The place was formerly known as Maddagiri. The town derives its name from a hillock madhu — giri ( honey-hill) which is to the north of the place. It is located around 43 km north of Tumkur town and 107km north-west of Bengaluru city.
The Madhugiri Fort, at 3,930 ft is considered the 2nd largest MONOLITHS in Asia. Locally known as “7-tiered fort”, as you need to pass through one fort after another before you can reach the summit. If trekking is your passion, then head to Madhugiri Fort, which is one of the finest in the state. There are 3 gateways to the fort. : Antaralada Bagilu, Diddi Bgilu and Mysore Gate. The ruined Temple of Gopalakrishna is at the summit.
The erection of the original fort and town is ascribed to a local chief — Raja Hera Gauda. Around 1678 while Rama Gauda and Thimma Gauda, descendants of the founder, were ruling Madhugiri, they incurred the hostility of the Raja of Mysore and hence the King sent Devaraja (the dalawayi). After a long siege, he took the place and then took the chiefs with their families, into captivity. The local rulers of Madhugiri, however, released and sent them back to Midhigeshi (a nearby place) which was left to them out of their lost possessions.
Later, the fortifications of Madhugiri were greatly increased by Haider Ali. The place was then also the seat of a valuable trade containing a 100 houses of weavers alone. The Maratha chief Madhava Rao held possession of Madhugiri for 7 years, and, when forced by Tipu in 1774 to retire, he plundered the town of everything he could carry away.
The Monolith (Madhugiri Fort) and the surrounding greenery of Madhugiri are the main attractions. The place also has 2 large Temples : Venkataramanaswamy and Malleswara built by the Vijayanagar Kings in the Dravidian Style. The highlight is the “rock dome” atop of which stands a fort. Other attractions is the Jayamangali Blackbuck Reserve, also known as Maidana Halli Blackbuck Sanctuary, that is situated 25km from Madhugiri. Prior permission for overnight camping inside the Reserve is needed. Then there is the Chennarajana Durga, one of the 9 Durga Forts. Inside the fort, there is a small temple and semi-ruined old structures that can be explored.
The Siddara Beta is known for its medicinal herbs. A natural spring that gushes out from the top of the beta (hill) is believed to have medicinal value. The Madhugiri State Forest, also known as Timmalapura Forest, is close to Madhugiri. The forest is known for its population of peafowls and sloth bears. The Temples dedicated to Venkataramanaswamy and Malleswara stand side by side. They face east and are built in the Dravidian Style of architecture with lofty towers. The Midigeshi Hill has several gates leading to the top of the hill. On the rock besides the steps to the hill, there is a statue of a heroic woman —-Chikkamallamma. On the hill are granaries, dome-like structures for storing ghee and oil and springs. On the summit is a mosque with 2 minarets at the sides and an ornamental parapet all round. Close to the mosque, there is a shrine of Hanuman.
The climb to the summit of Madhugiri Fort is a challenging one. There is a word of caution for those trekking here. There is every chance of getting lost in this lofty monolith. So, it is suggested that you take the help of locals and expert trek groups. To get to Madhugiri, hit the Tumkur road. After travelling for a while, you come to the Dobbspet Flyover. Go below the flyover to take a right turn towards Koratagere and Madhugiri is beyond it. The road is OK. Approximate distance —– 104km.