Friday, October 30, 2015

Padmanabhapuram Palace at Thuckalay- ­The old palace of the kings of erstwhile Travancore( 1550 to 1750 AD) A travelogue - Part 2

NB: All the pictures are taken by me. Please bear with the mistakes as I am taking pictures for the first time.

From Thiruvananthapuram, it took 58 kms to reach Padmanabhapuram Palace at Thuckalay.


Every moment inside the Kottaram ( the palace ) was a conversation with history. It was a real royal splendour. If you are a keen lover of art and architecture you could not afford to miss this magnificent wooden palace sprawling over 6.5 acres of land inside the Padmanabhapuram Fort with 108 huge distinctly made rooms.


The palace was constructed around 1601 A.D by Ravipillai Ravivarma Kulasekhara Perumal who ruled Travancore between 1592 AD and 1609 AD.

The Travancore dynasty was formerly called ' Venad state' and the historians say, the capital of ' Venad Rajavamsam' was at Kollam. Later it was transferred to Kalkkulam in Kanyakumari distrct. The strongest administrator among the Travancore rulers was King Marthanda Varma who ruled from 1729 to 1758. He gained the name - 'Padmanabha Dasan' - the servant of Padmanabha by handing over his Kingdom to God Ananthapadmanabha. And the name Kalkkulam then became Padmanabhapuram.

This is a curious lamp one could see when one enters the portico of the Palace. It has a mechanism which enables it to rotate 360 degree. To give light to the direction you need, you just have to rotate it to that direction.

It is throuh these narrow stairs we entered the 'Kottaram' - the palace. And every moment inside was a conversation with the history. It was truly a royal splendour. 

This is where the Kings convened their royal courts.
 And they met their subjects here 

the women in the harem watched activities such as ' Theroottam' here.

 The views from inside the Palace..

 This is called Sapramancham - the cot of the Kings was made with more than 68 ayurveda herbs. 

Navarathri Mandapam and Kannadithara - Every Malayalees would remember it. This is the place where Ganga transformed into Nagavalli and danced. Yes, I am referring to the Malayalam film ' Manichitrathazhu' . The film was shot in this Palace.

King Marthandavarma built Navarathri Mandapam in 1744 AD. The dance floor was polished to such a perfection that it looked like a mirror and is known as ' Kannadithara or Mirror floor'. 
Various cultural programmes were organised here. Seperate rooms with a ' Kilivathil' - small windows were built on its wall. So that the royal train would watch it without being seen by the public.

 Oottupura - In this massive dining hall around 1000 people were served a day.

The food used to be stored here.

( Swing ) Oonjal and the Mirror - The back of the mirror was coated with silver. The reflection would appear the same wherever you stand. There is another mirror on the opposite side.
Many roofs have Chinese carvings and the roof of Thaikkottaram has 90 floral designs. The black floor was made with a combination of egg white, jaggery lime, burnt coconut, charcoal and river sand, granite tubs to cool curd and buttermilk.

The small and the big kitchen

he Archaeological museum was partially under renovation

 The deity inside the temple -Saraswathy. 
The original deity was in the Padmanabha Swamy temple and will be brought back to the palace on Tuesday. We went on a Wednesday. Now the ritual of bringing back had already taken place.


The reign of Travancore rulers imposed severe punishments to the accused. especially those who engaged in killing a brahmin or committed treason. They were forced to Chithravadham or gradual death. The accused were caged and hanged in an open place especially in a junction, market places or other important places. The caged culprit suffered from rain and sun, plucked by crows or vultures and finally dies. He was not given food/water. 
It was erected 10 to 12 feet high from the ground level. This type of punishments were practiced in Travancore and Cochin state till British took over.

Sad that this pond is not taken care of 

Finally, see what this is...

concluded our visit with a delicious  Karrikkin vellam which we found in the premise of the palace, just near to that pond.

Now, off to Kanyakumari

Nearest railway station: Eraniel, which is approximately 5 km from Thuckalay Nearest airport: Trivandrum International Airport, 52 km away.

to be continued...

1 comment:

KParthasarathi said...

How I wish I could see this heritage place and the adjoining temples.One can get the real feel of the awesome building with its intricate woodwork, the polished floors,the mirrors and the large sized oottupira by a personal visit alone.Yet you did adequate justice with your nice description.
What saddened me is how the kings who are otherwise compassionate,concerned and god fearing subject even a few criminals to chithravadahakoodu?I shudder to visualize the cruel and pathetic death.
I am glad to learn the palace is under the control of Kerala government despite its situation in Tamilnadu.The pristine beauty and culture of the temple would be maintained true to its historical ethos.