Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Decor of a bygone Era - Part I

The Padmanabhapuram Palace is one of the most magnificent monuments of the erstwhileTravancore Kingdom. It is situated in Kanyakumari district, 15 km from Nagercoil,Tamilnadu and 55 km South-West of Thiruvananthapuram.

The Padmanabhapuram palace was the seat of power of the rulers of Travancore.The name refers to the image of the lotus coming form the navel of Vishnu(Padma-lotus,Nabha-Navel,Puram-Town)

The palace is known for its planning and military architecture and remained the center of power till 1790, when the capital was shifted to Thiruvananthapuram.

The main attractions of the Padmanabhapuram Palace are its sheer aesthetic beauty, murals, innovative designs and time tested wooden carvings.

Palace complex continue to be the best examples of traditional Kerala architecture, and some portions of the sprawling complex are also the hall mark of traditional Kerala style building art.

The complex consists of individual structures linked by corridors, colonnades, verandahs, courts constructed of teakwood and granite and stands,courtyards within the massive stone walls of 30 ft which kept Tipu Sultan at bay in the 18th century.
Exquisite wall paintings, fascinating traditional Kerala architecture, floors finished to a high polish with a special compound of crushed shells, coconuts, egg-white and juices of local plants; sunny courtyards with carvings and sculptures are some of the outstanding features of this sprawling palace housed within fortified walls.

The palace has its main entrance from the west. The 'padipura' or the main gate reached after crossing a large courtyard, displays an ornamented gabled roof.

The 'Pumukham', inside the second court, has a profusely carved rosewood and mahogany ceiling with 90 different inverted flowers, a polished granite bed in one corner and an ornate Chinese throne.

There is an audience hall on the upper level of the two storeyed building with circular wooden columns and angled timber screens to let in light and air.

Ootupura or the dining hall is adjacent to the third court.Over 2000 meals were served free meals in this grand dining hall ona daily basis. Each storey accomodates 1000 people and there are two storeys.

The third court marks the beginning of the private zone of the palace. Here, on the north of 'Pilamottu Kottaram' is 'Upparikka Malika' (upper storey) or the Perumal Kottaram.
Its four chambers, arranged one above the another, connected by steep steps, served as a treasury on the ground floor, the royal sleeping chamber on the second floor, the royal meditation chamber and shrine room on the fourth floor.There is also a four poster medicinal bed of 64 ayurvedic healing woods here, many presented by the Dutch.
On days of penance, His Highness took rest on the third floor, which also served as his prayer room.

The 18th century Kerala murals on the walls remains unblemished even after centuries and surpass even those at Mattancherry palace in Kochi.

The huge guest house and also adds up as a summer palace ,stood grand in front of us.Another architecture marvel.

Navaratra Mandapam an imposing granite structure is probably the most beautiful part of the Padmanabhapuram Palace.
*Each room in the palace has its own characteristic style.
*A tour through the maze of 108 rooms leaves one breathless at the artistic expression and sheer opulence of these magnificent rooms.
This post is just a birds eye view of the Magnificient palace which will leave a long lasting experience.
Wait for more details of the Palace in the next post.
Read more experiences in Celebrations of Life


  1. Wow, such an impressive building. There's so much history to be found everywhere in India and this looks like it's being well maintained.

  2. We had been there last year,the architecture is breathtaking,ur post made me go there again :)



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