The Nalknad is a palace full of covert windows and doors. The last Raja used this as his final outpost and refuge, the palace though secure as his hideout could not withstand the onslaught of the British army. Ironically Dodda Veerarajendra built this palace to commemorate his victory against Tipu Sultan ably assisted by the British!
A guide welcomed us and I distinctly remember asking him if this is a house like any other around these hills, why call it a palace?
Once you step inside the simple architecture of the Nalknad, the fading geometrical designs, intricate colourful murals on the ceilings and walls, the carved pillars, this two-storied palace undeniably permeates everything royal.
The secure palace compound wall that surrounds the palace is where some of the ingeniously designed hidden passageways begin. Just at the entrance is a veiled window, which acts as the guard’s secret viewing spot and also a secure room. The entrance door is massive and completely spiked to prevent any elephants from battering it down.
The palace with many highlights – look out for bulky wooden latches on every door of the many tiny rooms that exist. Each latch simply slides into a wooden block ensuring secure closure of doors.
The tunnel vision peephole is a decorative geometrical design open window panel that also doubles up as room ventilation. From a distant rear end of the building, one could directly watch the entrance through well-aligned narrow windows privately.
The bathing room had a low partition within its interior for the actual bath area. There was no evidence of storage of water either hot or cold. The pots if at all must have vanished years ago.
The Royal hideout was through various narrow passageways and stairs, steep leading to the hideout in the basement. Strangely there was no window or ventilation in that particular room. The wedding Mantap building exemplifies simplicity, this was built for the Raja’s sister’s nuptials.
On our way out I met some government officials who had come to mark the presence of their visit. I categorically stated that this iconic building must be saved. The building is in a grave state of disrepair, the paintings are peeling off, and the floor is caving in certain places. The steps of the stairs were chipped, doors and windows disjointed, displaying apathy and disrespect to this iconic palace that could otherwise help tourism in Coorg.