Sunday, 19 August 2012

Padmanabhapuram Palace Kanyakumari District Tamil Nadu


Padmanabhapuram Palace complex is located in at Padmanabhapuram Fort, close to the town of Thuckalay in Kanyakumari District, Tamilnadu, in India. It is about 20 km from Nagercoil, and about 50 kilometers from Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. This town is  surrounded by a fort with an area of 187 acres.  The ancient capital of Travancore might be constructed before AD 1601.  The palace with an area of seven acres, is situated in the very centre on the Padmanabhapuram Fort, amidst hills, dales and rivers.  The palace which is situated in Kanyakumari District is under the control of a Curator of the Archaeological Department of Kerala Government.  The fort which was built with mud originally was dismantled and reconstructed with granite by Maharaja Marthanda Varma.  The height of the walls varies from 15’ to 24’ according to the inclination of the ground. 
Padmanabhapuram Palace Kanyakumari District Tamil Nadu
Mantrasala 
King’s Council chamber is the most beautiful part of the entire palace complex. It has windows, with coloured mica, which keep the heat and the dust away, and the interior of the council chamber remains cool and dark. Delicate and beautiful lattice work can be seen all over the council chamber.The floor is also beautifully done, with a fine and perfect finish. The floor is dark and is made of a mixture of varied substances, including burnt coconut shells, egg white and so on. The remarkable aspect is that this particular floor finish and texture could not be duplicated in any other construction.

Nataksala 
This is a relatively new building, constructed at the behest of Maharaja Swathi Thirunal, who reigned in Travancore from 1829 to 1846. He was a great connoisseur of arts, especially music and dance. He himself composed music and has left a rich legacy to classical carnatic music.The Nataksala or the hall of performance has solid granite pillars and gleaming black floor. There is a wooden enclosure, with peepholes, where the women of the royal household used to sit and watch the performance.

Four-storeyed central building
The four-storied building is located at the centre of the palace complex. The ground floor houses the royal treasury. The first floor houses the King's bedrooms. The ornamental bedstead is made of 64 types of herbal and medicinal woods, and was a gift from the Dutch merchants. Most of the rooms here and in other parts of the palace complex have built-in recesses in walls for storing weapons like swords and daggers. The second floor houses the King's resting and study rooms. Here the King used to spend time during fasting days. The top floor (called upparikka malika) served as the worship chamber of the royal household. Its walls are covered with exquisite 18th century murals, depicting scenes from the puranas, and also few scenes from the social life of the Travancore of that time. Ths top floor was supposed to be Sree Padmanabha Swamy's room. This building was constructed during the reign of King Marthandavarma. He was also designated as Padmanabha Dasa and used to rule the Travancore kingdom as a servant of Sree Padmanabha Swamy.

Thekee kottaram
The southern palace is as old as the ‘Thai kottaram’ (Mother's palace), which would make it about 400 year old. Now, it serves as a heritage museum, exhibiting antique household articles and curios. Collections of items give an insight into the social and cultural ethos of that period.

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