Mattancherry Palace

The Mattancherry Palace is a Portuguese palace popularly known as the Dutch Palace, in MattancherryKochi, in the Indian stateof Kerala features Kerala murals depicting Hindu temple art, portraits and exhibits of the Rajas of Kochi.

Mattancherry Palace was a generous gift presented to the Raja of Kochi, Veera Kerala Varma (1537–61), as a gesture of goodwill by the Portuguese in 1555. More probably, it was used as a sweetener to securing trading privileges. The Dutch renovated the palace in 1663, hence its alternative name, the Dutch Palace.

The star attractions here are the astonishingly preserved Hindu murals , depicting scenes from the Ramayana, Mahabharata and Puranic legends in intricate detail. The central hall on the 1st floor is now a portrait gallery of maharajas from 1864. There’s an impressive collection of palanquins (hand-carried carriages), bejewelled outfits and splendidly carved ceilings in every room. Information panels detail the history of the Kochi royal dynasty. Photography is prohibited.

Highlights: Intrinsically carved ceilings and mural in the rooms of the palace 

How to reach: Once you land in Cochin, you can take hired cars, taxis, auto-rickshaws, ferry and even hired bicycles to reach the Mattancherry or the Dutch Palace. 

Timings: 10 am to 5 pm (Closed on Fridays) 

The Dutch palace remains more or less the same in structure and appearance even today. Its facade is fairly unornamented and is made up of stark white walls, sloping roofs and trees around it. It is a two-storied, quadrangular building, with a small temple dedicated to the deity Palayannur Bhagwati in the central courtyard. On either side of it are smaller shrines dedicated to Lord Krishna and Lord Shiva. The central hall on the upper storey was once used as venue for coronating Cochin's Raja and has an intrinsically carved wooden ceiling.

Not surprisingly, the center of attraction of the Mattanchery Palace is not its ceilings, but the splendid murals on the walls of the rooms. Depicting scenes from Hindu mythologies like the Ramayana, the Mahabharata and the Puranas, these murals are counted as amongst the best in India. The Dutch Palace of Kerala has many more elements of surprise for visitors. There's an entire gallery of royal memorabilia that consist of attires, turbans and weapons, from the days of the rajas of Kochi

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