Chitradurga, which is now a district headquarters in Central Karnataka has an illustrious history of its own. It was the capital city of the Paleyagara dynasty (ಚಿತ್ರದುರ್ಗದ ಪಾಳೆಯಗಾರರು) between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries. The dyanasty was founded by Matti Timmannanayaka. (1568-1588) He belonged to the BEDa(Hunter) community The clan name was kAmagEti. Timmannanayaka controlled places such a Holalkere, Chitradurga and Hiriyur. His valour was appreciated by the kings of Vijayanagara who took his fifedom under the umbrella of their empire. He was succeeded by Obannanayaka(1588-1602) who developed a township within the fort of Chitrdurga. His successor Kasturiranganayaka(1602-1652) added places such as Mayakonda, Anaji and Santebennur to the fifedom. Madakarinayaka-2 (1652-74), a valiant king divided the kingdom in to four administrative regions with different individuals to control them. Unfortunately this lead to a lot of internal strife and long drawn out battles between the chieftains and there regional commanders.

This fifedom has a history of blood shed and vengence which got accentuated during the regime of Chikkannanayaka, Lingannanayaka, Bharamannanayaka and Donne Rangannanayaka. Dalavayi Muddanna and his brothers played the role of villains to perfection. Bharamannanayaka and Dodda Madakarinayaka who succeeded to the throne were instrumental for the acheivement of a period of peace and prosperity. It was a period of expansion of the kingdom. Paleyagars of Chitrdurga became very powerful during the regime of Kiriya Madakarinayaka(1754-79) and his help was sought by both Marathas and Hyder Ali who were rivals for power. Madakarinayaka joined hands with Hyder Ali to begin with and rendered him great help particularly in the conquest of Nidugallu. However, there was an under current of dissatisfaction and dissent which led to his silence when Marathas and the Nizam attacked Hyder Ali in tandem. The latter who was furious attacked the fort of Chitradurga with a huge contingent of army and defeated Madakarinayaka after a protracted battle. The fifedom came to an end with the death of Madakarinayaka as a prisoner in Srirangapattana.

The scentialting story of Chitradurga has attracted both historians and writers who have written extensively on different stages in the history of this fifedom. Hulluru Srinivasa Jois has conducted extensive research on this dynasty and a series of novels by T.R.Subba Rao ( named ‘kamabniya kuyilu’, ‘raktaraatri’, ‘’tirugubANa’, ‘hosahagalu’ and ‘vijayotsava’ have given a highly romanticised yet powerful version of the confrontation between the pALeyagArs and the military commanders. ‘durgastamAna’ an academy award winning novel depicts the raise and fall of Kiriya Madakarinayaka. M.S.Puttanna has written a historical account of the development and decline of this dynasty in an important book.

Hence the history of the Chitradurga dynasty reflects the realities of many a dyanasty like that in medeival Karnataka.



1. Patil, C. S. (1999) Karnatakada Kotegalu [Forts of Karnataka]. Hampi: Kannada University .

2. Puttanna, M. S. (1924) Chitradurgada Paleyagararu [Chitradurga Poligars]. Bangalore .

3. Ramachandra Rao, P. B. (1943) The Poligars of Mysore and Their Civilization. Teppakulam: Palaniappa Bros.

4. Rice, B. Lewis (1897) Mysore : A Gazetteer Compiled for Government. Revised edition. 2 Vols. London : Archibald Constable and Company.

5. Rice, B. Lewis (1903) Inscriptions in the Chitaldroog District. Epigraphia Carnatica, Vol. XI. Bangalore : Mysore Government Central Press.

6. Saletore, R. N. (1940) The Conquest of Citradurga by Hyder Ali. Quarterly Journal of the Mythic Society 29:171-188.

7. Sathyan, B. N., ed. (1967) Mysore State Gazetteer: Chitradurga District. Bangalore : Government Press.

8. Srikanta Sastri, S. (1928) Capitulation of Chitradurga. Quarterly Journal of the Mythic Society 18:145-154.

9. Srikantaya, S. (1941) Chitaldrug. Quarterly Journal of the Mythic Society 31:339-356.

10. Wilks, Mark (1989) Historical Sketches of the South of India in an Attempt to Trace the History of Mysore . 2 vols. Reprint of 1930 edition; originally published in 1810. New Delhi : Asian Educational Services.

11. Barry Lewis - Chitradurga History

12. Glorious history of Chitradurga Paleyagar Family

13. Me and My Camera Obscura: Chitradurga - Day 2


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