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Timings : 9:00 AM- 5:00 PM

Time Required : 1-2 hours

Entry Fee : Adult - INR 10,
Children - INR 2,
Photography - INR 25

Padmanabhapuram Palace, Kanyakumari Overview

Padmanabhapuram Palace in Tamil Nadu is one of the most exquisite palaces of India that symbolize the rich and diverse cultural heritage of the country that has been around for many centuries aptly. This was the capital city of the erstwhile Travancore Empire and has been a true standing symbol of the region's history.  Believed to have been built in the 16th century, the Padmanabhapuram Palace is home to many unique antiques and artefacts. What is worth noting about this palace is the fact that Padmanabhapuram Palace is made entirely from wood and no other material. Adorned with exquisite wooden carvings and designs, the simplicity of the Palace is what makes it a truly charming destination.

The Padmanabhapuram Palace is situated in a four - kilometre long fortress and is divided into a number of sections, each of which has a significance of its own. A number of unique articles such as old Chinese jars, a variety of weapons, brass lamps, wood and stone sculpture, furniture and large mirrors, paintings, a wooden cot and a polished stone cot are housed in the Padmanabhapuram Palace for safekeeping. Kerala Government is responsible for maintaining this enchanting palace and Padmanabhapuram Palace draws hundreds of visitors every day continuously. It is often touted as one of the best 10 palaces in the world.

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History of Padmanabhapuram Palace

Made purely out of wood, back in the 16th century, Padmanabhapuram Palace lies at the southernmost tip of mainland India at Kanyakumari. This palace was built by the rulers of Travancore (1550 -1750 AD) and used to be their capital. Around 1750, the Travancore ruler King Marthanda Varma dedicated his kingdom to the clan God, Sree Padmanabha, a different form of Vishnu. The name Padmanabhapuram comes from the king regarding his kingdom as a gift from Sree Padmanabha, and himself as Padmanabha Dasa, that is, a subject of the deity. In 1795, the capital of the Travancore Dynasty was shifted from Padmanabhapuram to Thiruvananthapuram. The sprawling, beautiful palace and city lost much of its sheen and glory. The architecture of the palace is remarkable and to date remains one of the most developed voices and representations of Keralan architecture.

Architecture of Padmanabhapuram Palace

The Palace is a fine example of Kerala architecture. The carvings in the palace are made of rosewood and beautiful sculptures with old-time murals adorn ceilings and walls. There are windows coloured with mica, Chinese carvings on royal chairs and artefacts created wholly out of exquisite wood like mahogany. The Queen, or the Queen Mother's palace, called the Thaikottaram, has fully painted ceilings, carved with rosewood and teakwood, with as many as 90 different floral designs.

Sections of the Padmanabhapuram Palace

The Padmanabhapuram Palace complex is divided into several parts:-

1. Mantrasala or King's Council Meeting Chamber: Hailed as the most beautiful part of the entire Palace, the King's Council chamber is adorned with intricate latticework. Mirroring the walls, the floor of the Mantrasala is beautifully designed with a number of materials such as burnt coconut shells and egg white. Its windows covered with coloured mica which was meant to keep the heat and the dust away and to keep the interior of the council chamber cool and dark.

2. Thaikottaram or the Queen Mother's Palace: Queen Mother's Palace is the oldest complex in the Padmanabhapuram Palace. It is designed in typical Kerala style and has an inner courtyard called 'Nalukettu' which has a tapering roof supported by four pillars. Towards the south-west corner of the palace lies the 'Ekantha Mandapam' or the Chamber of Solitude. The beauty of this room lies in its intricate wood carvings out of which the most notable one is on a single jackfruit wood which has meticulous floral designs. 

3. Nataksala or the Court or Performance Hall: This section was built during the reign of Maharaja Swathi Thirunal who ruled from 1829 to 1846. He was a great admirer of the performing arts, especially music and dance and was himself a music composer. The Nataksala stands on granite pillars and has a gleaming black floor complimenting it. A wooden enclosure with peepholes surrounds the hall and was used by the women of the royal household to witness the performances.
 
4. Central Mansion: The Central Mansion is a four-storeyed building located at the centre of the palace complex. The ground floor of the mansion has the royal treasury, the first floor has the King's bedrooms while the second floor has the King's resting chambers and study. The top floor called the 'Upparikka Malika' served as the worship chamber of the royal household. Its walls are covered with exquisite 18th-century murals which illustrate the scenes from the Puranas and the Travancore Empire.

5. Thekeekottaram or the Palace in the South: The Southern Palace is a 400-year-old edifice and serves as a heritage museum exhibiting antique household articles.

How To Reach Padmanabhapuram Palace

A number of commuting options are available if you wish to reach the Padmanabhapuram Palace. You can catch a bus from Thamapnoor bus stand going to Nagercoil or Thuckalai. Get down at Thuckalai and catch an auto to the Palace. You can also hire private taxis to reach your destination. 

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Anejana Chellappan 11 months ago
A majestic walk through the yester year glory of Kerala's ancient Kings and his kingdom. Beautiful. Majestic. Pristine. The best time to visit the place would be early morning and then head out to Kanyakumari for the day. You could also cover Sucheendram enroute.

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