Saturday, August 2, 2014

Krishnapuram Palace Murals

Krishnapuram Palace is situated at Kayamkulam  at a place known as 'Krishnapuram' which is two kilometers south of Kayamkulam town.It was the headquarters and royal palace of 'Kingdom of Kayamkulam' up to the mid of sixteenth Century.In the sixteenth century to the south of Cochin Kingdom there were small princely states in Kerala such as 'Kottayam,Pandalam,Kottarakkara,Ambalapuzha,Kayamkulam,Poonjar, Attingal and Venadu.
Out of these Kingdoms, Kayamkulam Kingdom was a prosperous state and at that time it  was ruled by 'Veera Ravi Varma'.Kayamkulam army used unique sword with double edged and enemies were afraid of it.
When Marthanda Varma Maharajah of Venad (1729-1758) attained the throne  he intended to expand his Kingdom by defeating these small Kingdoms.In a succession of battles he was victorious to capture all these states and he formed 'Kingdom of Travancore' with headquarters at Padmanabhapuram.His Kingdom extended from borders of Cochin Kingdom in the south  to Kanyakumari.
Marthanda Varma's major difficult task was to defeat the mighty 'Kayamkulam'.
After defeating Kayamkulam Maharajah he renovated the palace situated at Krishnapuram.The existed palace was single storey  building known as 'Ettu Kettu' and Marthanda Varma made additions and attachments and the existing Kerala Architectural style Palace  which is a  'Pathinaru kettu' style  was built by him and it is a miniature replica of the Palace he constructed at 'Padmanabha Puram.
The Krishnapuram Palace was situated in a large compound of 56 acres but now it is situated in 2.5 acres surrounded by a big compound wall and is under Kerala Archaeology  Department.This building is visited by large number of tourists and the old palace with  gabled roof,narrow corridors and dormer windows etc are preserved intact and a museum is functioning there.The special double edged sword used by Kayamkulam Army   is also exhibited there.
The visiting hours : From 09.30 to 16.30 hours except on  Mondays and Public holidays. 
At Krishnapuram Palace the majority of tourists are fascinated by a mural painting existed there which is known as 'Gajendra Moksham'.(Salvation of Elephant King).It is the largest single panel mural painting found in Kerala and dates back to seventh century. It is 154 sq.ft and the height is 3 mts.Lord Vishnu coming on his celestial transport which is a 'Garuda Bird' to save his devotee 'Gajendra' an elephant turned King from the grip of a crocodile is the theme of illustration.
Gajendra Moksham fresco at the palace was existed in the existed  palace of Kayamkulam Maharajah when Marthanda Varma acquired the Kingdom.He when renovated the palace retained the walls of mural paintings as it was existed.
The Gods and Goddess illustrations in Temples and Palaces were revered since it was believed that the presence of the respective deity would be there.
The Gajendramoksham mural painting is near the entrance of the Palace  and was intended for the Maharajahs to do their daily morning rituals after a bath in the pond nearby. 
'Gajendra Moksham' story is based on Hindu mythology and is taken from the "purana' text 'Bhagavatham' which tells the tales of Lord Vishnu and his incarnations.

A King 'Indradyumna'  who was a firm devotee of Lord Vishnu was cursed by Sage Agastya because of a misunderstanding and he turned as   an elephant.The mighty elephant 'Gajendra' lived on a hill and there were pools at the base of the hill which he used to drink water and to refresh himself.One day a crocodile caught hold of one of his rear leg when he entered the pool.The crocodile was not ready to free him from his teeth grip and the elephant spent several days chanting Lord Vishnu's name.Lord Vishnu appeared on the spot and freed him.He gave him salvation and also to the crocodile which was a 'Gandharva'(a celestial being) who was cursed by another sage  to become a crocodile.
While Lord Vishnu appeared near the elephant other Gods and Goddesses witnessed the scene and in the illustration they are also included.

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