A PALACE IN SOUTH INDIA AND A MUSEUM – PART III

This is the last and concluding part of the series on Padmanabhapuram  Palace.   Weeks after my visit I still find my thoughts slipping back …remembering!What a glorious way to live! This Royal home showcases a harmonious blend of beauty,spirituality and genius.

What made the visit so enjoyable?

The Palace is beautifully maintained by the Archaeology department of the Government of Kerala.

There are guides in most of the important parts of the palace who ask courteously about our preferred language-English, Malayalam, Tamil or Hindi and explain the history of that part of the palace and what it was used for , in that language.

It took us two hours to explore the palace and the museums and towards the end we were tired .To my amusement I noticed that other tourists who came along were all exhausted as well…tired but impressed!

Now for the museum pics.

Thekke Kottaram meaning South Palace is now a heritage museum
Thekke Kottaram meaning South Palace is now a heritage museum

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A place for worship
A place for worship
Granary
Granary

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Pond outside the palace
Pond outside the palace

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An entrance to the pond from within the palace
An entrance to the pond from within the palace
Wood sculptures in the museum
Wood sculptures in the museum
Copper inscriptions
Copper inscriptions

The above copper inscriptions were kept in glass cases.I’m not sure about how to take pictures of objects within glass frames without the flash reflecting back.

In conclusion a note to visitors:

Padmanabhapuram today is a small village. There are no good eating places here .You may stay in Nagerkoil or in Trivandrum. So  plan the visit accordingly.

The Palace is closed on Mondays and all National holidays.

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A PALACE IN SOUTH INDIA AND A MUSEUM PART II

Board outside the palace

The Palace in Padmanabhapuram can best be described as a poem in wood.Incidentally, it is the world’s largest palace in wood. The intricate carvings  and woodwork are according to the Thachu Sastra which translates to The Science of Carpentry, which is unique to Kerala.

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Gleaming Corridors and Polished Floors

Polished floorsin the corridors

Mural paintings
A mural painting in the gallery

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Milestones in History

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A temple within the palace complex

The King’s bedroom

Kings bedroom 2

This wooden cot was a gift made by the Dutch to the Maharaja and was made from the wood of 64 different types of medicinal plants and trees.

Medicinal bed

Intricate woodwork
Intricate carvings on the ceiling

The Queen’s dressing room

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Ambari mugapu fromwhere the King could viewchariot races during festivals
Ambari mugapu from where the King could view chariot races during festivals
View from the balcony
View from the balcony
A wooden staircase
Polished wood staircase

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Navarathri Mandapam

King Marthanda Varma built the Navarathri Mandapam in 1744 A.D. Built of a solid rock, the building is 66 feet long and 27 feet wide.Famed for the unparalleled architecture and exquisite carvings , the building speaks of the rich cultural and artistic tradition of Kerala. It was here that various cultural programmes were conducted during the Navarathri festival. The dance floor was polished to mirror like perfection so much so that it is known as Kannadi thara or Mirror Floor.

A word about the flooring in this and many other parts of the palace: It was laid using a unique combination of egg-whites, Jaggery. lime, burnt Coco-nut shells, charcoal and river sand and polished until it shone like a mirror.

Kannadi Thara or Mirror Floor in the Navarathri Mandapam

Indra Vilasam

This building was constructed for accommodation of visiting foreign tourists and dignitaries.

Indra Vilasam
Indra Vilasam

About the Palace Museum in my next post!

A PALACE IN SOUTH INDIA AND A MUSEUM – PART I

PADMANABHAPURAM  PALACE

A visit to Padmanabhapuram Palace was something I had been planning for a long time. As it turned out the visit was very enjoyable.

A 16th century palace built almost entirely of wood, in traditional Kerala style of architecture, replete with carvings and sculptures, a delight to lovers of art and architecture!

A few quick facts and then it’s mostly photographs.

Padmanabhapuram Palace is  near the town of Thuckalay in Kanyakumari District of Tamil-nadu in South India. It is 20 kms.from Nagerkoil and 50 kms fromTiruvananthapuram,  at the foot of the Veli Hills which form part of the Western Ghats.

It was the ancient capital of the Travancore Kings for many centuries and remained the centre of power  till 1790, when the capital was shifted to Tiruvanandapuram. Though it is in the state of Tamil-nadu, it is a monument protected by law and under the care of the Government of Kerala.

Click on this link for more details from a World Heritage Centre/Unesco website http://whc.unesco.org/en/tentativelists/5897/

We had to leave our footwear at a special counter near the entrance.

Now for the pics.!

Inside the fort

Padmanabapuram palace

Mantrasala
Mantrasala

Mantrasala

This is where the King held discussions with his ministers. A special feature here are  the Kilivathil of which there are eleven. A kilivathil is a tiny window, the shutters of which are beautifully decorated with mirror-work in different hues. Chinese model sittings that adorn the Mantrasala are rich with carvings. The floor is typical of the rare technology that was in vogue.

The Mantrasala where the King held discussions with his Ministers

Large Courtyards and stately buildings housing the huge dining hall
Large Courtyards and stately building housing the Grand dining hall

The Grand dining hall is very big. It was called Ootupura meaning-dining area.The kings of Travancore were known for their generous hospitality.Over 2000 people were served free meals in this Grand dining hall on a daily basis.Each storey of this two-storeyed building is built to accomodate one thousand people at a time.The huge Chinese jars which were used to store pickles are exhibited in the Ground floor.

The dining hall

Jars for pickles in the grand dining hall

Stone water troughs in the dining hall

Stone troughs to store water in the dining hall.

Thai Kottaram

This part of the palace dates back to an even earlier period.It is called The Mother Palace or Thai Kottaram.

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The boarded up entrance to a secret underground passage that leads to another palace about a kilometre away.

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