Tuesday, March 5, 2024

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Kondapalli Fort

Place : Krishna district, Andhra Pradesh
Best Season : September - February
Significance : A is a major tourist attraction in Vijayawada
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The picturesque hill fort at Kondapalli is situated in the Krishna district of Andhra Pradesh State. 16 km northwest of Vijayawada city, it is ocally known as Kondapalli Quilla. It is believed that the Kondapalli Fort have been founded by the Eastern Chalukya in the 8C, before being occupied by Prolaya Vema Reddy in the 14th Century.

Spread over an area of 18sq km, it was initially built as a pleasure place and a business centre, along with the Kondavid Fort in Guntur district. The king used to visit this fort for relaxation and recreation. It passed hands successively and was witness to the rise and fall of many dynasties. The fort was conquered by the Bahamanis in 1471 and from them passed to the Qutub Shahis, who made this fort an important stronghold in the Krishna Delta and eloborated by totaling new structures.

Later, the fort came under the Nizam rulers before becoming a British military camp in 1767. The fort, which has a picturesque sight is situated on a hill. It also has an impressive three storied rock tower. Inside the fort complex, there are several ruined buildings like a deep tank fed by a natural spring, a 'Gajasala', where elephants were kept, the Ranimahal (Queen's palace), Virupaksha Temple, 'Bhojanasala' (dining hall), and prisons among others.

The lower fort, can be entered through three succuessive gates at the foot of the hill. The path is thickly overgrown with jungle and cactus. The barracks within the wall are ruined. The climb of the hill is by way of a path winding between two ridges, climbing up for more than 1 km, mostly by way of a stone staircase. The ruins of an old palace perched on a creast above the path.

The upper fort is entered also through a three large entrances, collectively known as the Dargah Gate. They have 5 m high stone walls. The main gate of 3.7 m wide and 4.6 m high has been made out of a single slab of granite. Its name is derived from the tomb or dargha of Gulab Shah, who was killed here defending the fort. Above this is the Tanisha Mahal, a Qutub Shahi structure which is located on a crest between two hills. The other main gate Golconda darwaza is located on the other end of the hill, which leads to Jaggaiahpet village. Near the fort there is a Dargah of a Persian Saint, Gareeb Sahib. The fort remains open for public throughout the day.

The surrounding Kondapalli village is well known for its brightly painted wooden Kondapalli toys, locally known as 'Kondapalli Bommalu'. The toys have a great demand in both national and international markets. The Kondapalli Fort and the famous Kondapalli toys makes it a must visit when in Vijayawada.