Places of Interest
Hassan is a district with several splendid tourist destinations. Sakaleshpur, which is one of the most prominent taluk headquarters of Hassan district, is rich with many picnic spots and popular tourist places adorned with picturesque natural sceneries and structures of exquisite art and architecture. The region is endowed with dense forests, hills, rivers, waterfalls, streams and valleys that attract the attention of connoisseurs of beauty and nature. The Western Ghats, Pushpagiri, Bisle range of forests, Hirekal hill range and the evergreen forests draw the attention of everyone.
The Manjirabad Fort is about five km away from Sakaleshpur on the south-western side. The fort has been constructed atop a hill, which is about 988 m above the ground-level. The fort can be accessed by taking a left turn on the National Highway 48. This fort was built by Tipu Sultan in 1792. It is understood that Tipu Sultan was wonderstruck by the scenic beauty of Majirabad after witnessing it from the fort and therefore named the fort as Manjirabad Fort. The enchanting beauty of nature can only be perceived by standing on the fort wall and taking a look at the surroundings. The green-masked altar of uneven hillocks, dense forests, valleys and streams that bequeath all nature-lovers spellbound needs only to be seen to believe.
This fort has been constructed atop a 200 ft. high Adane hill. A trench has been dug around the fort wall to prevent intrusion. There are three doors in the corridor that is closely knit with the fort wall. The main door is bedecked with carved flowers and creepers. A blueprint of the eight-cornered fort is beautifully depicted on the ceiling above the main door. The fort appears to be incomplete from a comprehensive view of its model. Horse steads are seen after crossing the main door and after entering the interior door.
At the centre of the fort, there is a pond in the shape of a plus mark (+). There is a link between this pond and the trench around the fort. There are two underground secret routes to escape from the fort. According to local people, one of the two routes lead to Srirangapattna and another to Mangalore. About 50 years ago, walls were constructed as barricades to these secret routes by the Department of Archaeological Survey of India to prevent illegal activities.
There is a secret route to reach the external corridor from the southern part of the fort. A Sthupa or a pillar in the paddy field can be seen from this point. It is said that a British official, was riding a horse in the field was shot dead from this fort. The official was buried in the same spot.
The entire fort has been built with stone, burnt bricks and concrete. During the regime of Tipu Sultan, the Malnad region comprising of Aigur, Yasaloor, Bisle and other places, was under the governance of Krishnappa Nayak of Balam.
To the south of the plus or cross-shaped pond, located at the centre of the fort are two stair-bound rooms. One of them is a weapon yard and another a store room. There are ventilated watch towers built with concrete on the northern side. There is a way leading to the cellar. A specially and distinctly designed place in front of the way to the cellar was probably being used as a treasury.
There is a sprawling 40-hectare reserved forest area at Bisle in Hettur hobli of Sakleshpur taluk of Hassan district. Identified as a very distinguished forest region in Asia, this forest spreads across Hassan, Kodagu and Dakshina Kannada districts. In this vast forest region, there are several hillocks called Pushpagiri, Kumara Betta, Yennikallu, Patla, Dodda Betta and Kannadi Kallu. In the Bisle forest region, various species of high value trees, including Teak, Rosewood, Alexandria Laurel, Indian Copal, Tulip and Malabar Kino, are in abundance. Elephants, Bison, Sambar, wild boar and other wild animals are aplenty.
People living in the villages around Bisle Ghat are protecting the rich forests here. Whenever wild fire breaks out during the summer season, the villagers douse it quickly so that the forest does not suffer heavy damage. People in surrounding villages keep a continuous vigil so that thugs and thieves do not enter the forest area to steal the woods or kill animals.