One of the glorious events in the history of Athmakur Samsthan was the construction of Chandragadh Fort on a hillock on the banks of river Krishna where Priyadarshini Jurala Project was built.

The sixteenth century fort still stands strong despite centuries of attempts to deface it but is neglected despite potential to be a major tourist destination.

The walls of Chandragadh still stand strong, with the watch towers, the high boundary walls and other structures still intact. There is a Lord Shiva’s temple built inside the fort, where the original Shiva Linga is still worshipped with utmost devotion by the villagers. There are four deep wells dug inside the fort, which are rain-harvesting structures containing water throughout the year.

Every year, during the Shravana Masa, a jatara is held in the fort by the villagers.

The villagers say that when Jurala Project was constructed, granite stone from Chandragadh was used to build the dam. It goes without saying that in the past few decades, granite quarrying has resulted in half the fort coming to the ground, while the main entrance and the rest of the fort is still intact. As an exchange for the granite used, the villagers were promised that a road would be laid from the village to the main entrance of the fort. That promise was kept and a CC road is all that the fort has seen till date.

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There is a great scope for development in that fort, which can attract tourists, whether growing gardens on the fort, building mini-amphitheatre outside the main entrance (to make it a cultural centre) or by constructing a tourist lounge. The ideas for tourism development can be endless and this fort holds great potential for tourism development in Jurala tourism circuit.

Selling Chandragadh, Dharmapuri and other forts located in this historically significant district as a package would mean development of these villages and the villages close to them. Direct and indirect employment can also be created, sustaining rural livelihoods as envisioned by the forefathers of Telangana.

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One would think that the fort was built by the Kings of Athmakur Samsthan, but that does not seem to be the case. Though the rulers of Athmakur Samsthan existed since the 12th century and several generations of the King Gopal Reddy had been friendly with Bahmani Sultans, Qutub Shahis, Mughals and the Asaf Jahis, an interesting change of course happened somewhere towards the end of 16th century and the first half of the 17th century.

While Sarva Reddy II helped the army general of Aurangazeb in wars and received Jagirs, horses and other gifts from the latter, his son Timma Reddy I had actually helped the Peshwas, who had waged wars against the Mughals. During that course, Timma Reddy got into an agreement with Raja Chandrasen (tax collector appointed by the Peshwas who hailed from the Chandraseniya kayastha Prabhu community of Kshatriyas) for a sum of 10,000 (the then currency).

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Raja Chandrasen not only leased Amarchinta and Vaddeman to Timma Reddy, but also appointed Timma Reddy as the Deshmukh of both Dharmapuri and Chandragadh, the two villages located side by side. It was during this period that Raja Chandrasen built Chandragadh fort in his name and Dharmapuri fort in his wife’s name in these two villages. The location of the forts put the rulers of Athmakur/Amarchinta samsthan at a strategic military advantage. #KhabarLive