Have you ever visited Kanyakumari and the Vivekananda Rock in the southern-most region of our country? If you have been there, chances are that you have also visited the Padmanabhapuram Palace.
Located in the Kanyakumari district of Tamil Nadu, the Padmanabhapuram Palace is around 50-odd kilometers from the Kerala state capital, Thiruvananthapuram. But surprisingly enough, the Padmanabhapuram Palace is both owned and maintained not by the Tamil Nadu government but by the government of Kerala.
Known for its unique Dutch-styled architecture and characteristic titled roofs, this magnificent wooden palace is situated inside an imposing granite fortress that dates back to the 16th century. Padmanabhapuram had been the seat of the Chera dynasty of Travancore.
What marvels the visitors to this fort is an all-round holistic experience. Situated at the foot of Veli hills of the Western Ghats with the Valli river flowing nearby, this place offers exquisite rejuvenation from the hustle-bustle of the city life. The interiors, with intricate rosewood carvings and sculpted decor alongside the antique murals dating back to the 17th and 18th century, never fails to mesmerize a connoisseur of modern art and history.
Among all the artifacts and halls that will surely wow the visitors, the musical bow in mahogany, the mica-painted antique windows, the royal chairs with Chinese carvings, and the Queen Mother’s palace or “Thaikkottaram” with painted ceilings, rose wood and teak carved ceilings with 90 different floral designs are tourist favorites. The best thing about the place is the way it is conserved. Even today, this stunning palace boasts of a special wing for foreign visitors, done in exquisite European style, that once played host to innumerable foreign (especially Dutch) visitors in the bygone ages. The unique combination of the Travancore decor along with the European elegance lends this palace a royal splendor that still captivates the senses of visitors.
The nearest rail head is located at Nagercoil (Tamil Nadu), which is nearly 16 km from the palace, while the nearest airport – Trivandrum International Airport – is located around 52 km away.