Chitradurga is a small town situated in the southern part of Karnataka and is the headquarters of the Chitradurga District. The various names with which the town is known as are Chitradurg, Chitrakaldurga, and Chittaldurg.
The name of the place is derived from Chitrakaldurga, which is an umbrella-shaped lofty hill in the region. The surroundings of Chitradurga include rock hills, valleys, and towering boulders of numerous shapes. The place is also known as the Stone Fortress or the Kallina Kote.
According to the epic Mahabharata, a man eating Rakshasa named Hidimba and his sister Hidimbi lived on the hill. When Hidamba got killed in a battle with Pandavas, Bhima, one of the Pandavas married Hidimbi, from which they had a son named Ghatotkacha. According to legend, his boulders were split apart. The major part of Chitradurga is believed to rest on these boulders which are also considered to be the oldest rock formations in the country.
The rule of Chitradurga was rewarded to a chieftain named Timmana Nayaka, under the Vijayanagara Empire, due to his excellence in military services. This was the beginning of the rule of the Nayakas of Chitradurga. After him, his son, Obana Nayaka ruled the place in 1602 but as he had no heirs, the rule went to the hands of his adopted son.
During the reign of Madakari Nayaka, the city of Chitradurga was taken over by a group of Hyder Ali. When Madakari could not resist the attack of 1799 by Hyder Ali, Hyder Ali lost the fort of Chitradurga.
The Nayaka Palyagaaras of the city were the patrons of great musicians. The writer T.R. Subba Rao also known as Ta Ra Su has researched extensively in the field and has brought to life many characters of the ancient times that lived in these forts.
Now, the city is known for its Kallina Kote meaning the place of the stone fort which comprises the Fort of Seven Rounds. This fort is a representative of the most daring woman of Karnataka namely Obavva. She played a significant role in the battle to restrain the rule of the city from the troops of Hyder Ali. The fort is of historic significance and comprises 19 gateways, 38 posterior entrances, a palace, a mosque, granaries, oil pits, four secret entries and water tanks.
Apart from the fort, Chitradurga is also known for its Chandravalli Caves, which is an ancient archaeological site located near a big lake. It is popular for water sports and painted pottery and coins from the Satavahana period which were excavated here. Close to the caves lies the Ankali Matt, which has huge shiva lingas under a giant stone.
Some other popular tourist attractions in and around the city includes Bruhanmutt, Aadumalleshwara, Ingaladalu, Thamatekallu, Jogimatti, Sirigere, Neerthadi, Nayakanahatti, Halurameshwar, Molakalmuru, etc.