MONUMENTS IN CHITTOOR

 

Monument No: 24

Monument Name: LOWER FORT

Location: Chandragiri

Brief History :
 Chandragiri, the mountain of moon, is the name of the town about 10km from the famous piligrim town of Tirupathi in Chittoor District of Andhra Pradesh. In the vicinity of the hill. Chandragiri can be seen extensive fortifications in ruined glory. Inside these fortifications can be noticed mahals, numerous temple units, old tanks, carved mandapas etc., and entire ruined city and habitations of the medieval times. The fortifications in cyclopean masonry with rectangular bastions and steep moat was built during the times of Immadi Narasinga Yadavaraya AD. 1000, Chieftain of Narayanavaram now an insignificant village closes to Chandragiri. It is stated that the name Chandragiri or the "Mountain of moon" came to the hill in view of the moon God doing penance on this hill for obtaining a boon from Siva. The fortress was under Yadavarayas for about three centuries and passed to the hands of Vijayanagara rulers in the year 1367 AD.as the last of Yadavaraya king Sri Ranganatha Yadavarayalu having lost his son retired to Tirumala. The Chandragiri Raja formed part of the Vijayanagara empire later on. This fortress rose to prominence from 1568 AD. after the great battle of Talikota. The later Vijayanagara emperors made the place a permanent royal seat. Venkatapatideva Maharayalu not only extended the fortified area but built even a double storyed house and various other temples during his rule from this place.

The fort fell into the hands of Sultans of Golkonda in 1646 AD. In 1758 AD., it was held by one Abdul Wahab Khan of Kurnool brother of Nawab of Karnataka. In 1782 Haider Ali compelled, the place to surrender under Mysore rule until the treaty of Srirangapatna in 1792 AD., local tradition speaks that it is from Chandragiri. The last of Vijayanagara King Sriranga IV signed the original documents granting to the East India Company the strip of land to construct the Fort St. George at Madras in 1639 AD. Chandragiri appears to be favourite resort for the Vijayanagara rulers. Some of the great Kavyas such as Manucharitra, Amuktamalyada were believed to have been composed here. The great and the most popular poet in Sri Krishnadevarayas court namely 'Tenali Rama Krishna' was claimed to be a native of this place. His descendents still live in Chandragiri. As a testimony to the past glory, palaces of Raja and Rani Mahals and inner fort are imposing edifices. The bigger Raja mahal, the triple storeyed edifices. The bigger Raja mahal, the triple storeyed edifice, possibly quite imposing and well balanced with top most storeyed closed by triple gopuras of typical dravidian style-a bigger one surmounting the darbar hall. The Rani mahal is like a smaller double storeyed place very gracefully rendered with frontal arched openings full of a stucco figure work these structures are built in rough stone but lime plastered. A curious feature in the construction of these two places is the absence of the useage of wood in the construction for the stone ceilings are panelled and colour coated to resemble the wooden frames. Recent clearance by the side of the Rani mahal has brought to light the foundational remains of a small pushkarani and in front of it several palatial buildings in stone with typical gaja vyala banisters in the stepped descents etc. Rani mahal itself revealed a moulded adhistana of the kapotabandha class with a padma-jagati resembling that of the temple mouldings.

Raja Mahal:
This buildings with its imposing and well-balanced southern façade of three storeys and crowning towers in Hindu style over the terraced roof, is a fine example of Indo-Saracenic architecture of the Vijayanagar times of the 16th-17th centuries. The central tower covers the Darbar Hall, which rises through two storeys, where in 1640 AD., it is believed Sri Ranga Raya II signed the document granting the site of Fort St. George, Madras to the British. The entire construction is of stone, brick and mortar, well plastered over and with stucco decorations. While no timber is used anywhere, various floors are supported by massive pillars in groups of fours carrying cross arches with square coffered ceilings in between or vaults. While the entrance faces the hill on the south, the balconies and windows on the north overlook the extensive grounds where perhaps the troops paraded or were billeted.

