Udayarpalayam Palace, Ariyalur
Udayarpalayam Palace is located in Udayarpalayam Town in Ariyalur District of Tamilnadu. The Palace is in complete ruins and some of the portions were occupied by Jamin descendants. This Palace is nearly roofless, with a huge Durbar area. Everything in the Durbar hall has been moved to the four covered sides to prevent damage by elements. The chandeliers, pictures, sculptures, art works have all been left in a state of neglect for years.
Ruins include Belgian stained glass murals, European chandeliers, extraordinary huge wooden furniture and shelves, a massive roll top desk, exotic and antique ceramic pieces, palanquins. They are covered with years of dust and eons of neglect reflecting improper care added by utter lack of finance of any kind. There are still many structures that can be preserved.
There is an official hall that had been used for public functions with a central stage and wonderful carvings/ statues on the walls. There are latticed and slatted windows in the first floor for the ladies to watch the proceedings below, unseen by the audience. A few bungalows and the palace boundary wall are still there. On the whole the campus is 25 acres in area and the built up area is 5 acres. The clan appears to be the descendants of the great Pallavas. There were many inscriptional evidences for this claim. There is some melancholic charm about this place. Ghanam Krishna Iyer, a composer of the first half of 19 century was a court musician at Udayarpalayam. The family of Udayars was famous for their patronage of arts.
The town was named after the rulers “The Udayars”. Udayarpalayam was under the Zamindar rule nearly four hundred years. When the Vijayanagara king Viranarasimha Raya (A.D.1509) was ruling, the Tamilnadu was divided in to Gingee, Tanjore, Trichy, Mysore and Madurai petty kingdoms. Only during his regime, the Poligar of Kachi Rangappa Udayar, was appointed to assist the Gingee king Udayagiri Ramabhadra Nayak, Kalatkal Thozha Udayar, otherwise called ‘Kaduvettigal’ that means one who destroyed the forest and converted them for cultivation. Their origin is not clearly known someone says, they were the descendants of Pallavas.
According to ancient Tamil Literature, ‘they were the descendants of Kurumbas, and they come from Thondaimandalam. Kalatkal Thozha Udayars are purely Vanniyars but until today they speak Telugu. Chinna Nalla Kalatkal Thozha Udayar, he was the second son of Kachi Rangappa Udayar, who succeeded his elder brother. Kachi Periya Kalatkal Thozha Udayar was of short region. He erected a temple at Udaryarkoil, in memory of his elder brother, which later became Kalatkal Thozha Puram. As per the guidelines of his teacher Namasivam, he had renovated the Chidambaram temple. After this, he had excavated a tank near Cholapuram, in 1475 A.D. and erected a town around it. This place became the Udayarpalayam town.
During their time they constructed many temples, and made the donation of land and other things to the temple, they excavated a lot of lakes for irrigation facilities, and did many welfare activities in this region. During the English rule, only 56 villages remained under their reign. The Zamindari system existed still 1956, Chinnanalla Udayar, was the last Zamindar, who ruled till 1956. Even now their successors are found in the town. The town has a large palace and a temple and temple tank within its premises.
