Kerala is noted for many palaces that were an outcome of princely domains that once ruled different parts of Kerala. The Krishnapuram Palace is one such palace, which could be reached from the National Highway – 47 going via Kayamkulam in Alappuzha district of Kerala. It is a historically important palace, located close to the Sree Krishnaswamy Temple at Krishnapuram. History reckons this double-storeyed palace as the one where the kings of Kayamkulam dynasty last stayed.
Krishnapuram Palace is a 16th century architectural marvel built by the ‘Princely Travancore clans’ in the Kerala State.It is a typical example of a palace design that is akin to that of local rulers in ancient Kerala. Many ancillary units of Krishnapuram Palace got demolished and only the main palace structure remains intact. There are no authentic records stating the period of the palace’s construction. According to old timers, the princess of Kayamkulam ruling family used to stay at a place north of Kayamkulam while the men stayed at the Krishnapuram Palace. It is well known for its murals, underground secret passage and scenically surrounded with natural stunners. This palace is functioning as museum now for catering heritage monument tours in India. Currently a protected monument under the Department of Archaeology.
Krishnapuram Palace is covered up by 56 acres of surface area on a hilltop, surrounded by natural scenic places. It followed the Pathinerakettu Architectural pattern followed in ancient years in Kerala State. According to the historians, this structure followed the Dravidian Vasthu Shastra, either the principals of Structure Dynamics. The design and layout of this palace was made by Kerala architect Kamyyan Dalava and it was subsequently supervised with the help of Ayyappan Mathsnada Pillai. This palace also resembles with the Travancore’s Padhmanabapuram Palace in Trivandrum. The materials used to build this structure are; rock debris, granite stones, laterite stone, clay bricks, terracotta tiles, Angili wood teak wood and rose woods. The palace walls are up to a 10 feet height. It is an III storied edifice. There are 22 rooms inside the palace. Its remarkable feature is the court yard which is the largest open area in the centre of the palace which is a unique place of this palace. On the interior there is unique craftsmanship of wooden works on doors, windows and pillars are found. It has beautiful spiral steps made out of well polished granite stones to climb its stairs. This palace was built in such a dynamics that lights and winds passes in side this stricter very well. The teak woods are found in the ceilings and used as a supporting beam all over the structure. It has a triangular shaped slanting roof, which are covered with terracotta tiles. This palace is fitted with dormer windows. It has a narrow corridor with small wooden pillars run along with it. Outside the palace it has a large pond, which is also an underground secret passage for a quick evasion of palace residents in times of battles.A highlight among the sights for visitors at the Krishnapuram Palace is without doubt the mural found here, depicting the story of Gajendramoksham (salvation of elephant). Dating back to the 18th century, this exquisite piece of art is one of the largest murals in Kerala and is a fantastic blend of colours and expression.
This magnificent palace with sixteen blocks is also famous for its museum that houses antiques, sculptures, paintings, weapons, megalithic remains, stone inscriptions, coins and artifacts in bronze. Among the museum highlights include a Bible in Sanskrit language.
Krishnapuram Palace is believed to be built around (1700 AD to 1775 AD) by the Travancore Thamburan named Ravi Varma. It was renovated initially in the 18th century by the Martanda Verma. Recently it was restored in the 1950s by the archeological department of India. This palace was built on an existing palace of the local Kayamkulam Royal Clans. It is said in the histories that, this place come under the Travancore regime in the year (1746 AD) after a local battle with the Kayamkulam clans. This palace is now an archeological museum, exhibits one of the megalithic period’s aircrafts. It has the Sward of kayamkulam, which is made of special alloy and is double edged one. This palace has the largest mural of ‘Gajendra Moksham’ which is an epic in the Indian Veda. It covers an area of 50 square meters on the inside walls, which is the largest murals painted by an unsung artist. It displays the Travancore antiquities inside the palace, including the plaques. The Sanskrit version of the Bible is found here which date back to 1886 AD. The 10th century’s Buddha sculptor is found here. There are also many ancient manuscripts and specimen’s collection from other parts of India is kept inside the palace.
Krishnapuram Palace is an ancient monument which is presently functioning archeological museum. It is open to public and many tourist and history buffs come here to see the Travancore’s glory of art and cultures. It is a remarkable place to view this heritage palace in its scenic surroundings. It is a best place to be visited if you are in Allazhapula District of Kerala State.
The palace would easily catch the attention of its visitors, due to its traditional Kerala style of architecture. The architectural highlights of this palace include a courtyard, gabled roofs, thick-framed doors, narrow corridors and stairways, dormer windows and low roofs.
The palace visiting hours are from 9.00 am to 5.00 pm on all days except Mondays.
By road: Kayamkulam is about 47 km from Alappuzha.
Nearest railway station: Kayamkulam Junction, about 5 km.
Nearest airports: Thiruvananthapuram International Airport, about 103 km; Cochin International Airport, about 132 km.