Rani Mahal
Similar in style and nature of construction to the Raja Mahal, nearby and of the same period. Though popularly called Rani Mahal there is nothing here to suggest it was the residence of royal ladies. The ground floor is designed like a stable and the first floor as quarters with ornamental sikhara over its flat roof. Remains of the elaborate stucco ornamentation in colours are still evident over the arcades and ceilings. An inscription of the basement would indicate that this was the Commander's quarters. The fortification wall of the lower fort starts from the projecting eastern wing of the hill, proceeds in a zig-zag manner and joins the western wing of the hill. The fort walls are made of cyclopean stone masonry. There are two entrances lead into the interior of the fort, one is on the east and the other is on the west. The interior is divided into three enclosures by two more fortification walls each of which starts from the hill and joins the western wing of outer fortification. Inside the fortification there are eight temples in ruined condition dedicated to Saiva and Vaishnava faiths. On stylistic grounds these temples can be datable to Vijayanagara period.

Monument No: 25

Monument Name: UPPER FORT

Location: Chandragiri

Brief History:
Chandragiri is situated about 52kms to the north-east of Chittoor - the district head quarters and about 14kms from the great piligrim centre- Tirupathi. Chandragiri is very popular for its famous hill fortress, and right from its inception it was served as a royal head quarters particularly for the Aravidu of the IV dynasty of the Vijayanagara period. Chandragiri is a curved hillock raising to the height of 600 feet to the north-west of the town, has two fortification walls. The lower one is at the foot of the hill and the upper one is on the hill summit. Both these are built of cyclopean stone masonry with rectangular and semi-circular bastions and roughly covers an area of 1 1/2 km(One and a half km) in circumference. The upper fortification is made of cyclopean stone masonry with rectangular and semi-circular bastions and consists of temples dedicated to Lord Vishnu and rectangular ancient buildings, water tanks and old ornamented mandapa and gateways. The outer edge of the mandapa or the gateways have semi-circular watch towers. In the bastions as well as in the fort wall there are parapets with battlements and with splayed openings. The parapets contain long loop and slit holes for the use of the guns. The first entrance gateway is in the form of mandapa having two platforms on either sides. The adhistana and the pillars of this mandapa is highly ornamented and typical of Vijayanagara period. The Krishna temple is situated on the upper fort consists of garbhagriha, an antarala and a carved pillared mukha mandapa.

Monument No: 26

Monument Name: PARASURAMESVARA TEMPLE

Location: Gudimallam

Brief History:
PARASURAMESVARA TEMPLE, GUDIMALLAM Renowned for its earliest extant Siva Linga in India and datable to third second centuries BC., the main temple consists of an apsidal shrine in a low level with an ardha mandapa and maha mandapa in front, all facing east and each higher than the previous one. The main entrance to the shrine is, however, from the south side of maha mandapa, when the walled enclosure is added by an ornamental pillared porch (dvarapala). The main shrine is closed all round externally by a peristylar cloister. The vimana over the shrine is of brick, hollow inside and is apsidal on plan, in elevation resembling a linga nut hence termed as Lingakriti Vimana. The sanctum has a false ceiling over wooden joists. A Devi shrine is added at north-west corner. Other minor shrines within the prakara include Kartikeya, Devi and Suryanarayana. A plain gopura is provided at the western entrance of the compound wall. The stone temple complex has late Pallava/Bana foundation. A good number of inscribed records speak of the perpetual gifts made by the kings, the earliest belonging to the Banas ( a feudatory royal family under the later Pallavas, circa 842- 904 centuries AD) and the latest of the time of Yadava Devaraya (AD. 1346). The inscription of the time of Vikrama Chola refers to a complete rebuilding of the temple in 1126 AD., alongwith flat gopura and the well. The linga on its frontal facet has a relief figure of standing Rudra. He has two hands, the right one holds the dead goat by the hind legs, head hanging downwards. In the left a globular pot is held and a battle axe (Parasu) rests n the left shoulder. The Linga is fixed within two huge stone rings during the earliest phase inside the sanctum which served as arghapithas. The standing form of the God reveals Vedic and proto puranic concepts of Rudra. He is shown standing on the shoulders of a crouching dwarf yaksha whose features are unique. He is seated on the knees, body shrunken and tight-teethed as if resisting the super lord. The ears are leaf shaped while the terminals of the feet show their merman affinity. This Savedika Linga set up was apparently in open, during the early centuries BC., and surrounded by a low three barred railing on slabs recalling those of Bharhut and Bodhgaya. The tops of the railing were found broken, but now renovated to its original height and matching colour. Except the main linga and the pithas surrounded by stone railings all the other structural embellishments are later additions by successive rulers and the temple continued to be venerated from circa third century BC down to the present day.

