Chitradurga Knowledge Guide
Legend of Onake Obavva
During the reign of Madakari Nayaka, the town of Chitradurga was besieged by the troops of Hyder Ali. A chance sighting of a woman entering the Chitradurga fort through an opening in the rocks led to a clever plan by Hyder Ali to send his soldiers through the hole. The guard on duty near that hole had gone home for lunch. The wife of that guard, Obavva was passing by the hole to collect water, when she noticed soldiers emerging out of this opening. Obavva was not perturbed. She was carrying with her an Onake (a long wooden club meant for pounding paddy grains). She killed Hyder Ali's soldiers one by one as they attempted to enter the fort through the opening and quietly moved the dead. Over a short period of time hundreds of soldiers entered and fell, without raising any suspicion. Obavva's husband, upon his return from his lunch was shocked to see Obavva standing with a blood stained Onake and hundreds of dead bodies of the enemy around her. Together both wife and husband beat up most of the soldiers. But as both of them were about to finish off all the soldiers of Hyder Ali, Obavva dies. The opening in the rocks still remains as a historical witness for the story, beside The Tanniru doni the well which Obavva was making her way to, when she found the soldieres of Hyder Ali. Though her brave attempt saved the fort on that occasion, Madakari Nayaka could not repel Hyder Ali's attack in 1779. In the ensuing battle, the fort of Chitradurga was lost to Hyder Ali. Obavva, like Kittur Rani Chennamma remains a legend, especially to the women of Karnataka.