Nalkanad Palace (Coorg (Kodagu) - Karnataka)

Getting down from Tandiandamol Peak, very close to it was my next destination – Nalknad Palace. This was built by Doddaveerarajendra in 1792. He was a Kodagu king belonging to the Haleri reign. Chikkaveerarajendra was the last king of this dynasty who ruled in 1834. Unfortunately by his time the power of British Raj had become so strong that he had to surrender. This palace served as the last refuge to him before he gave up. 
I reached the temple by exactly 1:20 PM. There was little chit on the door that had a phone number and said that 1 to 1:30 is the lunch hour. So I waited there at the entrance for 10mins and sharp in 10mins, the gentleman, its caretaker turned up. By this time there were 2 more groups of visitors and we were about 10 of us. I thought the caretaker is just a guy who has the key but I was amazed when he started taking us on a guided tour throughout the palace. He’s well versed with the history of the palace. 
Though it is called a Palace, it looks so extremely simple. The terracotta tiled roof atop wooden frame, wooden structure and carvings and pillars and much more importantly its Murals, very much reminded me of Kerala buildings, once again reminding me that I’m in the Kerala and Karnataka border. I must say I was reminded of Kuthira Malika close to Padmanabhapuram Palace!
Past its wooden doors, soon as I entered, to my right was this small mandapa that was not even in sync with the rest of the Palace. I learnt that it was built later by Chikkaveerarajendra for his sister’s wedding. To the left were a garden and a high street lamp that was solar powered!

Further ahead was the entrance to the actual building. But before you enter, it is impossible to miss the gorgeous mural on the varandah to the left. It is of a procession. I’m not sure what it depicts exactly but I was told that in the Kodagu history, men had to defeat other men, chop the head off and bring it to the lady in order to win her! The mural did depict some men holding spears on which there were some heads!!! These old murals were painted 223 years ago when the Palace was built.
The pillars of this varandah itself are such thing of beauty. But more gorgeous are the carvings here. In the corbel of one of the pillars was this complicated kolam-style twisted Cobra! A spectacled Cobra (Naja naja) is a regular in this area and is a symbol of power that induces fear!

Finally overcoming the beauty of these outside, I stepped into the Palace. The first point of stoppage is the first floor. A curved staircase from the very first room took to the first floor to the main room that overlooked outside. Again the pillars on either sides were so symmetrical and perfect. This was once the durbar of the kings. An elevated platform on the opposite side of the staircase is where the King sits and precedes over the courtroom. This room has 3 incredible jaali work windows. 
The small door on the side leads to the private section of the King & Queen incl their bed chamber, bathrooms etc. At the end of the passage on the ground, completely merged as one with the wooden flooring was a secret door!!! A room close to the end of this staircase is the dark room. The guide asked us to switch off the light from our cell phones and shut the door and soon that was pitch dark, so dark that nothing at all was visible. I got the exactly same feeling as I did in Chislehurst dark room. There is one more room in the palace like this. At any given point of time, these rooms were pitch dark even if the sun is shining mightily outside. These were the hiding dungeons when they had to escape!!!
There are a couple more rooms in the ground floor. One of the rooms is for the Palace Guards located behind a wall that exactly faces the door. This wall has 3 jaali windows. The Palace guards could kill any enemy entering in without coming out of their hideout!!!
The entire place is painted, the ceilings, walls, everything in both ground floor and first floor, even the walls of the royal toilets!!! But sadly, very sadly, the painting that we see today belongs to the recent years (less than 50 years old). All these surfaces were originally painted when it was built in 1792. Today these original paintings are being restored bit by bit, removing the current plaster layer, under INTACH. Hoping to see it in its restored, original glory soon...
P.S: In the Virajpet Town is this clock! It is more than a 100 years old. It was erected by M.R.Ry Mukkatira Iyappah son of M.R.Ry Muttanna Subedar of Devanagiri Village in 1911 in the memory of Delhi Coronation Durbar that happened under King George V when India was under British Raj.

To Get There:
On Google Maps: Nalknad Palace
From Tadiandamol Peak: 5.6km
From Magnolia Resort, Coorg: 33km
From Coorg Madikere Bus Stand: 35km

Bhushavali N

An ardent traveler by passion. I am a wanderlust.. Read more about me here.

