The Madikeri fort, also known as the Mercara fort, is one of the noteworthy tourist places in Madikeri, Coorg. It is a historical landmark that stands with pride in the centre of the Madikeri town, still preserving the remnants of the bygone era. Apart from the coffee plantations and lush greenery, Madikeri, Coorgi is also famous for the Madikeri Fort. Some of the elevated structures inside the fort present stunning views of the surrounding area.
History of Madikeri Fort, Coorg
Madikeri Fort, an imposing structure, bears testimony to the history of Coorg. Mudduraja, the ruler of the Kodagu Kingdom from 1633 to 1687, built the Madikeri Fort with a palace within in the second half of the 17th Century. Later, Tippu Sultan, who came into power in the second half of the 18th Century, rebuilt the fort as a granite structure and renamed it as Jaffarabad. The granite version of the fort lent a European feel to it. However, the two life-size statues of elephants at the entrance are the mix of the best of both the countries.
Dodda Vira Rajendra seized control of the Madikeri Fort in 1790 and it underwent a series of changes by Linga Rajendra II from 1812 to 1814. He built a square Mantapa at a height for the erstwhile ruling clan to relax in leisure in order to enjoy the cool breeze and the view of the lush green landscape. In 1834, the fort was taken over by the British who also added to the modifications of the Madikeri Fort.
The British built the St. Marks Church within the fort in 1855 by removing the temple dedicated to Veerabhadra from its inner precincts, making space for the construction of the church. The church boasts of the Gothic style in its construction with stained glass windows. The architecture of the fort is huge, spacious as well as mysterious. A labyrinth of pass ways and alleys inside the Madikeri Fort add an element of mystery to it. The British also adorned the fort with a grand clock tower in 1933.
Read: General Thimayya Memorial Museum, Coorg
The Uniqueness of the Madikeri Fort, Coorg
The Madikeri Fort, Coorg is unique by itself for housing the ornate Kote Maha Ganapati temple, an Anglican Church, a prison and a museum. The fact that a Church stands within the walls of the fort signifies the dominance of the British people over the fort.
Information of the Madikeri Fort as it stands today
The Madikeri Fort depicts architectural excellence. Two life-size statues of stone elephants stand in the north-east corner and attract the attention of the visitors as they enter the fort. The palace within is huge and spacious, which is about 110 feet long. The grand clock tower built by the British is still present to this day. The British also built a portico to park the commissioner’s car. There is also a sculpture of a tortoise with the name of King Vijayendra engraved on it, welcoming the visitors. The small square mantapa built of stone with beautiful surroundings, also draws the attention of the visitors. The Madikeri Fort also houses
- Kote Maha Ganapati temple
- District prison
- Mahatma Gandhi Public Library
The Kote Maha Ganapati is the oldest part of the Madikeri Fort and the most visited too. Today, the Madikeri Fort premises serves as the Deputy Commissioner’s office.
The Museum of Madikeri Fort: A link between the past and the present
The Madikeri Fort now exists as an example of the unique link between the past and the present. St. Marks Church is now a museum under the management of the State Archaeological Department. The museum preserves several historical artefacts and antique items related to the fort and the surrounding areas. The artefacts mainly belong to the British era. It is noteworthy to mention that a part of the museum is dedicated to Field Marshal K.M.Cariappa’s awards and honours, bestowed upon him by the Indian Army.
How to reach the Madikeri Fort, Coorg
The Madikeri Fort is in the centre of the Madikeri town and hence easy to access from any part of Madikeri, Coorg. The Madikeri town is well connected to the other cities of Karnataka and beyond.
Madikeri is near the Karnataka State Highway 88 that runs from Mysore to Mangalore. There are frequent KSRTC buses that connect Madikeri to Bangalore, Mysore, Virajpet, etc. Visitors can also reach Madikeri by private cars and hired cabs.
Distance between Madikeri fort and other tourist places in Madikeri, Coorg
- Madikeri Fort to Abbey Falls is 6.4 km and takes about 17 minutes to reach.
- Madikeri Fort to Raja’s seat is 800 m and takes only 5 minutes to reach.
- Madikeri Fort to Omkareshwara temple, Coorg is 550m and takes only 3 minutes to reach.
Quick facts of Madikeri Fort
- Madikeri Fort timings: 10.AM – 5.30 PM on all days except Mondays.
- Entry Fee: Free
- Parking: Free
- Camera: Free
- Duration of the visit: 2 hours approximately