During the reign of Madakari Nayaka, the city of Chitradurga was besieged by the troops of Hyder Ali. The fort, built strategically to keep invaders and enemies out, could only be accesses through a tiny hole that also served as its entrance. So, a guard usually kept watch over it.
One afternoon, in 1799, when the guard, on duty, went home for lunch, his wife Obavva went out to fetch some water and do the day’s laundry. Just then, she noticed a head poking out through the hole. She knew instantly that it was the enemy attempting to come through, so she took her onake (a long wooden club meant for pounding paddy grains) and pounded him with it. She pulled out his lifeless body. And, when another soldier tried to come through, not knowing the gruesome fate that had befallen his comrade, he too got a fatal blow. Thus, there was a procession of soldiers, each receiving a crushing blow from Obavva’s onake.
Her husband, upon his return from his lunch, was shocked to see her standing with a blood-stained onake, a ferocious expression on her face, dozens of bodies of the enemy soldiers around her. Unfortunately, the brave woman and her husband were eventually overrun by Hyder Ali and the fort was captured. Some people believe that the couple died at the hands of the enemy. But, others say that they may have been killed by another guard on duty who mistook them for enemies.
The opening in the rocks still remains, as a historical witness to this fascinating tale that defines Chitradurga Fort ; beside the Tanniru Doni, a small water source which holds cold water all round the year —— where Obavva was headed when she noticed the breach.
It’s always nice to explore places that hold interesting stories from the realms of history. Some places, like the Taj Mahal in Agra and the Gateway of India in Mumbai are popular the world over, with tourists thronging to these sites for pictures. But, there is a certain pleasure in exploring the lesser-known places too. In that regard, Chitradurga is the perfect destination for history enthusiasts, who want to take a journey back in time.
Chitradurga Fort has, thus, become known for a woman’s bravery. Exploring the structure is a challenging task, as it is spread across hundreds of acres. This is the right time to visit Chitradurga, as the place is very hot during summer. However, you’d do well to hire a guide. Choose to explore the fort in the mornings or the evenings. You also need to walk a lot, as you may have to climb up and down, so wear comfortable shoes.