Padmanabhapuram PalacePart of Padmanabhapuram Fort in Kanyakumari district, 64 km away from Thiruvananthapuram, the Padmanabhapuram Palace was the home of the rulers of Venad and was later inherited by the House of Travancore. It was built in 1601 by Kulashekara Perumal. The palace was later rebuilt by Marthanda Varma in 1750. It fell into disuse after the capital was shifted to Thiruvananthapuram in 1795. Though the palace is located in Kanyakumari district in Tamil Nadu, it is maintained by the Kerala government.
Padmanabhapuram Palace is considered to be masterpiece of traditional Kerala architecture built as it is completely of wood and possessing all the hallmarks of traditional architecture. Its main structures are the Mantrasala - the council chamber, Thai Kottaram – the queen mother’s residence, Nastaksala – dancing hall, the Uppirikka Maliga - main residence and Thekee Kottaram – the southern wing. The entire palace has been so designed to let in light but remains cool especially during summer. Sloping tiled roofs with turrets add to its unmistakable presence.
The Mantrasala is beautifully decorated with coloured mica, wooden lattice work and a cool earthen floor. The Thai Kottaram has an inner courtyard with carved pillars supporting the roof and a chamber of solitude with a single carved pillar made of jackfruit wood. The Nataksala is distinguished by granite pillars and a gleaming black floor made with a combination of egg white, jaggery, lime, burnt coconut, charcoal and river sand. It also has wooden screens behind which the women of the royal household could witness the dance and music performances that were held here. The Uppirikka Maliga, the main part of the palace, housed the king’s residence, durbar hall which could seat 1,000, the treasury and shrine for Sree Padmanabhaswamy. On display in the king’s bedroom is a bedstead made with 64 different types of herbal woods. It was a gift from Dutch merchants. The king’s shrine is decorated with exquisite 18th century murals. The Thekee Kottaram houses a museum which displays various items used in those days by the royal household.
Visitors can also note many other interesting features at the Padmanabhapuram Palace. It has a clock tower which possesses a 300-year old clock which still keeps time. It also has a secret passage through which the royal family could escape in times of danger. An entire room in the palace is filled with old Chinese jars, gifts from Chinese merchants. A polished stone cot which was used at the height of summer for its cooling effect is also displayed here. And, a gallery full of paintings depicts the history of Travancore. The stone wall which surrounds the palace is made of block which have been fitted without using any mortar.
Location: On Kulasekharam - Thuckalay Road in Thuckalay in Kanyakumari district.
Phone no.: 04651 250 255
How to get there: 64 km away from Thiruvananthapuram, the palace is accessible by road and rail. The closest railway station is at Eraniel, 4.6 km away. Buses ply to and from Thiruvananthapuram. Taxis are also available on hire.
Timings: 9 am – 5 pm. Closed on Mondays.
Entry Fee: Adults – Rs. 25, children – Rs 10, foreigners – Rs. 200 & Rs. 20.