It is located very close to Thuckalay in Kanyakumari District of Tamilnadu and it still remains a wonderful wooden palace of 16th century. It stands just 20km.away from Nagercoil of Tamilnadu and 50km. further away from Trivandrum of Kerala. The fact to be emphasized is that this palace lies at the foot of the veeli hills in the Western Ghats with the river valli flowing nearby and it reflects Kerala’s indigenous style of architecture by providing a fine feast to any lover of art and architecture.
The palace was constructed during the years 1601by Iravi varma kulasekhara perumal who had been ruling venad between 1592 to 1609. It has been informed that the Thai- kottaram was built in the year 1550. This palace was re-built in around the year 1750. As the king Marthanda varma was highly dedicated to his family deity padmanabha, a typical form of Lord Vishnu, he ruled the kingdom as Padmanabha dasa (THE SERVANT OF PADMANABHA). In this way the name Padmanabhapuram had been evolved. In the year 1795, the capital of Travancore had been shifted from here to Trivandrum. Consequently, in due course of time this palace lost its traditional glory of popularity. Anyhow,the palace complex still continues to be one of the best models of traditional architecture of Kerala.
Padmanabhapuram fort covers a vast area of around 200 acres. The strong fort walls rise to a height of 30 ft. the foundation of which has been constructed with the help of granite and the superstructure in red stone. The mighty palace stands at the middle of the fort. The palace buildings lie spread over an area of 6.5 acres.The antique interiors is replete with intricate rosewood carvings and sculptured decor. The palace is blessed with 17th and 18th century murals. The notable materials one can witness in the traditional palace are: the musical bow in mahogany, windows with coloured mica, royal chairs with Chinese carvings, 'Thaikkottaram' or the Queen Mother's palace with painted ceilings, rose wood and teak carved ceilings with 90 different floral designs.
10 days car-festival:
The Palace has a durbar hall with a shiny black floor specially finished with the mixture of egg white, jiggery, lime, burnt coconut, charcoal and river sand, granite tubs, curd, and buttermilk. There also exists secret underground passages, King's bedroom with a four poster medicinal bed, mural paintings, pictures of Lord Krishna, hanging brass lanterns lit continuously since the 18th century, hanging cage through which eagles tore criminals to death, open air swimming bath, the King's sister's dressing room, granite dance hall, Saraswathi (goddess of knowledge) temple, large earthen urns, room for scribes and accountants, carved figures on columns holding oil lamps, pooja (worship) rooms with jackfruit tree columns, fish carvings on the ceilings, enormous teak beams, Belgian mirrors and an outer cyclopean stone wall fitted together without mortar.
Though it is located in Tamilnadu, it is under the control of the Kerala Government
Thuckalay (Bus Stand)
Location and reaching:
Padmanabhapuram lies 55 km south-west of Thiruvananthapuram( a two-and-a-half hour drive).
Nearest Railway Station: Nagercoil (15km) and local station is Iraniel (6km) from the palace.
Nearest Airport: Thiruvananthapuram International Airport, 6 km from Thiruvananthapuram city.