Friday, September 27, 2019

Mattanchery Dutch Palace

Kochi: Mattanchery palace or Dutch palace

Open: 9:45 am to 1 pm and 2 pm to 4:45 pm
Entry fee: Rs 5 
Closed on Fridays

The Mattanchery Palace located in Palace Road, Mattanchery, was built around 1555 AD by the Portuguese. It was presented to the then Raja of Cochin, Veera Kerala Varma. For around 200 years from then, it became the residence of the royal family. This Portuguese palace was later in early 1660’s renovated and extended by the Dutch and thus became the 'Dutch Palace' that we know and see today.
The Dutch Palace has a typical Kerala naalukettu style architecture having four buildings surrounding a central courtyard which has a temple dedicated to pazhayannur Bhagavati, which presents a wonderful example of cultural and religious unity in spite of the differences. The palace which has such a historical importance is presently under the Archaeological Survey Of India(ASI) and was turned into a museum in 1985 which now exhibits articles, artefacts and paintings from the Portuguese era to the different generations of the Varma rulers including mural paintings, royal attire, palanquins, royal furniture, weapons, coins, howdahs along with royal family photos and other informative notices. Beautifully preserved mural paintings, some of which illustrate episodes from the Ramayana, Mahabharata, Krishna Leela are some of the major attractions. Some of the other paintings have goddess Lakshmi seated on a lotus, Lord Vishnu, Siva Parvathy in ardhanareeshwara position, events from Kumarasambhava (renowned piece of work by Kalidasa) etc. 
The Dutch palace is situated on an easily approachable part of Mattanchery. From the Ernakulam junction (South) railway station it is only around 10 km. The lower floor of the palace is not open to the tourists and stairs leads to the museum. Photography of some mural paintings are strictly prohibited whereas photos of other exhibits can be captured. One would usually require 1 hour to view all the exhibits. It is surely worth a visit when in Kochi.

Visit next: Jewish synagogue, Jew’s street


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