Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Nalakkad Palace -Tadiyandamol, Madikeri

VivahaMantapa @the entrance of Nalakkad Palace
People going to Tadiyandamol trekking start their trekking by visiting the Nalakkad palace which is at the base of trekking. Even if you miss seeing it, you would definitely notice a school in whose ground lots of vehicles will be standing. Beside that school lies an old palace of the 18th century known as Nalakkad palace.
Tushar showing the Echoing point of the VivahaMantapa
If you would like to revisit the pages of history, you will get info that this beautiful palace was built in 1792 by the then Kodagu king Chikkaveera Rajendra.  It was the hiding place for this last king of Kodagu dynasty until he lost to british in 1834.After the kingdom was annexed to british , the palace went into ruins lacking proper care until it came under the jurisdiction of Archaelogical department of India. Some renovations efforts are on to retain what remains atleast and can say it is definitely worth watching if you are visiting tadiyandamol. There is also a famous work by Kannada Jnanapeeta Laureate Masti Venktatesh Iyengar about the king Chikkaveera Rajendra with the same name which is based on real life stories of the king.

Corners of the Vivaha Mantapa showing Gandabherunda and others

Paintings of RajSabha at the Ground Floor
When you enter the palace from the main door heading east , you would see a VivahaMantapa at your right. It has 4 corners which are decorated by different scriptures like Gandabherunda , Surya-Chandra, Gods and different shapes at the 4 corners. It has 4 nandis facing 4 different directions. It
was said to have 4 lions in 4 corners which were destroyed in the meanwhile. We can make it out from the reminsces and the narration of the security therin. One more speciality of this hall is the echoing place at its center. For a normal echo to happen minimum distance between the speaker and obstacle should be 17 Meters. But if you stand at the center of the hall and speak, you will be surprised to hear your echo in that small place !! Security was explaining to us that the echo is said to have reduced after people have digged at the center in the quest of money and destroyed the whole architecture marvel when they could not find any. Still it is worth a try .

Naga Mandala Carvings on the pillers

Once you move on, a palace of 2 stories welcomes you. Entrance of it has 2 steps believed to resemble that of Right feet of Raja and Rani coming from VivahaMantapa.The palace has the  "Padasaale" or the hall which has long ceilings the support of which is believed to be made of a single tree.On the roof and pillers we can see different carvings of Nagamandala(snakes).

Mainly 2 reasons are given for these carvings. One says it was to respect the farmer friednly snakes which ate the insects which used to destroy the crops. Second one says it was to terrify the enemies who often used to attack this place. Whatever might be the reason,these carvings have become integral part of the architecture of the palace.

You can also see the closed Shastragara(ammunary) before entering inside  the palace. While entering the palace you can see a darkroom which was mainly used to keep people for punishment or also used as a hiding place. It does not have any windows and can be illuminated only by a lamp hole.
After that you will enter a small hall and then a kitchen. The kitchen has a window with 24 holes. If you observe closely from that window you can see across the 3 doors of the palace and till the main entrance. We got the information that when the enemies used to enter the palace, they could be fired using this remote place itself. You could keep rifles in variuos hole to aim either the head or chest of the enemy depending on various positions he could stand. It also has a armrest to assist easy shooting !!

Kitchen also has  a secret hiding room which can be accessed from the top of the building and nobody gets a idea of the person hiding there either from the top floor or from the ground floor !!

Next to kitchen there are 2 more dark rooms with the narrow entrace once again used as a hiding place.From there starts the stairs to go to second floor. In second floor you can see the darbar hall , a room filled with the restored paintings of the queens.A Surprising thing of these paintings is
that we could not capture the face of the queen in the camera eyes inspite of lots of efforts. Although We can enjoy the beauty of it with our eyes,  we could not capture it lile others. So, probably one has to visit the palace to enjoy its beauty. It also has wooden carvings like Pallakki

carrying the Rani, rooftop carving of a flower etc.  There was One more open room having from where king entered the darbar hall. It is filled with rooftop carvings. Darbar hall was recently decorated for the shooting of a kannada movie Belliyappa , Bangarappa starting the then renowned star Kumar Bangarappa in 1992. Ironically it also marked the 200 years of building the the palace !!

You can also find 2 bath rooms of the royal family at the second floor. You can also make out a dimishing dog painting after the first bath room which leads to the stairs leading to terrace. One can also findpaintings like that of Rajsabha at the ground floor and and plenty of others on the
walls. But one should have keen eyes to observe them out of no where and have patience to understand what it is trying to say in its last voices.

As per the information obtained by Nalakkad palace security person, it will be open till 6:30PM daily and visitors are welcomed on all days without any entry fees. Hope the palace attracts more historians and visitors and gets  its glory back.

Should thank The security at Nalakkad Palace, My new young friend Tushar, Medu and seniors Akshay, Mahesh sir for accompanying in the journey to the palace and all the friends of Tadiyandamol trek

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