Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Tripunithura Hill Palace, Kochi

Last Sunday was a nice day with a quick visit to Tripunithura Hill Palace, the largest archaeological museum in Kerala.

We reached the place at around 12 noon. Being advised the museum will be closed at 12.30, we (my wife, Seeja and I) decided to explore the expansive terrace garden. We could enjoy the interiors at leisure when it reopens at 2PM.
Front view of Tripunithura Hill Palace, Kochi

The garden, although showing signs of wear and inattention, is wonderful with several thousands of plants and hundreds of trees. I think they have planted several plants of medicinal value.

There was a place to buy plants too. The claim was you can buy any variety of plants from here, but was disappointed with the dismal collection of plants for sale.

Luckily, you can take photographs of the garden. (You can't take camera or any electronic gadget inside the museum).

The compound houses a deer park, where we saw visitors feeding fallen leaves to the deer. I wonder if feeding the animals is permitted anywhere else. Then again, it is a nice sight to see the large herd of spotted deer.

The surroundings also include a children's park, a pre-historic park (displaying a life-size dinosaur, which I doubt is a T-Rex), a pond (you won't feel like touching the water though), lots of sculptures, and (I think) more than 40 buildings of traditional architecture.

The roofs of the buildings are all tiled. Only skilled carpenters can set the frames for laying the tiles. The roofed walk from the palace to the pond is a nice sight and offers a cool seclude under the scathing sun. It is a wonder the insides of the buildings are always cool - without any AC or fans.

By 2pm, we have finished checking the gardens and got into the museum. It was a palace built by the Maharaja of Cochin in 1865, which was handed over to the Department of Archaeology by the Royal Family in 1980. They converted the palace into a museum and opened it to the public in 1986.

Inside the palace, the floors are tiled. The smooth, colourful tiles feel cold while stepping on. No two rooms appear to have the same design of tiles.

The displays include mural paintings, sculptures, chariots, swords, guns, and several hundreds of equipments that have been in use a long time ago. It also displays kitchen equipments (like wooden chopping board), household items, etc that regular people used at their homes.

The part I liked the most is a vault, guarded by policemen. Inside it, you could see centuries old gold ornaments. There is also a golden crown that weighs more than 1.5kg, decorated with more than hundred precious stones of all kinds. The same vault (or is it a locker) has an Odyanam (an ornament for the waist), which appears to weigh more than 2kg. I wonder how any woman had worn it.

The displays also include depictions of scenes from day to day life, from epics (like Ramayana), and from history.

click here for more photos.

For those who like to visit the place:

Entry fee: Rs.20
Working hours: 9.30am to 12.30pm, 2.00pm to 4.30pm
Closed on: Monday
Location (how to reach): Tripunithura is 12km south of Ernakulam (Kochi), approachable by road.

There is a railway station at Tripunithura (passenger trains and some express trains do stop there).

I am not sure about spelling the place and I am confused with variations like Thrippunithura, Tripunitura, Trippunithura, etc.


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