Friday, February 22, 2008

Padmanabhapuram Palace

Wooden Palace :

It is located 55 kms south of Trivandrum in kulkulam taluk, Tamil Nadu near the NH 47 highway junction of Thucklay. The fort and palace is situated in an area of 186 acres. Currently the fort ramparts are surrounded by houses and commercial hub. The palace is restricted to 6.5 acres. The Padmabha Palace consists of 14 palaces of which only 3 are accessible to the public due to the fear of crumbling edifice.

The palace is said to be rebuilt in 1744 AD, wherein an old mud Kalkulam palace was demolished. Over a period of 150 years the extension of the palace took place with subsequent rulers. Marthanda Varma dedicated the Sri Padmanabha temple @ travancore in 1750 paving way for shifting the capital from Kalkulam to Trivancore.

There seems to be some sort of curse after the palace was built fully in 1839 AD the ruler died at an young age of 34, just 9 months into the reign from the palace. The palace was shut for more than 150 years only reopened in 1991 for public viewing. The Vaastu of the palace seems to be wrong, ancient Hindu architectural guidelines for prosperity.

The palace is built with wooden pillars and supports, the ancient laterite stones with bricklime mortar is used along with red inclined tiles to reduce intensity of the rainfall. The palace consists of :

1. Mint
2. Dining Hall
3. Visitors chambers
4. Scholar’s Room
5. Queen’s chamber
6. King’s Bedroom
7. Mural Painting Room
8. Kitchen
9. Water Tank
10.Navarathri Mantapam or dancing chamber

The palace ramparts consists of a museum which is filled with artifacts, ancient coins, weapons of war, puppets, cutlery, throne, etc. This museum was finished in 1993 in line with the palace reopening.

Alas one cannot enjoy the videography, which is probhitively expensive @ Rs 1500/-. One has to be content with still photography. One should not miss this spectacular edifice on a trip to TN or Kerela.


Kanyakumari lies on the southern most tip of peninsular India. Kanyakumari is the meeting point for Arabian sea, Indian Ocean and Bay of bengal. The rustic atmosphere combined with intense sunshine can put off tourists. The saving grace of Kanyakumari is Vivekananda Ashram which is economically priced accomodation for 2 people. The tariff is Rs 200/- which is budget friendly.

Ranade the founder of the Ashram had established this place for serenity. The trust is functioning with great sense of pride to promote the traditions. It was with people's movement the Rock memorial was built by Ranade, even though many industrialist came forward to sponsor construction. One ruppee campaign was begun to garner the support of the people to build the memorial.

PROLOUGE : In 1962 the birth centenary of Swami Vivekanada was celeberated wherein the idea of putting up a memorial on the rock germinated. But invevitably controversy erupted since the christian folks wanted it to be St Xavier's memorial. A big cross was implanted on the rock by the catholic fishermen, it caused the Hindu sentiments to boil, they managed to quietly bury the cross and place a tablet for association with Vivekanada swami. Eknath Ranade stepped into the picture and garnered support of 322 MP's and changed the opinion of Kabir. With the support of L.B. Shastri and J.L. Nehru, a final decree was presented before TN CM Bhaktavatsalam, who had give in his nod. Within a short period ex RSS man Ranade dedicated the Rock Memorial in 1970 to the nation.

On 7th January 1972 Vivekananda Kendra was founded to harness a spiritually oriented service mission of non monastic order. The Jeevanrathis, who take an vow to serve the society, would be trained and sent to different parts of the country. Their well being will be taken care by life patrons.