Now a protected monument, the palace en route to the pristine hill station of Ponmudi is a double storied traditional nalukettu with slanting gabled roofs and an inner courtyard. Presently, the palace noted for its traditional architectural beauty houses museums of Folklore and Numismatics set up by the Department of Archaeology.
The Folklore museum at the Koyikkal Palace set up in 1992 is the first of its kind in Kerala. Located on the first floor of the palace, it has an interesting display of quaint musical instruments, occupational implements, household utensils, and models of folk arts. Drawing attention to the rich cultural heritage of Kerala are some of the exhibits like the Chandravalayam (not found in any other such museum in Kerala), a small percussion instrument used as an accompaniment while reciting the ballad-Ramakathappattu (the story of Lord Sree Rama) and Nanthuni, a sweet sounding musical instrument made of wood and string used while singing the Onappattu and Nanthunippattu during Onam-the harvest festival of Kerala.
The Thaliyola (old palm-leaf manuscripts), Chilambu (a type of anklet) used by Umayamma Rani and Maravuri (dress material made of tree bark) etc. are some of the other interesting exhibits at the Folklore museum. Oorakkudukku a device for intellectual exercise used by the Yogis as a pastime; Gajalekshmi- a lamp representing the Goddess of prosperity Lakshmi, seated on her elephant; and Kettuvillakku-a ceremonial lamp are other exhibits that would fascinate visitors at the Folklore museum.
Visitors to the Folklore museum would also come across symbols of Kerala's performing as well as ritual art forms. An impressive model of Muthappan theyyam; model of a Patayani kolam and the headgear and dress used by Ottanthullal artistes are some of them.
The Numismatic museum here at the Koyikkal Palace has an elaborate collection of ancient coins. The museum is only one of its kinds in Kerala and is located on the ground floor of the palace. The coins displayed here belong to different parts of the world and represent different periods of time. Some of the coins on display here are rare and historically valuable. They connect Kerala to the once flourishing trade period with nations far beyond its borders.
At the Numismatic museum, some of the oldest coins of Kerala displayed include the Ottaputhen, Erattaputhen and Kaliyugarayan Panam. A Venetian coin named Amaida, believed to have been presented to Jesus Christ, is also a property of this museum. The nearly 2500-year-old Karsha is the most valuable among the Indian coins and Rasi the world’s smallest coin are also on display at the museum. Some of the other coins from Kerala forming part of the collection at the museum are the Anantharayan Panam- the first modern gold coin of Travancore, which was in circulation in the 15th and 17th centuries; Kochi Puthen – one of the coins of the Kochi Kingdom and the Lekshmi Varaham-the silver coins minted in Travancore.The Rasi Palaka (the coin board)-a wooden board with small niches for counting small coins (up to 100 to 200 at a time) and coin mints are well preserved in the museum. Nearly 374 Roman gold coins, depicting Roman Gods and Goddesses like Venus, Hercules, Mars etc. and rulers like Hardin (AD 117 - 138) are also highlights of the coin collection at the museum. The museum also has on display coins used by various Indian dynasties like the Gwalior royal family, the Nizam of Hyderabad, Tipu Sultan and Hyder Ali
The Koyikkal Palace is an ideal destination for those who are interested in understanding the traditional architecture of Kerala as well as historic aspects.
Palace visiting hours: 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on all days, except Mondays.
Nearest railway station: Thiruvananthapuram Central, about 18 km.
Nearest airport: Thiruvananthapuram International Airport, about 24 km.