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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]

Background - 18th Century Chitradurga[edit]

Photograph of a tank in Chitradurga Fort, taken by William Henry Pigou around 1855.

The former soldier Timmanna Nayaka rose to the rank of Governor of Chitradurga as a reward for his excellence in military achievements, from the Vijayanagara ruler. His son Obana is known by the name Madakari Nayaka. Madakari Nayaka's son Kasturi Rangappa succeeded him, consolidated the kingdom, and rule peacefully . As he had no heirs to succeed him, his adopted son — the apparent heir — was enthroned, but was killed a few months later by the Dalavayis. Chikkanna Nayaka, the brother of Madakari Nayaka II sat on the throne in 1676, and his other brother succeeded him with the title Madakari Nayaka III. The unwillingness of Dalawayis to accept Madakari Nayaka III's rule gave an opportunity to a distant relative, Bharamappa Nayaka, to ascend the throne in 1689. The quick succession of rulers led to the people of Chitradurga not experiencing the benefits of longer ruling periods. Hiri Madakari Nayaka (1721–1748), Kasturi Rangappa Nayaka II and Madakari Nayaka IV were the next successors.

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 (Kalanayak 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. Kalanayak, 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 beda 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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33 news items

Sun, 30 Oct 2011 00:41:15 -0700

It is known Obavva, who was called Onake Obavva, saved the kingdom of Chitradurga rulers when Hyder Ali's army wanted to surreptitiously enter the town through a hole in the fort. Obavva killed them single-handedly and the army waiting outside the fort ...
Times of India
Sat, 27 Sep 2014 12:52:30 -0700

It takes a secure man to admit he cried through the story of a princess. But then, Noor Inayat Khan wasn't a regular princess with cute problems. A descendant of Tipu Sultan, she a was British spy who was shot dead at a concentration camp at age 30 ...
Sat, 22 Nov 2014 23:18:45 -0800

Karwar: Nivedita Sawant of Karwar bagged three gold medals and emerged champion in the pre-university colleges State-level Athletic Meet which concluded in Veeravanite Onake Obavva stadium in Chitradurga. She scored 15 points to be the champion.
Times of India
Sat, 09 Aug 2014 18:42:13 -0700

MUMBAI: Living alone at a modest Santa Cruz flat, surrounded by files, newspaper clippings, old photographs and vials of medicine, S J Chhugani keeps thinking about the friends he has lost in the last few years. "Everybody is leaving. We just lost Dr ...
Deccan Herald
Fri, 22 Aug 2014 21:24:03 -0700

A portion of land close to a sensitive forward area near the Line of Control (LoC) caved in, triggering apprehension of a cross-border tunnel near an Indian post in Akhnoor sector of Jammu district even as the Army launched an on-the-spot investigation.
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 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 ...
Sun, 17 Nov 2013 02:10:54 -0800

Several children participated in this competition depicting various characters like Kittur Chennamma, Krishna, Onake Obavva, Shakunthala, Sai Baba, Tipu Sultan, snake charmer, and astrologer. Veteran actor Gopinath Bhat, RJ Vishwas Kamath, and Tulu ...

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