Padmanabhapuram Palace is an ancient historical palace located in Padmanabhapuram, Kanyakumari district, Tamil Nadu, India. It is one of the most well-preserved wooden palaces in Asia and is renowned for its architectural beauty, intricate craftsmanship, and historical significance.
The palace complex served as the seat of the rulers of the erstwhile kingdom of Travancore, and it was the capital of the kingdom until the 18th century when the capital was shifted to Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum) in present-day Kerala.
The construction of Padmanabhapuram Palace is believed to have started around the 16th century, and it continued to be expanded and renovated by subsequent rulers over the centuries. The palace is a magnificent example of traditional Kerala architecture, with its wooden structures, unique carvings, and extensive use of teakwood.
Key features of the Padmanabhapuram Palace include:
- Mantrasala (Council Hall): This is the most impressive section of the palace, featuring exquisite woodwork, ornate ceilings, and finely carved rosewood columns. The hall was used for official meetings and ceremonies.
- Thai Kottaram (Mother’s Palace): This section of the palace was constructed in the 16th century and is dedicated to the mother of the Travancore King Marthanda Varma.
- Nataksala (Performance Hall): This hall was used for conducting cultural events, dance performances, and art-related gatherings.
- Thekee Kottaram (Southern Palace): This part of the palace complex houses the royal treasury and artifacts of historical significance.
- Durbar Hall: The Durbar Hall is where the king held audiences with his ministers and advisors.
The palace also contains several courtyards, residential quarters, and a museum that showcases various artifacts, traditional furniture, artwork, and historical memorabilia from the reign of the Travancore kings.
Visitors to Padmanabhapuram Palace can experience the grandeur of the bygone era and gain insights into the cultural and historical heritage of the region. The palace is now maintained by the Government of Kerala and is open to the public as a popular tourist attraction and a historical marvel in South India.