Gurramkonda (Gurram-Konda means Horse-hill) is a hill-fort located in Chittoor district on the Cuddapah (Kadapa) – Bangalore highway, around 32 kms from Madanapalle. The fort stands on top of a 500 feet hill with three almost perpendicular sides.
The fort was originally a mud & rock construction, under the control of the Vijayanagara (Hampi) kingdom. Later it passed through the hands of the Golconda sultans who strengthened the fortifications with rock walls, later the fort was taken over by the Marathas, the Cuddapah Nawabs, Hyder Ali & Tipu Sultan and was eventually by the British.
According to local legend, the hill-fort was called ‘Gurramkonda’ since there was a statue of a horse on top of the hill, which was believed to be the guardian of the fort. The fort was impregnable so long as the horse remained there. When the Marathas laid siege on the hill, they tried every trick in the book to conquer the fort but could not do so. When they learnt about the legend of the horse statue, a Maratha chief managed to scale the hill one night and carry away the horse. Thus the spell was broken and on the next attack, the fort fell to the Marathas.
Apart from a couple of temples on the hill, the main places to see are the fort ramparts, the Ranginimahal palace and the tomb of Mir Raza Ali Khan, who was Tipu Sultan’s maternal uncle.
As a kid, I used to visit Kadapa quite often and every time we passed through Gurramkonda I would stare at the ‘Ranginimahal’ palace which is visible from the main road. I was quite fascinated by the quaint old structure, but never actually got the opportunity to stop and take a closer look at it. This time around I finally got to see Gurramkonda fort and the Ranginimahal from close quarters.
How to reach Gurramkonda
Chittoor is well connected by road and rail. There are buses from other parts of the state as well as the neighboring states, which take you to Chittoor.
From Chennai: Chittoor is at a distance of 155 kms from Chennai and takes about 3 hours to reach. There are buses from here and Route No.144 bus from Chennai’s Koyembedu Bus Stand (CMBT) or a train from Lalbagh takes you to Katpadi. There are plenty of buses from Katpadi to Chittoor. Boarding a government-run bus is the best option to avoid too many stops by the private buses.
The nearest airport to Chittoor is at Chennai, which has many international and domestic flights from most of the parts of the world. From here, you can reach Chittoor either by bus or train.
From Bangalore: Chittoor is at a distance of 173 kms from Bangalore and it takes nearly 3 ½ hours to reach here. You can board any KSRTC (Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation) bus from Bangalore Majestic bus stand going to Tirupati, Nellore, Vijayawada and Guntur. Getting down near CTR is convenient as there are local transportations available, which can take you to your desired destination. Don’t take the private bus “Kalasipalya” as there are too many stops.
There is an airport at Bangalore, which is connected to many other states in India.
From Hyderabad: Chittoor is at a distance of 580 kms from Hyderabad and takes 10 hours approximately for you to reach here. There are nearly 3 buses from JBT (Jubilee Bus Terminal), the TTS Travels runs a bus from Ameerpet cross roads which usually runs every day, the APSRTC (Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation) has 7 buses from MGBS (Mahatma Gandhi Bus Stand). There is a train, Venkatadri Express, which starts from Kachiguda at 8:05 PM and reaches Chittoor by morning at around 9:00 AM.
There are also domestic and international flights to Hyderabad from where you can travel to Chittoor either by bus or train.
From Tirupati: Tirupati is just 72 kms from Chittoor and there are APSRTC buses that ply every 10 minutes to and from Chittoor.
Gurram Konda, Andhra Pradesh