No other state in India has such a rich heritage as Kerala has. It's past is entwined with periods of tumult and tranquil. This green strip, several times, was soaked in blood when forces, domestic and alien, fought for supremacy. Religions, Christianity and Islam made their entry into Indian subcontinent via this coast. On the cultural front, the state had diligently designed several art forms for the country's cultural mosaic. A root-conscious people of the state have preserved their past not only in the form of history books but also in the form of monuments and palaces. Places, palaces and institutions of historic value are being preserved conscientiously. A Kerala touring will leave you marvel at the exquisite architecture manifested in palatial mansions and monuments. Hanging around the ruins of dilapidated forts, temples would help you splash deep into the rich past of the state.
Bolghatty Palace : Built by the Dutch in 1744, this palace is on an island, off Cochin in the Arabian Sea. Earlier Dutch and later British used the palace as Governor's residence. Today, Kerala Tourism Development Corporation has transformed the palace into a tourist hotel. A canopied garden is another tourist attraction on the island.
Location: Kochi. Frequent boat services from High Court Jetty, Kochi
Kanakakkunnu Palace : Situated on a hillock in the museum compound in Thiruvananthapuram, the capital city. This imposing, fine-looking mansion of the Travancore Rajas is a stunning piece of architectural excellence of yore. At night, when the palace premise is lit up, the gabled, pagoda style red brick structure comes alive, bringing to mind the majesty and gallantry of kings Inside one can see large crystal chandeliers and exquisite pieces of royal furniture.
Location : Trivandrum (Thiruvananthapuram )
Krishnapuram Palace, Alappuzha : The 18th century Krishnapuram Palace was built during the reign of the Travancore Monarch, Marthanda Varma. A double storied structure which displays typical characteristics of Kerala's architecture-gabled roofs, dormer windows and narrow corridors. The 'Ganjendra Moksham' Mural, one of the largest mural paintings in Kerala, is a major attraction in the palace.. A museum with antique sculptures, paintings and bronzes is housed inside the building. The Palace is situated 47kms from Alleppey.
Location: Kayamkulam. 47 kms from Alappuzha
Kuthiramalika : This palace was built by Tamil sculptures from Thanchavore. Pillars carved on single stone and exquisitely designed roofs enhances the beauty of the palace. A striking monument of 122 horses is attached to the palace. Hence derived the name Kuthiramalika ( kuthira means horse).
Location: Thiruvananthapuram, East Fort
Shakthan Thampuran Palace : Also known as Thoppu palace, is spread over an area of 6 acres. Sakthan Thampuran, erstwhile ruler of Thrissur is buried in the palace compound.
Location : Thrissur
Mattancherry Palace : Also known as Dutch Palace. Built by Portuguese and handed over to Cochin Raja in 1555 AD and the was renamed as Mattancheri Palace in 1663, when the Dutch spruced up the palace. However, neither did Portuguese nor Dutch stay in the palace. The centre of the building has a Coronation Hall where Cochin Rajas investitures were held. Today, it is a portrait gallery of the Rajas. Rooms adjacent display 17th century murals depicting scenes from the epic, the Ramayana.
Location : Eranakulam. Open for visitors. 10 am to 5 pm Closed on Fridays, national holidays.
Padmanabhapuram palace: Manor of erstwhile Venad kings, Padmanabhapuram palace is a 16 the century marvel on wood. It flaunts the dexterity of Kerala's master carpenters. Carved wooden ceilings, slatted shuttered windows, intricate interlocking beams, sculpted door panels and pagoda like tiled roofs stand testimony to the deftness of architectures.Intricate carvings, murals and exquisite wall paintings reflect the prolific talent of the sculptors and painters who enjoyed the patronage of Travancore kings.
Location : 60 kms from Thiruvananthapuram
Cheruthuruthy (Kerala Kalamandalam) : Kerala Kalamandalam at Cheruthuruthy, was founded by Malayalam Poet Vallathol in 1930. Main objective was to revive, preserve and develop ancient and traditional art form of Kerala, particularly Kathakali. Kalamandalam has been the nursery of Kerala's renowned kathakali artistes. Hundreds of boys and girls are undergoing training in various branches of performing arts such as Mohiniyattom, Koodiyattom and Ottan Thullal. Many foreigners captivated by the language of Kathakali and other art forms are joining the training sessions. Koothambalam attached to the Kalamandalam is a major attraction. The Samadhi (tomb) of the founder-poet is in the premises of the Kalamandalam on the banks of River Bharathapuzha.
Location: Shornur (Thirssur district) Near Shornur railway station on Mangalore- Chennai route. 29 Km away from Thrissur, bus services from Thrissur Private bus stand.
