The fort was built by Allappa Gowda Sardesai, the ruler of the Desai dynasty between 1650 and 1681. It was held by the Desai marathas of Kittur, as well as Rani Chennamma, a lingayat woman warrior of Karnataka who revolted against the British in 1824. Kittur reached its zenith during the Mallasarja Desai. The place has a Nathapanthi matha in police line area, and temples of Maruti [in fort], Kalmeshwara, Dyamavva and Basavanna, the last named a later Chalukyan monument now completely renovated.
The archaeological museum, Kittur Rani Chennamma memorial government museum Kittur, at the location is managed by the state department of archaeology and museums, Government of Karnataka. The museum was opened on 10th January 1967, by the then Prime minister Indira Gandhi. It has a rich collection of antiquities found in and around Kittur, which include a few of the weapons, swords, mail-coat, shield, engraved wooden doors and windows of the Kittur palace, inscriptions, herostones, Surya, Vishnu both from Kadrolli, Vishnu and Surya from Devarashigehalli, Subrahmanya from Manoli, Durga from hirebagewadi and many more antiquities, as well as some modern paintings.
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Some of the exhibits in the museum are shown below.
- Swatee, Jog (2 June 2018). "For a trip back in time..." Deccan Herald.
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