|Koikkal Kottaram Palace,.Thiruvananthapuram. keralaorbit.in|
Located in Nedumangad 18 km from Thiruvananthapuram city of Kerala, Koyikkal Palace with fine traditional medieval architecture was built between 1677 and 1684 by Queen Umayamma of the royal family of erstwhile Venad kingdom. It once served as the the official residence of the Venad Royal family- the Perakatharvazhi’ (Perakom, a matrilineal branch of dynasty that ruled the erstwhile Venad), who hailed from the princely state of Travancore. The queen settled at Nedumangad during possible raid by a Muslim warrior Mukilan who camped at Manakad to attack the queen.
|Interior of the Koikkal Kottaram Palace,|
Above image: Interior of the Koikkal Kottaram Palace, Nedumangad, Kerala. Natural air-conditioning is provided by the wooden-slatted windows.
|Koyikkal Palace near TA puram, Kerala. onmanorama.com|
This two-story structure built in the shape of a boat in typical Kerala style architecture has sloping extended tiled roof to drain off rain water during heavy SW monsoon seasons. It has a central court yard, a common feature of olden period. The walls are built with laterite blocks and plastering is done with well-ground lime. The Nadumuttom paved with granite is surrounded by wide veranda all around it with carved pillars at the outer side supporting the lower side of the sloping tiled roof. The first floor on all sides has tiled veranda to avoid sun’s glare and and for better ventilation. There is a strong room (nilavara) on the ground floor. It was a tradition among the rulers of Venad to have a puja room attached to the palace and at Kovikkal palace the presiding deity is Mallan Thampuran. There is a wide gabled balcony on the first floor of the palace The east facing gabled balcony on the first floor is simple looking and is not ornamental. Yet another interesting feature is the underground secret tunnel – a sort of escape rout in case of emergency like wars.
The palace houses Folklore Museum (came up in 1992) and Numismatic Museum (started in 1996). Both were established by the ASI of the state. The former is unique one in Kerala showcasing the rich cultural ethos of Kerala. On display here are rare musical instruments used of olden times like Sarangi made of wood and it is the only museum in this state to have a rare musical instrument called Chandravalayam. There are occupational implements, household utensils, wooden kitchenware, brass and copperware, etc. Other attractions include Thaliyola – old manuscripts, Chilambu – a kind of anklet, Maravuri – dress material, the lifestyle of the Keralites during different periods. Other preserved materials include Oorakkudukku. The lamp models like Gajalekshmi, the Muthappan Theyyam, Patayani/Padayani Kolam, throw light on the performing arts and rituals of Kerala. A rare exhibit is ‘Ammanakaya’, a round panchaloha instrument used in ceremonies by temple oracles. It was widely used in the pat century when smallpox (in Tamil Vaisoori or periyammai)) was a dreaded disease.
As for the Numismatic exhibits. there good collections of exceptional coins of different ages covering Kerala’s past mercantile trade relations with various countries. Included in the collection are some of the oldest coins in Kerala: Ottaputhan, Erattaputhan, and Kaliyuga Rayanapanam. There are 2500 year old farm coins, Razi coins (the smallest in the world), coins from the Roman Empire and coins used by various dynasties throughout India. Both museums are popular and are veritable paradise for those who love antiques and rare age-old coins.