Monument No:27

Monument Name: FORT

Location: Gurramkonda

Brief History:
GURRAMKONDA, FORT (UPPER & LOWER) Gurramkonda is the name of the town situated about 16 kms north of Vayalpadu (taluk headquarter) in the District Chittoor. In the vicinity of the Gurramkonda town there is a hillock bearing the same name of the town with extensive fortifications. Inside these fortifications can be seen Rangini Mahal, Old Hanuman temple, Old temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu, Old tanks, Old Mosque and Granery etc. The fortifications consists of Lower, Central and the Upper ones and built of cyclopean stone masonry with rectangular and semi-circular bastions and the steep moat. The fortification was constructed only on three sides viz. south, east and west while the north side is being impregnable secured by the natural huge perpendicular barren hillock. All these three fortifications are irregular in plan. The lower fort has 20 bastions with intervals and covering an area of 1,680 mtr with only one entrance gateway on the southern side. The central fort has 13 bastions with intervals and covering an area of 1,270 mtr. The upper fort is on the summit of the hillock and consists of pillared mandapa, barracks and other ancient buildings for garrison. In the fort wall there are parapets with battlements and with splayed openings built in brick masonry. The fort was believed to be constructed by the Nawab Abdul Nabi Khan in the year 1714 AD., after the fall of Vijayanagara kingdom and remained one of the principal Muslim stronholds. Tippu Sultan occupied this fort from Kuman-ud-Dim, sone of Mir Ali Raza Khan in 1782 AD. Later it went into the hands of Nizam under the Treaty of Srirangapatnam in 1792.

Monument No:28

Monument Name:
LOWER FORT,CENTRE FORT WALL, MOAT,OLD FORT GATE-WAY,OLD HANUMAN TEMPLE,OLD MANDAPAM AND OLD MOSQUE

Location: Gurramkonda

Brief History:
OLD GATE WAY:
This has two entrances. The first entrance facing east while the second entrance facing north and both are connected by a semi circular shaped screen wall. The first entrance is with plain door frames nearly 10 ft. in height while the second (inner entrance) entrance, facing north depicted seated lions on lintel on either side. It has got mandapa like structure. The inner side of the gateway has three arched entrance.

OLD HANUMAN TEMPLE:
It is an open pillared mandapa situated to the north of lower fortification wall. The mandapa is suppoted by nine pillars with simple mouldings – cut corbels and inverted bell shaped base are the only decorations of the pillars. Inside the mandapa there is a figure of Hanuman in standing position carved in low-relief.

OLD MOSQUE:
This old mosque situated bout 1/2 km north of the lower fortification wall. It is a simple rectangular structure with three arched entrance facing east. The mosque has four pillars without any ornamentations. The roof has minerates in all the cordinal directions with floral desidgned finials, in which the front side, the two which are stands in the north and south directions are prominent and taller than the rest. The structure is built of partly stone, brick and lime plaster.

