Chasing Ruins – Gummanayaka Fort

“You guys carry on, I’ll wait here.” I was certain I would slip on the mammoth rock that appeared as smooth as butter and seemed quite steeply inclined too. My shoes didn’t have a good grip and I was taking no chances. Moreover, stepping onto the rock from where I stood would be another task altogether, given my rather short height and consequently short legs. S and A were, however, not leaving me behind at any cost. I relented only after a lot of assurances and some bit of cajoling too. All of this turned out to be unnecessary when we discovered on the way back that there were well laid out steps all the way to the top. The steps remained hidden because of the tall bushes that had grown all around.

Pic 1: Entrance through the first gate leads to a second one, beyond which is a temple dedicated to Lord Hanuman. The temple seemed to have been recently renovated.

Earlier that day, we were at Gudibande Fort. Thereafter, an impromptu decision found us heading straight to Bagepalli in the hope of exploring Gummanayaka Fort. We had no plans of visiting this place. In fact, we didn’t even know that it existed. It was purely by chance that a friend happened to notice it on Google Maps the day before and had casually mentioned it to me. The pictures looked impressive and when I mentioned it to S and A, they readily agreed. Quick research on the spot and we learnt that we needed to go to a village named Gummanayakana Palya.

Pic 2: Hints of Indo-Islamic architecture in the ruined structures. This was in the open area just outside the temple complex. Scattered ruins lay around all over this area.
Pic 3: We climbed up the structure in Pic 2 through a narrow cemented staircase.

The drive towards the village was characterized by large stretches of wilderness on either side of a well tarred road. Empty lands covered by green shrubs, dotted with boulders of various shapes, and tiny hillocks greeted us most of the way. For most of the road there was no settlement at all. After a long stretch, some signs of civilization started appearing. We were about 10 Km. away from the village when we had to take a left turn into a smaller road. Right there, was a tiny tea shop where we learnt that there would be no shops beyond this point. It was well beyond lunch time by then. On enquiry, we got to know of a place in the immediate vicinity where a lady sells Rice-RasamSambar. We decided to pack the food and at a shockingly cheap price of just Rs.110 for three plates. And, it was piping hot! Oh, she gave us some curd too.

Pic 4: Somewhere at the base of the hill in the open area outside the temple.
Pic 5: Ruins lay all around.

Soon, we arrived at the village. The quaint village had just a few huts and it looked charmingly tiny. We curbed our interest to explore the village in the larger interest of exploring the fort. It had started to drizzle by then. The fort was standing majestically right in front of us, but we couldn’t locate the entry point. Not knowing the local language only added to our difficulty. It took us a little while before we figured out the entrance. The entrance gate took us by surprise. It was truly impressive compared to the other two forts we had recently explored. This was the third ruined fort we were visiting in the outskirts of Bangalore over two consecutive weekends. It had started with Hutridurga just the previous week.

Just beyond the entry gate was a temple that had a huge carving of Hanumanji on a stone wall. Beyond this temple was an empty area that has ruins scattered all around. The fort could be seen on top of a hillock that we would have to climb. The soft drizzle had intensified, and it had started to rain. We continued walking towards the base of the hill in the hope that the fort could provide shelter from the rain, if required. The ruined structures all around beckoned us but that had to wait, and we would explore them on our way back.

Pic 6: Large boulders lay precariously as if ready to slide down on the slightest nudge. The first picture is a part of the mammoth rock.

The rains stopped by the time we reached near the mammoth rock. There was another temple up here at the base of the mammoth rock. Here we found a nice little comer to sit down and have our lunch of Rice-RasamSambar. Surprisingly, it was still warm. The delightsome ambrosial feeling cannot be replicated even in the best of restaurants, which goes without saying though!

A had already started climbing and exploring the butter-smooth mammoth rock while S and I were finishing off our food. We could see the walls of the fort towards the upper edge of this huge rock. Once I started climbing up, I realized that the rock wasn’t as smooth as it looked and the roughness made for quite an easy climb. I had panicked unnecessarily. However, I did cling on to A all the way up. It was nothing more than a mental block.

Pic 7: The largest of the five lakes we saw from the top. We could see that the lake was easily accessible from the road nearby but we ran out of time to go and explore it.
Pic 8: A portion of the fort wall from the top and another one of the five lakes we saw from the top.

