About Madikeri Fort
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.
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.
How to Reach Madikeri Fort
By Rail: The closest railway station to Madikeri is Kannur, which is 113km from Madikeri. One can board a train from Bangalore to reach Kannur within 5-8 hours depending on the train. One has to access the busses run by the State Government to reach Madikeri Fort.
By Road: Most of the travellers prefer a drive down to Madikeri fort in case they are travelling from nearby cities. Madikeri lies on the Karnataka State Highway 88 which is robust and lets good access from all the nearby cities. Madikeri is 252km from Bangalore, 120 km from Mysore and 136 km from Mangalore.
By Bus: Several buses ply between Bangalore and Madikeri covering the distance in close to 7 hours. Mangalore, Mysore, Shimoga, Chikmagalur and other important towns and cities.
Best Time to Visit Madikeri Fort
October to May, as the monsoon subsides the weather gets pleasant and comfortable to explore the Fort at leisure.
What Not to Miss at Madikeri Fort
Places to Visit near Madikeri Fort
Omkareshwara Temple: Built by King Lingeshwara, this temple has been dedicated to Lord Shiva. The main temple overlooks the waterbody and has several worshippers offering their prayers to the deity.
Nagarhole National park: One of the most popular National Park down south, one can spend the day indulging in a jeep safari spotting rare and exotic animals and birds in their habitat.
Raja’s Seat: This is a must-visit place near Madikeri Fort to enjoy either a scenic sunrise or a majestic sunset. This exclusive area is marked for one to have the best view of the valley and nearby mountains. Locals enjoy the day with family and friends here as it is also a favourite picnic spot complete with a garden and a toy train.
Coffee Farms: There are several coffee farms in and around Madikeri Fort replete with lush coffee plantation accompanied by spice plantation and little places to sip the refreshing beverage.
Raja’s Tomb: An immaculate and a well-manicured garden houses the tomb of the erstwhile King of Kodagu. It has the tomb of three kings who had once ruled the region.
Abbey Falls: One of the most popular waterfalls in the near vicinity. Streams of cascading water along with a soothing environment makes for a must-visit. Surrounded by trees which are close to 400 years old and a huge variety of flora and fauna, this waterfall can be encountered from close quarters.
Things to do in and near Madikeri Fort
Visit Coffee plantations: Coorg is considered to be one of the major producers of good coffee. A visit to one of the many Coffee plantations will offer an opportunity to have a thorough look at the different process involved in making good coffee.
Jungle safari: Spending a day within the wilderness of the Nagarhole National Park will make one stay humble and grounded in front of the majestic mother nature. The vast flora and fauna will leave one awestruck.
Photography: A photographer’s delight, Madikeri has several subjects ranging from animals to sunsets and historical places to villages to shoot. One can spend several days in the region and still have enough subjects left to shoot.
Trekking: Hiking, trekking or a simple nature trail along the many hills and various terrains of Madikeri will make one acquainted with the daily lives, culture and history of this particular region. This is perhaps the best way to become familiar with a place.
Historical tour: Kodagu has been under the strict rule of several kings and rulers. Their lives, rise and downfall, victory and losses have been etched in several historical monuments. Visit a few monuments to get a first-hand feel of the dynasties that ruled the region.
Temple hopping: There are several temples near Madikeri Fort dedicated to different gods and goddess of that particular region. Omkareshwara temple is the most popular temple along with Anjaneya Temple, Shree Kote Mahaganapati temple, Shri Kanchi Mahakamakshi temple, Ganesh temple and many more interesting places of worship.
Other Essential Information About Madikeri Fort
Location: Madikeri Fort, Stuart Hill, Madikeri, Karnataka 571201.
Opening Hours: 9.00 am - 5.30 pm every day except Mondays.
Entry Fee: Free.
Average Temperature: The average temperature hovers between 14 - 29 degrees.
Distance from Coorg: Madikeri Fort is a mere 18km from Coorg via the Madikeri-Virajpet road.
Transportation facility: The cheapest option to travel from one place to another in Madikeri is by local bus, though that might take time as they ply in fixed intervals. The other option would be to book a car on hire and access all the places as per plan. For adventure seekers and nature lovers walking through the meandering paths, crisscrossing villages and wading through streams is the best way to commute in Madikeri.
Network Connectivity: Network connectivity in Madikeri is pretty decent with the mobile network being accessible in most of the places. A few exceptions like dense forest and interior villages can be considered
Places to Stay near Madikeri Fort
Madikeri is a popular tourist hub in Coorg thus making way to several options for a comfortable stay. Ranging from luxurious resorts, hotels, homestays, village stays and stay within coffee plantations.
1. Fort Mercara: Strategically located close to several tourist spots, Fort Mercara is a favourite amongst many travellers. Spacious rooms, quality service and great amenities call for a memorable stay at this place.
2. Madikeri Heritage Resort: An eco-friendly resort with a strong connection with mother nature not only offers quality service and great ambience but also offers serenity for a tranquil mind.
3. Taj Madikeri: This is one of the most sought-after properties in Madikeri with a serene infinity pool, temperature-controlled outdoor pool, four experiential dining areas and a hive bar.
4. Old Kent Estate: Old Kent Estate is an English coffee estate built in the mid-1800s. The 200-acre land has dense coffee plantation along with other exotic spices. The bungalow gives a feel of a bygone era with vignettes of the Wright family who once dwelled here. Exotic cottages are strategically placed amidst greenery to give a feel of luxury amidst the wilderness.
Places to eat near Madikeri Fort
Credits: John Picken
There is a range of restaurants and eateries available to eat near Madikeri. Being a popular tourist destination, Madikeri is home to multi-cuisine restaurants serving Chinese, Italian, Indian and traditional Coorgi food all with equal elan.
1.Raintree: Raintree offers a cosy and chic ambience for relishing some mouth-watering Indian cuisine served either the classic style or fusion.
2. Sri Krishna Bhawan: The ultimate restaurant serving vegetarian cuisine with much fanfare is popular amongst the tourist community as well as amongst the locals. The place is filled with the aroma of authentic south Indian food and filter coffee.
3. Big Cup Café: The best coffee served in town with their signature beverages is a must-try in Madikeri. From bean to brew, Big Cup café has been a go-to place for coffee lovers.
4. Kodava kitchen: We would suggest you sample a traditional fare of Akki Roti with Pandhi Kari, a host of vegetable pulavs, Kodambattu and Mudrakani. Kodava cuisine is best tasted in Madikeri glancing at the mountains and breathing in the fresh air.
5. French Bakery: One of the best bakeries in Coorg is known for its delectable cakes and pastries baked fresh with a lot of love.
Madikeri is pretty well-equipped with regards to medical facilities. There are sufficient numbers of pharmacies, clinics and hospitals to take care of first aid and initial care.
1. Apollo BGS Hospital: Located in Kuvempunagar in Madikeri this hospital has a set of good doctors and paramedical staff and fortified with abundant instruments and gadgets to take care of patients.
2. Ashwini Hospital: Built-in 1972, this multi-speciality hospital is located near the KSRTC Bus Depot. A team of Doctors and well-trained technicians work all day long to offer the best health services in this region.