Gajendragad (also called Gajendragada) or the Elephant Fort (Gajendra=Elephant, Gada=Fort), is a town in Gadag District of Karnataka in India. The town got this name as it looks like an elephant’s body in the bird view. Locally, it is called Gada. Kalakaleshwara temple, located in Gajendragad, is a well-known pilgrimage center. It has a long hill strip, hill station, and a fort which are some of the tourist attractions, along with windmills and handlooms.
Gajendragad Fort: The main tourist attraction at Gajendragad is the historic fort, built by Shivaji, the Maratha Warrior King. The fort was later renovated by the Ghorpade dynasty.
The fort has a majestic entrance with artwork such as a five-headed snake and two lions facing each other. It houses the Lord Hanuman idol along with inscriptions in Hindi and Marathi (Modi script). The fort has a water tank, a mosque and temple, bunkers, and storehouses. Most of the fort is in a ruined state though some renovation has made it look presentable.
Kalakaleshwar Temple: The next tourist attraction in Gajendragad is the Kalakaleshwar temple and the main deity worshipped here is Lord Shiva. This temple is also known as the Kashi of the South or Dakshina Kashi. Lord Shiva, who is considered as the embodiment of the universal forces, is worshipped here in the Kalakaleshwar form.
As the town of Gajendragad is situated in the midst of hills and mountains, visitors need to climb numerous steps to reach the temple. This temple is famous for Udbhava linga. At the exit of the temple, a small well, the AthareGange, can be located. This reservoir or well is considered sacred and pilgrims arriving here during the festive season bathe in the holy waters of this well before going for prayers. The water from this well continuously falls on the peepal tree throughout the year and the source of it is still a mystery.
Kalakaleshwar Temple, with its exquisite architecture, has many beautiful paintings and carvings. The well-crafted gopurams of the temple are an architectural wonder. Another temple, the Virabhadra temple, which is also beautifully sculpted, is located within the Kalakaleshwar temple premises.
Hill Strip: Gajendragad has a long hill strip and hill stations which are another tourist attraction.
Gajendragad is well-connected by road and is about 55 kilometers from Gadag, the district headquarters. It is 110 Km from Hubballi and 450 Km from Bengaluru, Karnataka State capital.