Krishnapuram Palace, Alleppey
About Krishnapuram Palace
The palace was built by King Marthanda Varma of Travancore after defeating and annexing Odanad in the Odanad–Travancore War of 1746. Before the construction of the palace, the King demolished an earlier palace at the site, which had been built by the King Veera Ravi Varma of Odanad (reign 1700–1775 AD). Initially, a small palace of a single story, known locally as Ettukettu, was built in the traditional style with an adjacent pond, temple and urappura under the management of Prime Minister Ramayyan Dalawa, which was later enlarged by Prime Minister Ayyappan Marthanada Pillai. The palace complex has many other buildings, which are a combination of traditional and Western architecture. The present building, a three-storied structure within the complex, was renovated in the 1950s by the Archaeological Department of Kerala in modern style conforming to the scientific techniques prescribed for the protection of heritage buildings. As a protected monument, it houses the Archaeological Museum and its offices.
The Krishnapuram Palace, as one of the finest and rarest examples of a typical Keralite-style architecture, known in the local language as Pathinarukettu, is complete with gabled roofs, narrow corridors and dormer windows. It is a miniature replica of Padmanabhapuram Palace, which was the headquarters of Travancore Rajas.The palace complex originally encompassed a total land area of 56 acres (23 ha). However, over the years, as the monarchic rule ended, the palace was completely neglected and fell to disuse, and was dilapidated. Many of the buildings surrounding the main palace of the Maharaja got demolished or destroyed and the palace complex got reduced to a mere 2.55 acres (1.03 ha) enclosed within a 10 feet (3.0 m) high compound wall. The main palace, which was run down, was rebuilt to its original state as a three storied monument by the Archaeological Department of Kerala in the 1950s. The rare documents and artefacts which were kept at other locations were brought back, restored and eventually exhibited in the palace that has been converted into a Museum.The palace restored to its originally built plans, conforming to Vastu Shastra norms, has 16 blocks or Kettus with four Nadumuttam or open area in the centre or courtyards. The windows, doors and ventilators were placed in such a way as to ensure fresh air circulation and natural lighting in all the rooms. There are 22 rooms (which open into the shady internal courtyards) with ornamental wooden partitions with carvings. Additional openings were provided to prevent any negative effects of "Murmavedham." (Secret effects). The building is set with verandas (passages) all round to protect the outer walls getting damaged due to rains. The materials used in its construction consisted of laterite stones, rubble, teak, rosewood and Angili wood. Roofing (red-tiled gabled) is steep and tiled with Mangalore tiles, which accentuates the beauty of the structure. A special feature of the carpentry adopted in building the palace consisted of wooden hinges and locks for doors and windows, instead of metallic fittings and fixtures. The flooring consists of polished wood and also of black and red oxide-coated concrete. The steps are made of polished granite blocks. Aesthetic beauty of the palace has been further enhanced by the special designs of straight, curved and spiral staircases and sunshades.A small stream was created to flow close to the southern vicinity of the palace which also functioned as a secret escape route in times of emergency.An underground tank or pond that stretches to the centre of the building was part of the palace; it provided air-conditioning effect of moderate temperature in all interior rooms.The palace compound has many Padippuras, particularly at the main entrance, which are significators of status.