Channarayana Durga Trek

Climb to an ancient fort with dominating views

TREK DIFFICULTY

Easy-Moderate

TREK DURATION

2 days

HIGHEST ALTITUDE

3790 ft

AGE LIMIT

6 years & above

Climb to an ancient fort with dominating views

Channarayana Durga Trek is located near to Madhugiri in the Tumkur district of Karnataka. A trek that is very close to our hearts at Indiahikes since it reveals many surprises as you go climbing through each of its layers of the fort. 

The trek is very much accessible and close to the state highway 9 connecting Madhugiri and Dabbaspet. The beautiful majestic fort reminds you of medieval times that was used as a strategic fortress in this region of Madhugiri and Tumkur. It is one of the Navadurgas around Bangalore.

The entire fort is divided into multiple layers and sections. One can clearly see the brilliant minds that went into the design and structure of this fort that was built during the 16th century. The fort is daunting to you right from the time you are starting the trek from the base and it gets grandiose as you come closer. 

Just the sheer climb through the granite rocks adds to the thrill. Be it with false doors leading you to the wrong side of the fort, a reservoir to store water throughout the year and ancient hallways mark this for an exploration one must truly venture into. 

The view from the top of the fort is also a sight to witness. You get to see the famous monolith of Madhugiri from the top and other surrounding hillocks in a grand setting. 

The trek is ideal for any age group and especially for families, friends, and colleagues to start trekking. A fit trekker can complete the trek within a couple of hours while those who want to take it leisurely can spend half a day easily exploring the trek.

Channarayana Durga Trek is located near to Madhugiri in the Tumkur district of Karnataka. A trek that is very close to our hearts at Indiahikes since it reveals many surprises as you go climbing through each of its layers of the fort. 

The trek is very much accessible and close to the state highway 9 connecting Madhugiri and Dabbaspet. The beautiful majestic fort reminds you of medieval times that was used as a strategic fortress in this region of Madhugiri and Tumkur. It is one of the Navadurgas around Bangalore.

Channarayana Durga - Complete Trek Information

We have always wanted trekkers to be well-informed before they go on a Himalayan trek. Knowledge is the difference between a safe trek and a dangerous one. It’s also the difference between a wholesome experience and a surficial experience.

Use this section to learn about the Indiahikes Southern Campus trek. It has in-depth information about each day of the trek, what to expect, and how you need to prepare for it. Many years of expertise have gone into this content. Don’t miss the 'Frequently Asked Questions' section at the end. Trekkers find that extremely useful.

Indiahikes Southern Campus Videos

Watch these videos to prepare well for your trek

Trek Focus

Highlights from Channarayana Durga Trek

What are the highlights from Channarayana Durga Trek

1. Design and Levels of Fort 

The entire charm of the trek lies through the beautifully designed fort of Channarayana Durga. You have three distinct layers to go around and explore. The fort is a constant companion daunting at you right from the start until you finish the trek.

Watch out and explore the unique fortification of bastions, galleries, garrison, and storage units. The different structures of the fort take your mind to the ancient times when the fort was actually in use.

As you move through the various sections, notice the carvings of tortoise, snakes on the stone walls.

As you enter the fort, feels like you are taken back in time. Picture by Jothiranjan

2. View from the top of Channarayana Durga

The top level of the fort is very unique compared to other hillocks surrounding Bangalore. The top is surrounded by fortification on all sides.

It almost feels like you are entering into a playing cauldron. Walk along the edges of the fort to get the entire view of the region. You get to spot the famous monolith of Madhugiri towards the North, Siddarabetta towards the South West, and other hillocks.

For families, this is a great place to spend some time after the exhilarating climb.

From the top, you see various surrounding hills of Madhugiri district. Picture by Suhas Saya

3. Exploring and the Thrill of Climbing the Granite Rock

The trek of Channarayana Durga is most suited for trekkers who are keen on exploring the different aspects of the fort, the physical features of the rock, and getting transported back to the ancient times when this fort was actually in use.

The false routes add to the excitement of getting lost from the main trail and still not having to worry about safety.

It's a unique experience trekking on the rocks that are formed billions of years ago. Picture by Suhas Saya

|| Trek Trivia ||

Grand History of Channarayana Durga

The Beginning

The Channarayana Durga fort was built in 1513 AD, Channappa Gowda Chikkabhoopala. The fort architecture is similar to that in Chitradurga, popularly referred to as ‘yelu suttina kote’. The design has narrow passages and false entrances to aid in defense. Chikkabhoopala had 3 sons - Thontendra, Channappa Gowda, Sappendra. Both elder kids die at an early age. In remembrance, the fort is named after the 2nd son. Last surviving son Sappendra also had 3 sons who were given Midigeshi, Madhugiri and Channarayana Durga to administer. Kalappa Gowda handled administration of Channarayana Durga. But his two sons Ramappa Gowda and Thimmappa Gowda feud for control over the fort. Thimmappa Gowda seeks support from then Mysore ruler Chikka Devaraja Wodeyar. Eventually, the entire region of Madhugiri and Tumkur was brought under Mysore kingdom rule by the 1670s. Both the brothers - Ramappa Gowda and Thimmappa Gowda are imprisoned, ending the long standing feudal rule. Around the same timeline, the control over Bengaluru is also bought from then emperor Aurangzeb for around 3 Lacs.

Action !

After the demise of Chikka Devaraja Wodeyar and emperor Aurangzeb in the early 1700s, the influence of Mysore kingdom weakened. Eventually by the mid 1700s - 1762 AD, the control of the fort was taken over by Hyder Ali and then passed on to Tippu Sultan after his demise around 1782 AD. Tippu further fortified the fort with brick & mortar extensions with gun & cannon holes to support modern weaponry. The fort was also converted into a garrison (weapons & gunpowder store). Iron ore in the surrounding area was mined and smelted (melted with sulfur & potassium nitrate) at the fort. The fort became an important supplier of raw materials that was transported to weapon manufacturing factories in Bengaluru, Srirangapatna, Chitradurga and Nagara. These were known as Thaaramandala petes, manufacturing gunpowder, pellets, guns, rockets and also advanced weapons such as missiles. The finished weapons made their way into bunker style armories in Bengaluru (now Kalasipalya) and Srirangapatna.

After the Britishes took over, it was proposed by Arthur Wellesly in the early 1800s to create a permanent garrison owing to its significant geographical and historical advantages. It was deemed to be one of the most dependable forts to defend in the entire kingdom of Mysore. However, it did not materialize and the garrison was eventually shifted to cantonment in Bengaluru. In the mid 1900s, under the supervision of Lord Cornwallis, the armories provided a constant supply of gunpowder and weaponry into Britain which eventually was utilized in the world war against Germany. Thus, this fort has always had its importance and relevance throughout its 500+ years history.

As it stands now

Although the fort is not yet popular with the tourists, it has been plagued by treasure hunters for many decades. The place has been dug up irresponsibly in search of rumored treasures, precious stones, idols and historic foundation stones.

The fort, as always, endures all and continues its legacy for many more centuries to come.

Fun fact : Popular song in 1980 Kannada movie Bangarada Jinke (Vishnivardhan & Bharathi) - “Olume Siriya Kandu” was shot at this fort. Gives us a glimpse of how it was 45 years ago.

Credit & References : 

Dharmendra Kumar Arenahalli (Historian, Author, Researcher)

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