This fort, which is now taken over by the inhabitants, has silently witnessed the rise and fall in Bengaluru’s fortunes over centuries. Today it watches the cars whizzing by on NH-7 and the aeroplanes hovering over. Many people mistake it as a fort built by Tipu Sultan but the fort can be dated back to the 15th century when a family to which Kempe Gowda (acknowledged as the founder of Bengaluru City) belonged laid the foundations. It passed on from the hands of palegars ( local chieftains) to Rashtrakutas, Pallavas, Cholas, Vijayanagara Rulers, Wodeyars, Marathas, Tipu Sultan and finally to the British.
Today Devanhalli is synonymous with the Bengaluru International Airport and is located about 40 km from Bengaluru on NH 7. The fort is in the heart of the town. The intact part of the walls and bastions are visible from the highway itself and that’s all remains of the fort today. Houses have been built into the walls and some parts have fallen to ruin.
What remains of the fort is quite well maintained and one can walk over the fort wall. The dizzying mid-day sun made me wonder how the soldiers stationed there would stand for hours together battling the elements and still keeping a watch out for enemies. There are a couple of bastions built at a higher altitude for extra security. These are now crumbling away and one can only imagine how secure this fort must have been.
The Venugopalaswamy Temple just inside the fort is one of the oldest temples in the fort. Though built in Vijayanagara Style, the temple is 500-600 years old. The main deity is Krishna as Venugopala (cowherd playing the flute) flanked by Rukmini and Satyabhama. The outer wall of the temple has panels with beautiful reliefs of scenes from the Ramayana and the Bhagavata Purana.
A few metres south-west of the fort is a place marked as Tipu Sultan’s birth place. A small structure is what remains today. Those who have seen the place where Tipu’s dead body was found in Srirangapatna will immediately notice the similarity in the humility of the two places.
Devanahalli Kote (Fort) is for history buffs and offbeat explorers. It is quite disappointing that such an important fort is now relegated to being a mute witness. You can pay a visit en-route Nandi Hills or on your way back. It hardly takes an hour to explore the remains of this coveted fort.
Plan a Day Trip from Bengaluru:
Leave Bengaluru by 9.00 a.m. —- Explore the fort at Devanahalli —- visit the temple at the foot of the Nandi Hills —- drive up Nandi Hills (don’t miss the sunset) —- return to Bengaluru rejuvenated
Read my article on the Bhoganandeeshwara Temple. Bhoganandeeshwara takes your Breath Away
This article was published in Spectrum, Deccan Herald on 5th September, 2017. DH Article