Chitradurga : Weekend trip from Bangalore

Trip to Chitradurga from Bangalore
Trip to Chitradurga from Bangalore

After a long long time, I am feeling like my old self again - Last few years I went through maternity, new motherhood and then the long pandemic, I almost felt that I am no longer the old Sneh, who used to love to travel, explore places, experiment with food and share stories.

My recent trip was refreshingly awakening, so here I am, starting again, picking myself again and returning back to normal.

 Chitradurga is a city in Karnataka, 200Kms from Bangalore, and particularly of historic significance. We have been to a lot of places near Bangalore, Coorg, Ooty, Mysore, Chikmagalur etc, and it was peak holiday season, so we decided to explore this offbeat location near Bangalore for a short weekend trip. 

How to go

Chitradurg is 220Kms from Bangalore, we went in our own car - my lovely Tata Tiago. The road is very good, there are multiple tolls on the way, so ensure your fasttag has balance. Most of the route is on National Highway, well maintained, and the car hits good speed after Tumkur. 

We left at 6.30 AM from our home in Bangalore, most of the good breakfast joints are around Tumkur, if you miss it, then you hardly find anything in the long highway on the left side. We stopped at one of the Shell petrol bunks and picked up some packaged breakfast and moved on. The route is lined up with beautiful windmills on the way.

We reached Chitradurg by 11 PM.
Lots of Windmills on the way

Best Time to visit : 

Chitradurga is located on a rocky base, and it gets hot. The ideal time to visit is October to March or right after monsoons. 

Where to stay

We stayed in KSTDC Mayura hotel, it is right opposite the Chitradurg fort - It is a good hotel, reasonable pricing, good views and well maintained. I booked through kstdc website, the lawn in front of the rooms is green and refreshing, overlooking the hills. 

You can book through or through KSTDC website - the hotel is neat, clean and has good views of the fort. It is a 3star rated hotel, so basics are all in place, but not very luxurious. The price is reasonable, for us it was around 4000 for 1 night (2 Adults + 2 Kids), and it was peak season.
Mayura Hotel Chitradurga grounds
Front of our cottage at Mayura Hotel Chitradurga

Where to visit

There are lots of places to visit in this city, there are also some destinations on the route, but we were travelling with young children, so we shortlisted the best attractions. 

1. Chitradurga Fort : 

This is a historic fort which was impregnable for almost 200 years - this was ruled by Nayka dynasty, later taken over by Hyder Ali, and then Tipu Sultan. This fort is spread over 1500 acres and you have to cross 7 doors before you are inside. 

The walls of the fort are made of granite stone, and there are multiple stories associated with this place. There is a moat all around (a deep ditch) where the kings used to fill water and breed crocodiles so that no enemy can enter. There are 7 doors made in a zigzag fashion, so that the enemy cannot bring elephants to break these doors and enter the fort. 

The story of Onnake Obavva is very inspiring, she is one of the brave hearts of Karnataka. 

There are places where you can observe nooks for putting weapons, pistols, watch towers, soldier camps etc. If I talk about the stories and details, it will take me a full blog post, which I will cover separately.
Chitradurga Fort - Historical Monument

Ticket Price : Rs 25 per adult for Indian nationals and Rs 300 for International tourists. (Ticket counter is at the entrance, you can purchase the ticket, or there are also QR codes which can scan to buy ticket from your mobile and skip the queue)

Opening time : 10 AM to 5.30 PM  

There are guides who are available at the gate, who will take you around and tell you stories about the fort - We took at guide from the gate, but he was not good at all - he was hurrying too much, and I learnt more from wikipedia than from him. He charged Rs. 500 for a 1 hour walk, where he showed us the entrance gates, and took us till the Hidimbeshwara temple inside the fort. 

The fort it huge, and if you want to explore it fully, it will take an entire day. There are stairs all through, so you need to climb quite a bit. Since we went with children, we only went till half way, there is a lot of more to explore inside.
Pandava temples at Chitradurga fort
High Climb.. we did not go up there

2. Chandravalli caves : 

This was the highlight of our trip - this are pre-historic caves which go deep deep under the ground and have lots of secrets hidden inside. This place is around 5 kms from the fort, it took us 20 mins to reach there. 

Once you enter, you feel as if you have entered a hill station, there are hills on all sides, there is a beautiful pond inside, and nice greenery. 

 This cave is also called Ankali Mutt (as it is believed Anakali saint used to meditate here). You need to take a torch, and go down 80 feet which opens up to a huge cave. 

These were excavated in 1900s and there are various stories about its use by old kings, saints and all. it is believed to be as old as the Iron age, as neolithic inscriptions and coins were discovered here. Some stories say that this was the secret hideout of the king, and he used to discuss secret strategies with his ministry. There is also another story which says that this used to be a monk cave, where Ankali monk used to live and meditate.

The cave is pitch dark, there is not a single ray of sunlight that can enter here, and any sound wave that you do inside, doesn't come outside. Hence an ideal place for secret strategy discussions for the kings or for meditation.

The caves have everything from a living room, to a meeting hall, to a place where the monk used to bath with a bath-tub and water provision. There are beautiful inscriptions and art you can view inside to keep lamps for light. You would be surprised to see that even pre-historic humans were so advanced, that they were able to design something like this. There is ample ventilation, and breathe is easy, despite of no light, no sound and being 80 ft below the ground. 

There is also a story which says that Pandavas came here during their journey, and a shiva temple where the 5 pandav's used to pray is still alive.
Ancient Chandravalli caves and Pandava temple
Beautiful lake outside Chandravalli caves

3. Adumalleshwara zoo : 

This is indeed a delight if you are going with kids, my kids thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Its right in the middle of a forest, you could see birds, peacocks and monkeys roaming freely (no cages), but the big cats and other animals are kept in cages. 

We saw a sloth bear, who was nicely napping, and then panthers/cheetah's who were sitting by the water, some deers, blackbucks and more. The experience was more important than the animals per se. The weather was excellent, it was drizzling, and there were no crowds, the feel of the jungle was amazing.
Sunset highlighting the hill in shape of Nandi
Adumalleswara Zoo

Our Itinerary:

Day 1 : Started from Bangalore at 6.30 In the morning, reached Chitradurga by 11 AM (Took a breakfast break and a fuel break in between)

Checked into the KSTDC mayura hotel (its located right opposite to the fort)

Freshened up at hotel and headed straight to the fort (it was a bit hot, so do carry water bottle with you)

Finished the fort by 4PM, took our car and headed to the Adumalleshwara zoo 

The zoo closes at 6 PM so ensure that you have ample time to cover it

Came back to hotel by 7, had nice beer, dinner and relaxed

Day 2 : Next morning, lazed around the hotel grounds, children chased butterflies and were very excited to see "touch me not" plants and lots of pretty flowers in the property

Had breakfast and then checked out by 10.30 AM

Headed to the Chandravalli caves, enjoyed the views, took pictures

By 12.30 we were on our way back to Bangalore - Reached Bangalore by 6 PM

Your drive time could be lesser as we tend to take more breaks in between, we dont drive over speed limits and we encountered huge Bangalore traffic as it was peak hour. 

Here you can find some more resources to read about this place. 

Chitradurga Tripadvisor

Karnataka Tourism Chitradurga

You will not find many resources, because its a bit offbeat location to travel - but we thoroughly enjoyed our trip. 

P.S ; All pictures original and are captured from my new iPhone 12 camera.
Lots of monkeys here, need to be careful
Me at the Chandravalli caves


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