Skip to main content

Featured Post

Ladakh - Planning The Trip

Over 2000 Km by road, in around 10 days. Stunning landscapes, wonderful people. That sums up our Ladakh trip. But how did it actually work? How did we make it happen? Read on to find out!  Leh, the capital of Ladakh , is accessible by air and road. Flying into Leh is the easiest, and time-saving option, while the road is the time consuming one, but with the added advantage of driving past some of the most beautiful landscapes in our country. Each option has much to recommend it, and we chose the road for just one reason – altitude sickness. Altitude sickness was one of my biggest concerns, since I suffer from motion-sickness. Yes, I do travel a lot, but that is despite my condition, and, over the years, have learnt how to handle it. I struggled with it when we visited Nathu-La in Sikkim, and wondered if I would be able to manage a week at the even higher altitudes that we would encounter in Ladakh. This was the reason we stuck to a basic plan, of only 9 days in Ladakh, though we

Exploring Madikeri Fort

A flash of white in the window captures my attention. From this distance, all I can make out is a figure standing. I don’t have binoculars, but my camera serves me just as well. The zoom lens shows me a figure, dressed in white, a red sash tied neatly across, a government official of some sort, talking to a policeman. It suddenly strikes me how apt the situation is. At one time, this was a palace, where the king and his ministers would have had conversations with his guards and officers. Today, it is the District Collector’s office, and it is a government official conversing with a police officer. Once again, how apt!




The DC office I am standing outside was once the erstwhile palace of the Kings of Coorg, situated within the strong walls of the Madikeri fort. As a tourist, I can only explore part of it. I am not allowed anywhere inside, for every space available indoors is still in use, albeit as government offices. 



The fort is an imposing structure, located right in the centre of Madikeri town. However, there is little here to tell us of the king who made this town the capital of Coorg – Muddu Raja. That was some time in the late 17th century. Since then, the fort has seen a lot of changes. It was first captured by Tipu Sultan, then recaptured by Dodda Virarajendra. The fort was further modified by Linga Rajendra, only to finally fall under British rule in 1834.

The DC Office... or the erstwhile palace within the fort


Gateways leading to more sections of the fort.. and today, more offices

Efforts have been made to preserve the fort. The lush green lawns invite us to sit awhile and gaze at the sight, and the two life size elephants standing guard make me wonder where they originally stood, and if there were more such decorative elements in the fort. Walking on the ramparts of the fort is a pleasure, and my son happily runs over them, even as I pick my way carefully. Under the rampart is a path leading inwards, but an official standing inside stops me as I enter, saying it is the entrance to yet another office. My son squeals excitedly as he stands on the arch above me, making his way to a niche which looks like it may once have served as a guard’s lookout point.

Two elephants stand guard, and behind them you can see the wide ramparts of the fort

One of the gates..on the left you can see the arch (you can actually walk on the arch!)


Samhith imagining himself as a soldier!


A simple Ganesha temple is probably the oldest, but most visited part of the fort. Closed when we entered, it soon shows signs of life. Almost every person leaving work stops by the temple before going their way, and most visitors stop too, for a second look.

The Ganesha Temple


In complete contrast is the church located in the complex. It was built by the British when they took over the fort. More than a century later, when they finally left after independence, they stripped the church of its belongings – the altar, the cross, everything that could be removed. Today, the church is a hollow echo of its past, used as a museum to house relics found in the area, with a single Karnataka ASI official sitting guard, proprietarily ordering people to keep their hands off the displays. The stained glass on the wall behind what was once the altar is the only reminder that we are in a place of worship.  That the fort sees many visitors is evident. However, there seem to be few who show an interest in the names of people engraved in the church – the original patrons, or so we were told by the ASI official, his happiness at having an audience clearly evident.

The church



Lost in the past, we have spent more time at the fort than we have intended, and, in the process, we have missed seeing the sun set. However, I have no regrets – for the sunset point would have been packed with tourists with cameras clicking away. Here, in the fort, I have had a slice of history, all to myself, even if just for a little while. 

Artifacts outside the church

This was originally published on the Club Mahindra Blog. You can read the original article here

Comments

  1. You showed us lot can be seen even now!!! Last time when I went to Madikeri, my friend just ignored this place saying "Nothing is there inside". Now am realising could have visited this one...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Sagar. I am a firm believer in the tenet that its not the place, but the eyes you see it with that make it interesting, or not. technically, your friend is right, in that, there is nothing really to see. But atmosphere, history, stories.. they need to be felt, not seen

      Delete

Post a Comment

Thanks so much for stopping by. Please leave a comment for me so that I will know you have been here....

Popular posts from this blog

The Havelis of Bikaner - A Photo Post

The lanes are narrow , twisting and turning amidst buildings old and new. Crumbling old structures with intricate workmanship stand side by side with art deco buildings, and more modern constructions, which follow no particular style. Autos, bicycles, motorcycles and vans rush past, blowing their horns as loudly as possible, while cows saunter past peacefully, completely unaffected by the noise. In the midst of all this chaos, children play by the side, and women go about their chores, as we explore these by-lanes of Bikaner, and its beautiful Havelis. Facade of one of the Rampuria Havelis

Bhedaghat - Home of the 81 Yoginis

The Narmada flows down the mountains , carving out a path for herself as she makes her way down to the plains of Central India. She cascades from the rocks, her fine spray making it appear as if billows of smoke (dhuan) arise from the flowing streams of water (dhaar), giving it the name Dhuandhar. Dhuandhar Falls The force of her flow creates a gorge , smoothening and carving out the rocks into fantastic shapes, the pure white of the rocks standing starkly against the shades of the water. It is a joy to cruise down the river in a boat, seeing the natural contours created by the river, now famous as the Marble Rocks. We are at Bhedaghat, located on the banks of the Narmada near Jabalpur, where thousands of visitors turn up to see these natural landscapes, creations of the sacred Narmada, and pay obeisance to her. However, to me, the most interesting thing about Bhedaghat, isn’t the falls or the rocks, or even the river. What makes Bhedaghat special is t

Kabini Part 3 - After the Rains

Visiting Kabini in peak summer, we hadn’t bargained for the rains, which dominated our three days at the Lodge. While animal sightings were understandably lesser than usual, seeing the forest in the rain was an interesting experience in its own way. However, as we headed back into the forest for our second and third safaris, we hoped the rains would let up, and allow us to see more animals! Winding jungle paths