|Part of Andhra Pradesh|
|Guntur district, Andhra Pradesh, India|
Water-colour painting of Kondavid Fort
The Fort today from the base of the hill
|Controlled by||Government of Andhra Pradesh|
|Built by||Rajas of Orissa and Reddy Dynasty|
|Materials||Granite Stones and lime mortar|
|Battles/wars||Reddy dynasty, Vijayanagara Empire, Sultans of Golconda, The French and the British|
Kondaveedu Fort is located in Kondaveedu village in the Chilakaluripet constituency of Guntur district, Andhra Pradesh, India. It is a hill fortress located 1,700 feet (520 m) above m.s.l. Apart from this main fort, there are two other forts (names not known) nearby. All three forts are now in ruins.
Kondaveedu Fort was constructed by Prolaya Vema Reddy. Later it was ruled by the Reddy dynasty between 1328 and 1428 and then taken over by Gajpathis of Orissa later ravaged by the Muslim rulers of the Bahmani kingdom (1458). The Vijayanagara emperor Krishnadevaraya captured it in 1516. The Golconda Sultans fought for the fort in 1531, 1536 and 1579, and Sultan Quli Qutb Shah finally captured it in 1579, renaming it Murtuzanagar.
The fort came under the control of the French colonists in 1752 when it was extensively fortified. It passed on to the English imperialists who got control of the fort in 1788 but abandoned it in early 19th century in favour of Guntur. Now, the massive fortifications and battlements are seen in ruins only. The interior has extensive ruins of magazines and storehouses.
The fortresses were once the capital of the Kondaveedu province that was delimited between the south of the Krishna River and the Gundlakamma River and located 8 miles (13 km) to the west of Guntur town. They were erected on a high ridge of a small range of hills with average elevation of 1,500 feet (460 m) (highest point on the ridge is 1,700 feet (520 m)). There are two hill (ghat) sections, which form the hill ranges, one is to the north, which provides a very steep but short access to the forts. The preferred access is more circuitous and less tiring and involves 2 miles (3.2 km) of trekking. The Kondaveedu and surrounding forest area has a very large number of Custard apple (Morinda citrifolia (Noni)) trees.
The main Kondaveedu Fort built by the king of the Reddy dynasty in the fourteenth century and the other two forts in its vicinity (all three built in successive periods), together with the province in which they are presently located, were ruled by many Kingdoms, Hindus, Muslims and the British, all who had divergent approaches to the administration of their province and the fort. While the Hindu rulers showed benevolence to its subjects and brought prosperity to the region, the Muslims subjected the province and its people to many depredations.
In 1323, Warangal and the whole of Andhra Pradesh came under the reign of Tughlaqs, rulers of Delhi. Their depredations and despotic reign resulted in formation of a confederation movement by the Hindu kings of South India that ousted the Muslims from Warangal, and the Reddis were part of this movement.
The Reddis of Kondaveedu were initially feudatories of the kings of Warangal. From inscriptions, it is inferred that their rule overlapped with that of the Korukonda Reddis and that they shifted from their earlier capital at Addanki in Guntur to Kondaveedu. The founder of the dynasty was Prolaya Vema Reddy, the son of Prola.
The Reddy dynasty was established by Reddys, one of the powerful non-Aryan tribes/caste. They ruled in the region around present day Vijayawada and Guntur towns for nearly a hundred years (1328–1428). Their first ruler Prolaya Vema Reddy (followed by five other rulers till 1428) who ruled till 1353, strengthened the defenses of his kingdom by building a number of forts, which included the Kondaveedu Fort. He shfited his capital from Addanki in Guntur to Kondaveedu fort. Subsequent to Reddy reign, the region was ruled by the Bahmanis (1458), the Vijayanagara Kings (1516), the Qutb Shahis, (1531,1537 & 1579), the Mughal army of Aurangzeb in 1687, the French (1752), the Asafjahi Kings, and finally the British (1766 and 1788).
