Saturday, February 14, 2015

Padmanabhapuram Palace

Padmanabhapuram was the capital of 'Travancore Kingdom'( which was earlier known as 'Venad Kingdom) and the capital was shifted to Thiruvananthapuram in 1795 A.D.
Padmanabhapuram Palace was built around AD 1602 during the reign of 'Iravi Varma Kulasekhara Perumal' who ruled Venad State from 1592 to 1609 AD.At that time the palace was known as '.'Kalkulam Palace
During the reign of 'Veera Marthanda Varma' he extended the Kingdom and formed the Kingdom of Travancore.Marthanda Varma Maharajah  renovated the Palace and renamed it as Padmanabhapuram Palace in honor of the family deity 'Padmanabha Swamy' of "Sri Padmanabha Swami Temple, Thuruvananthapuram'.
Padmanabhapuram Palace is situated at Thackala near Nagercoil in Tamilnadu State and it is only 50 km from Thiruvananthapuram.Even though the palace is in Tamilnadu state at present, the Palace complex still belongs to Kerala Government.
The palace is a unique example of Kerala style architecture and it is the largest wooden Palace in Asia.The palace complex is situated in a large area of land which have massive walls on four sides.There are 14 buildings in the complex and served as the residence of Travancore Kings till the shifting of the Capital to Thiruvananthapuram.
Some of the main structures of the complex includes 'Thaikottaram,Uppirikka Malika,Mantrasala,Natakasala,Thekke Kottaram' etc.Thai Kottaram was Queen's Palace,Mantrasala was a meeting place,Nataka sala was performing hall for Music and Dance.
All the buildings have lavish and elaborated wooden carvings which are very fascinating and which reveals the excellent skills  of the craftsmen.
In the 'Thekke Kottaram' (Southern Palace) a heritage museum is functioning which displays several articles of that bygone era which attracts the visitors.Some articles presented to the King by Chinese traders are also on display.The flooring which was made by charcoal,burnt coconut shells,some kind of medicinal juices,lime,egg white etc looks marvelous still today.
A cot made out of  64 types of medicinal wood and herbs known as 'Marunnu Kattil' and a cot cut out from stone and polished can also be seen at the  Padmanabhapuram palace.
At the tower room of the Padmanabhapuram Palace  on the four sides of the  walls there are exquisite mural paintings which are very old and made as per strict traditional rules.This room was used for meditation purpose by the Royal family members  and the murals are sanctified and believes  that the presence of the respective deities are there on them.
On the eastern wall and western wall there are large depiction of Lord Vishnu in 'Anantha Sayanam' a reclining posture of the Lord  attended by his consort, other celestial beings, semi Gods etc.Krishna with Gopis,Lakshmi Narayana etc are also there.
Portrayals of 'Krishna Leela', Krishna with 'Yasoda' mother,Krishna eating lunch  at the jungle with friends,Kaliamardana,Little Krishna giving salvation to two 'Gandharvas' cursed to be trees are all seen here.
The incarnations of Lord Vishnu's  'Dasavathara' scenes, and  Sankara Narayana etc delights all.
 Shaiva themes like different forms of Lord 'Rudra' are also  there.Mahishasura Mardini(Durga) is depicted, and Lord Narasimha is also portrayed.The coronation scene of Lord Sri Rama is also very appealing






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