Hill Palace, Tripunithura
Palace front entrance
|Public transit access||Road, Rail|
Hill Palace is the largest archaeological museum in Kerala, located at Tripunithura, Kochi, near Karingachira area. It was the imperial administrative office and official residence of Cochin Maharaja. Built in 1865, the palace complex consists of 49 buildings in the traditional architectural style, spreading across 54 acres (220,000 m2). The complex has an archaeological museum, a heritage museum, a deer park, a pre-historic park and a children’s park. The campus of the museum is home to several rare species of medicinal plants. Presently the palace has been converted into a museum by The Kerala State Archaeology Department and is open to public. The palace is about 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) from the city centre and is approachable by road and rail.
The Centre for Heritage Studies (CHS); an autonomous research and training institute set up by the Department of Cultural Affairs, Government of Kerala also functions at the site. CHS is designated as the 'Manuscript Conservation Centre' (MCC) and Manuscript Resource Centre (MRC) by the National Mission for Manuscripts.
Hill Palace was built in 1865 by the Maharaja Of Cochin and is now the largest archaeological museum in Kerala.
The official capital of Kingdom of Kochi was located previously in Thrissur and the royal office of Maharaja as well as the court was all located in the city. However, as per ritualistic customs, the seat of Queen of Kochi (Penvazhithampuran) was seen as Royal capital as Kochi royal family had matrilineal traditions and the queen was regarded as sovereign of the state under whose authority the King ruled. Since 1755, the Queen and her retinue lived in Tripunithura, thereby making the city as official capital. Prince Rama Varma was later became king was raised in Tripunithura, thereby preferred to live in the city even after coronation as King, rather moving to Thrissur. Thus for his benefit, a royal office was constructed in 1865. Initially it started off as royal office, court building and offices of royal secretaries and nobles of the court, soon more and more structures were added to main structure to various purposes. Soon, an imperial residence building was also constructed for the residence of the King and his immediate family though other members of Cochin Royal family had their own allocated bungalows and official residences.
The palace was handed over to the Government of Kerala by the Cochin Royal Family and in 1980, the palace was taken over by the Department of Archaeology and later converted into a Museum. It was opened to the public in 1986. The museum and its campus is one among the popular shooting sites for Malayalam film industry.The Horse cart gallery and weapon gallery are really amazing.
The museum displays 14 categories of exhibits including Crown and ornaments of erst while Cochin royal family, paintings, sculptures in stone and marble, weapons, inscriptions, coins etc. The major share of attractions in this museum are contributed by the Cochin Royal Family with some exhibits from the Paliam Devaswom and the department of Archaeology. It has a gold crown embedded with precious stones and many valuable coins, ornaments, majestic beds and samples of epigraphy. The famous Malayalam movie Manichitrathazhu was shot here.
The Hill Palace is opened to public everyday except Mondays and national /state holidays from 10am to 12.30 noon and 2.00 pm to 5.00 pm.
Note:- No footwear, No bags, No photography inside the museum.
Though road facility is available all the way till the museum, vehicles are not allowed. One has to climb the steps (typical Indian management - unnecessary restrictions). Senior citizens has to shed some sweat to reach museum).
- The Official Website of Ernakulam District Archived 2006-11-07 at the Wayback Machine.
- The magnificent hill palace at Thripunithura (Thiruvankulam panchayat, ernakulam district of Kerala), was once the Headquarters of the illustrious Kochi Royal family Archived 2008-10-15 at the Wayback Machine.
- [http://www.namami.orgNational Mission for Manuscripts.
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- Govt of Kerala , India link
- Centre for Heritage Studies , Govt. of Kerala
- Hill Palace Museum, Kerala Tourism
- Hill Palace Museum History
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