Down the royal memory lane

Down the royal memory lane

Remnant Kalyana Mantapa in front of Nalknad palace in Kodagu. Photo by author

The Kodagu principality was ruled by the Haleri dynasty between 1600 and 1834. During this time, a Havyaka family moved from Adamane in Shimoga to Palathadaka near Subrahmanya in Dakshina Kannada. Hence, they identify themselves as the Adamane Palathadaka (AP) family. Many AP family members were related to the officials who served under the Kodagu rulers. A member of this generation,
Dr A P Lalit Mohan, has their family tree.

The AP family claims their descent from Subbarasaya, who served as a karnika (treasurer) in Kodagu, as well as his brother Thimmarasaya. A number of Subbarasayas and Thimmarasayas can be found in the family tree. Dr Mohan claims that two female members Mahadevamma, the wife of Dodda Vira Rajendra, and Gowramma, one of Chikka Vira Rajendra’s 13 queens, were born in the AP family. Two missionaries, Hermann Friedrich Mögling in his Coorg Memoirs and Georg Richter in his Gazetteer Coorg narrated the story of the Rajas.

Linga Raja I died in 1780 while his three sons, Vira Raja, Appaji Raja and Linga Raja II, were still young. Hyder Ali became their guardian of the princes and took up the direct administration of Kodagu. He maintained that when they would come of age, the throne of Kodagu would be restored to them. In the meantime, he appointed Subbarasaya, from the AP family, as the amaldar of Kodagu. 

In 1782, Kodagu rose in rebellion. The princes and their family members were moved to Gorur Fort in Hassan. After the death of Hyder Ali, his son, Tipu Sultan, succeeded as the ruler of Mysore. The Kodagu princely family was again moved to Periyapatna Fort. They were being held in confinement and were prevented from reaching their capital, Madikeri. Tipu marched through Kodagu in 1784. When Kodagu rebelled again, he returned.

Subbarasaya was succeeded as amaldar by his nephew Nagappayya. Nagappayya was charged with treason by Tipu Sultan and was condemned to death. He then fled to Wayanad and took asylum under Kote Raja in Kotangadi. During 1788, two Kodagu leaders, Appaneravanda Achayya and Pattacheravanda Boluka, helped Vira Raja and his family escape. Most of the family members settled in Kurchi in Kodagu. From there, Vira Raja with Achayya, Boluka and his other men led a guerrilla war against Tipu Sultan.


The Kote Raja sent bandits to Kurchi where they killed the family members, including Vira Raja’s first wife, looted the place and burnt it down. Despite this
setback, by 1791, Vira Raja reclaimed Madikeri. In 1795, a new palace was built in Nalknad. Vira Raja had a daughter, Rajammaji, from his first marriage.

He desired to have a son. Hence, the following year, a mantapa (pavilion) was built in front of this palace where Vira Raja married Maha Devamma in a grand ceremony. Maha Devamma later came to be called as ‘Maha Deva Rani’. Vira Raja and Maha Deva Rani had four daughters: Devammaji, Muddammaji, Rajammaji and Mahadevammaji.

Vira Raja had his will made before he died in 1809. Accordingly, Devammaji succeeded him to the throne. But two years later, her uncle Linga Raja forced her to abdicate the throne in his favour.

Linga Raja ruled from 1811 until his death in 1820. He got his four nieces married. Linga Raja’s son Chikka Vira Raja succeeded him. By 1826, Chikka Vira Raja got Muddammaji and her family members killed.

During the 1834 war between Kodagu and the British East India Company, Chikka Vira Raja surrendered to the British. After his exile, he went to London where he died in 1864. Karnika Thimmappayya, who was his brother-in-law, died in 1868.

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