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
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,
, old age
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.
The Padmanabhapuram Palace is located at the Velli
at Nagercoil, about 50 kms
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.