Unassuming and desolate are two words which come to my mind while describing Shivappa Nayaka’s Palace. Tucked away in a sleepy part of Shimoga city, the main structure looks just like a big house with majestic wooden pillars holding a sloping tiled roof. The ‘palace’ has two levels. The upper level has rooms on either ends and a balcony in the middle from where the king addressed his ministers and heard public grievances. The lower level is a pillared hall with a door leading to a courtyard which now houses sculptures found in and around Shimoga District. Just beyond flows the Tunga River quietly. The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has now ensured that there are manicured lawns around the structure. Sculptures from Nagara, Bekal and Keladi bedeck the lawns.

Pillared hall in the first floor

The most interesting among the sculptures is a panel depicting the story of a woman who had left her sleeping baby in the care of her pet mongoose. She comes back home to find the mongoose stained with blood. She thrashes the mongoose to death thinking that it had killed her baby only to find that the mongoose had protected the sleeping baby from a deadly snake. What is amusing is that this panel dates back to the 12th century but the story it depicts is still around and passes on from every mother to her child.

Shivappa Nayaka was one of the greatest rulers among the Nayakas of Keladi. The history of the Nayakas of Keladi is an integral part of the history of Karnataka. They belonged to one of the most prominent feudatory families which rose to prominence under the Vijayanagara Empire and finally established their own state. They ruled over large parts of modern Karnataka for over 250 years.

Chaudappa was the founder of the dynasty while Shivappa was the most distinguished ruler who secured complete control over the Canara Coast till Kerala. He built forts at Chandragiri near Bekal and in Mangalore. His most famous conquest is that of Valapura (modern day Vellore in Tamil Nadu) whihc is mentioned in Shivatattvaratnakara, a multidisciplinary work by Keladi Basavanna.

What struck me the most about Shivappa Nayaka’s Palace in Shimoga is its stark resemblance to Tipu Sultan’s Palace in Bangalore and Dariya Daulat Bagh in Srirangapatna which is not surprising because it was Hyder Ali (Tipu’s father) who ended the rule of the Nayakas of Keladi in 1763.

Do visit the Shivappa Nayaka Palace in Shimoga and follow it up with a visit to Keladi and Ikkeri to soak in the heritage of the Nayakas of Keladi. Ikkeri is just 6km from Sagara while Keladi is 8 km. Sagara is well connected to Shimoga by rail and road.

Plan a Day Trip:

Shimoga – Lakshmi Narasimha Temple, Bhadravathi – Amruteshwara Temple, Amrutapura – Shivappa Nayaka Palace, Shimoga – Tyavarekoppa Zoo, Shimoga

Read my articles on the Hoysala temples at Bhadravathi and Amrutapura.

This article was published in Spectrum, Deccan Herald on 21st May, 2013. DH Article


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s