Edakkal Cave, Wayanad : Atop Ambukutty Hills near Ambalavayal in Wayanad is Edakkal Caves. Two caves, formed by a split in a mammoth rock- one roofed over by other- make up the Edakkal caves. For decades the caves have been the haven of archeologists. Ancient carvings and pictorial wall inscriptions are supposed to be of pre-historic period. The stone walls also have pictures of human beings and instruments. Archaeologists consider this as one of the earliest centres of human habitation. A 1500-acre Reserve Forest also houses as many as 200 stone age monuments. Down town Ambalavayal has a heritage museum, first of its kind in the state. It has a rare collection of instruments and curios shedding light to life, centuries back. Location : Caves three km away from Ambalavayal, Wayanad. Ambalavayal buses from Kozhikode, Kalpetta and Sulthan Bathery.
Jewish Synagogue,Mattancherry :
Built in A D 1568. Great scrolls of the Old Testament (Bible) and copper plates in which the grants of privilege to Jews from Cochin rulers were carved are preserved here. Chinese hand-painted tiles are another attraction. Finely-wrought gold and silver crowns gifted to the synagogue by various patrons are also displayed. This, the only Synagogue in India has a nostalgic past of a Jewish Diaspora. A few Jew families are still residing in Kochi and its suburbs reciprocating the love and affection of this land. Besides, preserving the Synagogue is also their mission. Years back, hundreds of families were here, but for them the call of roots were irresistible. Visitors permitted from 10 am to 12 am and from 3 pm to 5 pm. Closed on Saturdays and Jewish holidays.
Location : Mattancheri, 8km off Kochi. Bus , boat services( from High Court jetty ) available.
Arumadikuttan : A 10th century, black granite statute of Budha, founder of Buddhism. The statue is known as Karumadikkuttan is situated 3 km east of Ambalapuzha, Alappuzha. Legends are woven around this idol.
Location : Ambalapuzha enroute NH 47 between Kollam and Alappuzha.
Kaviyoor Stone Temple : A temple of historical and archeological significance, Kaviyoor is on the banks of River Manimala. The stone figuress here are considered to be the earliest specimen of stone culture.
Location : Kaviyoor in Mallappally taluk, Pathanamthitta district.
Pazhassi Raja's Tomb, Mananthavady : Pazhassi Kerala Varma Raja had a heroic death after fighting to the finish against British supremacy in the thick forests of Wayanad. he died on November 30,1805. His tomb at the Mananthavady, Wayanad had been a source of inspiration for many to fight the colonial forces. Archeology Department had taken over the Pazhassi tomb at Mananthavady town.
Location: Mananthavady, 30 km from Kalpetta, Wayanad district head quarters.100 km from Kozhikode. Round the clock bus service from Kozhikode KSRTC stand. Accessible from Mysore and Bangalore via road.
Tipu's Fort, Palghat : The fort in the nerve centre of Palakkad, built by Haider Ali of Mysore, dates back to 1766 A.D. Today known after Haider Ali's son Tipu Sultan. The fort still echoes the ballyhoo of those troops which barged into it to fight pitched battles. The fort was supposed to have built the fort to facilitate communication between Coimbatore and Palakkad, two vantage points.. In 1784 after a 11-days siege, Lord Fullerton, the then British Colonel, conquered the fort. Later Zamorin's troops wrested control but the British occupied the fort in 1790.
Location : Palakkad , 79km from Thrissur. Rail, road network with all centres in South India
Pallippuram Fort : Another Portuguese legacy bequeathed to Kochi. Raised in 1503. Reckoned as one of the oldest European monuments in India. The Catholic Church here is an important pilgrim centre.
Location : Ernakulam
St. Francis Church, Kochi : The first European Church in India. Churches elsewhere in the country were modeled after this Portuguese construction. A mute witness to the watershed events in this coastal town, for past five centuries. Vasco De Gama, the legendary navigator from Lisbon, died at Kochi during his second voyage to Kerala. he was laid to rest in the St. Francis Church on Christmas eve 1524. Years later, his mortal remains were taken back to Portugal. The sepulcher is still preserved in the church hall and is open for visitors.
Location : Fort Kochi, Eranakula
Halassery Fort: This coastal town as a whole is a historical monument. The centuries-old city is the cradle of Indian circus. Leading circus artistes and circus companies have roots in this city. Gymnastics was introduced in schools by German missionaries here. Thalassery Fort, stand testimony for the vantage position the city enjoyed in the battles between Britain and Tippu Sulthan.
The first Malayalam daily, Rajyasamacharam, was published from Illikkunu, a sleepy hamlet near Thalassery. Herman Gundert, a German missionary was instrumental behind it. His another contribution for Malayalam language was the first Malayalam Dictionary. He also established a few educational institutions, churches in Thalassery.
Location : 20km. south of Kannur
Thrissur Art Museum : Among art pieces and curios displayed in the museum include wood carvings, ancient jewellery pieces and figures depicting Kathakali, the majestic dance drama. Metal sculptures and traditional Kerala lamps are also shawcased.
Location : Thrissur, 2 km from town