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KERALA TOURISM NEWSLETTER

ISSUE: 199

MARCH 2010

Mattancherry Palace

The Mattancherry Palace with its old world charm is situated on the Palace Road in Mattancherry in Kochi. This palace was built by the Portuguese and presented to Veera Kerala Varma Raja of Kochi, in 1555 AD. The Dutch, who followed the Portuguese to Kochi, carried out some extensions and renovations in the palace in 1663. Since then, the palace became popular also as the Dutch Palace.

The Mattancherry Palace is one of the most visited structures by travellers coming to Fort Kochi. It is a landmark of Mattancherry. The palace exudes an architecture that has more to do with oriental style than what could have been easily an European one.

The palace has a quadrangular structure built in the traditional Nalukettu style of Kerala with a courtyard in the middle. It is marked by halls that are long and spacious and is also noted for the large number of murals, executed in the best traditions of Hindu temple art, which are religious, decorative and stylized. The murals have been painted in rich warm colours in tempera technique.

Visitors to the Mattancherry Palace would also take note of the exquisite traditional Kerala flooring, which looks like polished black marble. The finish of the floor is attributed to an application that is a mixture of burned coconut shells, charcoal, lime, plant juices and egg whites.

Here, at the Mattancherry Palace, one would also find a portrait gallery, where portraits of the Rajas of Cochin, from 1864 onwards are displayed. The portraits displayed here were done by local artists in western style. The ceiling of the hall is decorated with floral designs in wood craft. The space for the portrait gallery was formerly the Coronation Hall.

Entering the courtyard of the Mattancherry Palace, one would find a temple dedicated to Goddess Bhagavati; the guardian Goddess of the Kochi royal family. There are two more temples on either side of the palace, one dedicated to Lord Krishna and the other to Lord Shiva.

In 1951, the Mattancherry Palace was restored and declared a centrally protected monument. The palace is an architectural masterpiece visited by travellers throughout the year.
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