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Palace Site outside the fort, Nagar

DISTRICT: Shimoga; TALUK: Hosanagara
LOCALITY: Nagar (Lat. 13° 49' N; Long. 75° 02' E)

Nagar (anciently known as Bidnur or Venupura) is situated about 16 km from Hosanagara town and is about 85 km from Shimoga. Before attaining historical importance, this place was called Bidarahalli named after a small village. It shot into prominence during the reign of Hiriya Venkatappa Nayaka (1592-1629 AD) of Ikkeri kingdom when he annexed this region during his campaign and regularised worship in the Sri Nilakanthesvara temple. However, it attained the status of a capital from the time of Virabhadra Nayaka (1629-1645 AD) who succeeded Hiriya Venkatappa Nayaka.  Due to the sudden attack of Islamic forces under Ranadulla Khan of Bijapur Sultanate, lkkeri was razed to the ground in 1560 AD inspite of Virabhadra Nayaka’s efforts to contain the onslaught. Since Ikkeri was becoming a centre of political and economic crisis Virabhadra Nayaka abandoned it. He built a formidable fort with beautiful palaces at strategically important point at Bidnur and made it his capital in 1639 AD. Virabhadra Nayaka was succeeded by Sivappa Nayaka (1645-¬1665 AD) who ascended the throne at Bidnur. During Sivappa Nayaka's time this place was buzzing with vibrant political activity. He improved and enlarged it. His successor ruled from here till it was annexed in 1763 AD by Haider Ali who renamed Bidnur as Haider Nagar and now it is called as Nagar only. Haideri gold pagodas were struck here in the mint established by Haider Ali. During the Mysore War it suffered badly due to burning. Tipu Sultan rebuilt the palace and its surroundings. However, it never regained its lost glory and slowly it was abandoned to its present condition.

The structure identified as palace is rectangular on plan measuring 34.75 x 20.75 m, built on a high platform. Flanking the three rectangular rooms in the centre are two huge courtyards to north and south respectively. The central room measures 7x 5.12 m, while the side rooms measure 4.5x5.12 m and has doorways leading to the courtyard. A series of post-holes indicate that the huge pillars probably of wood might have carried the heavy roof of the palace. Corner rooms also accommodated steps of staircase leading either to the first floor or to the balcony. The extant walls of laterite show evidence of thick coat of lime plaster and have niches.