Kaulas Fort

Kaulas or Kowlas Fort is located in Kaulas Village, Jukkal mandal, Kamareddy District, Telangana State, India , at the border of three states – Telangana, Karnataka and Maharashtra.

Kaulas or Koulas village, which holds the illustrious past like a jewel in the crown, presently a gram panchayat, falls under Jukkal mandal. However, locals say that the fort has been empty for decades now but sees many visitors.

In the past there kingdoms Kaulas, Bodhan and Nizamabad were called Indur.

Spread across 6 sq km with two entrances, Kaulas is perhaps one of the largest royal forts in the state. The mega fort sits majestically on the outskirts of Kaulas village, less than 1 km from the main village, and is surrounded by the Kaulas nala (stream).

According to historians, it was built in Indra IV’s period of the Rashtrakuta dynasty in their political capital and was later captured by the Chalukyas of the Kalyani dynasty in the third quarter of the 10th century before it was captured by the Kakatiyas in the 12th century.

According to the state Heritage department, the Kakatiya insignia is inscribed on the fort’s gateways.

The Kakatiya kingdom, which ruled from present day Warangal, held the Kaulas Fort till 1323 AD, a period more or less parallel to the one and only Kakatiya woman ruler, Rani Rudrama Devi. Later, the Kaulas region is said to have come under the rule of the Bahmanis, Qutb Shahis, Yadavas, Naikwaries, Mughals, Devagiri, Kalyani, Marathas, etc and finally under the Asaf Jahis (Nizams) (1724 to 1948)

The main gate of the fort can be reached by traversing a path through agricultural fields and then crossing the Kaulas nala. As one takes the wide stairs, a cannon welcomes us in less than 3 feet. Multi-tier rock cut layers and several bastions in each corner is said to have made the fort unassailable by enemies.

The massive fortress is home to more than 50 bastions, with Hussaini, Mallika, Mula and Kadika Burj being the prominent ones. Three temples (Venkateswara, Ramalayam and Ganapati Mahadev temple) in the complex, which were constructed under different dynasties, have rare sculptures of goddesses.

A strong defence mechanism is visible at the fort; multi-layered walls, tall bastions and moats along the fort shows how unconquerable it once must have been.

“The different structures in the fort show semi-Dravidian and Indo-Islamic architecture as the fort was ruled by different dynasties,” Kumaraswamy says about fort’s architecture.

A view from any bastion of the fort shows the entire Kaulas nala and the miles of forests that the fort is situated amidst.

The RamaTemple, built of black and white basalt stone in the 17th century, is adorned with exquisite carvings and was restored in the past decade. The Kasikund Temple, built by Rajput kings, has a fresh water spring. There are also temples dedicated to Hanuman and Balaji. It is said that there were about 10 cannons inside the fort though later, most were shifted to police stations in Nanded and Bichkunda. However, four still remain – the most notable amongst which is the exquisitely crafted Navgazi tope (Hindi for cannon) atop a bastion. There are two natural reservoirs inside the fort, which once provided water to its inhabitants.

There is an Ashtabuji Mata (also known as Jagadamba Mata) Temple behind the fort, where the Rajput rulers went for benediction before embarking on a battle. There are also two mosques in the surrounding forest. As you exit to the main highway near Koulas Fort and drive towards Hyderabad, you will come across a picturesque lake, a few kilometres ahead, on your left. The desolate water body is a pleasant place to break a long journey.


Chalukyas of Badami

In 1303, the Delhi Sultanate launched a military campaign against the Kakatiya kingdom. This resulted in the capture of the strategic fortress of Kaulas.

1325 AD – 1368 AD : Musunuri Nayaks
In 1347 the Bahmani kingdom was established by Allauddin Bahman Shah and soon Kapaya was involved in a struggle with that kingdom over the fort of Kaulas

In 1361, he gifted to the Bahmani Sultan Mohammed Shah I the Turquoise throne of Warangal, made during the Delhi rule, as part of a treaty agreement

Many battles were fought between the Bahmanis and Musunuri Chiefs in this village

1350 AD - 1518 AD : Bahmani Sultanate 
1350 AD : Bahman Shah led his first campaign against Warangal in 1350 and forced its ruler Kapaya Nayaka to cede to him the fortress of Kaulas which was added to Bidar district, currently known as Kalaburagi.

