Madikeri Fort has been a popular tourist attraction to witness the lives, rise and fall of several glorious rulers and dynasty. Founded by Mudduraja in the second half of the 17th century and constructed in mud, it finally took shape in granite and has stood testimony to several incidents. It is a coming together of several religions and an amalgamation of different cultures and traditions.
A Fort with a temple, Church, prison, Museum and library is pretty intriguing, especially to history lovers. Different rulers from majestic dynasties have constructed and reconstructed the Fort time and again and used it in a way they felt was justified. Located amidst rolling mountains and lush greenery, one can spend hours inside the Fort looking for artefacts mentioned in the pages of history.
Currently, the Madikeri Deputy Commissioner's Office is located inside the Fort premises. St. Mark’s Church built during the British regime houses a museum, which contains several interesting items related to history. It showcases a huge portrait of Coorg's eminent personality Field Marshal K. M. Cariappa, weapons and tools used by the different rulers and the British along with several other interesting objects.
It is one of the best places to visit in Coorg and the beauty and culture of Coorg have been defined in a historical monument, The Madikeri Fort. The two-storied heritage property built by the erstwhile ruler of Kodagu has undergone several changes both structurally and functionally. A Fort built-in mud housing a beautiful Palace, that too made in mud to a Church adorned with stained glass and done up in Gothic style built by the British.
Tipu Sultan further fortified the monument in granite and used it for official and leisurely activities. While the British made a museum adjoining the Church, made further changes and showcased various objects and artefacts used during the different transactions amongst the rulers.
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History of Madikeri Fort
The history of Madikeri Fort dates back to the 17th century when the erstwhile king of Coorg, Mudduraja had made Madikeri the capital city of Kodagu. Initially, the fort was built with mud with along with a palace too made with mud inside the fort premises.
The fort has born the brunt of several rulers thus undergoing demolitions and reconstruction time and again over a few centuries. It was also rebuilt by Tipusultan in granite and named the site as Jaffarabad and renamed the fort as Meraca Fort. In 1790 Dodda Vira Rajendra added to the architectural beauty of the Fort and then again by the Britishers in 1834. St. Mark’s Church built in 1859 is housed inside the Fort and has a museum built inhouse.
The Architecture of Madikeri Fort
The colossal Fort built against the backdrop of verdant mountains and an open sky reminisces one of an era bygone. The Fort, constructed in granite has been built in European style with elaborate pillars and checkered floor patterns. The two life-size statues of elephants at the entrance must have stod testimony to several rivalry and wars.
St. Mark’s Church, in glass stained Gothic style replaced the old Vidarbha temple inside the fort also under the British rule. A grand clock tower was strategically placed to the exuberance of the fort in 1933. A sculpture of tortoise, with the name of King Vijayendra, engraved on it sits adorned upon to welcome the history aficionados.
The grand architecture of the fort is not only the pride of the Kodagu region but has also attracted visitors from several parts of the world. The secret labyrinth of alleys and passes inside the fort gives way to mysterious stories associated with them which too must have seen gory and secret stories hidden within the walls.