Manjarabad Fort in Hassan district is one of the few remaining star-shaped forts in the country. The fort is a fine example of the French influence on Tipu sultan’s military architecture. The Manjarabad Fort was built in 1792 when Tipu Sultan wanted to guard the approaches to Mangalore and Coorg. It is situated 7 km from Sakleshpur in Hassan district, on a little hill, 988 m above sea level. One can arrive at it after crossing short path and then 270 nos of steps, which lead into a wide passageway flanked by solid, looming granite walls. Two 90 degree turns are given to slow down the enemy and allow very little space for the runway to break arched entrance gate. There are 3 gateways to be crossed before entering into the main large court of the fort. Each gateway is having a gate on both sides and cabins for guards.

The first gateway have 8 corner star map carved on ceiling. Complicated movement path, small court and the high wall around it make conquering the fort very difficult. Fort is guarded with 50 feet high walls and 15 feet deep moat around it. Small chambers are designed at each end of the star to have watched around the terrain without being seen. One can see the French influence in these forts, especially parts of the forts related to artillery use, such as in the widely splayed openings for firing cannon. Star-shaped bastions are to reduce the so-called ‘dead zones’ or blind spots in front of bastions. In the center of the fort, there is a deep well with steps leading down to it from all four sides. Close to the well is an armory, partly subterranean structure with vaulted roofs.

Legend:
1. Access from the main highway
2. Courty before the entrance gate
3. First gate with two cabins for guards
4. First internal court
5. Broken gate structure
6. The second wall of defence
7. Moat
8. The first wall of defence
9. Main fort wall
10. Watch cabin
11. Broken cells of soldiers
12. The topmost platform for watch
13, Storage of gun powder
14. Kund (water storage)

Article By: Rajiv Vyas I Katyayini I MD Fateen