“Airport ok, kote mareyod yaake?” asks Avinash, a student from Devanahalli.
Seems like a jovial poser, but the historic Devanahalli fort remaining in a neglected state is a fact not to be taken lightly. The fort, almost in obscurity, reminds visitors of the centuries old history of Devanahalli, the birth place of Tipu Sultan. But, according to residents here, tourists nowadays rarely visit this historic spot.
Mallabyregowda of nearby Avathi, a chieftain under the king Immadi Narasimha of Saluva dynasty, built the Devanahalli fort in 1501. Devanahalli was originally called Devanapura, named after Deva, a feudatory of Devanadoddi.
The fort built by Mallebyregowda was under the control of his descendants till 1749 when the Dalawayi of Mysore, Nanjarajaiah, occupied it. Later the fort was taken over by Hyder Ali and after the Mysore war Lord Cornwallis is said to have seized Devanahalli fort in the year 1791.
The fort, spread over an area of 20 acres, has lofty walls, spacious ramparts and bastions. Inside the fort are age old temples dedicated to Venugopalaswamy, Ranganatha, Chandramouleshwara and other deities. The fort area is also known to consist of several sites and structures resembling watch towers, housing and defence buildings.
Tipu Sultan was born in the fort town of Devanahalli in 1750. Hyder Ali and Dewan Purnaiah are also said to have been the residents of Devanahalli. There is a memorial of Tipu Sultan located beside the historic fort. The memorial, inside a garden full of tamarind and mango trees, is called Khas Bhag.
Tipu Sultan is said to have renamed Devanahalli as Yusafabad, but the original name could not be changed due to reasons historical or otherwise.