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Malnad Musings III - Manjarabad Fort

Here're Parts I and II btw.

Life at Chipzilla is fun and challenging and all that, but all the more challenging is to adapt to a whole new lifestyle. My routine after I joined work is simply that of moving from one seat to another – starting from the toilet seat in the morning to the chair in my cube and then the chair at home in front of the TV or the PC. I wear shorts to meet relatives and friends, my idea of a good meal has changed from Pallkhi to Barbeque Nation, I prefer Vajra buses to regular blue-coloured BMTC buses and I’ve developed a slight paunch thanks to this sedentary lifestyle and my default mail client is MS Outlook! I’m slowly becoming The Bangalore techie...

The weekdays were getting hectic and the weekends equally boring. I was itching to get out of the city and the Skandagiri night trek was just what the doctor ordered to kick me from my slumber. A weekend visit to Hassan after the Skandagiri weekend proved to be another weekend well-spent…

Sakaleshpur in Hassan district is the gateway to the mighty Western Ghats, and is, as rightly advertised, 'God’s gift to coffee'. It is where the daunting hairpin bends of the Shiradi Ghats meet the aroma of fresh coffee. I was fortunate enough to visit Sakaleshpur just after the monsoons this time around. About 8km from Sakaleshpur en route Shiradi and Kadumane is the Manjarabad Fort, which was commissioned by Tipu Sultan. Having been to Jamalabad Fort earlier this year, another fort built by Tipu which is now pretty much non-existent, I was surprised to see the fort well intact. The name of this fort is said to have been derived from the fact that it was always covered in fog. Hence the apt name ‘Manj’arabad(‘Manju’ is Kannada for fog).

There’s a sign on the NH48 that shows the direction to Manjarabad Fort.  The one other signboard was completely rusted so I couldn't make out much from it except that it was built during the mid-1700s. The easy to climb stairs were dotted with wonderful yellow flowers all along the path. What welcomes us after an ascent of close to 250 steps is a well-camouflaged small fort with distinctive Islamic architecture at the entrance.

This leads to a small but extremely picturesque fort that stands on a stretch of plain land some 3200ft above the ground. The fort is in the shape of an octagonal star.

The fort is surrounded on all sides by the lofty mountains. There are two layers of star-shaped walls, and the little fort is complete with a moat adjoining it..

An eastward view from atop...

My attempts to capture the octagonal star...

The Charmadi Ghat range. north of Manjarabad. Are the two peaks Amedikallu and Ettina Bhuja?

The fort also has two tunnels, which are said to lead to Mysore and Srirangapatna respectively. Although the fort is ideally located among the mountains and offers breathtaking views all around, its a pity that little has been done to develop Manjarabad as a tourist spot. Although dozens of movie songs have been shot here, it isn't a designated KSRTC bus stop. The haphazardly grown grass inside the fort can be replaced by neat and well-maintained lawns, like the Bekal Fort in Kasragod.  Once the authorities do take up the necessary action, I'm sure the fort will become far more popular among tourists, and deservedly so.

Oh, and one last thing. I still don't know what flower this is. 


Divya said…
I totally loved the pictures.

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