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Kavaledurga Fort

The Kavaledurga Fort, located at a distance of about 18 km from Theerthahalli in Shimoga district of Karnataka, was constructed around 9th century. However by 14th century, the fort was in ruins and it was re-modelled and renovated by Cheluvarangappa. In some sections of Karnataka, Kavaledurga is also known was Bhuvanagiri. This was a significant place during the rule of the Keladi Nayaks. The fort is almost in ruins today and it is not visited much by tourists. The ASI is doing its best to renovate this place and try to restore the old magic and charm in it, so that it would attract more tourists in the coming years.


The Kavaledurga Fort was constructed during the 9th century and one of the best examples of defence strategies couple with eco-friendly features of harvesting rain water. This place was fortified during the rule of Venkappa Naidu who ruled over the area of Shimoga between 1582 and 1629. Naidu was the ruler who can be credited for building around 7 battlements here in order to ensure that this fort was duly protected from enemy attacks. These battlements were constructed predominantly during the 16th century. Hyder Ali took over control of the fort eventually and this fort came under the control of the “Tiger of Mysore”, Tipu Sultan.

Legend has it that this fort proved to be a perfect hideout for the mighty Pandava rulers and sages like Valmiki and Vyasa. Just next to the fort is a small pool that contains fresh water all through the year. It is still believed by many that the weapon named Gadha, that was held by one of the Pandava rulers, Bhim, was used for digging this little source of water.


Granite blocks, that are very sturdy in nature, were used to build the walls around the temple that are found at a height of 30 to 40ft. The fort has a circumference of about 8km and had extensive defence strategies. The village in which the fort was situated had double-layered fortification, while the fort had five layers of protection with the background of the hills, providing natural and extra protection. Every single gateway of the fort had impressive guard houses at their entrance.

Recently, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has been conducting excavations here to explore more about the area. During these excavations, the remains of an impressive Darbar Hall, battlement, magazine, swimming pool, copper pot that was used to measure time, stables and resting places of elephants were unearthed.  In the second round of excavations, more details like gas stove with five burners, water-supply system fitted bathroom and pooja articles.

Rainwater harvesting was one of the key architectural features of this fort. There were many water channels here and they were utilised in the right way so that the fort had a continuous supply of water all through the year, even in the dry summer seasons.

The Kavaledurga Fort assumed lots of significance in the initial years of its construction because it was surrounded by many ancient and beautiful temples. Currently only 3 temples are visible inside the premises of the fort. They are the temples dedicated to Kasi Vishwanath, Lakshmi Narayana and Shikareshwara. The Lakshmi Narayana temple is situated on top of a small hillock and has beautiful steps leading into it. The temple dedicated to Kasi Vishwanath is famous for its doorway with dual pillars, which is constructed like what is found in the mosques and other Islamic structures. The Shikareshwara temple is found right in the middle of the fort and offers a beautiful aerial view of the surrounding city.

Best Time to Visit

Kavaledurga Fort has some amazing trekking trails nearby. Hence it can be best visited just after the monsoon season that is between July and December. The climate is absolutely pleasant during this time and tourists are highly encouraged to walk about the place.

Timings & Tickets

Today, the Kavaledurga Fort is mostly in a dilapidated condition and there is nothing much to view here except some ruins and the three temples. These are open all through the day and there are no charges applicable for entering the fort.

How to Reach


Mangalore airport (180km away), Hubli airport (195km away) and Bangalore airport (275km away) are some of the nearest airports to get to Shimoga. From here you can reach the Thirthahalli town through buses, cabs and cars.


The Shimoga railway station, which is the nearest to the fort, is well-connected with all the major cities in and around Karnataka.


The town of Theerthahalli, which is about 16km from the fort, is well connected with state government and private sector buses that ply all over the important areas of the state of Karnataka.

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