Heading out towards Kundapura in Udupi district from Hosanagara in Shimoga district, one comes across a serene little town called Nagara. The approach to the town is very picturesque, heralded by the majecstic sight of a sprawling fort now in ruins. It is called the Bidanuru Fort and dates back to the era of the Nayakas. Come monsoon, the landscape is swathed in green and is at its most inviting best.
From dust it rose, the majestic fort, by kings with far-reaching visions. Their time & deeds done, the kings left one by one, leaving the fort behind, alone. Today, it has the company of countless cows and buffaloes that feast on its largesse.
View of the watch tower from the courtyard below, probably well-connected with one another for effective communication.
Walking in through the main entrance and climbing some more steps, one comes level with the vast courtyard to the left. Towards the end of the rainy season, this expanse will be covered in a carpet of green. The remains are evidence to the large scale of the construction. Set in the middle of this built structure, the royal seat would have commanded a panaromic view of the audience and the hall. The three-tiered seating for commoners and an exclusive place for the cabinet can also be discerned. This is one feature which can hold the visitor enraptured for a long time.
Yet another view of the verdant greens within the fort. The waterbodies indicate copious rain that preceded our visit.
Abundant groundwater resources visible around the fort, some perhaps manually created and many others naturally formed, all serving strategic purposes. When you stand on top, do you invariably think like a king?!
A big watch tower at the peak of the fort which gives a birds' eye view of the entire region. Certainly used to locate and identify intruders, enemies etc. in its heydays, it is now a mere viewpoint to witness the passing clouds, the rolling hills, the myriad streams and the lush greenery dotted with signs of human occupation.
A rusty cannon lying next to the ramparts on the far side of the fortress. Did it take part in any wars? Did it take enemy lives? Did it achieve wartime glory or was it wasted in vain? Does everything end like this… in the dust? Instead of answering, time seems to ask more questions!
If you climb up to the top and look down upon the landscape below, you will espy a lazy stream meandering along. Called the Maavinahole, this is an important tributary of Sharavathi.
This fort of historic importance was built by the Keladi rulers who ruled from 1499 to 1763 (263 years). During this long reign, different kings chose different locations as their capitals for different reasons - Keladi for 12 years, Ikkeri for 125 years, Bidanur for 63 years and Kavaledurga for 63 years. In 1561, Veerabhadranayaka made BIdanuru his capital and the illustrious Shivappa Nayaka (1645 –1665) also ruled from here. He fortified it further and added many a structure. His successor too ruled from here till it was attacked in 1763 A.D. by Haider Ali. Bidanur was renamed Haider Nagar and as time flowed, only Nagara remained on people's tongues.