With soothing atmosphere and natural grandeur, Mattancherry Palace or Dutch Palace sits at the distance of 10 km from Ernakulam in Kerala. It's a Portuguese palace which is also known as the Dutch Palace in the state of Kerala. It features Kerala mural showing the arts of Hindu Temple, portraits and displays of the Rajas of Kochi.
The palace is a double storied palace that overlooks the panoramic Kochi backwaters. It has an exclusive collection of murals covering around 300 sq ft of its walls. The themes of these murals depict the story of Indian epics- the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. Some murals portray scenes from Kumarasambhavam and other works of the great Sanskrit poet Kalidas. Apart from all these, royal paraphernalia like weapons, swings, and furniture are also displayed here that depict the lifestyle of royal family.
The palace was built and gifted by the Portuguese to the King of Cochin Veera Kerala Varma in the year 1555, but the Dutch made some changes and renovated again in the year 1663 and so later it became popular as the Dutch Palace. After renovation, the rajas has also made some improvements in it and now the palace is known as a portrait gallery of the Kochi Rajas and far-famed for some of the best mythic murals in India.
This palace with a Bhagavathi Temple in the central courtyard is constructed like the traditional Kerala style mansion which is known as Naalukettu model with four separate wings opening out to a central patio. This patio houses a temple of the royal deity Pazhayannur Bhagavathi and the other two temples are located on the either side of the palace are dedicated to Lord Krishna and Lord Shiva.
From outside, the palace looks very elegant with the white walls on the front and the sloping roof. The ground floor of the palace includes the ladies room with a staircase to the Kanithalam room while on the upstairs there is a square shaped coronation hall, royal bed chamber, assembly hall, dining hall and the staircase room. The coronation hall has beautiful murals that depict Lakshmi seated on the lotus, Lord Vishnu sleeping, Sri Krishna lifting Mount Govardhana, and Lord Shiva and Parvati seated with Ardhanariswara & other goddesses.
The dining hall of the palace has carved wooden ornate ceiling beautified with a string of brass cups. Floors are designed in traditional Kerala style which is a perfect combination of burned coconut shells, charcoal, lime, egg whites and plant juices.
Other Exhibits in the Palace
Since 1664, the portraits of the Rajas of Cochin are displayed here which are painted by local artists in modern style. Other exhibits in the palace are royal umbrellas, ceremonial dress, ivory palanquin, howdah, coins, stamps and drawings.