One can sail to Krishnapuram from Allepey on the ferry starting at 5.45 am, 6 am and 8 am organized by DTPC. Krishnapuram palace is alleged to be summer vacation palace of the yester Travancore kings. It must obviously have been a palace of pleasure with courtesans around. The water from the pond seeps into the palace creating an aura of pleasure for the kings to bathe after a good massage. It is a unique architectural marvel created for the nobility of the times. Krishnapuram palace can be perfectly designated as a pleasure palace of the Travancore kings for a period of 250 years.
We trekked along the highway route by visiting the Gajendra Moksha temple adjescent to the highway. The palace is just half a kilometer from the temple premise with full of greenery, which must have been a part of the palace, now filled with dwellers. An open maidan is situated outside the palace which must have been hoisting cultural events for the royalty during Onam obviously. The Palace and the temple are closed during the noon between 1 to 2 pm and closed on a week day. The visit is ticketed @ Rs 10 per head and 2 $ for foreigners. Camera fees is levied at Rs 25. One can get books related to Kerala heritage too near the entry gate. There is a guide available to explain the historical importance of the Palace. He is happy to receive whatever tip the visitor gives, one need not haggle. The interest with which he explains the tradition, architectural features, etc are quite amazing which is rare from a guide. A unique doorway built without modern hinges is beautifully demonstrated but it makes a jarring noise which might wake up a jumbo.
The proof that foreigners were entertained in the palace is provided by the pan Indian toilets specially constructed for the Dutch and the Portuguese visitors along with a durbar hall. Later the British enjoyed the hospitality of the Travancore kings. Currently the museum is converted into a full fledged museum by ASI with a well landscaped garden housing the ancient Buddha statue of the 9th century. Thus lending the right place for the ancient Buddhist statue which would have been otherwise been vandalized or smuggled abroad.
The collection of antiques from various parts of Kerala by ASI is quite substantial. Some of the artifacts of bronze statues, granite image of Vishnu, Shiva, Bramha, Goddess etc have been displayed neatly on a pedestal. Ancient Mankinds burial remains in the form of DOLMEN, Urn, Menhirs, have been displayed beautifully in the corridors of the palace.
Largest Mural painting in Kerala with eco friendly colours is sketched on the inner façade of the Krishnapuram palace. The mural depicts goddess durga devi in a somber mood surrounded by elephants and all the attendants surrounding and praying to the goddess. It is as if devotees and angels are invoking the goddess to destroy the evil demon troubling the land. The painting is known as Gajendra Moksham a mythical tradition of Kerala.
Krishnapuram palace was built during the reign of Marthanda Varma ( 1729-1758 ) Mathanda Varma demolished the crumbling palace of the Kayamkulam king ( Odanadu king ). Initially it was a small Palace which was constructed under the supervision of Ramayyan Dalava. It was extended and modified to suit the royalties prestige by Ayyappan Marthanda Pillai. Krishnapuram Palace was fashioned on the basis of Padmanabapuram Palace. Its peculiar architectural style is known as Pathinnakettu.
Heritage students and scholars would relish visiting this palace to witness the wide varieties of numismatics of various periods, Bronze statues, ancient measures, mohenjdaro models, Sanskrit bible, palanquins, massage bench, etc.
Many a eyebrows would be raised if one enquires for Krishnapuram palace, so it is better to ask for Kottaram, which means palace in Malayalam. Autorikshaws are available at Railway station to take one to the palace which is 6 kms away from Kayakulam railway junction. The palace is exactly located on the outskirts of Kayakulam town on the NH 47. A visit to the palace will take us back to the memory lane of the kerala heritage in general.