Padmanabhapuram Palace of Erstwhile Travancore Kingdom
Padmanabhapuram Palace was the palace of the erstwhile rulers of the kingdom of Travancore. It is situated at Padmanabhapuram near Nagercoil Town. The place complex is part of Kerala state, inside Tamilnadu state.
Padmanabhapuram Palace is inside the Padmanabhapuram Fort, an old granite fortress which is around four kilometers is length. The Fort is located on the foot of the Veli Hills. Valli River flows near to the Padmanabhapuram fort and palace.
The Padmanabhapuram Palace is believed to be constructed in 1601 AD, by Iravi Varma Kulasekhara Perumal, the King who reigned from 1592 to 1609. It is built in traditional Kerala style of architecture. The Queen Mother’s Palace (Thai Kottaram), which is part of the fort, is believed to be constructed around 1550 AD.
The palace was rebuilt by King Anizham Thirunal Marthanda Varma (1706–1758) around 1750, who reigned the princely state of Travancore from 1729 to 1758. He dedicated the kingdom of Travancode to his family deity, Sree Padmanabha, a form of Lord Vishnu. Hence the city got its name Padmanabhapuram , which means city of Lord Padmanabha. (Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple, Thiruvananthapuram is now considered as the World’s Richest Temple.)
The most beautiful portion of the palace complex is the King’s Council Chamber. Delicate and beautiful lattice works with its colored mica windows makes any visitor spellbound. Performance Hall is a relatively new addition (after the capital was shifted from here as described in next paragraph) with its granite pillars and gleaming black floors and was constructed by Maharaja Swathi Thirunal, Great connoisseur of music and dance, who reigned from 1829 to 1846. Central mansion, constructed by King Marthandavarma is a 4-storeyed building at the center of the palace complex; royal treasury on ground floor, King’s bedrooms on First floor, King’s resting and study rooms on the second floor and top forth floor is the worship rooms for the royal family. Southern Palace is also believed to be of the same age as that of ‘Thai kottaram’ (Mother’s palace) and is now converted to a Heritage Museum.
The capital of Travancore Kingdom was shifted to Thiruvananthapuram in 1795 and thereafter the palace lost its glory. The Land and buildings inside the fort belongs to Kerala Government and is maintained by Archaeology Department of the Government of Kerala.
How Do I Go to Padmanabhapuram Palace?
Padmanabhapuram, where the palace is located is near Thuckalay town, the administrative headquarters of Kalkulam Taluk. Kanyakumari – Panvel (South Mumbai) NH 66 (previously known as NH 17) passes through Thuckalay.
The nearest railway station is at a distance of around 5 kilometers at Eraniel; not all trains stops here. The nearest major railway station is at a Nagarkoil, at a distance of around 20 kilometers distance from the palace complex.