The three forts on top of the narrow hill range are now in ruins; earliest built fort is dated to 12th century. The main fort built by the Reddy dynasty and refurbished by subsequent rulers, located at a height of nearly 320 metres (1,050 ft), was considered then as one of the strongest forts in the region. 21 structures have been identified within the fort. Its fortifications built with granite stones comprise huge ramparts, magazines, warehouses, granaries and wells. There are two entry gates into the forts, called the ‘Kolepalli Darwaza’ and the ‘Nadella Darwaza’. The entrance gate is three storied, massive and made of granite stone blocks. A building built with rock pillars and covered with rock slabs, has110 metres (360 ft) long inscriptions. A defense bunker is also seen. The source of water supply to the inhabitants of the fort was from three sources namely, the Mutyalama Cheruvu, the Puttalamma Cheruvu and the Vedulla Cheruvu (‘Cheruvu’ in Telugu language means “pond”). On the way to the fort at Kothapalem (known as Puttakota in the past), at the foot hill of the fort, an embankment is seen which is inferred as a security ring bund to protect the royal family palaces and houses of the main functionaries of the fort.
The fort's ruins on the southwest side of the Kondaveedu village is in the shape of an equilateral triangle, and at the turning angles of the triangle at the south west and north east, tower bastions are provided, which form part of the façade wall of the fort. A single wall of 30 kilometres (19 mi) length straddles the hills.
A temple known as the Gopinathaswami temple (dedicated to Lord Krishna) lies at the foot of the hill; its bunched stone pillars are carved out of a single rock. Both Hindu and Muslim architectural styles are seen in the forts. A mosque is located within the fort; this is said to have been built with temple ruins.
The department of Archaeology and Museums (Andhra Pradesh) has decided to carry out major development and restoration works to bring out the past glory of the forts. The works proposed involve construction of hill (ghat) road of 3.5 kilometres (2.2 mi) length from the eastern side of the hill (the first step to approach the forts to begin restoration works), resetting and providing railing along the rocky pathway, and improving the view-points, bastions, garrison barracks, stables and internal roads with appropriate tourist signages.
ISKCON South India is also embarking on giving a major face-lift to this historical fort through their Spiritual Heritage Revival Project. The Andhra Pradesh government has sanctioned a 65-acre (260,000 m2) plot at the foot of the hill to build a beautiful temple for the ancient Venna Gopal deity at the foot of the Kondaveedu Hills in the first phase. The deity was originally installed 500 years ago by the great South Indian Emperor Krishnadevaraya(Krishnadevaraya), who also took over the Fort from its previous rulers, the Reddy Kings(Reddy dynasty).
And provided this first phase is carried out successfully, the AP Government promised ISKCON another 150 acres (0.61 km2) at the top of the hill to develop. A 3 Crore (30 million rupee) road to the top of the hill is already being built.
This is the village very near to kondaveedu fort, in this village the lord Krishna temple is there it was constructed by the king Srikrishna Devaraya and he ruled 30 years kondaveedu fort. This Krishna statue is the only statue in entire Asia with Vennamudda in his hand, this is developing village in this village ISKCON is going to reconstruct this temple with 500 crores.
Kondaveedu fort is situated in Kondaveedu village between Guntur and Chilakaluripet. About 25 kilometres (16 mi) from Guntur city and about 13 km from the side of Chilakaluripet. Guntur is easily accessible by road and rail from all parts of India. The nearest airport is at Vijayawada, which is 58 kilometres (36 mi) away from Guntur. After reaching Guntur one should board a Guntur-Chilakaluripet ordinary bus and alight at Bhoyapalem-Pirangipuram Road and can hire an auto rickshaw to the fort.
The simplest way to reach the fort by one's own vehicle. Reach Guntur or Chilakaluripet by road. Drive 25 km from Guntur towards Chilakaluripet via NH5 vice verse 13 km from Chilakaluripet and turn towards Bhoyapalem-Pirangipuram Road. In this road we need to travel around 10 km to our destination.
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