Gudibande Fort – A Weekend Destination

Gudibande – A sleepy town in Chikballapur, just 92 kms away from the hustle of the Bangalore city, has lots to explore. It is a paradise for trekkers, photographers, and someone interested in exploring the history. It gets its name from a cave temple hewn out of a huge rock. The rock in Kannada is called “Bande” and the temple is known as “Gudi”.

The first time I visited Gudibanda with friends, our plan was to climb the fort. However, as soon as we entered the town, a huge lake that was surrounded by rocky hills and boulders distracted us. The sun had just risen and in the twilight it was looking like a dreamland. I saw plenty of birds in the lake and what else do I need. We got down to photograph that amazing lake. This is the Amani Byrasagara Lake or Byrasagara Reservoir that was build by a local chieftain Byre Gowda some 400 years ago.

The day we visited the lake, we were lucky as there wasn’t much wind and could see the reflections of the rock in the water.

There were painted storks, grey herons and many other birds that were busy feeding in the lake.

On the other end of the lake, there is a huge Firangipani tree that has grown over years into the lake. Beneath the tree there is a small pond with steps and some idols in it. May be, they used to offer prayers here long back. When the flowers are in full bloom, it is a feast to watch those flowers above the ripple of the water.

After crossing the lake, we headed towards the fort through small roads of the village. Here is a glimpse of the fort from distance.

Here is some background about the fort. Byre Gowda, a local chieftain built this fort while he was ruling this region during 1645-1648. He is popularly known as the Robin Hood of India as he used to help poor and was a terror to the rich.  He is the same person who designed water-harvesting structures and built the Amani Byrasagara lake. The fort has several ponds and natural water bodies. The fort is on top of a big granite hill, which is steep. When built, the fort had seven gates but today most of them are missing or in ruins. The route to the fort is well laid and there are steps to climb in the beginning that gets narrow as we reach the top.

We parked our cars and started climbing the hill. Weather was pleasant and we were all eager to explore the fort.

Here is a view of one of the entrance while climbing the fort.

While climbing we saw some stone carvings that looked unfinished.

We were in no hurry to climb the hill and took around 1.5-2 hours to reach the top. There is a Shiva temple on the top and is considered to be one of the 108 Jyotirlingas.

From the top of the fort one can see the complete town of Gudibande and also the Byrasagara lake.

Here is one of the watch towers in the fort along with a small tree that has made its way in between the rocks.

We relaxed a bit on top of the hill. Though it was sunny, there was cool breeze and we enjoyed our time. The building you see to the right is supposed to be the sentry room.

After spending sufficient time, we started climbing down. On the way down, I was attracted by a tree filled with orange flowers. There was not even a leaf in the tree! The orange color with the blue sky in the background was really attractive. I got to know recently that this tree is Firmiana colorata that flowers in March/April. The flowers are velvety and tubular.

On google maps, we figured out that there was one more lake ahead the town, but since it was getting late for lunch we thought of heading back to Bangalore and explore the lake one more day. On the way back we came across a paddy field and to my delight we saw plenty of Silver Bills and Indian Robin trying to feed on the insects and paddy in the field.

We reached the highway and had a late lunch that day. We all had that satisfaction of seeing a new place that wasn’t filled with tourists and at the same time could enjoy the nature. We decided to go back the very next week to explore the lake we saw in google maps.

The Vatadasohalli Lake is beyond the Gudibande town. This place has small shrubs all through and filled with plenty of birds. We could hear lot of chirping of birds but couldn’t see them.  As we moved towards the lake, for our delight we could hear peacocks and were excited when we spotted them as well.

We watched the beautiful sunset, enjoying the tranquility of mother nature around us.

We headed back to Bangalore and I was happy as I had seen the man made fort embedding nature as part of the structure and the water bodies across this small town of Gudibande. I know this place is very unique and I will want to go back again and again given that it is so close to Bangalore. At times nature is so simple and yet beautiful!