Peninsula Tour- A Fort, A Mana and Paddy fields

 In the heart of Palakkad, lies a fort.  

It is not known, as to when the fort was originally built. Hyder Ali found its location strategic and captured the fort in the 1700’s.  The fort, as it stands today, has been rebuilt by Hyder Ali.

The well preserved monument is accessible through a walkway, where a drawbridge over a moat once existed.  The fort is square with bastions and ramparts  that encircle a large garden in the centre, which is now used for exhibitions and public gatherings.

The original walls of laterite blocks and stone are intact and have weathered and aged beautifully. There are signs of restoration in the watch towers which have been undertaken by the Archaeological Survey of India.  There is a small temple within and is used for worship even today.

Varikkasseri Mana- (Mana means house in Malayalam) is a 1000 year old home built in the Kerala style of architecture.  It belonged to  a Namboodari family and today, some  of the descendants  who are a part of a trust maintain the Mana. I believe that a number of famous Malayalam movies have been filmed on the property.

There is a gate house, which is an entry to a Naalukattu  -a house where a courtyard is created alongside 4 sections. There are murals  depicting mythology at the entrance- these are dated between 15th and 19th centuries.   Construction is largely of Laterite blocks  which are exposed , although there is lime plaster in some of the internal and external walls.  The laterite blocks are intact and even today, there is little chipping or erosion. The columns are of wood with intricate carving on the capitals.  There are interlocking wooden members to lock doors and wooden shutters with vertical bars, with hooks and eyes to close them, make up windows. Reminds me of my grandpa’s house in Chennai.

There are two kitchens- one with a countertop and housing to place firewood. Small lugs come out of the counter to seat vessels. There is a window that connects to a well. Water for cooking was directly accessible through this window.

The other kitchen has similar housing for vessels but of a much larger size and located on the floor. Some walls of this room are completely defaced by graffiti.  Wooden  slats on the windows of the kitchen and adjoining pantry and other associated rooms, allow entry of light and were, probably,  smoke extractors.

The Mana is clearly a popular spot for visitors and it is crowded over weekends. It was difficult to photograph with so many people milling around.

Our stay at Palakkad was alongside Malampuzha dam and we  drove past  and stopped at paddy fields during our stay. I have gone berserk photographing these. Ranjit had to make stops every time we drove past one.

There are hundreds of shades of green  and as far as the eye can see. There are coconut plantations with small houses within,  small water channels with ibises and egrets,  and in the distance, there are hills. I have  created a whole album just for the paddy fields and I could not get enough of the view.

Here is a link to my madness….

3 thoughts on “Peninsula Tour- A Fort, A Mana and Paddy fields

  1. Mana and the fort are something to check out while in Palakkad. Had not seen the wooden drum style pulley of this size earlier.

    Your picture of the paddy fields and your desire to stop and soak in the experience brings back the past memories. To reach our ancestral house, we had to walk on the small bunds through the paddy fields, criss-crossing small irrigation streams along the way. There would be coconut and arecanut trunks kept as bridges without any handrails. So walking across them after a drizzle would often be like walking on balancing beam. Slipping, falling and dirtying ones clothes were integral to the walk. Come monsoon the fields will be under water and you had to rely on past knowledge, experience and instinct to avoid falling into the water.
    The large tracts of paddy fields are now replaced by colony style housing with a handful of paddy fields patches. I invariably roll down the car windows when I drive past paddy fields or water bodies, something I just can’t resist. Nostalgia … Loved the pictures and description..


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