Padmanabhapuram Palace

The Most Charming Palace I have Seen so far….

β€œSeems like some kind of natural air-conditioning in here!”, exclaimed my sister. It indeed felt cool inside. Surely, it’s got something to do with the way this place was constructed ages ago.

We were at Padmanabhapuram Palace, located about 30 Km. away from Kanyakumari at a place, known as Thuckalay. Built in the 16th century, this palace is situated in the state of Tamil Nadu, however, it remains under the administration of the Government of Kerala. The wooden palace, in its typical Kerala architectural style, is a masterpiece that left us completely spellbound. Once again, all thanks to fellow blogger Sugan for having recommended this place.

The pillared entrance with intricate wooden carvings.
The main entrance leads to the reception area. Notice the marvelous wooden carvings and terracotta tiled roof.

The unusualness of the palace is what charmed us the most. It was very different from all the palaces I have seen so far. It lacked the glam and glitter that one would expect of a palace but was majestic in its simplicity and intricacies. Some highlights from the palace are, elaborately detailed rosewood and teak wood carvings, exquisitely carved wooden columns, huge earthen urns, jackfruit tree columns, multi-colored windowpanes of various patterns, spacious hallways, ornately carved wooden ceilings, and so on.

There were different artistic representations of the Lotus flower, the favourite flower of the royalty (and also of Lord Padmanabhaswamy). The floors of the palace wore a unique look. It was glossy, smooth and of shining black colour. This is apparently the result of a unique combination of egg shells, lime, coconut, charcoal, river sand, and jaggery that was used in the raw material.

The Mantrasala – Here the King held important meetings with his ministers. Notice the elaborately designed ceiling.

Padmanabhapuram was the capital city of the erstwhile kingdom of Travancore, the rulers of which were dedicated to Lord Padmanabhaswamy (another name of Lord Vishnu) and considered themselves to be servants of the Lord.

The Covid protocols were very strict here. We had to buy gloves from the shops outside, which were selling only woolen gloves. That was no fun on a hot and sultry afternoon, with a temperature of nearly 30 degree centigrade. The palace was crowded with tourists, but all were locals. We stood out in how we looked and the clothes we wore, leading to us being mobbed by a gang of local people. The gang of 20-25 people followed us everywhere and wanted pictures with us every now and then. They meant no harm and we did indulge them initially but after a point their intrusion managed to irritate us enough and more.

Here’s a visual tour of some sections of the palace.

Ottupura (Dining Hall) – A description board here says that over 2000 people were served free meals in this grand dining hall on a daily basis.
These are huge Chinese jars that were used to store pickles for the daily feasts.
The Dance Hall. Notice the shining black flooring, which is the result of a combination of egg shells, lime, coconut, charcoal, river sand, and jaggery.
The palace temple. It was closed at that time so we couldn’t enter.
Curved shuttered wooden windows
Left: The Royal Bed, made of 67 different medicinal wood. Right: One of the Royal Toilets.
Here’s a picture of the people who followed us everywhere wanting to click pictures with us every now and then. And, here are only some of those from the large gang. The gang even made one of my sisters pull her mask down for a proper photo.

Author: neelstoria

Traveling, Gardening, Trekking, Hiking, Storytelling, Writing, Nature, Outdoors, Yoga, DIY

13 thoughts on “Padmanabhapuram Palace”

  1. Wow – that looks gorgeous! I’m glad to see that things are able to be opened relatively safely there and am hearing encouraging things about India’s pandemic situation. You all may be on the other side of this some time before we are!

    I love the architecture here. Some of it is is unfamiliar to me (That dance hall floor!) but some of the designs remind me of some of the traditional Konkani architecture Daegan and I saw near Ratnagiri three years ago. I guess that not only is there proximity and cultural exchange, there are some similar design restrictions: similar raw materials and similar need to build in “natural A/C”.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Everything appears normal in India. People hardly wear masks and nobody seems to care, but cases are happening even now, though not like before.
      Glad to read this post. I really loved this palace, it was too enchanting in its simplicity. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow; loved the detailed tour – your style! And your endearment towards doors makes a subtle appearance too! πŸ™‚
    I know how such intrusions make you feel – have faced them quite a few times, especially from unsolicited guides.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Narendra. πŸ™‚
      Didn’t make this one greatly detailed though. It’s a lovely place. Hope you get to visit some day.
      Unsolicited guides are extremely irritating. Though it reminds me of my dad. He used to love guided tours of historical places.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This is an interesting palace really, as you mentioned the outside is so plain and unassuming. The insides shows the splurging a bit more, but not as over the top as the usual Indian palaces. Looks a lot more homely!

    Interesting and funny (I understand the fun ran out after some time 😁) account of being a celebrity.
    BTW, there is a Kerala restaurant near my place named Ottupura, and thanks to your post I know the meaning now πŸ˜€

    That floor is so beautiful, and nostalgia. We had red oxide flooring in my childhood abode, which was not do deep dark coloured, but used to shine similarly.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes! A homely palace would be the right way to describe it. I did wonder how many trees would have been cut to build this but alongside I also thought this was constructed centuries ago, perhaps people were more nature friendly then and they might have done some things to ensure it wasn’t mass destruction sort of a thing.
      As for being celebrities, it was hampering our tour of the place. We had started running away as soon as we spotted anyone from the gang πŸ˜›
      “Ottupura” is a name similar sounding to “Oota”, not sure if you’ve checked out the latter. I have ordered food and it was quite good.
      And, now you’ve made me nostalgic I had completely forgotten those shiny red floors back in out side of home.


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