Madikeri-the capital of Haleri Dynasty

Our journey into Coorg’s past continued as we went into estates and homestays, villages and towns. It is said that the history of Coorg was mainly deciphered through inscriptions . Several dynasties from the Gangas, Cholas, Hoysalas, Nayaks have left their stamp here.

However it is the Haleri kings who have reigned over Coorg for about 250 years. A prince from Ikkeri founded the dynasty by defeating several chieftains and called himself Vira Raja and ruled from Haleri.Bitter battles have been fought by Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan and the British to conquer Coorg during their era.

We were in Madikeri when we heard this story..A Haleri king was on a hunting expedition when he suddenly saw his wild dogs chased by a hare in a small hillock. He decided to build a fort there as he felt that there was a powerful energy in the region which made a meek hare courageous . A mud wall garrison was built here and the hamlet, which became the capital was named after the king. The king was Mudduraja , the grandson of Vira raja and the place was called Muddu Raja Keri or Muddurakayray

The fort was eventually rebuilt in granite by Tippu Sultan who named the site as Jaffarabad. It was recaptured by the Haleri ruler Doddaveer Rajendra in the 18th century and it later fell into the hands of the British who renamed it as Mercara . Today the fort houses a palace, a temple, a chapel, a prison and a museum where you can see hero stones or virakkals among other things.

The sun was setting and a mist threatened to rob the sun of its last few moments of glory . We headed to Raja’s Seat to watch the tussle. This popular tourist spot which boasts of scenic views was the seat of the royalty to admire nature and also throw probably to throw their enemies down the hill.

Further away from the city is Cuddige or the Raja’s tombs, which are the samadhis of the kings Doddaveerarajendra and Lingarajendra. A solemn air hung around and it was deserted almost but for a few boys who were playing cricket. The tombs of the divans and army commanders were also placed here. The domes and the minarets at four corners mounted by carved bulls stand tall against the sky.

A visit to Madikeri is never complete without a visit to the.19th century Omkareshwar temple built by Lingarajendra II dedicated to Shiva. Built in the Indo Sarcenic style, it has elements of Gothic and Islamic architecture as well and it is said that there could have been a secret passage below that leads to the palace of the king.

It was dark when we drove back from Madikeri to Kakkabe where we were staying. Our shopping bags were full of honey and coffee, cardamom and pepper .The smell of the spices stayed with us until we reached Kakkabe for dinner .


  1. Indrani 4 July, 2008 at 09:24 Reply

    Thanks Lakshmi for this wonderful virtual tour. BTW are you planning to bring out a book… I mean you have lot of info and pictures of this place. 🙂

  2. Quakeboy 4 July, 2008 at 09:56 Reply

    One night when i was bored I started browsing on mobile

    went to google blog search and search for indian travel blog or something similar and I got yours.

    Truly outstanding blog..
    Coorg diary 2 pics could have been better… but your words were kicking and story… really cool..

    Your pics of madikere, is trying to voodoo me to pack and start right now…

    Anyways I am travelling first time tomorrow to Wayanad.. so I will start a similar blog like yours or in my personal already existing one !

    Keep going… A great blog for professionals like me who dont find time to travel

  3. Jeevan 4 July, 2008 at 16:59 Reply

    Clear pictures of the original state of the structures and very greenery views. About the race on holding the palace and fort are informative.

  4. mayz 4 July, 2008 at 17:34 Reply

    ohhhhh me wants to go…me wants to go!!!
    its like hardly 250ks from here but m not able to find anyone to go wid…tryin to convince all my frenz 🙂

  5. GMG 4 July, 2008 at 22:20 Reply

    Hi Lakshmi! Another great post! It’s amazing the contrast between the misty valley and the clear monuments!! Also loved to see the rest of the Coorg trail trip… An absolute wonder!!
    Thanks for your comment on Blogtrotter, now on its last post on Santiago de Compostela! Wish you a wonderful weekend!

  6. Priyank 6 July, 2008 at 23:52 Reply

    Lakshmi, the narrative is nice. Having a palace, temple, chapel, prison and a museum together – probably the only place on earth 😉

  7. Dee Dee 7 July, 2008 at 02:42 Reply

    Beautiful images and fascinating to hear your descriptions…and lovely glimpses into the history of your people and country…Best wishes for you as you continue on your journey Lakshmi

  8. Aaarti 7 July, 2008 at 14:17 Reply

    Wow, who would have thot a hare would chase wild dogs… amazing~~~

    cool pics too… esp the one with the steps leading to the main building[with girl in blue n white standing in front reading something] the place looks so magestic~~

  9. Lakshmi 8 July, 2008 at 15:49 Reply

    Merisi – Thanks for dropping by. Im glad you enjoy reading about Indian history

    Vishnu – The name “fantasies of a lifetime” is nice..the cultures and the traditions make every community and its history interesting

    Wendy-Magical is the apt word to describe Coorg

    Indrani – Ah ! wish I had a publisher..would love to get into that

    Quakeboy -Welcome to backpakker and thanks for your feedback..Im glad you liked the blog..hoping to see you again

    Celine – Kakkabe is where the nalknad palace, the iguthappa temples and the chinnathappa and pangalammai temples are..

    Jeevan – Thanks..glad you enjoyed them

    Mayz-Oh ! You guys must go..let me know if u need help for the convincing

    Ropi-India has had many different dynasties looking over different parts..would love to know more about the history of your country

    Gill -Thanks ..Thats the best part of Coorg..that it has so many different things to offer ..hope you have a great week

    Sukku -Thanks for the encouraging words..a great week to you

    Mridula – Glad it brought back time you are down south, it would be great to meet

    Sayani -Thanks ..Coorg is picturesque..

    Priyank – Ah ! thats quite a Coorg I guess :)by the way all government offices are located here

    DeeDee-Thanks..Your wishes are with me as I move on to the next trail

    Ceedy -Thanks ..:)

    Alok – Hope you get to go there soon

    Ajeya – Do go there next time..its quite serene too

    Lakshmi – Welcome to backpakker and Im glad it brought back memories..hope to see you soon again

    Sameera -Thanks ..:)

    aaarti – Thanks..all these lores add to the beauty of the place..thats my friend in blue and white posing

    Gopal -Thanks..actually its quite a bit of hard work, but I love it 🙂

    CU -Thanks..the long hols which took longer to post was just three days in April

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