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Author: B. S. Subhadra
Place: Kavaledurga, Nagara, Hosanagara, Shimoga, Shivamogga
This article presents a detailed study of structures within the Kavaledurga fort.
Kavaledurga, situated 3,050 feet above the sea level is located near Thirthahalli of Shimoga district. It was the temporary capital of the Keladi Nayakas who ruled the region from 1500 AD to 1763 AD and the place of refuge to them in times of danger. Keladi inscriptions name this fort as Bhuvanagiri Durga. According to the literary source, ‘Keladi Nrupa Vijaya’ by Linganna Kavi, Hiriya Venkatappa Nayaka of Keladi captures this fort from brothers Thole Thamma and Mundige Thamma and builds temples and various structures within the fort.
The place is amidst the hilly region of the Western Ghats and 21 kms. away from Tirthahalli. The hill ranges and the deep forest had made the place inaccessible to invaders. The fort on the hill has 5 strong laterite walls and is rectangular in shape. Temples of Kashi Vishveshwara, Lakshminarayana and the Shikhareshwara, ruins of the palace, magazine house, tanks and wells are the important sturctures within the fort.
The fort walls are about 30 ft. x 2 ft. in thickness. Fort has five separate entrances and many bastions. The entrance towers have arched doorways. ‘Naga tirtha’, a pond, Naga stones, Nagara katte, Panata (ware-house), several ponds and wells, palaces, mathas, temples, mosquc etc can be seen inside the fort. The Kasi Vishveswara temple has unique architecture which is a mix of Muslim architecture and Vijayanagara style -the trefoil discs at the edges of the roof mirrors at the corners and arched doorway. The temple has mathadwara, an open pradakshina patha and the grabhagudi with shukanasi and kalyanamantapa. A stone pillared structure is also situated at the corner of the pradakshina patha. The Lakshmi Narayana gudi is a small structure in ruins. A portion of the sikhara has disintegrated. This temple is situated on a natural rock. The Shikareshwara temple is situated on a raised rock at the highest point on the hill with a west facing doorway and offers a beautiful view of the Arabian sea.