Durbar Hall Grounds
|The two-acre Durbar Hall Grounds, right in the middle of the city near the Ernakulam Shiva Temple, is a great place to take a breather from the bustling city with its skyscrapers, restaurants, shops and crowded streets.
The Durbar Hall and its grounds has a rich history to boast of. The 100-year old building gets its name from being the place that was used by the Rajas of Cochin to conduct their durbars.
Besides this, it has witnessed many historical events such as the institution of the administrative reforms in 1938 and the founding of the constitution of the state of Cochin.
While the grounds were used for conducting various cultural and sports events, exhibitions, military parades and by processions from the nearby temple, the hall has been used as various government departments and offices from time to time. It was used as a court room, as an office of the National Cadet Core (NCC), the office of the Pallivasal hydro-electric project and then as a museum with archeological findings. In 1989, its first floor was handed over to the Kerala Lalitha Kala Akademi. In 1991, the Akademi opened the Gallery of Contemporary Art in the upper floor. In 1992, the entire building was entrusted to the Akademi.
When it was under the Department of Archaeology, the building was known as the Parikshith Thampuran Museum. Today, it is called the Durbar Hall Art Gallery.
Inside the Durbar Hall
The building with its elegant Dutch exterior, its deep verandah, modern interior and marble flooring is a fine piece of architecture. Painting of illustrious artists like Raja Ravi Varma, Manu Parekh, Souza and Padmini adorn the inner walls of the two-storeyed building. Exhibitions of paintings by contemporary artists are also frequently held at the Hall. This has made the place a favourite haunt of art connoisseurs.