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Built around 1555 A.D. by the Portuguese and gifted to the then ruler of Cochin, Raja Veera Kerala Verma, Mattanchery palace is located in Ernakulam in Kerala. They gifted the palace as a gesture of goodwill for securing their trade privileges. The Mattanchery place is also known as the Dutch palace as the Dutch renovated the palace in 1663. Restoration of the Mattanchery Palace was started in 1951 when it was declared a centrally protected monument.
Mattanchery palace architecture
This palace was built using conventional Kerala style of architecture called 'Nalukettu'. This architecture was very popular during that period in Kerala. The palace houses a courtyard at its centre. The arches and the proportion of the chambers portray the European influence. This palace is an architectural masterpiece that flaunts the perfect blend of colonial and Kerala architecture. The typical Kerala construction of sloping tiled roof and wooden balconies is represented in the Mattanchery Palace.
This place is a two-tiered quadrangular building and it encompasses long and spacious halls. The royal family built a temple in the central open courtyard for Pazhayannur Bhagwati (the protective goddess of the Kochi royal family), the tutelary deity of the royal family.
The upper storey has a coronation hall, dining hall, assembly hall and a bed chamber also known as the Ramayana room. The first floor has a unique ceiling with intricate carvings especially over the central coronation hall. The first floor sports teak wood beams, planks and rafters. The dining hall has a caved wooden yet ornamental ceiling that is decorated with brass cups. A chamber is housed in between the ground and the first floor and was used by the rulers as harem (ladies chamber).
Museum at Mattanchery Palace
The first floor houses the current day museum. It was established in 1985 and houses a variety of exhibits. The swords and weapons displayed here were the ones used by the kings. Exhibits include ivory palanquin, royal umbrellas, drawings, a howdah (a seat for riding elephants), coins, ceremonial dresses used by the Royalty, stamps, etc.
The palace is very famous for its murals and displays, hundreds of them depict the Hindu religion and its beliefs. Themes from the Ramayana and Mahabharata adorn the walls. Don't miss interesting murals that depict the Sleeping Vishnu (Ananthasayanamurti), Coronation of Rama, Laksmi on the Lotus and Krishna lifting Govardhana Mountain.
The king's chamber has wonderful paintings on the low-ceiling. The black flooring of this palace adds to its appeal. It looks like black marble however it is made from a special mixture that is made from burned coconut shells, charcoal, plant juices, egg whites and lime. You will find erotic murals in the Ladies Bedchamber.
Mattancherry palace stands by the scenic Kochi backwaters. It is located at Mattancherry, Ernakulam, Kerala. It is 10kms from Ernakulam. Buses and boat services connect this palace with Ernakulam city. This palace is open to public on all days except Friday.
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