As we reached up, we found ourselves on a sort of a plateau formed by the top of the mammoth rock, supported by other huge rocks. The ample open space provided the perfect place to sit and laze around. And, we did just that in the accompaniment of mildly strong winds, a cloudy sky, and gorgeous views. There was nobody other than the three of us. What more could we ask for! We could see five lakes below. At least one of them was quite large. We ran out of time and promised to come back and explore the lake and the village another day.

Gummanayaka Fort surpassed our expectations in ways more than one. We definitely have to go back another time with more time in hand.

Author: neelstoria

Traveling, Gardening, Trekking, Hiking, Storytelling, Writing, Nature, Outdoors, Yoga, DIY

20 thoughts on “Chasing Ruins – Gummanayaka Fort”

  1. Finding out about a place through a random search on Google Maps is always exciting — this happened to me before and I will surely keep doing this every now and then. The mammoth rock reminds me other precariously-positioned large boulders elsewhere: the one in Mahabalipuran in Tamil Nadu, and another one in Kyaiktiyo, Myanmar, although I have yet to see the latter. Nature can do the most curious thing, indeed.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Usually I never do that. Actually, it has never occurred to me before but I know friends who do this regularly and discover interesting places. I’ve seen pictures of the precarious rock in Mahabalipuram, there’s one more in Madhya Pradesh. Nature is truly the most fascinating designer. Thank you so much, Bama for reading my post.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I say, you are finding such amazing places to visit not far from the city; soon you will have enough material to publish an online guide which will be a boon for people – like me – who are searching for places less travelled and commercially unabused.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hope you to get to visit Bangalore and Karnataka soon. You’ll love these places am certain. Out of the 3 ruins we visited, this one was the most intriguing and also the most unknown one. It’s location being a little off is certainly one of the reasons.
      Thank You Narendra, for always taking time to visit my posts.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It is always a delight reading your posts, Neel. 🙂

        Bangalore is just 460 odd kms from my native place and though I have been to the city dozens of times in the past, it has either been – during childhood- dragged to visit scores of relatives, or – in later years- to Bannerghatta, Nagarhole or Bandipur! Your mapping definitely makes more sense and hopefully the next tour will be more fulfilling. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        1. It’s pretty much the same story for me with the NE. All I did during childhood was visiting relatives. But at that time this activity was immensely enjoyable. My maternal grandfather lived in a tea garden in Assam where we used to spend most of the 3 months of winter holidays. It seems like a luxury now, was fun at that time too but didn’t understand it’s significance then.

          BTW, I haven’t been to Bandipur and Nagarhole yet 😀
          And, all that you write absolutely warrants a visit this side soon.

          Liked by 2 people

  3. Having been to similar forts in the vicinity, it is fun exploring such ruined/abandoned forts. By the way, some of the fort’s structures indicate it must have had awesome architecture. I’m glad you hiked up the hill.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Another day, another fort. You certainly are conquering them all 😀
    These places could do with lots of upkeep, such a beautiful place. And the inheritors of that structure which you climbed up through the cemented staircase reminded me so much of the interiors of the lotus Mahal in Hampi. We had climbed to the first floor there, it’s not allowed any more.
    The rice sambar rasam sounds delicious, was there not some bajji with that? I am at least very good at finding these places and love them. We had similar food at a house cum hotel near Savanadurga. We had food sitting in the courtyard of the house, the food was steaming hot and mind blowing tasty. And after food the hotel owner took water in a lota and poured out while we washed our hands. Money can’t buy such hospitality and yet it cost only 25 rs a plate (unlimited, and I helped myself thoroughly 😀). I can only imagine what you would have felt eating that food in such a exotic location!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This one was such a surprise find and well kept secret at that. I think it’s a little off-route and maybe that’s why not much is known about it. This one I perhaps wouldn’t recommend, if you go with family that is. Because, it’s quite far and isolated.
      The entire village felt like a mini Hampi! And, we thought we have to go and again to explore it well.
      The food story you share here is so lovely. City folks crave for such experiences, one of the many reasons to travel.
      Thanks Dev for reading so many of my posts. Hope your exam/training got over and you’re doing well.


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