Constructed under the aegis of Hanumappa Nayaka, the Bellary Fort was renovated and redesigned by Hyder Ali who captured the fort in 1769. Assisted by a French engineer, Hyder Ali added the lower fort to the existing structure. Bellary is 306 kilometers from Bengaluru and the Bellary Fort towers over the mining landscape of the state.
Perched on a semi-elliptical hill, the fort is in two parts – the Upper fort and the Lower fort. A winding path leads you to the Citadel in the Upper fort which houses a large number of buildings and also a temple. Pools, cisterns carved in the rocks to store water and the remains of a few cells are all that remains today. The wall of the fort includes numerous bastions, and is surrounded by a deep moat. Entry to the lower fort can be attained through two gates, strategically located on the eastern and western side of the fort. The Kota Anjaneya Temple, dedicated to Hanuman is located outside the eastern gate.
According to legend, Hyder Ali had the French engineer executed by hanging. The Frenchman made the mistake of ignoring or overlooking the fact that the Bellary Gudda was lower than the Kumbara Gudda, thus compromising the secrecy of the fort. The British annexed the fort and established their cantonment there. Although not as spectacular as the other forts in South India, the Bellary fort is worth a visit.