Thursday, April 7, 2016

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 ) seemed like 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 AD 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 district. 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 thus Kalkkulam then came to be called Padmanabhapuram.

A curious lamp at the portico of 'the Palace'. It has a mechanism which enables it to rotate 360 degree. You just have to rotate it to that direction which you want to illuminate.

It is through these narrow stairs we entered the 'Kottaram' - the palace.

This is where the Kings used to convene their royal courts. 

 And they met their subjects here ( below picture)

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

 The views from inside the Palace..

 This is called Sapramancham ( below)- the cot used by the Kings was made with more than 68 ayurveda herbs ( herbs with medicinal properties)

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. Separate 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 hence, 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.

The small and the big kitchen

 The deity inside the temple -Saraswathy. 


The reign of Travancore rulers meted out severe punishments to the accused. It is worse if anybody had killed a brahmin or had committed treason. They were forced to Chithravadham or gradual death. The accused would be put in this cage and it will be put in an open place like  junctions, market places or such other crowded places. Not only rain and sun,they have to endure but they would be attacked by crows or vultures and finally they would resign to their fate. He would not be given food/water through these entire terrible ordeal.

The cage would be 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.

This is a pond near the palace. Unfortunately, it has not been properly taken care of...

Finally, see what this is...

We were dead when we finished our visit. Drank coconut water from here. ( below pic )

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...

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