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Onake Obavvana kindi inside Chitradurga Fort

Onake Obavva (18th Century) (Kannada: ಓಬವ್ವ) was a woman who fought the forces of Hyder Ali single-handedly with a pestle (Onake)[1] in the kingdom of Chitradurga of Karnataka, India. Her husband was a guard of a watchtower in the rocky fort of Chitradurga.[2]

Heroics of Obavva[edit]

During the reign of Madakari Nayaka, the city of Chitradurga was besieged by the troops of Hyder Ali(1720-1782). A chance sighting of a man entering the Chitradurga fort through a hole in the rocks led to a plan by Hyder Ali to send his soldiers through that hole. The Guard (Kahale Mudda Hanuma, who was on duty near that hole) had gone home to have his lunch. During his meal he needed some water to drink, so his wife Obavva went to collect water in a pot[2] from a pond which was near the hole in the rocks, halfway up the hill.[3] She noticed the army trying to enter the fort through the hole. She used the Onake or pestle (a wooden long club meant for pounding paddy grains) to kill the soldiers one by one by hitting them on the head and then quietly moving the dead without raising the suspicions of the rest of the troops. Mudda Hanuma, Obavva's husband, returned from lunch, was shocked to see Obavva standing with a blood stained Onake and several of the enemies' dead bodies around her. Later, the same day, she was found dead either due to shock or having been killed by the enemy soldiers.[1] She belonged to the Holayas (Chalavadi) community.[4] Though her brave attempt saved the fort this time, Madakari could not resist the attack by Hyder Ali during 1779, when the fort of Chitradurga was lost to Hyder Ali.

She is considered to be the epitome of Kannada female pride. The hole through which Hyder Ali's soldiers sneaked is called Onake Obavvana Kindi (kindi=hole) or Onake kindi.[4] Her heroic effort is depicted in a famous song-sequence in Nagarahavu picture directed by Puttanna Kanagal. The sports stadium in Chitradurga - Veera Vanithe Onake Obavva Stadium, is named after her.[5]


  1. ^ a b Cathy Spagnoli, Paramasivam Samanna. Jasmine and Coconuts: South Indian Tales (1999 ed.). Englewood,USA: Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 9781563085765. Retrieved 10 September 2012. 
  2. ^ a b March of Mysore Vol.3 (1966 ed.). Retrieved 10 September 2012. 
  3. ^ Hayavadana Rao, Conjeevaram. History of Mysore (1399-1799 AD) 1766-1799. Vol.3. Bangalore: Govt. of Mysore. p. 260. Retrieved 10 September 2012. 
  4. ^ a b B.N, Sri Sathyan, ed. (1967). Mysore State Gazetteer - Chitradurga District. Vol.4. Bangalore: Govt. of Mysore. p. 393. Retrieved 10 September 2012. 
  5. ^ John, Jijo K. Studies in South. vol2, issue 1 (2005 ed.). Bangalore: Printnet Info Services Pvt Ltd. p. 24. Retrieved 10 September 2012. 

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Onake_Obavva — Please support Wikipedia.
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31 news items

The Hindu

The Hindu
Mon, 04 Jan 2016 16:05:43 -0800

Local flavour. “Since I am in Vijayapura, I have carved the image of the historic Gol Gumbaz. Similarly, if I am going to Chitradurga, I carve the image of Onake Obavva or an image of Kittur Chennamma if I am presenting my work in Belagavi,” Mr. Harish ...


Thu, 11 Jun 2015 03:34:34 -0700

<p>“Onake” Obavva lived in the fort town of Chitradurga and was. <p>A teenager who offered herself up as a traditional sacrifice to a serpent. <p>“The Joan of Arc of the Philippines,” was a beauty. <p>Truganini "was the most famous Palawa (indigenous ...

Deccan Herald

Deccan Herald
Wed, 11 Nov 2015 12:10:01 -0800

Tipu is one of the most hated historical characters. He comes in same grade as Mir Jaffar, Timur langda, Francis Xavier and Md. Ghori. Surely the govt. could have found a thousand better people. How about Onake Obavva or Kittur Rani Chennamma?
Fri, 06 Nov 2015 20:44:46 -0800

Abu Dhabi, Nov 7 : Abu Dhabi Karnataka Sangha on its 35th anniversary celebrated 60th Karnataka Rajyotsava at Indian Social Centre, Abu Dhabi on Friday the 6th November, 2015 witnessed by Kannadigas who came in large numbers. President of Abu ...

Deccan Herald

Deccan Herald
Wed, 14 Oct 2015 11:33:45 -0700

While the whole country is celebrating the 84th birth anniversary of former president Dr A P K Abdul Kalam on October 15, the Horticulture Department has planned well, in advance, to pay rich tributes to the 'Missile Man of India' by installing his ...

The Hindu

The Hindu
Thu, 07 Mar 2013 04:51:36 -0800

The impregnable fort is witness to not just battles but to legends, the famous being of Onake Obavva. She single-handedly defeated Hyder Ali's soldiers who tried to attack the fort. The journey through the fort, though tiring, leaves me energised to ...
The New Indian Express
Sun, 05 Jan 2014 18:26:15 -0800

Disha Manjunath as Onake Obavva of Chitradurga excelled. Folk art Kamasle was also included in the dance Drama. The young dancers Disha Manjunath, Shalini, Rajesh, Prerana, Chaya, Yash -wini, Varshini, Ramya R, Ramya T, Raashi, Kshitija, Jeevitha, ...

The Hindu

The Hindu
Fri, 01 Nov 2013 21:37:04 -0700

The song narrates sacrifice of a woman, who was the wife of a guard at a chieftain's port at Chitradurga, called Onake Obavva in protecting the chieftain's port. This song was so deep rooted in the hearts, that two women at the maidan were seen wiping ...

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