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Famous India > Editorials > Padmanabhapuram - Largest Wooden Palace in India
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Padmanabhapuram - Largest Wooden Palace in India

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By Manjulika Chattopdhyay

About 55 kms north east of Thiruvananthpuram, is the largest wooden Palace of India called Padmanabhapuram. Covering an area of 7 acres, the Padmanabhapuram Palace was built by Iravi Varma Kulasekhara in the year 1601 A.D. On its completion in the year 1744, Maharajah Anizham Tirunal Marthanda Varma dedicated it to Lord Vishnu - the Creator or Padmanabhapuram. And so is called as Padmanabhapuram Perumal Palace. Even today 2000 Brahmins are fed on daily basis in this Palace.

Padmanabhapuram Palace is situated in the Padmanapuram Fort. While the fort is made of stone, the palace is made of teak wood and granite. Most of the work has been done on wood, while the murals have been made of granite. The sloping roofs, mural carvings, carved ceilings, gleaming floors – all have been made of wood. However there are exceptions – like the floor of the main hall has been made of coconut wood and egg shells. This floor is so smooth, that if you walk on it with shoes, you are bound to fall. Only a bare foot can make you walk on it with ease.

The entrance is comparatively simple – though there are heavy carvings on the hood. The entrance is called the Poomukham. After the entrance Hall, there is the Audience hall. The floor of this Hall is polished with a special compound of crushed coconut shells, egg white and plant juices – which makes the floor exceptionally gleaming. There is also the Upparikka Malika or the four storeyed Kings quarters. The Manthrasala is the Council Chamber and the Mattupavu is a lovely balcony. Right to the Mattupavu is the dining hall or Oottupura which serves the 2000 brahmins on daily basis.

The palace also houses the Queen Mothers Palace. This Palace is one of the oldest buildings in the Palace premises. For the entertainment of the King and the Queen, there is the Dance Hall called the Navarathri Hall. Few temples too have been built inside the Palace.

Apart from the halls and queens room, the Palace has other attractions too – like the Kings bed which is made of 64 Medicinal Woods. The aroma of these woods still fill the room – though the King died on this bed only... . See the earthen lamps which have various designs like a horse and a rider, the peacock , old age paintings and so on. The Prayer Room or the Puja Hall has a huge pillar made out of single single Jackfruit Tree. There is more to see – the Chinese Throne; the Belgian mirrors and the 108 ghoulish rooms. There are the Chinese Jars gifted by Chinese Merchants; a variety of weapons; 300 years old clock tower; gallery of paintings depicting history of Travancore; slit open wooden windows and the Kings council chamber.

As you see the Palace, look out for the walls and the ceilings which are filled with intricate carvings on the woods. These are the masterpieces of the Padmanabhapuram Palace.

Fact File :

The Padmanabhapuram Palace is located at the Velli Hills at Nagercoil, about 50 kms from Thiruvanathpuram – Kerala (South India). NH 7 connects Trivandrum to Padmanabhapuram. You can easily find the palace by asking for Thuckalay Junction. From here you can also proceed towards Kanyakumari which has a direct road link. The Padmanabhapuram Palace is open from 9 a.m. To 5 p.m. Its closed on Mondays.

* You will be required to remove your shoes before entering the Palace.

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