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Tipu's birth place lies neglected

K.V. Subramanya

Walls of Devanahalli fort have developed cracks and parts of it have collapsed

— File photo: Bhagya Prakash K.

Who cares:About 800 to 1,000 houses are situated in the prohibited/protected area in the immediate vicinity of the fort.

CHICKBALLAPUR: For hundreds of years, Devanahalli has been synonymous with “chakkota” (pomello). With the establishment of the Bengaluru International Airport, this small town in Bangalore Rural district has hogged limelight in the recent years.

But not many are aware that Devanahalli, which was earlier part of Kolar district, was the birth place of Tipu Sultan, who shaped two centuries of history in India.

After a lot of research, the probable place of Tipu's birth near the Devanahalli fort was identified and, the Union Government in 1958 declared it as a national monument.

“Thirty-five km away from Bangalore, in a sleepy street of Devanahalli, amidst rundown surroundings and a murky body of water, filled with lush green hyacinth behind, stands a small enclosed structure, with a sign announcing that this was where Tipu was born,” writes Mohammad Moienuddin, Chairman, Tipu Sultan Research Institute and Museum, in his book, “Sunset at Srirangapatam.” Unfortunately, the Devanahalli fort is now a crumbling edifice.

The walls have developed huge cracks and even collapsed at a few places. Devanahalli residents and those fighting for the conservation of the fort said that the apathy of the agencies concerned has resulted in such a situation.

According to historians, Mallabyregowda of the Avathi clan built the fort in 1501 at Devanadoddi and, subsequently its name was changed to Devanahalli. In 1747, Wadiyars of Mysore captured it from the Avathi rulers.

Later, Devanahalli fort fell into the hands of Marathas before Haider Ali reclaimed it. During the Mysore War of 1791,

Lord Cornwallis conquered the fort from Tipu, who had renamed Devanahalli as Yousufbad.

It was Hyder Ali who renovated the mud fort and built the existing stone fort. Despite Devanahalli and its fort occupying such a significant place in the history, adequate steps have not been taken to conserve this edifice as well as the house in which Tipu and Hyder Ali had lived.

Sources in the Devanahalli Town Municipal Council told The Hindu that around 800 to 1,000 houses, coming under six wards, are situated in prohibited/protected area in the immediate vicinity of the fort. Getting these houses cleared was a difficult task.

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