategically built to take advantage of the location. The Krishna River surrounds the hill and the village located nearby. The river and the hill made it difficult for anyone to approach the fort without being noticed. As such, it was an ideal place for a fort. However, the strategically built fort is in a ruined condition today. Only dilapidated walls, ruined bastions and run-down structures can be found at the spot. Even the gateways are in a sorry state and resemble nothing of their glorious past.
The fort had seven gateways, as was the common rule for forts. The fort also had a beautiful palace and a cellar apart from many other structures inside the fortified premises. There were strong and high walls and ramparts surrounding the fort. Even today a few tombs of the rulers of the fort can be found inside the fort, though there are no identification tags to determine their identities.
One can see the Sangameshwara Matha and the temple of Yellamma while crossing the gateways to reach the innermost premises of the fort. The temple of Yellamma is a simple shrine that has the deity’s face in a fiery red colour. It is believed that an underground escape tunnel also existed that connected the fort to a place outside, but now the route is covered by stones and wild growth.
However, one thing has remained the same at the fort even today. The fort site still offers amazing view of the surroundings. The Narayanpur dam on the far west side, the blue river dividing into two down below the hill and the lush green slopes to the east of the fort all make for scenic views from the historic spot where the fort stood once with pride.
The fort site is under the possession of Government of Karnataka.
How to reach the Jaladurga Fort
Jaladurga Fort can be reached from Bangalore and other parts of the state through a various means of transport. The road to the fort from Lingsugur has quite a few potholes and gives bumps to travellers. However, the splendid view from the fort makes up for more than the effort.
Lingsugur has no airport of its own. The nearest airport to reach Lingsugur is the Hubli Airport that stands at a distance of 174 km from the town of Lingsugur. Hubli has a domestic airport that connects to a few chosen places within the state.
There is no railway station in Lingsugur. The nearest railway station is located in Almatti and is situated at a distance of 69 km from Lingsugur.
Lingsugur has a bus stand that connects it to many towns and cities of Karnataka. There are regular bus services available from Bangalore, Bijapur, Belgaum and various other places to reach Lingsugur. Taxis, cabs and private vehicles can also be hired to reach the town of Lingsugur. The fort can be reached by even an auto rickshaw from Lingsugur.