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The Bellary Fort is built on top of the Ballari Gudda or the Fort Hill. The Fort was built round the hill during Vijayanagara times by Hanumappa Nayaka. Hyder Ali, who took possession of the Fort from the Nayaka family in 1769, got the fort renovated and modified with the help of a French Engineer. The lowerfort was added by Hyder Ali around the eastern half of the hill. Legend has it that the unfortunate French Engineer was hanged, for overlooking the fact that the neighboring Kumbara Gudda is taller than Ballary Gudda, thus compromising the secrecy & command of the fort. His grave is believed to be located near the East Gate of the fort, though some locals believe it to be the grave of a Muslim holy man.

The fort is divided as the Upper Fort and the Lower Fort.

The Upper fort

The Upper fort is a polygonal walled building on the summit, with only one approach, and has no accommodation for a garrison. The upper fort consists of a citadel on the summit of the rock at 1,976 feet (602 m), guarded by three outer lines of fortification, one below the other. It contains several cisterns, excavated in the rock. Outside the turreted rampart is a ditch and covered way. The main turret on the east currently features a huge mural of the Indian flag facing east. There is only one way up to the fort, which is a winding rocky path amongst the boulders. On the top, outside the citadel is a small temple, the remains of some cells and several deep pools of water. Within the citadel are several strongly constructed buildings, and an ample water supply from reservoirs constructed in the clefts of the rocks.

The Lower fort

The Lower fort lies at the eastern base of the rock and measures about half a mile in diameter, and probably had an arsenal and barracks. It consists of a surrounding rampart numerous bastions, faced by a deep ditch and glacis. The entrance to the lower fort is via two gates, one each on the western and eastern sides. Just outside the eastern gates of the lower fort is a temple dedicated to Hanuman.