32 comments:

  1. India is in my bucket list so I absolutely loved this post. I love how intricate details on the walls of the palace - I could just imagine all these artists painstakingly carving each one. I don't care very much for the mural though - I'm not quite sure I would like to receive a severed head from a gentleman caller. Hehehe. Seriously though, I love how you included the history along with the pictures. Made me appreciate it better. :)

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  2. Nice for a change. Most of the time when I see posts on Palaces in India, they are all magnificent. Immediately the first thing that comes to mind is extravagance. And in comparison, this one is modest. But that is not to say it is not as intriguing. For instance, if I were standing there in front of the murals, I would probably stand there for several minutes staring and thinking, and wondering about those people who lived two centuries ago.

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  3. Haha it's getting strange for me cause every time i'm reading a post about India i'm discovering another beautiful place i missed while travelling there. I love the simplicity and the flowers on the reddish wall, it looks like a beautiful, hearty place.

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  4. I havent been to India. But, I am inspired to visit because of your posts. My friend who already went there said there are nice and historical palaces to visit. =Prayig one day Ill be able to set foot in India too. :)

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  5. That is a tiny palace, but lovely detail. The town clock is an extra bonus for the visit.

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  6. This looks like a very cute place to visit! I haven't been to India, but I definitely could see this being a great place to visit while there.

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  7. I haven't bewn to India yet but as i read more and more post about the beautiful places around india. It has creeping up to my list. Such a great place to visit lots of history

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  8. This type of historical buildings I enjoy visiting to learn about the history and culture. The history and culture of India spanned a long stretch back and these visits should be very informative with a good guide.

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  9. India has a great history and culture! You can tell that by reading this post and checking your photos.Even though, I'd ike your photos to be bigger in order to admire the places on their full vast!

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  10. very interesting post about history & culture, seeing another "face" of India.... well, great to see posts from a different angle. Beautiful pics!

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  11. Wow what an interesting place to visit! India isn't on my current list of places to visit, but maybe it should be. ;)

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  12. India has a lot of culture- I want to travel here and visit the temple and learn more about their history. Definitely an addition to my list for future travels.

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  13. You're right, it's very modest for a castle, but the artwork on the murals in front of the entrance is really beautiful. The clock is also very well preserved to be over 100 years old...combined with the palace it seems like a nice, quaint town for a visit.

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  14. Sometimes I wonder what would be the life of the people in India, if the monarchy still exist? Am not familiar with the history of India, but readung its rich culture and traditions, I guess the lifestyle is also insteresting.

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  15. I love Kodagu and its neighboring areas! Looks like you had a wonderful time there, adding this to my list when I am back in Coorg district next.

    xx, Kusum | www.sveeteskapes.com

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  16. Glad you found this hidden gem and explore the same as well. I must note it for my next visit to Coorg. It definitely piques my curiosity. Am gonna also, read up a little more on the history. Cheers

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  17. I love guided tours because you get anecdotes and history of the place. Your story about those chopped heads is quite frightening. hehehe Imagine yourself being the lady and somebody brings a chopped head to you! oh my!

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  18. Wow, you have a good knowledge of the Nalkanad Palace. Like your storytelling as it helps with the images you've shown us!

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  19. I love the smaller details of the palace such as the intricate ceilings and the curved columns! This is an architect's dream! :D

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  20. The place looks grand during its time. This historic place should be preserved to remind future generations of their past.

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  21. I'm hoping my husband has time to visit on his trip to India! What an incredible temple!

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  22. I've never been to India but I am curious to learn the culture, visit temples, historical places, taste the food! Also the clock looks well preserved.

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  23. I have been to Karnataka but not visited this place. Looks very very nice. The feel that you get just by visiting such places is totally different and zen.

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  24. So much to explore in India! I hope I can make it there one day... I am a bit worried about the heat and the very spicy food though :)

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  25. Wow this place is full of history, and really pretty. Your post makes me wish to go to India right now <3

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  26. What a great way to start your 2017 travel plans. How was traveling there? Do you need to rent a car or easy commuting?

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  27. So many new places I've learned from reading your post... and the name of the places are quite long... is it easy to pronounce them as well? :) On the other note, these places are so historical and like you, I hope that we can see the original paintings of Nalkanad Palace...

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  28. What an interesting place and incredible surprise to get a guided tour when you didn't realize there was one. It is always so interesting to hear of historical courting rituals that seam completely incomprehensible to modern standards. Hopefully they are successful in revealing the original artwork of the place!

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  29. Very nicely written.. this post reminded us of our visit to this palace.. you are right, the caretaker is a nice guy who makes this palace look even more interesting with his stories ..

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