The massive fort of Midigeshi

Midigeshi fort was built by local chieftain Nagareddi during Vijaynagar days. He also built around 101 temples in Midigeshi village at the base of the hill. Few of the temples remain even today though most are in ruins. Those were the golden days. Like many forts in India, the control of the fort changed many hands during the course of history. Today, it is occasionally visited by trekkers but remains neglected by ASI.

Midigeshi fort
Midigeshi village is on Madhugiri - Pavagada highway. This was in my list for a long time. I had visited many hill forts nearby, like Madhugiri, Channarayanadurga, Ratnagiri and Pavagada. As the summer was approaching, we had last few weeks to do some hikes. Along with Krishna and Subbu, I looked at the options and found that it was time to climb Midigeshi fort.

The temple at the base of the fort
The journey to Midigeshi was uneventful thanks to great roads all along the way. We parked our car in the village and asked villagers for directions to the fort. As usual, they were helpful in guiding us. A quick glance at the fort hill convinced us that it was neither easy nor difficult.

Start of the trek
Our climb started from Venkatramana temple. I would logically divide the climb into four sections.
Midigeshi fort
Gradual climb to first gate
From the base, we could see the first gate which was our first destination. The climb was relatively easily through loose sand, rocks and shrubs. The path was not clear at many places and we missed the route. Bit shocked at losing the way at the very beginning of the trek, we searched for the ways to climb up and eventually made it to the gate. 

First gate
A nice view of Venkatramana Swamy temple could be seen at the gate. The temple was renovated but the beauty was damaged by whitewashing it. This is an issue I have seen in most historical temple where the deity is worshipped. Someone needs to tell the religious people managing temples to also appreciate architectural beauty. 

Temple and the village

Steep climb to the middle section
The path after the gate was clear. Some sections of the climb required walking over rocks. Thanks to rough surface, it was not a difficult task to climb up. In the midway, a partially constructed temple platform makes its appearance. It looks like for some reason the construction had halted. Evidence of quarrying for the conduction are visible.

Temple platform
The climb after the temple platform is over steep rocks. Again, the rough surface makes it possible to climb this section without much difficulty. 

Rocks at the middle section
Very steep climb after middle section
The walls of the top portion of the fort makes it appearance. But we need to climb almost vertical section of the rock to reach the top. While I was wondering how we could cross the section, the rock cut steps shows us the way to the top. That makes our life easier. It looked very similar to the section in Ratnagiri fort.

Steep section
As I climbed, I realized it was not as easy as Ratnagiri. The climb at Midigeshi was steeper, the steps were not straight but turned at few places and angle of the steps making it difficult to climb. I knew that I cannot see up or down as it makes me dizzy. So, I put my focus on the steps and climbed in one go. My heart was pounding when I crossed this section. Needless to say, climbing down was much difficult. 

While climbing down
We rested for a long time after climbing this section.

Walk on the top portion
The next stage was very simple. The steps were neatly placed and we crossed couple of gateways before we reached the top portion of the fort. We saw some blood stains as we climbed up. It was not in large quantity but someone had an injury. The person (or animal) would have walked down. It It was also quite fresh. We could not identify anything more than that. Krishna also found a porcupine quill. 

One of the gateways of the fort
As we reached the top portion of the fort, a dilapidated mosque made its appearance. One of the minaret was damaged for reason unknown to us. A lot of graffiti from people craving for recognition was seen on the walls of the mosque. It showed that lot of people lacking common sense had made it to the top!!

Mosque at the top
Small buildings that would have served as granaries were also seen at the top. 

Dilapidated fort
We entered into the ruined structure to reach to the other side of the fort. There we found a place between two precariously placed rocks to rest. It was a great place with stunning views. We rested for a long time discussing various topics. We wondered how this rock could have come to that placed and stood in that position. 

The rock
On the way back, we visited the mosque again. There was a narrow pathway through the minaret to reach to the top of the mosque. That was interesting.

Midigeshi village
We visited Venkatramana Swamy temple at the base. While most of the temple was renovated, the pillar in front of the temple looked old. The priest also explained some history about the place. He seemed to be very proud of the location.

Temple and the fort
There were few ruined temples in the vicinity which we made a quick visit.

Old temple
From the top of the hill, we had seen twin temples near the lake. We made a visit to this place. The interesting part was the stone slab placed in the area. It was rare to see such a huge slab. While we were interpreting the sculpture in the slab, the year “1956” caught our attention. The slab looked much older than that. Certainly, someone else had played a role to alter. But today, the slab stands totally ignored by people.

Huge slab lying in the village
Last words
Midigeshi is a certainly a place to visit for people interested in history and climbing. 

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