Basavakalyan fort, earlier known as Kalyana fort, is located in Bidar district in Karnataka. The historic importance of Basavakalyan fort is dated to the 10th century. The capital of Chalukyas was also shifted from Manyaketa to Kalyana in the 10th century. The fort, integral to the Basavakalyana town, is also famous as Karmabhoomi of Basavanna (founder of Virashaiva community) and hundreds of other Sharanas (saints of Virashaiva community).
Basvakalyana (known in the history as Kalyana) with its fort was the centre of a great social and religious movement, in the 12th century, because of Basaveshwara, the social reformer. It became a seat of learning. Basaveshwara, Akka Mahadevi, Channabasavanna, Siddarama and many more Sharanas are associated with Basavakalyana. Basaveshwara, in particular, fought against casteism and orthodoxy in Hinduism.
The fort is strategically built as a defence structure in a camouflaged setting, which is not discernible till the enemy is at close quarters of the fort. This gives advantage for the defence forces holed up in the fort to repulse enemy attacks. This strategy of locating the fort in naturally camouflaged locations was popular in the forts built in the Deccan.
In the Kalyan or Basvakalyan fort, as an economy measure, the defences of the fort were built by inter-connecting large boulders scattered on the hills with strong fort walls. The fort was made defensively complex with guard rooms and barbicans, which was a novelty at that time. The fort consisted of three concentric irregular fort walls.
The fort has seven gates, out of which five are in good shape. At the entrance to the fort, there is solid arch with balconies on the flanks accessed by series of steps on either side. The fort walls encircling the central courtyard have guard rooms, which are also combined with many bastions and mounted by canons (some of the canons are also ornamented). Canons are also lined along the approach path to the citadel. The fort walls are engraved with images of Yalis. At the top of gateways, openings are seen, which were likely used to douse the enemy with boiling oil. Another defence measure is the deep moat that surrounds the fort. The citadel is centrally located within the fort, on a high ground.
The main door to the citadel is known as the 'Akhand Darwaza' built with four red stone slabs. From the door way, up a flight of steps is the passage to the Rajmahal palace (mostly in ruins). However, the ceiling in the palace hall displays colourful designs. The central wall in the hall has patterns of vases and urns. Adjoining the palace is a temple that does not have any deity. However, at its entrance the vertical stone columns depict well-carved sculpture. There is a square pond in front of the temple. Behind the temple to the west is the Rani Mahal (queen's palace), from where there is an exclusive approach to the temple.
Also seen within the fort precincts are: an empty pond with pillar of a fountain at the centre; a platform used during Muharram prayers; two deep wells on the northeast and western sides with inclined ramps for the oxen or horses to draw water; secret narrow passages to underground chambers for emergency escape during enemy attacks; the Talim Khana, a chamber used as a gymnasium; a cannon popularly called the 'Khadak Bijli Thopuí (literal meaning: "sharp lightning canon") on the second bastion; and a long cannon placed on a circular battlement on the southern wall.
At Jalasangvi, Narayanapura and Shivapura there are temples of the Chalukya dynasty. Basaveshvara temple is at the centre of Basavakalyana. There are some Islamic monuments Moti Mahal, Hydari Mahal, Peeran Durga. And other religious places such as Gachchina Matha, Kambali Matha and Sadananda Matha.
Shiva Temple at Narayanpura which dating back to Chalukya times (11th century), 4 km from Basavakalyana.
How To Reach Basavakalyan Fort
Basavakalyan is 90 km from Gulbarga which is well connected by road and rail. It is about 650 km from Bangalore. It is located 80 km to the south west of Bidar.