Date:11/06/2005 URL: http://www.thehindu.com/thehindu/mp/2005/06/11/stories/2005061102820100.htm
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In tiger's territory

Check out the birthplace of Hyder Ali, a feared warrior and the father of Tipu Sultan



TOUGH TERRAIN Hyder was born near this place in Budikote

Everyone knows the birthplace of Tipu Sultan is Devanahalli, but where was Hyder Ali born? Well, he was born in a small non-descript village called Budikote, 11 km from Bangarpet in Kolar district.

Hyder (1721-82) was an illiterate, but could speak six languages. His success in combat with the British was more remarkable than that of Tipu. As a strategist, no one could quite equal him.

Hyder's ancestors were from Punjab and they first settled in Gulbarga and then moved to Kolar. His father Fateh Muhamed was under the Subedar of Sira and he got Budikote as a jahagir.

Meteoric rise

Hyder rose in stature between 1749 and 1780 when he attacked Devanahalli and broadened the front against the British. He died in 1982 at Narasingarayapeta near Chittoor.

It was after hearing the tale of this fascinating ruler that I decided to visit his birthplace.

After halting at Bangarpet my friend and me set off on a bike to Budikote. We were pleasantly surprised that the road was good. We located the Hyder Ali memorial quite easily as it was marked by a board saying: "Near this spot was born Hyder Ali Khan." The memorial is a small walled plot and is at the bottom of a hillock, which also houses a fort.

We tried to climb the steep hillock but gave up halfway. It was then we realised how good Hyder Ali was as a strategist. The hill would have been murderous for any invader.

Ancient temples

There are two abandoned temples near the memorial — a Venkateshwara temple and a Venugopalaswamy temple. Budikote (Vibhutipura in Sanskrit) gets its name from Poornahutis done during ancient times. In the town, you can find Kodandarama and Someshwara temples. There is also an 8th Century edict from the Bana dynasty. The vrindavana at the outskirts of the town is dated at 1681 A.D and the Markandeya reservoir is just five km away from the town.

Food can be had at the small hotel near the fort and there are benches near the memorial to rest. Bangarpet is 78 km from Bangalore and 18 km from Kolar. Take the Bangalore-Chennai highway to get there. In case you want to halt at night, there are lodges at Bangarpet. Those climbing the hillock watch out for huge lizards and snakes, and hire a local guide if possible.

H.S. MANJUNATH

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