With stories of yore

Devanahalli Fort

Devanahalli Fort? Well not many not even people who live near by knows about it. Leave them aside many of us who zoom to the airport and back give it a miss. Well the impressive fort is very visible from the highway leading us to the Kempegowda International Airport (KIA).

The fort with a long history is not very big but looks beautiful. Unfortunately many years of neglect and indifference from the authorities concerned has left the massive structure in a bad shape.

The Devanahalli fort was built by a local chieftain, Mallabairegowda in 1501. The fort continued to be in the possession of his descendants until mid-eighteenth Century and in 1749, the then Dalwai (chief minister) of Mysore, Nanjarajaiah, brought it under him.

In the years that followed, the fortification was vanquished frequently by the Marathas, the Mysore kingdom and the British under Lord Cornwallis.

Later, the fort went under the control of Hyder Ali and his son Tipu Sultan, who re-fabricated the stronghold with stones in the structure that stands even now. After almost two centuries later, the rise of Hyder Ali who was the commander in chief of Krishna Raja Wodeyar II saw many historic events. Hyder Ali gave stiff resistance to the British
who were on a grand mission to expand their territory. His administrative acumen and military skills saw many campaigns in the region. Soon the Devanahalli Fort also came under his control.

The area near the Fort is also said to be the birth place of Tipu Sultan who was born in 1750. A small pillared enclosure with a stone tablet declares the place to be the birth place of Tipu Sultan. The area around the enclosure is known as Khas Bagh and has a dried up stone pond.

Unfortunately there are no information boards to tell visitors about Tipu Sultan, popularly known as the Tiger of  Mysore. Tipu Sultan gave the British a tough time and became famous for his sharp military skills. In alliance with the French in their struggle with the British, and in Mysore’s struggles with other surrounding powers, both Tipu and his
father used their French trained army against the Marathas, rulers of Malabar, Kodagu, Bednore, Carnatic, and Travancore. During Tipu’s childhood, his father rose up to take power in Mysore, and upon his father’s death in 1782, Tipu succeeded to a large kingdom bordered by the Krishna River in the north, the Eastern Ghats in the east, and the Arabian
Sea in the west. He won important victories against the British in the Second Anglo-Mysore War.

If the Karnataka tourism department or the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) were to develop infrastructure around the area of Tipu’s birthplace, it would boost tourism here. This will enable our future generations to appreciate our rich heritage.

Devanahalli Fort is located around 40 km from Majestic bus stand on the Hyderabad Bangalore highway, just before the Kempegowda International Airport, you will find the fort on the left. It is visible from the high way if you are watchful enough.

Eateries: There are many nearby

Directions: Travel on Bellary Road(NH-7) to reach Mekhri Circle. 9 kms from here is Yelahanka. Proceed straight ahead for 29 kms till you reach outskirts of Devenahalli town.
Turn left at a junction with a circle and half-a-km from here is Tipu’s birthplace and the fort.

As one enters the fort area, green fences demarcate the temple areas. On the right is the famous Venu Gopalaswamy Temple which has a traditional courtyard with a Garuda Stamba with the walls showing scenes from the Ramayana and also the antics of Lord Krishna as a child.

Abhishek Paul Joseph


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