Location: Gooty, Anantapur district, Andhra Pradesh
Distance: 264 km from Bangalore, 50 km from Anantapur, 306 km from Hyderabad
Route: Bangalore – Hyderabad National Highway 7. To reach Gooty one has to take a left deviation from the main highway.
Travel time: Around 4.30 hrs from Bangalore
Accommodation: There are few lodges but nothing decent. If you are going with family best staying option will be at Anantapur or Kurnool.
Food: Available at local shops but no decent restaurant.
The star attraction of this town is the magnificent Gooty fort. As we were nearing Gooty town, we came to face the towering fort. The fort located on a hill can be seen from a distance. The hill rises abruptly out of miles of plains around and has no range. Earlier people used to stay inside the fort but with increase in population people started living outside the fort and thus rouse the town of Gooty around the fort. It is not straight forward to find the way to the fort. It took us asking few people to find the correct route. The road to the fort goes through a bazaar and leads through the boundary of the fort. At the foot hills of the fort there is a settlement of population. One has to track around 2 – 3 km to reach the top of the fort. At one end of the foot hill, there is a cemetery of the ones who ruled the fort once and their subordinate.
We started climbing in the afternoon in the month of August and it was pretty hot. To go around the fort it would take more than 3 hours time. At the foot hill, the climb starts and there is stone paved way with walls on both sides. I have been to many forts but this one was unique and landscape around was also unique. As we were climbing I could notice the various layer of additions this fort might have gone through. Some part of the fort is almost in ruins. ASI has mentioned it is a protected monument but it needs some help immediately.
The fort is said to be in existence since 7th century AD but I could not find any concrete evidence on who built it. It is understand that this area was under Gupta emperor Ashoka’s rule as archeologist have found one of his rock edit few kilometers away from here. Major construction of the fort might have started during the Vijaynagar empire. Under the Maratha rule the hill was further strengthened. Murari Rao, one of the Maratha general in the 17th century captured the fort and made it his permanent residence. His favorite place in the fort is know as Murari Rao’s seat. In 1775 Hyder Ali captured the fort and it went to British hands after his son Tipu Sultan died in 1799.
As we continued climbing our view of the surrounding became better. Now I could see the hills had only one major access without any barrier which was walled by the rulers to control access. After some time we opened up to a plateau which houses a water storage, ammunition depot and soldier resting place. From here we started to see Bangalore Hyderabad highway. Some steep hiking here onwards will take you to the peak of the hill where the palace and watch tower is located. I had to return back from the summit of the peak due to peer pressure who were not ready to climb further. From here I saw see a goods train going towards Bangalore. The descend was pretty easy and by early evening we reached the foot of the hill.
Today Gooty is just a small town but it is an important railway junction.
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