Subject: Old Palace Building
Place: Coorg, Karnataka
Camera: Yashica Mat 124 G
Film: Ilford HP5 Plus
The Kodavas , or Coorgs, have always been an exceptional people in their genealogy, culture and mannerisms. A powerful and proud martial clan, they have encountered a great number of incursions upon their land, all of which they have resisted quite successfully to retain their autonomy. In the process they have assimilated the cultural elements of foreign visitors to their land – from the Islamic to the European. This integration is particularly visible in the architecture of their homes and public buildings that convey a marked variety of styles, from the native to the colonial.
The Rajas of the Coorg kingdom expressed a lifestyle that was unique to their region and culture. Their abodes were striking but not ostentatious. The architecture of the palaces and public building constructed during their reign are testaments to the tumultuous times of their rule, reflecting a hybrid nature with prominent native, saracenic and colonial elements.
The façade of the building featured in this photo is the home of an old family of Coorg. The house predates independence and is at least a century old. It is representative of the eclectic styles that the region is famous for – Saracenic columns, colonial arches with wooden windows and doors topped with a sloping native tile roof that makes for a distinct identity. It tells a compelling story of taste and aesthetic finesse whose subdued nature underscores its singular geographic character reflecting the intricate and mixed craftsmanship and building styles of the period.