Weather :

Label : Must Visit

Tags : Forts & Palaces

Timings : 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Time Required : 1-2 hrs

Entry Fee : Adults: INR 5,
Kids: INR 3

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Kondapalli Fort, Vijayawada Overview

Kondapalli Fort is a marvellous 14th-century fort located in the village of Kondapalli in Guntur district near Vijayawada. The resplendent fort is considered of great historical importance and attracts tourists from all over the world. Locals frequent the site for a day-long picnic with friends and family due to its proximity from Vijayawada, which is just 23 kilometres away. As you explore the exalted fort, be sure to notice the breathtaking view of the valley. The village is famous for wooden toys, especially the Kondapalli Dolls. If you are lucky, you might just find a vendor selling these beautiful dolls for you take back as souvenirs. 

Kondapalli fort is also called as Kondapalli Kota and was built by the Musunuri Nayaks in the district. Many consider this imperial fort has roots in parallel histories. It served as a military fortification during the British era and was said to have been built as a centre of recreation, business and trade during the 14th century. This is an architectural marvel with an entrance gate, called the Dargah Darwaja, that is carved out of a single boulder of granite and other features including a reservoir, Golconda Darwaza, Dargah of Gareeb Saheeb, Tanisha Mahal and several bits of history that are now in ruins. One must not miss exploring the Kondapalli Fort while in this area.

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History of Kondapalli Fort

The Kondapalli Fort was constructed in the 14th century by the Musunuri Nayaks. The control of the fort was taken by several rulers since the 14th century. In 1453, the son of Gajapati Kapilendra Deva, Hamvira, won the entire Kondaveeru Territory. However, while fighting for the throne of Orissa, he had to take help from the Bahmany King as he was fighting against his brother, Purushottam. He successfully defeated his brother, but in return, he had to give up the control of Kondapalli and Rajahmundry to the Bahmany King. In 1476, Purushottam defeated Hamvira and gained control over Orissa again. At the same time, Kondapalli was struck by famine while it was still under the reign of the Bahmany King. The garrison revolted and gave ownership of the fort to Hamvira again.

When Purushottam tried to conquer Kondapalli and Rajahmundry, he was held captive and made to sign a treaty that created hostile relations between the Bahmany, and Vijayanagar Rulers.  In 1481, after the death of the Bahmany Sultan, Sultan Muhammad, the kingdom was left directionless, and Purushottam used this opportunity to conquer the fort by fighting the Sultan's son, Mahmad Shah.

Purushottam, also known as Gajapati Purushottam Deva passed away in 1497 and the Kondapalli was under the reign of his son, Prataprudra Deva. In 1515, the Kondapalli was captured by Krishnadevaray. He married Prataprudra's daughter, Kalinga Kumari Jaganmohini and signed a treaty to restoring his kingdom till River Krishna. From 1531 until late 18th century, Kondapalli was ruled by the Mughals after which the British took over, and in 1766, the Kondapalli Fort was used as a Military Training Base.

Architecture of Kondapalli Fort

Kondapalli fort has three entry gates, with the first one built with one block of granite. This gate is called the Dargha Darwaza, and it is about 12 feet wide and 16 feet high. The second entrance is on the other side of the hill and is called the Golconda Darwaza. This entrance leads to the village of Jaggaiahpet. The striking fort has several towers and battlements, a reservoir with a spring and some water tanks. The Tanisha Mahal is located at the far end of the fortress perched in between two hills. The palace has several rooms or chambers and a vast Durbar Hall. The fort also has an English Barrack with eight rooms and an English cemetery.

Kondapalli Dolls

Vijayawada is famous for its Kondapalli Toys especially the Kondapalli Dolls. A colony in Kondapalli, known as the Bommala Colony or the Toys Colony is well known for crafting these toys which is a 400-year-old tradition in the region. This form of arts and crafts is believed to have started by a sage named Muktharishi who was blessed with the skills by Lord Shiva. It is believed that artisans migrated from Rajasthan to learn this art from Muktharishi in the 16th century. These artisans are now called Aryakhastriyas or Nakarshalu. References to these names have been found in the Brahmanda Purana.

The toys are made of Tella Poniki which is a type of softwood found in abundance on the Kondapalli Hills. The artisans meticulously carve the wood into the required shape, soften the edges carefully and give a base coat of enamel paint. To colour the toys, they either use water-colours mixed with oil or vegetable dyes. These toys are mostly about mythological figures, art forms, animals and birds for children to play with and stay connected with nature and our culture. While visiting the Kondapalli Fort, you can buy these dolls from the roadside vendors at a reasonable price.

Best Time To Visit Kondapalli Fort

The best time to visit Kondapalli Fort is between November and February as the weather stays pleasant with the maximum temperature ranging from 30 to 32 degrees Celcius and the minimum ranging from 17 to 21 degrees Celcius. This makes sightseeing more comfortable as there aren't plenty of shaded areas near the fort premises. 

Tips For Visiting Kondapalli Fort

1. Wear good trekking shoes and watch your step as you explore the fort.
2. Carry a hat, drink enough water and wear sunscreen as it could get scorching.
3. Tourists are advised to take care of their belongings.

How To Reach Kondapalli Fort

Kondapalli Fort is reachable by road from Vijayawada. Tourists can hail public transport like a bus or a taxi from Vijayawada and reach the fort premises via NH65.

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