Padamanabhapuram Palace complex is located in a small village Padmanabhapuram, around 65 kilometers from Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India, en route to Kanyakumari, Tamilnadu. The palace complex is inside an old granite fortress around four kilometers long. The palace is located at the foot of the Veli Hills, which form a part of the Western Ghats. The river Valli flows nearby.
The palace was constructed around 1601 A.D by Iravi Iravi Varma Kulasekhara Perumal who ruled Travancore between 1592 A.D. and 1609 A.D. In the late 18th century, the capital of Travancore was shifted from here to Trivandrum, and the place lost its former glory. However, the palace complex continue to be the best examples of traditional Kerala architecture, and some portions of the sprawling complex are also the hall mark of traditional Kerala style building art.
The Padamanabhapuram Palace complex consists of several structures:
*Mantrasala, literal meaning, King's Council Chamber
* Thai Kottaram, literal meaning, Mother's Palace - believed to have been constructed before 1550
* Nataksala, literal meaning, the Hall of Performance, or of Performing Arts
* A four-storeyed building at the centre of the Palace complex
* Thekee Kottaram, literal meaning, the Southern Palace
Other interesting features
* The clock tower in the palace complex has a 300 year old clock, which still keeps time.
* A big hall now bare, which can accommodate around 1000 guests, and where ceremonial feasts were held, on auspicious occasions.
* A secret passage, now blocked, through which the king, his immediate family members, and their entourage could escape to another palace, located several kilometers away in the event of any emergency.
* A flight of steps leads to a bathing pond, which has lost its freshness due to neglect and years of disuse.
* The Palace complex also has a section of curios and several interesting objects:
* An entire room filled with old Chinese jars, all gifts by Chinese merchants.
* A variety of weapons (which were actually used in warfare), including swords and daggers.
* Brass lamps, wood and stone sculpture, a variety of furniture and large mirrors made of polished metal.
* A gallery of paintings depicting incidents from the history of Travancore.
* A wooden cot made of up to 64 wooden pieces of a variety of medicinal tree trunks
* Polished stone cot, meant for cool effect
* Toilet and well
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