It was a summer evening and dates to early nineties. Schools were closed after the final term for that academic year, me and my peers were eagerly looking forward to enjoying our summer vacation.
Well, while having coffee one evening, my granny indicated I shouldn’t stop practicing Math, the subject I dreaded and still dread, but pat came my reply “My teacher told all of us to enjoy the summer vacation”. That’s that and I hounded dad to take me out anywhere having no clue what I wanted to do nor what I wanted to see. The very subsequent day, we the father -daughter duo set off on our expedition to Mercara, which is located in North Coorg , also this is the place which was close to his heart, as he spent his formative years of his childhood when my grandfather was in service. One of the places where he took me to was, to a monument which was built in Indo-sarscenic style with a dome in the centre and turrets at the edges and this place is popularly known as “Gaddige”.
Gaddige , popularly known as Raja’s tomb is located at one of the beautiful hill stations of Mercara which is about 1.5 Km from the main town. The surprise element of this place is the history as this is the place where the former rulers of Kodagu, the Haleri Dynasty who ruled Kodagu for about 400 years, the mortal Remains of some of the Kings are kept here.
Gaddige or Raja’s tomb is an interesting monument which houses the mortal remains of the Kodava rulers. There are total 3 tombs in a long park and it is a very relaxing and a secluded place to visit unlike other viewpoints in coorg. The centre tomb is of Doddaveerarajendra and his queen. To the right is the tomb of Lingarajendra, built by his son Chikkaveerarajendra in A.D 1820. To the left, is the tomb of Royal priest Rudrappa, built in A.D 1834. Few yards from this monument is the burial of two royal officials, Biddanda Bopu and his son Biddanda Somaiah.
Gaddige, located on a hillock with a good view of one part of the Mercara city , is one of the oldest historical protected monuments in Mercara , a less visited place though it carries a rich history. I visited this place yet again recently, unlike earlier, the structures stand amidst the well – manicured lawns in a peaceful and serene surrounding.
Though it is built in an Islamic style, with tombs at the center and turrets at the corners, there is also a figure of Nandi – The bull, carved on top of the corners. Also, Lord Shiva is placed and worshipped inside the tomb.
The entrance of the tomb’s has beautiful carvings and the bars of the windows and doors are made of fine brass and adorned with beautiful engravings. To compliment the architecture, the lawn and the garden which houses some of the finest plans is well maintained and the colourful blooms adds to its aesthetic charm and this place is best suited for the history and nature lovers.
As you get soaked in the history of Coorg, deep within there is always a feeling of great respect for the fallen kings and warriors who laid down their lives in giving us our today by protecting the land of Coorg. Well, this beautiful Coorg has lots to offer in terms of natural beauty as well as historical interests and I would suggest Gaddige to be considered as one of the must visit place to understand the rich history and sacrifices of the rulers of Coorg.