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Kanakakunnu Palace, Thiruvananthapuram – a legacy of Maharajah of Travancore Sree Moolam Thirunal

Kanakakunnu Palace, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. victorianweb.org

Kanakakunnu Palace, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. victorianweb.org

Above image: The hall at the end, with its pointed roof, and an ornamented tower just visible on the back side…… 

Kanakakunnu Palace, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. victorianweb.org

Kanakakkunnu Palace of Thiruvananthapuram close to  the Napier museum  was built on a rise  during the reign of by Sree Moolam Thirunal  (1885−1924)  and it was used by the royal family  to hold royal banquet and entertain  important  guests who preferred  non vegetarian food.  But the royal family members of Travancore  were vegetarian. 

Kanakakunnu Palace, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. keralatourism.org

Kanakakunnu Palace, Thiruvananthapuram, thehindu.com

                                                                       landscaping work

Above images: Renovation work in 2015. Made  of red brick with white stone dressings, the palace has s simple plan and differs from other Victorian buildings – a combination of European  style blended with vernacular design  with  low, sweeping form, and the contrasting  rounded hall at one end and the length of the sides. An elegant neoclassical entrance portico in the front is a slight departure from the simple style……… 

An erstwhile durbar and banquet hall of the palace  including the Nishagandhi auditorium, on the huge palace premises (18 acres of land)  had a facelift in 2015 at a cost of Rs. 3 crore to get back its old glory. The stone pathway from the entrance, entry main royal gates, landscaping of the vast  surrounding area including erection of lights, resetting the slope with gentle  gradient, widening the car park and path way  are some of the works done by KLDC- state’s land development agency

Kanakakunnu Palace, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala
victorianweb.org
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Above image: One of a pair of lions guarding the steps to the entrance  Kanakakunnu Palace, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala……

Kanakakunnu Palace, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. 
 keralatourism.travel

Now a listed as protected monument  by the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), it is under the tourism department of Kerala. The palace is being used as a venue for several cultural activities in this city. Every year the All India  Dance Festival- (Nishagandhi Annual Festival; October – March) is organized by Department of Tourism is a popular one and during the festival classical Indian Dance performances are held  every day.  The Kanakakunnu Palace with native architecture, plays no less role in the realm of culture and heritage of the city and many tourists spots are close to the palace.

The Kanakakunnu Palace  with native architecture set in a a picturesque setting on  a small hill with lots of greenery – meadows and grooves around it  underwent  renovation and addition when  Chithira Thirunal, one of Travancore’s popular rulers, took up the reigns. He was a lover of classical music and art.  He added  Tennis Courts and used the palace as the family’s summer retreat  for a few years.  The ruler to much the grandeur of the frontage, crated an attractive ambiance indoors by  setting massive crystal chandeliers and an array of exquisite pieces of royal furniture. Though the royal family members are rich, they never showed off their opulence and out of necessity, they made their royal residence a bit lavish.  

In order to bring the people closer to ”Nature” and to improve the look of the surrounding place of this old royal palace with flowering plants – ”orchids”, planting of hundreds of plants began on the Kanakakunnu Palace grounds here this month (Nov.2022) – a collaborative project between the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, London, and institutions in Kerala. to bring people closer to nature and create awareness about these flowering plants. It is said  about  800 orchids belonging to 11 species found in Kerala are being planted as part of the initiative. The work is not yet over, Kerala is home to beautiful orchids and it is an innovative project; once completed, it will enthrall the visitors to this palace.  

https://victorianweb.org/history/empire/india/trivandrum/14.html

https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Thiruvananthapuram/big-facelift-for-kanakakunnu-palace/article7300648.ece

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/planting-of-orchids-begins-at-kanakakunnu-palace/article66082217.ece

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