When I was a child ‘ I used to listen grandma”s fictitious accounts of Palakkad fort , the large open ditches around the fort filled with crocodiles that lie revaling the fourth tooth of the lower jaw outside when mouth is closed ,Palakkad kings Kombi and Itty achan,…the Thamarakkulams (lotus blooming ponds )of Palakkad…that lay submergred deep in the mind.when I was in upper primary school I got a chance to visit the colossal fortification,,
Tippusulthan’s fort…which I believed that it was built byTippusulthan until someone in the trip corrected me that the architectural fortification was the creation in the era of Hyderali.But the fort and buildings failed to appeal me in my child hood’.‘Being feeble at heart I always loved rivers,hills ..birds and butterflies..However I felt there was some thing mystical about the fort..when I grew up I felt that its like a natural fort more than an artificial one’. Never could my ears trace war cries; it appeared as a architecturally marvelous fort with more beauty than brain.
When we analyze the history of forts in Kerala ;we can trace forts in the name of places eg Kottamukku’,Cheru kode.,Chandragiridurgam in Pollachi,Kottakkulam,Kottamala,Kottakkulam etc ;;We can also identify the presence of forts by analyzing the names given by the older generation to call their piece or stretch of land they had settled. parambu.some places bear the remains forts.eg kottapparambil fourthly the fortifications still remains as we find in Palakkad.inKerala. Forts were constructed using strengthened mud and granites or stones . The earthen fortifications were called VATA in Malayalam. Eg Dharmaraja 1758’’1798 erected vatas in different places to augment the Nedumkotta which was constructed to resist Tippus attack on Travancore.
.The fort is structured uniquely with granite rocks . It is rhomboidal in shape and the curtain walls are augmented with enormous thickness.The fort has seven bastions and a moat all around ,Bastions are the angular or circular structure projecting out from curtain wall a .Bastion fortification offered a greater degree of passive resistance and more scope for gun powder artilliary compared with earlier fortification styles.TheTippu sulthan fort spread over an area of 60702.84 sq. mts.the fortification remained as a dominant style from 16 to 19 centuries and provided passive resistance.It is a confluence of Indian and English style of fortification.The large open ditch surrounding the fort were an integral part of the defense scheme the ditches can be deep and vertically sided, cut directly into natural rock or soil.
Trade had been carried on for centuries from ports like Cochin Calicut ‘Ponnani and Cannanore ports by Arabian merchants to gulf’.Much of this trade of precious goods had traveled through Palakkad region.It is believed that Hyderali realizing that it is impossible to control the ports of eastern coast which are controlled by the English ,French and the Portugeuse.,He turned his attention on the western coast.Hyders army constituted mainly a calvary army and it was skilled in using cannons.it was not easy for the calvary army to cross boarders through other narrow passes other than Palakkad pass.Thus Palakkad was considerd as strategically vital place by Hyderali.
Palakkad region was ruled by Kombi achan actually a tributary of the Zamorin.When his relations with the Zamorin was strained. He sent a deputation to Hyderali . fowjdar of Dindigal seeking help fron him to resist the threartened invasion of the Zamorin.the Zamorin invaded the strip Naduvattom .Hyderali seized upon this opportunity to gain possession of strategically important location such as palakkad.Hyderali ,the foujdar of the Dindigal sent his brother in law Mukhdum sahib with2000 horses and 5000 infantry along with cannons to Palakkad.The forces defeated the zamorin’s army and they were driven to Ponnani valley,the fort was built by Heyderali in1776 AD with the help of French engineers.
The fort was in the hands of Mysore British until 1790. Colonel would captured it in 1768,, Hyderali recaptured it a few months later. Colonel Fullerton recaptured in 1783. Zamorin troups controlled the fort later. British army under Stuart surrendered the fort in the first phase of 20th century,. Later it was converted into a Thaluk office. The fort was taken over by Archeological Survey of India in 1921.
The fort is neither European model nor an Indian model fortification.It is a confluence of both. A single drawn bridge over the ditch connect the fort with the surroundings. While we enter into the fort we are bestowed with the blessings of Sri Hanuman. The hanuman temple attracts a large number of devotees.
We can see a tiled building, a stepped well and a few trees. A mango tree draws our attention.
There is a ground between the town hall and the fort. It was used as a stable for the elephants a nd horses of Tippu;s army.We call this Kotta maithan. It is a prestigious ground of Palakkad town.
There is an open air auditorium called Rappadi inside the fort were programmes and fests are held. The newly planted palmyara backdrop provide a Palakkadian touch to the fortress.
As per my knowledge,the Palakkad Fort was built by somebody else before Hyder Ali and it was only repaired by Hyder in 1766.