Saturday, September 1, 2007

A pillar inside the palace

The ceiling of the poomugham has carvings of 90 different flowers in full bloom, while on the behind the chinese chair- a gift from visiting Chinese traders - can be seen coloured wooden planks depicting the reclining figure of Lord Vishnu, also known as Padmanabhaswamy. The chair bears the inscriptions of 17th century Chinese art, and complements the other magnificent piece of furniture in the room, a glistening black bed made of seven pieces of granite.

A steep and narrow flight of wooden stairs leads to a trap door that opens into the first floor, which houses the mantrasala, or council chamber, where the king held his cabinet meetings. The narrow staircase and the heavy trap door are said to have been designed with the intention of warding off unexpected attacks- only one person can enter at a time. The black, highly polished floor here is quite special. It is made of a mixture of lime, burnt coconut shells, the whites of eggs, water from tender coconuts, sand, laterite and the juices of various herbs.

This majestic old palace is 63kms from Thiruvananthapuram. It is situated at Thucklai, on the way to Kanyakumari. This palace was once the capital of the State of Travancore. The palace is built in the Travancore architectural style. This is famous for its 17th and 18th century murals, carved mahogany ceiling, colored mica windows, secret underground passages, inner courtyards, durbal hall, museum, four poster medicinal bed, Belgian mirror, pictures of Lord Krishna, granite dance halls and special black shiny floors which are made from a unique combination of egg white, jaggery, lime, burnt coconut, charcoal and river sand.

It will be closed on Mondays.

Palace front view