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Sunday, August 5, 2012

Nalknad Palace - Kodagu District

 Nalknad Palace (Kannada: ನಾಲ್ಕು ನಾಡ್ ಅರಮನೆ) is a palace located in the Kodagu district of the Indian state of Karnataka.

 It is situated the foothill of Tadiyandamol, the highest peak of Kodagu (near Kakkabe village). It is a two storeyed building, supposed to be the summer palace of the Kodava kings. It is located near a village named Yavakapadi and was built between the years 1792 and 1794 AD. This palace was the last refuge of the last king of Kodagu, Chikka Veerarajendra before he was deposed by the British. The Kannada film Shanti, which has only a single actor, was shot in the surroundings of the palace.
History:
After the death of the Kodagu king, Lingaraja I in 1780 AD, Hyder Ali captured Kodagu under the pretext of being a guardian to Lingaraja's sons, Dodda Veerarajendra and Linga Rajendra who were of tender age. The princes were sent to reside in a fort at Gorur in Hassan district, a garrison was stationed at Mercara (capital of Kodagu) and a minister (Amaldar) was appointed to look after the administration of Kodagu. The people of Kodagu were angry at the takeover of Kodagu by Hyder Ali and rebelled against him in 1782 AD. Since Hyder Ali was busy in fighting against the British army, they managed to throw the garrison out of Kodagu and proclaim their independence.

After Hyder Ali's death, his son Tipu Sultan wanted to recapture Kodagu. He moved the Kodagu princes from Gorur to Periyapatna and closely monitored them. However, Dooda Veerarajendra managed to escape and returned to Kodagu. He started to wage battles against Tipu Sultan's army which forced Tipu to send a large force to Kodagu to subdue the king. Tipu Sultan's army was able to capture some forts but suffered heavy losses as well. However, Dodda Veerarajendra managed to recapture the forts except the Mercara fort. He decided to move to a thickly forested area called Nalknad and convert it as a base for its operations. He built the Nalknad Palace here. It was a two-storeyed structure with a tiled roof. Since Dodda Veerarajendra did not have any sons from his first marriage, he married Mahadevammaji in 1796, and this marriage took place in Nalknad Palace. However, his second queen also could not bear him any sons. After Tipu's death, he entered into an alliance with the British to maintain peace with them.

When Dodda Veerarajendra died in 1809, his ten-year old daughter Devammaji was declared as the "queen of Kodagu". However, in 1811, Linga Rajendra, the younger brother of the deceased king, proclaimed himself as the king of Kodagu and ruled the region till his death in 1820. Chikka Veerarajendra, the son of Linga Rajendra, became the king of Kodagu. In 1832, differences began to rise between the king and the British, forcing the king to start a war against the British. However, the Britishers attacked Kodagu with full force and began to make inroads. Chikka Veerarajendra moved to Nalknad Palace which became his last refuge. In order to prevent major losses, the king had to surrender and the British deposed him to Benares. With this, Kodagu came under the direct rule of the British and Chikka Veerarajendra remained as the last king of Kodagu.
 Route Map:
 From Madikeri: Madikeri--> Napoklu --> Kakkabe --> Palace bus stop --> Nalknad Palace
 From Virajpete: Take the road to Kakkabe from Virajpet. Pass through the villages of Karada, Kadanga, Cheyyendane and reach Palace stop. Take a turn here and travel for three km to reach Nalknad Palace.
Protection and renovation:
The palace is a protected monument under the aegis of the Directorate of Archaeology and Museums, Government of Karnataka. It was renovated by INTACH. There is a proposal to make the palace into a major tourist spot by converting a part of it as a museum to display the crafts of the Kodagu region. A sum of Rs. 2.29 million was spent on renovating the palace.

Photo Gallery:


Courtesy: Wikipedia

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