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Heli Tourism

Enchanting Kerala


ISSUE: 200

APRIL 2010

Poonjar Palace

Located at Poonjar on the Pala-Erattupetta road in Kottayam district of Kerala, the Poonjar Palace is yet another magnificent testimony to the rich cultural heritage of Kerala. The Poonjar Palace is a glorious testimony to the regal opulence of a bygone era. Travellers to Kottayam make it a point to visit the Poonjar Palace, which is also noted for its traditional architecture. The palace has many interesting aspects that are quite fascinating for the visitors to the palace.

The members of the royal family of Poonjar palace, known as Rajas are from an ancient dynasty and are closely connected to the Travancore royal family. The palace, made almost entirely of wood, reflects the simple architectural marvels of traditional Kerala buildings.

The palace, which is nearly 600 years old, houses a museum these days, which attracts visitors in large numbers. The museum features the royal collection of antiques, rock-cut lamps and several sculptures. Also part of the museum are exquisite furniture including a palanquin, a droni (treatment bed) carved out of a single piece of wood for Ayurvedic massages, huge chandeliers, palm leaf engravings, jewel boxes, varieties of lamps, sculptures of Nataraja (the dancing Shiva), grain measures, statues and weapons. The palace also has a unique conch shell, which has been preserved and is taken out once a year for ritualistic purposes.

Close to the palace structure, visitors would find to their amazement a replica of the famous Madurai Meenakshi Temple in the neighbouring state of Tamilnadu. The walls of this temple bear sculptures that narrate stories from the puranas (the epics of ancient India). However, the most fascinating thing here is the chuttuvilakku (row of lamps) carved out of the stone walls of the nearby Sastha temple. Such rock-cut lamps are rarely found in India.

The Poonjar palace is an interesting experience for visitors, who could have a feel of the kind of lifestyle, led by yet another formidable royal family of Kerala.

Getting there:

Nearest railway station: Kottayam, about 30 km from Pala.
Nearest airport: Cochin International Airport, about 76 km from Kottayam town.
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