1. Palli Konda Rangappa Udayar
2. Peria Nallappa Kalatkal Thozha Udayar
3. Chinna Nallappa Kalatkal Thozha Udayar
4. Muniappa Udayar
5. Poyyappa Udayar
6. Ramappa Udayar
7. Venkatappa Udayar
8. Muthu Krishnappa Udayar
9. Chandrasekara Udayar
10. Nalla Nainagha Udayar
11. Kalyana Rangappa Udayar
12. Nallappa Udayar
13. Uthama Rangappa Udayar
14. Rangappa Udayar
15. Yuva Rangappa Udayar
16. Nallappa Udayar
17. Muthu Vijaya Rangappa Udayar
18. Abinava Yuva Rangappa Udayar
19. Kachi Rangappa Kalatkal Thozhar Udayar
20. Muthu Vijaya Rangappa Udayar
21. Rangappa Udayar
22. Kalayana Rangappa Udayar
23. Sri Yuvaranga Udayar
24. Sri Kachi Chinna Nallappa Kalatkal Thozhar Udayar
25. Kachi Yuvaraangappa Kalatkal Thozhar Udayar
In a war with Bidar king, Rangappa Udayar fought under the leadership of Ramabhadra Naicker on behalf of Vira Narasimmaraya (1505-09). Appreciating the valor of Rangappa Udayar who not only killed the Shah but also captured all royal insignia of the opposing king, Raya awarded Udayar the title “Barid Sapthanga Harana” (One who cut seven parts of Barith) and 4 other titles. One of the titles is Kalakka Thozhar (meaning one who has plenty of Kalat Padai, Infantry). Raya also awarded land named Zillakavanam with boundaries encompassing east of Vedaranyam, west of Veeranam Lake, south of Vellore and beginning of Kollidam River. This is approximately 35 miles by 35 miles. On the compulsion to rule this, Udayar left Kanchi after handing over reins to one Varadharaja Udayar. The Zamin was initially operating from a place nearby and he brought under his control the palayams of Thittakudi, Bhuvanagiri, Vriddhachalam, Kattumannarkudi Veeranaaraayanapuram and Chidambaram.
The present Zamin was built in the period of Chinna Nallappa Kalatkal Thozha Udayar, who is the second son of Palli Konda Rangappa Udayar. He was forced to take the reign after his brother (the 2nd king in the line Peria Nallappa Kalatkal Thozha Udayar was killed in the streets of Bhuvanagiri by one of the opposing Palayam lords).
Udayars belong to the Vanniya community. The theory of Telugu speaking could be due to the compulsion of courting to Vijayanagara where official transaction could have happened in Telugu. Having known the land mass little better, Vanniyars speak only Tamil here. It is said (though not proven), that Udayars once served Cholas in their army operating from Kanchi and also moved to Mysore.
The Zamin was in control Gangai Konda Cholapuram as well as Chidambaram till 1817 before British ordered that their control will be restricted to just 65 villages and they have to pay a tax of 175 Natchathra pagoda vari every year. They were allowed to have all other facilities as usual. This happened during the period of Kachi Rangappa Kalatkal Thozhar Udayar. It was the time when British took control of Arcot Nawab. Udayarpalayam Zamin was brought under the control Tiruchirappalli Collectorate.
Nallappa Udayar is the one who was involved in the British- French wars. In the year 1748, Udayars sided with British during the Pondicherry war. However, the French took control of these Udayars again in 1749 with the help of Muzafar Jang and Santha Sahib as a result of which Udayarpalayam agreed to pay the Kappam. The Palayam was again attacked by French in the year 1755 where with the help of British, Udayarpalayam recovered. However, again in the year 1757, French under the leadership of De Andaville attacked this Palayam. Though again with the help of British, this attack was repelled, in order to have a peaceful reign without any more war, the Palayam agreed to 40,000 rupees as Kappam to the French.
Udayarpalayam Zamin had marriage relations with Pichavaram Zamins. Sri Andiyappa Soorappa Cholanar married a girl from Udayarpalayam Zamin and so too his son Sri Chidambara Natha Soorappa Cholanar. This gives a rather strange Pallava connection to the Cholas. As far as the Kopperunchingan connection (of Sendamangalam Fort near Udumalpet) on the Kadavaraya lineage, they have initially called themselves Palli (old name of Vanniyars) and later shifted the reference to the offshoot of Pallavas in their inscriptions. They claim themselves to be the descendants of Hiranya Varman.
Udayarpalayam town is located at a distance of 28 kms from the district headquarters on the State Highway (SH 4), which runs from Tiruchirappalli to Chidambaram. The town is located at a distance of 50 km on the north eastern side of Tiruchirappalli. The other towns of the region namely, Ariyalur, Virudhachalam, Kumbakonam, Tanjore and Perambalur are located within a distance of 50 km from the town and are well connected by state and private run buses. Ariyalur is the nearest railway station and is 28 km from the town. Nearest Airport is located at Trichy.