CENTRE FORTIFICATION WALL:
The centre fortification was built just on the foot of the hill and a furlong away from the lower fortification. It is irregular in plan built of cyclopean masonery with 13 bastions with intervals covering about 1270mtrs area. In many places particularly the bastions can be seen the Hindu architectural members reused for the fortification wall. Inside this fortification can be seen an old mandapa typical of Vijayanagara period and a rangini Mahal, which is in good state of preservation. On the way to the upper fort there is a temple dedicated to Narasimhasvamy has garbhagriha, antarala, and pillared mandapa.

LOWER FORTIFICATION:
It is irregular in plan built of cyclopean masonry with 20 bastions with an equal intervals covering about 1680 mtrs area. The fort was constructed only three sides viz. south, east and west; and the northern side is impregnable, secured by the natural huge perpendicular hillock.

Monument No: 29

Monument Name: MAHAL

Location: Gurramkonda

Brief History :
This spacious building, is a three storyed one situated at the foot of the hill facing east built in north-south orientation. The lower floor of the eastern wing and western wing possess a pillared hall right through. In the centre there is a pillared hall. The western walls of the corridors have a doorway and two windows in each wing. To the west of these corridors there are verandahs with wooden pillars, 16 in each wing supporting the wooden corbels and beams. There is an inscribed slab to the north of the flight of steps. The central wing has a wide chamber with pillars, and openings with a door-way in its inner wall. In the western wall there are three windows provided with expanded metal shutters for the two extreme windows. There is a sculpture of Mahishasuramardani having four hands and in standing posture in basaltic stone in this chamber and it is in good condition. On the east side there is a huge flight of steps leading to the first floor of the structure. The ground floor is gained access through a single door-way flanked by windows on either side of the steps. It has a central huge hall with two rows of pillars and with two anti-chambers at both the ends. The western wall of this hall and other cross walls of the anti-chambers had been plastered over forming ornamental panels and niches in three rows while the eastern wall is built witj coarse rubble masonry devoid of such ornamentations. In the western wall of this hall there is a door-way leading to the first floor over the western wing below. The Rangini Mahal is in good state of preservation.

Monument No: 30

Monument Name: PALLISWARA MUDAIYA MADEVA TEMPLE

Location: Kalakada

Brief History:
It is an example of Vaidumba architecture consisting of garbha-griha, ardha mandapa, maha mandapa with a rowsed adhistana with its mouldings. The main deity is Mahadeva. The style of sculptures and architecture closely follows the early Pallavas and Chalukyas. The garbha-griha followed by ardha mandapa, maha mandapa and a navaranga or dancing hall. The door jambs are decorated with Ganga and Jamuna. The outer walls of maha mandapa consisted of three inscriptions in Telugu, Kanarese script (two) and the one in Tamil. They reveal political aftain of Vaidumba rulers of Kalakada. On palaeographical grounds, they can datable to 10th century AD.

Monument No: 31

Monument Name: VENKATESVARA VISHNU TEMPLE

Location: Mangapuram (Hamlet of Mittapalem)

Brief History :
The complex comprises of three shrines. The central one enshrines double life size deity called Venkatesvara Vishnu. The side chambers contain idols of reclining Ranganatha a seatedimage of Lakshmi Narayana. The third chamber contains the idols of Vishvakshamapathi. Themandapa is a later addition, and belongs to 14 to 16th century AD. The temple has a raised plinth containing ornamental mouldings on upana, adhishthana and super proposed by a vedika freze.


Monument No: 32

Monument Name: CHENNAKESVARASVAMI TEMPLE

Location: Sompalle

Brief History:
This modest Vishnu temple going with the name "Chennakesava" built by a local chieftain of the later Cholas was considerably improved during the early Vijayanagara period. The temple is notedfor its monolithic and multiple pillars, a product of Vijayanagara exuberance in architecture and sculpture of the early 16th century A.D. The delicacy and fine craftsmanship exhibited in the kalyana thanamndapas belongs to the crest of creative wave of gifted artists with a stamp of an individual genius substantially original and far superior of the times. Specimens of mural art depicting scenes of Ramayana can be seen on the ceilings of the Mukhamandapa.