Entering through the majestically domed palace, the nature trails around the front porch and the meticulously restored palace soak you into its charm. Shivavilas Palace or more commonly known as “The Palace” is artfully embellished with intricate jali work, high ceilings, elaborate carvings on the pillars and doors. The monochromatic photographs of the erstwhile King and his son, objects d’art and the vintage collection of furniture, regality is stroked throughout the palace. The centerpiece in the main lounge of Krishna’s chariot, announces the many significant milestones achieved by the Maharaja.
A quiet town, surrounded by the iron rich undulating mountains of Bellary district, is a princely state, once ruled by the Ghorpade family. Located 45 minutes away from the World Heritage Site of Hampi, it is reminiscent of Hampi’s lofty ruins, the grand palaces and the archetype architecture. The temple of Skandagiri, once known as the city of Kumaraswamy, still sits on top of a hill nearby. Even today, the town is surrounded by vast tracts of cornfields and a million shades of green alongside the mountains that can be seen in the distance. Thus, this becomes the immediate pick for travelers to sneak into the town as the quiet retreat from the urban world. The refreshing breeze and the quality of air quickly relaxes the visitors into a peaceful precinct. Infact, Mahatma Gandhi himself, called Sandur ‘an oasis’ when he visited in the 1930s.
The year 1471 A.D is considered to be the breakthrough years in the trajectory of Sandur. Karna Singh, Shubha Krishnaji and Bhim Sinha, the ancestors of the Ghorpade and Bhosle family, sieged the fort of Vishalgad through an inventive way. They scaled the high ramparts of the fort by tying ropes around the belly of monitor lizards (Ghorpad in Marathi). The inimitable valour of these three men earned them the title of ‘Raja Bahadur Ghorpade’ and the monitor lizard found a significant place as symbol within the coat of arms. Even today, the emblem design can be found in sculptures on walls and pillars of the Shivavilas Palace.
With the ruins of the Vijayanagara Kingdom in Hampi, a UNESCO protected site, just 40 km from the town, Sandur has over the years become the prime attraction point for history enthusiasts along with its own amusing legacy. Immerse in the stories of valour and pride by embracing the opulent legacy of the royal family of Sandur. Though the legacies distance themselves by a few hundred years but the essence of Sandur matches the harmony of the empire and glory that immortalized itself in the grandeur of splendid architecture.