The Mattancherry Palace is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Kochi, Kerala. This palace was built by the Portuguese in 1557 as a gift to Raja Veera Kerala Varma of Kochi. The gift was a token of establishing trading relations with the kingdom. In 1663, the Dutch renovated the palace and till date the place is known as the Dutch Palace. The palace was used by the rulers of Kochi as their royal residence and hosted important ceremonies like the coronation.
The Mattancherry palace is a two-storeyed edifice built in traditional Kerala naalukettu (quadrangular) model. The four separate wings open into a central courtyard. The courtyard houses a temple of the royal deity Pazhayannur Bhagavathi. There are also Temples dedicated to Lord Krishna and Lord Shiva.
The elegant palace has a simple style. The palace has Coronation hall, royal bed chamber, dining hall, assembly hall, ladies quarters and the staircase room. The ceilings are decorated with wood carved floral designs including the design of an inverted lotus. The unique flooring imitates black marble. A mixture of burnt coconut shells, lime, plant juices and egg-whites was used.
The Treasures in the Palace
The Mattancherry Palace has a mesmerizing collection of mural paintings and antique royal regalia including furniture and weapons.
The walls of the palace are adorned in elaborate mythological mural paintings in rich warm colors. The notable mural is in the Royal Bed Chamber which depicts the entire story of Ramayana. The painting covers about 100 square meter and dates back to the early 17th and century. There are also intricate representations of Hindu gods and goddesses. The story of Kumarasambhavam by the great writer Kalidasa and the murals depicting Krishna Leela and Shiv Leela are awe-inspiring.
The coronation hall houses life-size portraits of the Kochi kings. Clad in their coronation robes, know the rulers who ruled since the year 1864.
The treasures housed in the palace are Dutch maps of old Kochi, royal palanquins with floral designs, silver sequined gowns, royal umbrellas make of silk and brass, the ceremonial royal sword and other royal paraphernalia. The weapons on display include sheathed swords, daggers, spears, etc.