Kerala offers a wide number of attractions for travelers, including the backwaters of Kerala, verdant hill stations in Kerala, and great beaches as well. However, palaces in Kerala are also popular among history and architectural buffs, experience seekers, and photo enthusiasts alike. During your tour to Kerala, you can explore some of the most famous historical monuments of Kerala that let you know the glorious past history of the state.
List of Famous Palaces in Kerala
Here are some of the notable palaces in Kerala, which offer travelers a rich taste of the cultural heritage and traditions of the state. Explore the beauty of all these exciting and famous historical monuments in Kerala for a magical tryst with history.
1. The Kanakakunnu Palace
Located in Thiruvananthapuram, in the vicinity of the Napier museum, the Kanakakunnu Palace is a huge royal palace with large sprawling grounds around it. The palace is known to have been built by the royal family in order to entertain guests while serving non-vegetarian food, the royal family being vegetarian itself. There are a number of cultural programs and meet-ups that take place at the venue every year, including a dance festival that lasts 6 months in duration.
Kanakakunnu Palace Visiting Time: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM on all days except Mondays.
2. Hill Palace Kochi
Hill Palace in Kochi is the largest heritage museum of Kerala. which is one of the most famous historical monuments in Kerala. The palace was built by the Cochin royal family as a safe haven to protect its women and children from enemy troops. Hill Palace has 17 galleries flaunting the historical treasures of Kerala: A gold crown of 1.75 kg, presented to the king of Cochin by King Emmanuel of Portugal, and the Bible (Hebrew, Old Testament) written on goat skin are examples.
Hill Palace Kochi Visiting Time: 9.00 to 12.30 hrs &14.00 to 16.30 hrs on all days except Mondays.
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3. The Mattancherry Palace
Also known as the Dutch Palace, the Mattancherry Palace is located in Kochi and was built by the Portuguese as a gift to the Raja of Cochin around the year 1555. The palace is a rich depiction of murals and the traditional culture of the royals of Kerala, featuring a number of exhibits, portraits, and temple art exhibiting the lifestyle of the kings of Cochin around the period.
Mattancherry Palace Visiting hours: 1000 – 1700 hours on all days except Fridays.
4. The Paliam Palace
The Paliam Dutch Palace is located in the district of Ernakulam in the village of Chennamangalam. The palace is believed to have been a safe house for the ministers of the royal family when security was under threat due to the Portuguese. It is also believed that the Raja stayed incognito in the palace himself. The palace was restored and gifted back to the ministers of Kerala by the Dutch in appreciation of their valiant efforts. The building features elaborate and intricate Dutch architecture with a number of fascinating elements present within.
5. The Krishnapuram Palace
Located near Alappuzha, the Krishnapuram Palace is both a royal palace as well as a museum that was built in the 18th century. Featuring the traditional architectural style of Kerala, the structure is complete with dormer windows, gabled roofs, and narrow corridors. The Archaeological Department of Kerala is responsible for the maintenance of the Krishnapuram Palace and the museum features exhibits of the royal palace, featuring the belongings of the occupants, elaborate artwork, traditional weapons, and statues of deities. The palace also features underground escape routes and has a huge pond in front of it.
Krishnapuram Palace Visiting hours : 9.00 am to 5.00 pm on all days except Mondays.
6. The Shakthan Thampuran Palace
Located in Thrissur, the Shakthan Thampuran Palaceis also known as the Vadakkekara Palace and it features a mix of the architectural styles of the Dutch and of Kerala. Reconstructed in 1795, the palace is maintained by the Archaeological Department of the state and it was also made into a museum in the year 2005. Featuring extremely well-built interiors, the palace would offer comfort to occupants and guests from the hot weather of Thrissur.
These are some of the palaces in Kerala that offer travelers a taste of the diversity of the culture of Kerala, while also providing a hint of the European flavor of architecture that was prevalent during the times.
Shakthan Thampuran Palace Visiting Time: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM on all days except Mondays.
7. Kilimanoor Palace
Kilimanoor Palace is spread over 15 acres of land comprises the traditional residential structures of Kerala like the Nalukettu, small and medium-sized buildings, ponds, wells, and sacred groves and is where Raja Ravi Varma learned the basics of painting as a five-year-old. Raja Ravi Varma the renowned painter from Kerala and his birth palace, the Kilimanoor Palace holds a very special place in the hearts of those who love the fine art of painting. Ravi Varma is reckoned as a master painter of international repute from India. The inspiring settings and the palace lifestyle later became themes for some of his renowned works.
Kilimanoor Palace Visiting Time: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM on all days except Mondays.
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8. Koyikkal Palace, Thiruvananthapuram
Koyikkal Palace is two-storeyed with a nalukettu with an inner courtyard and slanting gabled roofs. The palace houses a Folklore Museum and a Numismatics Museum currently which showcases brass/copperware and wooden kitchenware. The artifacts inside the palace are representing the lifestyle of the Keralites during different periods. Numismatics Museum has a rare and historically valuable collection that is a vestige of the trade relation of Kerala in the bygone ages.
Koyikkal Palace Visiting Time: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM on all days except Mondays.
9. Padmanabhapuram Palace
Padmanabhapuram Palace complex continues to be one of the best examples of traditional Kerala architecture, and some portions of the sprawling complex are also the hallmark of traditional Kerala style architecture. The palace is inside a fortress that is four kilometers long. The palace is located in Kanyakumari district of Tamil Nadu state but in the foothills of Veli Hills and is maintained by the Govt. of Kerala Archaeology Department.
Padmanabhapuram Palace Visiting Time: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM on all days except Mondays.
When you visit any of these palaces in Kerala, the visitor is often overwhelmed by the history, culture, and royal splendor and you can often see the windows with wooden designs, royal chairs with Chinese carvings, musical bow in mahogany, and wonder at the aesthetics of the traditional Kerala architecture that mixes the best of Arabian, Persian, Dutch and other cultures which invaded Kerala that has incorporated many ideas in these buildings, with their own architectural style. Relax your eyes by going back in time, through these famous historical monuments in Kerala.
Frequently Asked Questions About Famous Places in Kerala
Which is the biggest palace in Kerala?
Hill Palace, Tripunithura is the largest archaeological museum in the state and was the imperial administrative office and official residence of the Cochin Maharaja.
Who built Kowdiar Palace?
Kowdiar Palace was built in 1934 by Maharajah Sree Chithira Thirunal Balarama Varma. The Kowdiar palace is believed to be the most beautiful palace amongst the various palaces built by the royal family.
What is the history of Kanakakunnu Palace in Kerala?
The Kanakakunnu Palace was constructed during the time of the Travancore King. It was originally a royal guest house and the venue of royal functions.
Which is the oldest palace in Kerala?
The Padmanabhapuram palace was the ancient capital of the Travancore kings and this the oldest palace in Kerala. Padmanabhapuram Palace history goes back to the 1600s. It was built during the reign of Iravi Varma Kulasekharan Perumal.