Moving towards Padmanabhapuram Palace, 13 km from Kovalam Beach, it took nearly half an hour drive through car. Padmanabhapuram Palace is a magnificent piece of architecture built in the 16th century by Rajas of the Travancore. It is located in Kanyakumari district and is a border place to Tamil Nadu state. It represents ancient and traditional Kerala style of architecture and marvel in ornamental carvings, wooden structures and antique interiors.
Structural members were well-connected by tendon joints and mortise. The palace consists of several structures such as Mantrasala (Council Chambers), Thai Kottaram (Palace of King’s mother), Nataksala (Hall of Performance), four-storied central building (Uppirikka Maliga) and Thekee Kottaram (Southern Palace). Darbar Hall with shiny black floor made of coconut shells, egg, etc., and jewel-coloured mica windows, is the most beautiful and impressive part of palace. We were overwhelmed by the secret underground passages, King’s four poster bed, Lord Krishna’s pictures, paintings, murals, hanging brass lanterns, musical bow in mahogany, carved rosewood ceilings, granite dance hall, swimming bath in open air, Saraswati temple, large earthen urns, carved figurines holding lamps on columns, wooden cot, variety of weapons which were used in wars, worship room, Belgian mirrors and many other royal splendour. The palace is a must-visit place for heritage and art lovers. It took more than two hours to look at the whole palace. My husband kept looking at details with surprise and delight. After eating at stalls near the palace, we moved towards Napier Museum 56 km from the palace.
The Napier Museum, named after Lord Napier, is a masterpiece of Madras Government designed in Indo-Saracen style by architect Robert Chisholm in 1855. The exterior of the museum with multi-coloured bricks was remarkable. As we entered the museum after buying tickets of 10 rupees each, we were impressed by the splendid roof at the entrance. We were captivated by 11-18th century stone and bronze sculptures, carved wooden cart, Buddhists statues, ceramics, ivory carvings, ancient ornaments, temple chariots, Balinese shadow-puppets, chests, various old coins from South Indian dynasties, etc. We missed taking pictures as photography is prohibited inside. The Napier Museum is an exquisite cultural heritage of Kerala and is a treasure house of great artistry. We were tired after a whole day tour, so we travelled back to Kovalam Beach hotel.