Karnataka

After rain damage, Kodagu’s historical Nalknad Palace is crying for attention

A portion of Nalknad Palace in Kodagu district collapsed a few weeks ago following torrential rains.

A portion of Nalknad Palace in Kodagu district collapsed a few weeks ago following torrential rains.   | Photo Credit: M.T. Shiva Kumar

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There is no sign of restoration work being taken up by the ASI

Nalknad Palace, at the foot of the dense Tadiandamol, the highest peak in Kodagu district, once stood as a symbol of elegance, architecture and style. Today, it is crying for protection.

The two-storeyed building with historical significance, which is also known as Naalnaad Aramane, was built between 1792 and 1794 AD to commemorate the victory of Haleri king Dodda Veera Rajendra over Tipu Sultan. It has precious murals, pillars, various wooden carvings, dark rooms [or hiding rooms], secret passages, bathrooms and galleries of the 18th and 19th centuries.

A portion of the palace collapsed a few weeks ago following torrential rains. There is no sign of restoration works being undertaken, according to sources in the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). An ASI source said repair work can be taken up only after the rains subside fully. As such, the chance of miscreants damaging the precious artefacts and structures at the palace is high, as the lone caretaker leaves after closing time (6 p.m.).

Hiding place

According to the ASI, Dodda Veera Rajendra decided to construct the palace at Yavakapadi at the foot of Tadiandamol as the place was thickly wooded. Although he won a battle against Tipu, he was still under the threat of enemy troupes. The legendary ruler saw the need for constructing an elegant structure with safety features in the dense forest area to use as a hiding place. Thus, Nalknad Palace was built, according to a history lecturer in Hunsur.

A sign put up outside the palace gives brief details of the building, including that Dodda Veera Rajendra built it to protect his family from enemies.

He married again in 1796 to Mahadevamma at the same palace and lived there until she died in 1807. An elegant wedding mantap, constructed for his marriage, still exists there and is the cynosure of all eyes arriving at the palace.

It was also the hiding place and last residence of Chikka Veera Rajendra before he surrendered to the British in 1834 AD.

The palace was a rendezvous point for miscreants till a few years ago, before the ASI took it under its wing. Later, the palace was restored. Unfortunately, irreparable damage has been caused to the murals and paintings on the walls, according to ASI sources.

The Haleri kings might have left precious artefacts at the palace when they deposed to the British. Sources say the artefacts might have been shifted elsewhere or stolen.

According to the visitor register, footfall at the palace is sometimes nil and at other times reasonable.

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Printable version | Dec 15, 2019 10:54:22 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/after-rain-damage-kodagus-historical-nalknad-palace-is-crying-for-attention/article29873185.ece

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