Shakthan Thampuran Palace

4.1 / 5 52 votes


Weather:

Time Required: 2-3 hrs

Timings:

9:30 AM - 4:30 PM (closed on Monday)

Entry Fee:

Adult: INR 20, Kids (5-12 years): INR 5, Still Camera: INR 50,Video Camera: INR 25
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Shakthan Thampuran Palace, Thrissur Overview

Shakthan Thampuran Palace situated in the town of Thrissur marks the royal residence of the king of Cochin and has been a famous tourist attraction because of its historical value. Popularly known as Vadakkekara Palace, it dated back to the time of the King of Cochin named Rama Varma Shakthan Thampuran and was constructed in 1795. The king was a very generous ruler, and the duration of his reign was known as the 'Golden Age of Kochi'. The beautiful palace with an amalgamation of Kerela and Dutch style of architecture is worth laying eyes on and should not be missed out on if you're on a trip to Thrissur.

The striking feature of this palace is that it consists of a shrine for the God of serpents known as Serpent Grove (Sarpakaavu). Numerous species of flora and fauna can be spotted too in the heritage garden present inside the premises. If one can seek prior permission, they can easily spend a family picnic in the vast and stunning lawns of the palace.

The Shakthan Thampuran Palace comes under the control of the archaeological department of the state and was converted into a museum in 2005. The museum consists of various unique bronze and granite sculptures, coins, inscription plates, utensils used by the royals and currency used in the Kochi dynasty. Various antiques belonging to the stone age are also on display. The enchanting architecture is sure to be a treat for history aficionados and culture buffs.

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It is believed that initially the building was of Dutch style architecture but was reconstructed in the year 1795 by Ramavarma Thampuran or Shakthan Thampuran, the erstwhile king of the princely state of Cochin. He ruled the dynasty during AD 1790 and 1805, and the Vadakkekara Palace was his power centre. His rule is rightly regarded as the 'Golden era of Kochi'. During his reign, the king displayed amazing astuteness and valour and maintained an amicable relationship with European powers (British and Portuguese) and also with his monarch neighbours (Mysore and Travancore).

Shakthan Thampuran was an excellent leader and was famous for his administrative prowess and diplomacy. He was also the founder of the town of Thrissur. The benevolent king is also accredited for the introduction of the annual festival of the region, Thrissur Pooram, celebrated during May every year. This is one of the most famous Hindu festivals in Kerala.

The beautiful palace he built and left behind evokes many memories, questions, and curiosities in the minds of the tourists. He later died in his power centre and was buried in the palace. Earlier the palace was known as Vadakkechira Kovilakam, but after its renovation, it was renamed as its present name. Shakthan Thampuran Palace still has the historical remnants of the critical events that took place here, like the visit of Tipu Sultan and his army.

The place can be visited throughout the year but it is advisable to avoid the summer months of April to June.

Built in the year 1795, the grand palace sprawls over an area of six acres. It is a fascinating amalgamation of Kerela and Dutch architecture styles with the two-storey main building displaying the traditional Kerela style Nalukettu. The thick walls and high roofs, and large roomy interiors with floors paved with stunning Italian marble is a testament to the luxurious life of the royal family. The building is so carefully crafted, and the construction is so skilful that the interior remains comfortable even with the scorching heat outside.

Inside the complex are three tombs including that of the King Shakthan Thampuran. The heritage garden on the southern side of the palace complex is perfect for taking a stroll and for family picnics. It showcases various local plants and trees of Kerala. The medicinal plants in the garden portray a fascinating blend of native and exotic plants.

In the northern part is an archaeological garden where you can see a compilation of objects from Stone Age that were found on the outskirts of Thrissur town. There is also a very old Sarpakaavu or Serpent Grove temple in the palace premise where snakes are worshipped.

The splendid palace houses a museum consisting of several galleries that you can traverse through. The bronze gallery consists of various bronze sculptures from the 12th and 18th century whereas the sculpture galleries house many granite statues that go back to the time between the 9th century and 17th century. There is a numismatic gallery in the museum that displays a fascinating display of ancient coins belonging to Kochi as well as to nearby provinces too. The history gallery is the best place to visit if you want to know more about the site and the Kochi dynasty.

Another essential gallery is the Epigraphy gallery showcasing the start and progression of ancient writings. You can also check out the royal utensils of the king and his family. Vessels made of bronze and copper will take you on a journey through the Stone Age. The Shakthan Thampuran Palace Museum takes you right back to the old era displaying the life and style of the King and his subjects during his days.

The king of the then dynasty Ramavarma Thampuran, introduced the annual festival of the region, Thrissur Pooram. It is held during the month of May and has two teams representing the Parmekavu Bhagavathy temple and Tiruvambadi Krishna temple competing for primacy in front of the Vadakkumnathan temple. Rallies with elephants, percussion, drums, fireworks, etc. are carried out by the teams.

1. Take permission beforehand to have a private picnic in the stunning gardens of the palace.
2. Make sure to carry food and beverages for your tour as there are no eateries inside the palace complex.
3. Do not litter. The place comes in a plastic-free zone, so any plastic items are not to be carried inside the complex.
4. You can hire a guide from the official tourism department if you are enthusiastic about knowing the history and intricacies of the monumental palace.

Shakthan Thampuran Palace is easily accessible and is located in the heart of Thrissur. It is located at a distance of 2 km from the city's railway station and 2 km from the Vadakkunathan Temple. You can easily find any local transportation or hire a private taxi to reach the place.

Finding the palace can take a wee bit of time as many of the locals don't seem to know about the Shakthan Thampuran Palace. It is located in front of a bus stand, off the Swaraj Road. Parking facility is available near the palace entrance.

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