During my recent visit to Vijayawada, I had a chance to visit Kondapalli town which is synonymous with the manufacture of wooden toys. But beyond toys, the town also houses an ancient medieval fort. Located about 25 km from Vijayawada to the west of the city, the fort is located atop of a hill. The hill range is covered with greenery and is rich in medicinal plants like Phyllanthus amarus. The region also has a number of soft wooded trees called “Tella poniki” which is used to make toys. The entire belt is also rich in granite and metamorphic rocks and makes for a wonderful sight.
The Kondapalli fort, also known as the Kondapalli Khilla can be traced back to the 10th century when it was a key military post during the reign of the Chalukyas. It was fortified in the 14th century by the Reddi dynasty to strengthen administration over the Krishna Valley.
Its strong and impregnable nature made it a strategic region during the rule of Qutub Shahis as it was on the lucrative trade route to Masulipatnam. The fort was also ruled by the Vijayanagar rulers including Krishnadevaraya in the 16th century and excavations pertaining to the period include remnants of pillars, sculptures of Ganesha etc.
The fort was further under the dominion of the Mughals, Asaf Jahis, French, the East India company and finally the British. At every stage it has been an area of strategic importance and key military administration.
A picturesque sight, the fort is majestic and is replete with a darbar hall, granary, market yard, temple area, barracks etc. While a large portion of it remains damaged, the Archeological Department of Andhra Pradesh has undertaken restoration and renovation works. There is also a museum which has some insightful information on the history of the fort, excavated sculptures, pillars, stone panels etc.
An interesting getaway from Vijayawada, this fort sure forms for an engaging visit.