Jamalabad Fort is an old hilltop fortification in Killoor road, Belthangady, Dakshina Kannada District, Karnataka, India. It is located in the Kudremukh range of hills, 8 km north of Beltangady town and 65 km from the city of Mangalore. The fort is 1700 ft above sea level and was formerly called Narasimha Ghada, which refers to the granite hill on which the fort is built. It is also referred locally as “Jamalagadda” or “Gadaikallu”.
The fort was built by Tipu Sultan in 1794 and named after his mother, Jamalabee. He decided to build a fort there, as he was impressed by the massive granitic rock which was suitable for the construction of a strong fort. The fort was built over the ruins of an older structure.
The fort is inaccessible other than via a narrow path, with around 1876 steps to the fort that are cut out of the granite hill and lead all the way to the top. This would mean that a small but well-armed group could indefinitely block a much larger force from entering the fort.
Inside the fort, there is only one tank to store water. Remains of a single cannon lie at the top. Nothing much of the fortifications remain but hints of the fort wall with parapets are visible. The fort was captured by the British in 1799 during the 4th Mysore war. Legend has it that those out of favor with Tipu were hurled down the edge to their death. (Such ‘Tipu drop’s are a feature in most hill-top forts built by Tipu.)
Jamalabad is a trekking destination, with the climb up to the fort being classified as ‘medium difficulty level’ and the top of the structure offering good views of the surrounding landscape and the Kudremukh range.
At the base of the hill is a forest check post where visitors have to pay a nominal entry fee. Visitors should carry plenty of water since there is no potable fresh water available on top. The nearest town with any communication and medical facilities is Beltangady.
Entry to the fort is restricted to between 6am to 6pm and overnight stay at the fort is prohibited. This hillock fort has one room at the top.
There is also an unmanned microwave repeater station on top of the hill.