Just like other states of India, most of the forts in Andhra Pradesh are situated on the hills. There are also a few which were established in the flat lands. Some of the forts have remains of the palaces, temples, mosques, and other royal and military structures within them. And some are in complete state of ruins. Yet each one has its own charm and story. So, here we present you a list of the popular forts of Andhra Pradesh:
Chandragiri Fort was the last bastion of the Vijaynagar Empire. It is spread over a hillock located near the temple town of Tirupati. Its massive walls, punctuated with bastions and surrounded with a ditch, enclose the remains of palaces and temples. Most of these structures were erected by the Vijaynagaras. Their successor, Aravidus, strengthened them. In 1646, Aravidus captured this fort from Vijaynagar Kings. The well-known Aravidu king Venkatapatideva used Chandragiri as a base to rule over the territories of Vijaynagar.
Vijaynagaras had a good architectural acumen. The magnificent Raja Mahal is the evidence of that. Its facade has three arcaded storeys and on the top there is a pyramidal tower. This palace has been extensively renovated. The nearby ‘Rana Mahal’ is identical to the Raja Mahal, but is smaller in size. The excavations further north appear to be the royal residences. There are a few abandoned temples near the palaces. Most of them date back to the 15th and 16th centuries.
Kondapalli is associated with the Reddy Dynasty but it was founded by the Eastern Chalukyas in the 8th century. Reddys established themselves here in 1360. In 1531, Kondapalli was lost to the Sultans of Golconda, and in the 17th century the fort was under the Mughals. In the early 18th century, Nizams of Hyderabad took charge, and in 1766 British took it over from them.
You can enter the lower fort by crossing three gates. Here you can find remains of barracks. Climb up for about a km and you’ll come across the ruins of a palace. The upper fort can be reached by the road. This part has Tanisha Mahal, Dargah (muslim shrine) of Gulab Shah, a granary, magazines, and a spring-fed tank. Tanisha Mahal has a colonnaded ground floor. On the upper level it has a reception hall and a few chambers.
Kondaveedu village, near Guntur in Andhra Pradesh, has a small range of rocky hills. Situated here are three forts which are spread across hills, valleys, and the ridge. All of them are in ruins. The main fort was established by the Reddy Kings; it was their base in the 14th and 15th centuries. Its battlemented ramparts are dotted with high towers. The fortifications enclose crumbling apartments, chambers, magazines, and granaries. While Reddis had founded this fort, subsequent dynasties did the additions. It is quite apparent that some assailants defaced the sculptures.
A smaller fort is situated in the valley. It is dotted with the remains of temples, mandapas, and wells. The third fort was built by the Vijaynagar rulers who took charge of this place in the early 16th century. Situated below the flank of a hill, it must have been a robust fortress. The most impressive monument in this fortress is a 16th century temple called ‘Gopinath Temple’. It has a large outer ‘mandapa’ which leads to the inner ‘mandapa’ and the shrine.
Gooty is situated 54 km north of Anantapur in Andhra pradesh. It has a historical fort spread across a series of granite hills. As per the inscriptions it has some connection with the Chalukyan king Vikramaditya VI who ruled around the end of the 11th century. But it came to the prominence under the reign of Vijaynagaras. They lost it to the Muslim rulers of Golconda who eventually passed it to the Mughals. The fort also saw brief reigns of the Marathas and Hyder Ali before falling in the hands of the British.
Today its bastioned ramparts enclose the ruins that can tell you very little about its past. Ambling around in the fort, you’ll come across the remnants of barracks, granaries, warehouses, and magazines.
Gandikota, today a small village, was once a fortified township. It enjoys a marvellous setting right above a gorge, and is surrounded by the forests. Apart from a mosque, it has remains of the temples, a granary, a magazine, and a pigeon tower. The fort was founded by Kapa Raja, a subordinate of the Western Chalukyas, in 1123. Kakatiyas and Vijayanagaras had their stints here but the fort came to the fore after Qutb Shahis captured it. Eventually, after being under several dynasties, it fell in the hands of the British.
The first imposing structure you come across after entering the fort is a triple-storeyed tower. With an arched entrance at the bottom, the tower overlooks houses of the small settlements. A little further is a mosque called Jami Masjid. Its facade has arched openings and sloping eaves. Amongst the temples, Ranganayaka Temple is in a dilapidated state. Whereas Madhavaraya Temple is huge and impressive.
Bobbili Fort is situated in Bobbili town of Vizianagaram District of Andhra Pradesh. Peddarayadu of Velama community is said to be the founder of this town. The Bobbili rulers were defeated in the historical battle of Bobbili in 1757 and the old fort was destroyed. The survivors could manage to get hold of the place in the middle of the the 19th century. And a new fort took shape.
Built in the Indo-Saracenic style, the new fort is spread over 10 acres. Within the fort walls, there are palaces, halls, and temples. The Durbar Hall is the place where coronations were done. The main palace comprises of a museum. There are two temples within the enclosure.
Vizianagaram was once an empire. Vijay Rama Raj, a king of Vizianagaram, built this fort in 1713. This square-shaped fort is just about 18 km from the shoreline that merges into the Bay of Bengal. The fortification was bolstered by constructing bastions on all four corners of the fort.
There are two gates to enter the fort. The main gate, on the east, is called ‘Nagar Khana’. The most impressive palace within the precincts is the white-coloured ‘Moti Mahal’. It was a ‘Durbar Hall’ (meeting hall); today it doubles up as a museum and a college. Other palaces inside the fort are ‘Oudh Khana’, ‘Alakananda Palace’, and ‘Korukonda Palace’.