If you are in the town of Shimoga/ Shivamogga in Karnataka, you should not be missing seeing this lesser known palace- Shivappa Nayaka Palace in the heart of the city. Though not very famous, one can find it difficult to locate the place but local people can help you through. It is located amidst the narrow lanes of the city but as you enter the palace gates you get to witness a huge area with installations of stone sculptures of historical importance.
You keep staring at those numerous rose wood pillars and the expanse of the area as you enter it. It does not really give an impression of a palace, to be frank. But the way wooden pillars, two broad staircases that lead you to the balcony would not disappoint you either. The beauty of this so called palace lies in its simplicity. You can listen to some interesting facts about the palace as you turn back the pages of history.
Originally, the palace was built by Hiriya Venkatappa Nayaka of the Keladi dynasty in the 16th century. The Keladi leaders who were ruling under the Vijayanagara Empire gained impetus slowly and emerged on their own. During this period, a battle was fought between the Nayakas and the Palegars. Nayakas, after winning the battle decided to build this palace. But this was destroyed by the Adil Shahis of Bijapur in a fierce battle. At a later period, the palace was rebuilt by Shivappa Nayaka. Again, as the story continues, the Nayakas were attacked under the British rule who converted the palace into a saw mill to store logs! Finally, after independence it was restored by the Archeological Survey of India.
There are interesting facts about Shivappa Nayaka too. He was not only an able ruler and a soldier but the one who introduced a revenue system called ‘Sist’. An incident that took place during his rule is one which needs attention. A poor Brhamin called Gansesh Mallya came to Keladi (capital of Nayakas) in search of job. He carried with him only bag full of home- grown coconuts. But before entering the city every traveler had pay toll tax for which Mallya gave away all his coconuts. At the last toll, though, he decided to make his own toll and started collecting money from other travelers. This went on for 18 months before Shivappa Nayaka could find out. When summoned, Mallya readily agreed for his wrong doing and also the reason behind the work- that of finding work and a livelihood. Impressed by this, Shivappa Nayaka took Mallya into his service.
Do not miss witnessing this beautiful place urf the 'palace'!