1355 AD : Vinayaka Deva, the son of Kaapaya was sent to free the fort of Kaulas helped by Bukka Raya, the king of Vijayanagar. However, eventually he was killed in a disastrous manner by Bahmani Force under Bahadur Khan

Rachakonda Recherla Nayaks as subordinates of Bahmani Sultanate    
1361 AD - 1383 AD : Anavotha nayaka
Capital : Rachakonda

1518 AD – 1687 AD : Qutbshahis / Golconda Sultanate
1518 AD - 1543 AD : Sultan Quli Qutb-ul-Mulk
While Sooltan Koolly was engaged in the siege of Koheer, Ibrahim Adil Shah, in conjunction with Kasim Bereed, had attacked part of the Telingana territories; and Sooltan Koolly, having now returned to his capital, resolved to revenge himself for the insult and injury done to him. He accordingly led an army against the fort of Etgeer, belonging to the King of Beejapoor, and also sent different detachments to recover the districts of Kakny, Gorowly, and Nargy, which had been usurped by Ismael Adil Shah during the time Sooltan Koolly Kootb Shah was engaged in war with Ramchundur and Seetaputty. The several detachments in a short time succeeded in reducing those districts, and occupied them in the name of Sooltan Koolly; after which the King invested the fortress of Etgeer, and at the same time sent an ambassador to Kasim Bereed Shah, demanding the cession of the towns of Meduk and Kowlas. 

1543 AD - 1550 AD : Jamsheed Quli Qutb Shah
1543 AD : Jagadeva Rao
Under Jamsheed’s rule, Jagdeva Rao rose to an eminent position. Jamshed acquired the tract round the fort of Kaulas , pushed Ali Barid into the Kaulas fort which was then ruled by Jagadeva Rao the chief of Naikwaris (Hindu soldiery).

1687 - 1724 A.D : Mughal Empire
1701 AD : Venkata Rao
During 1701 CE, Zamindar Venkata Rao accepted Aurangazeb’s rule and gave away his army. For this, he was given the position of ‘mansabdar’ in Mughal emperor’s army. Thus Venkat Rao became the first Telugu Zamiindar to join the mughal army.

Aurangzeb appointed two Kiladars, Khuni Khan and Ikhlas Khan who constructed two big mosques at the fort.

Two mosques and temples are seen in a dilapidated condition and covered by large, overgrown bushes. Rani mahal, Elephant well (Enugula bavi) and other wells are the highlights of the fort. Several bastions are in a damaged or deteriorating situation.

1724 - 1948 : Asaf Jahis 
1724 A.D - I748 A.D: Asaf Jah I - Mir Kamar-ud-din / Nizam-ul-Mulk
1724 AD : Raja Gopal Singh Gaur
The Nizams appointed Raja Gopal Singh Gaur, a Kshatriya or Rajput, as the Chief of Kaulas in the 1720s and his successors held this fort till 1948 when the Indian Union over took Hyderabad state. It was during this time that the Jagdamba Bhawani cannon or the Navgarji tope, which was the largest (10 feet long) cannon in the world of its time, was said to have made by Raja Gopal Singh in the year 1728.

While there are tales about Raja Gopal Singh’s bravery and warfare tactics, there is also ambiguity about his identity.

1748 A.D - 1750 A.D: Mir Ahmed Khan, Nasir Jung
1750 A.D -1751 A.D: Muzaffar Jung
1751 A.D - 1761 A.D: Salabat Jung

1857 AD - 1900 AD : Raja Deep Singh
Kaulas was always a crucial region irrespective of who was ruling. It’s also said that from a military point of view as well the Kaulas samsthanam (dominion) was strong. A successor of Raja Gopal Singh, Raja Deep Singh, is said to have participated in the 1857 Indian Rebellion from this fort and was persecuted for the same.

Raja of Kowlas , Convict No. 558 , pleaded his ignorance about the agent of Nana . He , however , confessed that Kasi Ram , Convict No. 560 , stayed at Kowlas for 21/2 months and that Shaikh Madar , Convict No. 559 , visited Kowlas

1900 AD - 1915 AD : Raja Durjan Singh
The last chief, Raja Durjan Singh, died prematurely and childless. In 1915 it came directly under the rule of the Nizam.The annual revenue of the fiefdom was then 22,517 rupees.

1915 : Kiladar Maulvi Muhammad Jamaluddin Sheikh
Kiladar (Kiladar-e-Kaulas) Maulvi Muhammad Jamaluddin Sheikh, a zamindar (landlord) of Turkish descent belonging to the Barlas clan and a descendant of Muhammad Sheikh who was the great-great-grandson of Emir Timur through his son Umar Sheikh Mirza. His sons held the position of Kiladar until the 1947 Partition of India. 

Maulvi Jamaluddin Sheikh had 3 sons named Moinuddin Cowlas, Khwaja Karimuddin Sheikh & Khwaja Nizamuddin Sheikh who after Partition of India moved to Pakistan.

Situated around 200 km from Hyderabad, one can reach the fort by taking National Highway 161 to Jukkal, from where Kaulas village is less than 20 km. The fort can also be approached via NH44 through Kamareddy and Banswada.