Forts in India
Bobbili Fort information

Bobbili Fort

The Bobbili Fort, located in the Vizianagaram district of the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, was built during the middle of the 19th century in Bobbili. It has a historical link to the nearby mud fort of the same name which was destroyed during the Bobbili war in 1757 in a feud between the Rajas of Bobbili and the neighbouring Maharaja of Vizianagaram. Chinna Ranga Rao, who survived the Battle of Bobbili as a child was, at a later date, installed as the Raja of Bobbili. The successors of his lineage constructed the present Bobbili Fort following their improved economic conditions in the middle of the 19th century. The existing fort covers an area of 10 acres (4.0 ha) and was built by Chinna Ranga Rao after he regained his kingdom which was improved upon by his successors in the mid-19th century. The fort complex has an impressive entrance gate in Indo-Sarcenic architectural style with high dome and many mantapas, Durbar Hall, four major palaces and two temples. Bobbili is 55 kilometres (34 mi) away from Vizianagaram, which is well-connected by rail and road links. The nearest railway station is Vizianagaram, a key railway junction on the Raipur-Vizianagaram railway line. There is a bridge across Vedavati River which provides access to the area. The existing fort is spread over an area of 10 acres (4.0 ha). It was built, in the Indo-Saracenic architectural style, as Ranga Rao and his son had probably liked this style during their exile in Hyderabad where they had spent more than a decade and a half under the protection of the Nizam of Hyderabad.[6] Chinna Ranga Rao had built the oldest part of the main palace with its Saracenic arches supporting the first level. However, in 1861 in a report submitted by the Acting District Engineer to the Chief Secretary to the British Government at Saint George it was said that the stone fort at Bobbili did not have adequate defense capability. The facade of the fort has the elegance of a palace with its high walls, 20 feet (6.1 m) high at places, rather than a castle. The royal family lived in this fort. The northeastern entry to the fort is a tall domed structure. The entire palace complex covers an area of 40,000 square feet (3,700 m2). Within the fort area there are four major monuments. These are: the Durbar Hall, the palace of the prince, the palace for guests, and the Raja's palace, where the royal family members live, which is the largest with three floors. The Durbar Hall, or the main meeting hall, is where the Rajas held their crowning ceremonies. The main palace, which has an area of 6,000 square feet (560 m2), also houses a museum and offices of the family. Within the fort complex there are two temples: one is dedicated to the family deity of the Venugopala Swamy and was built at the time of founding of Bobbili; the another one was erected by Chinna Ranga Rao in the aftermath of the war, after he regained his territory. The Gopura or entrance of this temple was constructed in 1851. Another mandapa built at the centre of a lake is known as the Vasant Mandapa where, according to the local belief, Venugopala Swamy takes rest for a day with his consort. After this the image of the Venugopala Swamy is kept at the Dola Yatra Mandapa on the shores of the lake for one day and then moved back to the main shrine. These mandapas were built in 1825 by Maharaja Krishna Das Ranga Rao. Another functional palace in the fort is the Pooja Mahal. Opposite to this palace is the Prangmahal, the residence of the Raja, which is very well preserved and decorated with elegant "tapestry, paintings and porcelain" brought from many countries.

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