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Palakkad Fort

Palakkad-Koduvayur-Thathamangalam-Meenakshipuram Highway, Kenathuparambu, Kunathurmedu, Kenathuparambu, Kunathurmedu, Palakkad, Kerala 678001, India

Fort

The fort that has witnessed the bloody wars of Zamorin, Palakkad Achchan, Mysore Kings, and the British.

Location of Palakkad Fort

More about Palakkad Fort

Palakkad Fort (also known as Tipu’s Fort) is an old fort situated in the heart of Palakkad town of Kerala State in Southern India. Though thought to have existed since ancient times, the fort was built in its current form by the ruler of then Mysore Kingdom, Hyder Ali in 1766 AD. It is one of the best preserved forts in India. 

History of the Palakkad Fort

The fort, due to its strategic location has been through numerous hands starting from the 17th century. The Zamorin, Palakkad Achchan, Hyder Ali, Tipu Sultan, and the British all had their base in the Palakkad Fort in different periods during the course of time from the 17th century onwards.  

Palakkad Achchan and Hyder Ali’s presence in the fort

The local ruler of Palakkad, a tributary state of Kozhikode Kingdom in the 1700’s was Palakkad Achchan. He tried to make Palakkad an independent kingdom in mid 1700’s to overthrow the rule of Zamorin, the ruler of Kozhikode Kingdom. 

In 1757, Palakkad Achchan sent a deputation to Haider Ali seeking help against an invasion threatened by Zamorin. Haider Ali, instead of helping Achchan from Zamorin grabbed the opportunity to conquer the fort as it was in a strategic location helping him to communicate easily on both sides of the Western Ghats- Coimbatore in the east and Malabar and Kochi area in the west. 

The clashes of Mysore Kings, British and Zamoorin

After the takeover of the fort by Hyder Ali, the Palakkad Fort was continuously in the hands of either Mysore Kings or the British till 1790. It was firstly taken by the British in 1768 by Colonel Wood, although the fort was taken back by Hyder Ali few months later who reconstructed it on a solid foundation.

After Hyder Ali’s death in 1782, the fort was passed to his son, Tipu Sultan and it was captured by Colonel Fullarton again for British in 1783, after a siege that lasted for 11 days. The fort was then abandoned in the following year.

After the British abandoned the fort, it fell into the hands of Zamori’s troops. In 1790, it was again finally captured by the British under Colonel Stuart. The fort was then renovated by the British and was used as a base of their operations in the region during the siege of Srirangapatnam between the British and Mysore Kingdoms that ended in the death of the Mysore ruler Tipu Sultan in 1799.

After the time of the clash that ended Mysore Kings

The fort was made into a Tahasildar’s (tax officer) office after the era of the Mysore Kings. The fort also housed other British government offices. It was turned into a jail from 1877 to 1881 when the Cannanore and other jails in the region started to get over-crowded. 

The fort today

In the 20th century, the fort became a Taluk office (office of an administrative area) and it was also declared as a protected monument. The fort is currently under the custody of Archeological Survey of India.

Exploring the premises of Palakkad Fort

The fort stands at the heart of Palakkad town, a small town with patches of dense forests and criss-crossed rivers in the lower edges of the Western Ghat mountains. These days, the fort is being used to house Government offices, Temple, Museum, Auditorium etc..

The fort complex is square in shape, on 15 acres of land with walls of immense thickness and nine strong bastions at all sides. Water surrounds the fort all around, which was done to keep enemies at bay, and a bridge at the entrance is the only way to enter the fort premises. Sitting gently on a hillock, the defence fortification of the fort is really impressive.

Rappadi, Vaitka, Anjeneya Temple and Kota Maidanam 

An open air auditorium called ‘Rappadi’ is situated in the fort, maintained by the Archeological Society of India. You can find a small museum inside the auditorium with some statues and stone carvings on the pillars from an older time.

There is a children’s park called Vatika and and small Anjeneya Swami Temple (Hanuman Temple) is also located in the fort premises itself.

Beside the fort is a large ground called ‘Kota Maidanam’ (Fort Grounds) which once served as a stable for elephants and horses of the Tipu Sultan's army. Many bloody battles of the fort were believed to be fought on the grounds of Kota Maidanam. It is now used as a stage to conduct exhibitions, public gatherings, and serves as a field for cricket and football matches. 

Palakkad Fort truly is a unique piece of architecture with so much history attached to it. It stands in Palakkad town telling stories of battles and bloodsheds, and of the great lives of the native kings, Mysore rulers and the British.

How to reach Palakkad fort?

Though Palakkad is a small town, it is well connected by bus from the nearby cities and districts. You can easily reach here with the help of public transportation from any of the other districts of Kerala. The nearest railway station is Palghat (Palakkad), 5 km away from where you can get a bus near to the fort easily.