Penukonda Fort is a colossal structure, whose each and every stone boasts of the royalty of the erstwhile era. Penukonda is a small town in Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh. In the ancient times, it used to serve as the second capital to the Vijayanagar kings. Perched atop the hill, the fort offers a spectacular view of the town below. It was named after its native region. Located at a distance of 70 km from Anantapur, the Penukonda Fort can be found on the Kurnool-Bangalore Road.
Inside the edifice, there are various inscriptions affirming that King
Bukka I handed over the province of Penukonda to his son Vira Virupanna
Udaiyar of Vijayanagar. It was during his ruling period this fort was
built. The far-fetched architecture of the fort made it inaccessible to
the enemies. The region has been mention as 'Ghangari' in the ancient
inscriptions. The fantastic edifice of Penukonda Fort is a standing
testimony to the expert workmanship of those times. To prevent the entry
of rivals, the fort had moats full of crocodiles.
There are seven bastions along the circumference of the fort. At the
Yerramanchi gate (main entrance); you can see a colossal image of Lord
Hanuman, which elongates to the height of 11 feet. Built in the year
1575, Gagan Mahal used to be the summer resort of the aristocracy. The
architecture of this resort has both, Hindu and Muslim styles of
architecture. Abiding the Vijayanagar traditions, it is quite similar to
numerous structures having Islamic style arches, vaults and plaster
decoration at Hampi.
"Babayya Dargah" is another attraction of the citadel that
represents harmonious co-existence of the Hindus and the Muslims.
Penukonda Fort is believed to have 365 temples, one of which was
preordained for worship each day of the year. Amongst these temples, the
shrines dedicated to Lord 'Yoga Narasimhaswamy', Lord 'Kashi
Vishwanatha' Lord 'Yogarama', Adi Laxmi Devi Temple and Chenchu Laxmi
Devi are the major ones.
However, most of the temples could not stand the ravages of the times
and are no longer present. One can see several ruins and fragments of
engraved stones that are speckled on the hill as well as the plains.
Another attraction worth-mentioning is the 'Sher Khan Mosque', which has
Telugu inscription of 'Sadashiva' (dated 1564) in its courtyard. To put
succinctly, Penukonda Fort is a treasure that has kept poignant memories
of the royalty of Vijayanagar.