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Padmanabhapuram Travel Guide
Padmanabhapuram is a city which is near Thuckalay, 45 km north of Kanyakumari district in Tamilnadu, India. It is about 25 km from Nagercoil and 55 km from Thrivananthapuram, Kerala. Padmanabhapuram is a beautiful city with numerous trees, hills and rivers passing through the city which makes a picturesque paradise. This city is mainly famous for the Padmanabhapuram palace. The palace was constructed around 1601 A.D by Iravipillai Iravivarma Kulasekhara Perumal who ruled Travancore. The ancient palace was built with mud originally and reconstructed with granite by Maharaja Marthanda Varma. This palace is located on the foot of the Veli hills.
Padmanabhapuram Palace is a splendid palace that has the touch of ancient architecture of Kerala, and some portions of the sprawling complex are also the hall mark of traditional Kerala style building art. The Padmanabhapuram Palace complex consists of several structures:
Mantrasala, means, King's Council Chamber, it is the most beautiful parts of the entire Palace complex. Delicate and beautiful lattice work can be seen all around the council chamber. A big hall called the Durbar has shiny black flooring. It may seem like a granite floor at a glance but in reality, the floor is made by a combination of jaggery, lime, burnt coconut, and charcoal and river sand. This floor could not be duplicated again in any construction.
Thai Kottaram, means, Mother's Palace it is believed to have been constructed before 1550 which is designed in traditional Kerala style. On the south-west corner of the Mother's palace, there is a comparatively small room, called the chamber of solitude or 'Ekantha Mandapam'. The chamber of solitude has very beautiful and complex wood carvings of every verbal description all around.
Nataksala, means, the Hall of Performance, or Hall for Performing Arts, it is a comparatively new building constructed at the command of Maharaja Swathi Thirunal, who dominated in Travancore from 1829 to 1846. He was a great patron of arts, especially music and dance. There is a wooden enclosure, with peepholes, where the women of the royal family used to sit and watch the performance.
A four-storied building at the centre of the Palace complex the main attraction of the palace is the Uppirika Malika, a four storied building. Uppirika, which means the residence of the eldest member of the family. The top floor served as the worship chamber of the Royal family. The Maharaja used to sleep on the first floor on a cot made from the wood of 64 medicinal trees. The medicinal cot was presented to him by the Dutch East India Company in 1750, as a mark of friendship.
Thekee Kottaram, means, 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. The collections of items give perceptiveness into the social and cultural attribute of that period.
The entrance hall to the palace is through an ornamental gateway. The entrance has a wooden ceiling profusely ornamented with lotus medallions and a clock tower which is one of the oldest in India, erected in 1832.
Some interesting features the Palace are - though surrounded entirely by the State of Tamil Nadu is still part of Kerala and the land and Palace belongs to the Government of Kerala - the clock tower in the palace complex has a 300 year old clock, which still keeps time; a secret underground escape, located several kilometers away now blocked, through which the king and his immediate family members, and their suite could escape to another palace in the event of any emergency.
We can reach Padmanabhapuram:
By Air, the nearest airport is the Trivandrum International Airport, located at a distance of 56 kilometres.
By train, the nearest railway station is Nagercoil, at a distance of 25 kilometres.
By Road, this place is easily reachable from anywhere in Kerala as Trivandrum is well linked by an extensive network of roads.
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