Udayagiri to be made accessible to tourists

State gives its permission to spend Rs 3.9 crore to develop the 14th century fort for heritage tourism

Nellore: At last, the decades-long demand to develop tourist facilities for the old Uday-agiri fort and other monuments has been considered by the Union government.

The government gave its nod for Rs 3.9 crore for tourist amenities including trekking path to the fort as part of Coastal Tourism Circuit proposed by the district administration under Swadeshi Darshan Scheme of Ministry of Tourism.

It is due to the initiative of Union Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu, who won for the first time to become legislator from Udayagiri constituency in 1978 and has special affection for the place and people.

According to archaeology department officials, the first known history of the city was from 14th century, when it was the capital of local kingdom of Langula Gajapati, chieftain to Gajapatis of Orissa. It came under the rule of Krishnadevaraya of Vijayanagara around 1512. The Udayagiri fort, constructed by Langula Gajapati was inaccessible on most sides.

It could be penetrated only by a jungle track on the east side and a pathway on the west. The siege by Krishnadevaraya lasted for 18 months and resulted in defeat for Prataparudra of the Gajapatis.

During the reign of Gaja-patis and the Vijayanagara Empire, the fort was extended. The entire city and the surrounding hill of 1,000 feet height were encircled with walls. The fort consisted of 13 buildings, with eight of them on the hill and five below. It also consisted of several beautiful temples and gardens.

During the fall of the Vijayanagara Empire, it was ruled by chieftains of Golconda. The mosque on top of the hill has two Persian inscriptions that credit the construction of the mosque and the planting a nearby garden to Sheik Hussein, chieftain to Sultan Abdullah of Golconda.

Then it came under the rule of Nawabs of Arcot, who granted the title of Jagir to Mustafa Ali Khan. His descendants controlled it till 1839, until they were deported by Nawabs again to Chengalpet in Tamil Nadu for their treason.

It was formerly a place of immense importance. The walls which once encircled the town have almost entirely disappeared, but much of the fortifications on the neighbouring hill to the west still remain.

A part of the hill is so precipitous and thus inaccessible, the cliffs being in places nearly 1,000 feet high, and every path up to the fort was commanded by lines of defence forces. Other structures include Chinna Masjid and Pedda Masjid.

A great Sufi saint belonging to the 18th century, Rahmathulla Nayab Rasool got absorbed in the higher-self here. Every year the Sandal Festival is celebrated on the 26th of the Rabi-Ul-Aval month. Mahaboob Subhani sandal is also celebrated every year.

( Source : deccan chronicle )
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