The ancient historical town Padmanabhapuram is one of the four municipalities in the district is 55 Km. south of Trivandrum, about two km. east of Thuckalay and 35 km. from Kanniyakumari on the Trivandrum-Cape Comerin road. This town is surrounded by a fort with an area of 187 acres. The ancient capital of Travancore might be constructed before AD 1601. The palace with an area of seven acres, is situated in the very centre on the Padmanabhapuram Fort, amidst hills, dales and rivers. The palace which is situated in Kanniyakumari District is under the control of a Curator of the Archaeological Department of Kerala Government.
The fort which was built with mud originally was dismantled and reconstructed with granite by Maharaja Marthanda Varma. The height of the walls varies from 15’ to 24’ according to the inclination of the ground.
Entrance Hall:- The entrance to the main edifice is controlled by another ornamental gateway with retainers for watch and ward. The gabled entrance has wooden ceiling profusely ornamented with lotus medallions. The most striking feature of the entrance is the clock-tower which is one of the oldest in India erected in 1832 A.D. and still continues to be in working order.
The first floor the Poomuham has a council chamber or Mantrasala which is meant for holding discussions with ministers and prominent citizens. The floor off this hall, which is polished with the admixture of coconut shell ashes, eggs fermented in molasses and lime reflects the figure like a mirror. Next to the Mantrasala is the Dancing Hall which was used exclusively for the members of the royal family.
Adjacent to the Council Chamber and to the south of dancing hall is the dinning hall called “Uttupura”, with two floors (the ground and the first) each measuring roughly 78 by 6 metres and it would accommodate about 2000 people at a time. Feeding of about 2000 poor persons, it is said, was done here every day and so the king was called ”Dharmaraja”.
Uppirika Malika : – The most attractive building in the whole palace is the ‘Uppirika Malika’ which consists of three storied. ‘Uppirika’ is the abbreviated term of ‘Muppirika’ which means the residence of the eldest member of the family. A wooden cot is erected on the top most floor in the belief that “Lord Vishnu” the chief deity. The first floor contains a wooden cot made of 64 medicinal plants, on which Maharaja used to sleep. The medicinal cot was presented to Maharaja “Marthanda Varma” by the Dutch East India Company in 1750, as a mark of friendship.
The Navarathri Mandapa: – To the west of the Zuppirika Mandapa is the Navarathri Mandapa which is a spacious hall of exquisitely beautiful granite pillars with drooping pendants reminiscent of the Nayakar style of architecture. In the Navarathri Mandapa, performances of Bharatha Natya and musical recitals took place in the royal presence.
Visiting Hours : From 09.00 AM to 01.00 PM and 02.00 P.M to 04.30 P.M . Every Monday Holiday
Entrance Ticket Fare; Adult :Rs.35/-, Children Rs.10/-,camera fee.Rs.50/- Foreign Fee.Rs.300,(Timing:9.00 am to 1.00 pm and 2.00pm to 4.30(All Mondays Holiday)
How to Reach:
Nearest Airport : Thiruvananthapuram Airport. Padmanabapuram Palace can be reached by bus or train from Thiruvananthapuram.
Nearest Raiway Station : Nagercoil junction. Padmanabapuram Palace can be reached by bus
By road it is 70 Kms from Thiruvananthapuram and 15 Kms from Nagercoil
Nearest accomodation is available at Nagercoil