Photography by N Shiva Kumar
Located in the Nalgonda district, some 48 kilometers away from Hyderabad is fairly lesser known fort-the Bhongir or the Bhuvanagiri Fort. It might be lesser known but is replete with history. The fort is built upon a single rocky hill in Bhongir.
The fort was built by king Tribhuvana of the Chalukya dynasty in the 11th Century AD. The strategic importance of the stone fort was reduced with the advent of cannons in the 15th Century, by which time the fort was controlled by the Bahamani sultans. As time passed, the fort was converted into a prison under the reign of Sultan Qutab Shahi. The fort was presumably abandoned by the time of the British invasion, waking only briefly during the 1940s during the overthrow of the Nizam’s state. The hill upon which the fort itself is built is about 500 feet high, and spread to about 40 acres of land. Considered practically impregnable by invading armies then, the fort has a unique egg-shaped construction with two entry points that are protected by huge rocks. A moat encircles the fort and the place itself has a huge underground chamber, an armory, stables, and trap doors, among others. These can still be seen even now, which makes for some fascinating viewing for visitors.
The citadel located on the top of the hill gives a wonderful bird’s-eye view of the surrounding area. According to legend, Bhongir Fort once had an underground passage that leads directly to Golconda Fort. This, of course, has never been proven.
Bhongir is also great for people who like trekking and rock climbing. By the 18th century, the fort has fallen into decay, and until recently, it had just remained a silent fortification ruin, covered in its long but mysterious past.
However, as is the case with many heritage structures in our country, the walls and pillars of this fort has been defaced by people etching and carving their names on to it or publishing declarations of their love. There existed a mosque within the fort on the hill. Of that mosque only a few signs are remaining as was many other structures of the fort. The main door of the fort about 500 metres from the base has many stories related to it about the origin of its wood and size.
However after the iron cover of the door was peeled off by miscreants, the wooden doors were also stolen piece by piece. The APTDC is now making efforts to revive the fort to its former glory.