Gaddige Raja’s Tomb is the final resting place of the Kodava Royalty! This 19th-century monument is located in Mahadevpet near Madikeri and is a popular tourist attraction in Coorg.
The tombs were built in 1820 in the Indo-Saracenic style of architecture, which means they are inspired by Muslim architecture but dedicated to Hindu rulers. The central tomb is the largest and belongs to King Doddaveerarajendra and his second wife Mahadeviamma. Doddaveerarajendra had the tomb built to honor his beloved consort, who was the inspiration for the design, the Taj Mahal. But then he died, and they had to finish it without him.
The tomb on the right was built for Lingarajendra, Doddaveerarajendra’s brother, and the one on the left is for Rudrappa, a royal priest. It’s the only tomb in India housing a Shiva Linga, which is a sacred symbol of Lord Shiva.
The tombs are well-preserved and have recently been refurbished. The surrounding landscape has been repopulated to improve the idyllic setup. The gardens are beautiful and offer a serene spot to spend the day in the lap of nature. You can even hike around the area to explore its natural abundance. But be careful of the monkeys, they love stealing food.
The architecture of Gaddige is breathtaking, with central domes and turrets on the corners. The entrances, passages, and minarets are intricately carved with motifs including figurines of Hindu gods, sages, and other mythical creatures. The imposing structure is decorated with wrought bronze bar windows, and the domes are capped with brass Kalashas.
Gaddige is a great place for history lovers as it takes you back to the regal era. You can witness the exquisitely blended Muhammadan architecture of those times. These are the only tombs across India dedicated to Hindu rulers, which is quite ironic considering Veerarajendra’s tomb had a stern similarity to his greatest sworn enemy, Tipu Sultan.
Entry to Gaddige is minimal, just INR 2 per person. The tomb is open from 9:30 AM to 5:30 PM on all days of the week. It will take you around 1 to 2 hours to look around the place. But keep in mind, the spot isn’t too crowded, so bring enough water and snacks. There aren’t any vendors around the spot, so you’ll have to fend for yourself.
Gaddige is a protected monument under the Archaeological Sites Act, but the site needs more attention from the authorities. The location is mostly unmanned, so you must take care of your belongings and leave before it gets dark as assistance in case of emergency may not be available. But don’t worry, the kings may be gone, but their memories still live on in this beautiful tomb.