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Monday Flashback 14 – Paliam Palace, Kerala

Paliyam Palace is a Palace in Kerala Built more than four hundred years ago, it was in this Nalukettu that the Paliam family settled after shifting from Vanneri to Chendamangalam. This Nalukettu is a self contained double storeyed building with eight bedrooms in the south and kitchen and the well in the northeast corner. It houses the Ara, the strong room, for the safekeeping of the family heirlooms. Interestingly, below the Ara is the concealed nether room with a secret exit. It is built in the Kerala style. The beautifully laid out entrance foyer, purathu thalam , is still a great attraction, not only to the family members, but also the tourists who come here. There is a wide courtyard all around the Nalukettu. The benign presence of Paliam tharavad Bhagavathy is just nearby

The Paliam Palace was once used as the residence of the Paliath Achans, who were the prime ministers to the former Maharajas of the State of Kochi. During the 16th century, when the security of the Raja was under threat by the Portuguese, the then Paliath Achan ensured the safety of the Raja by escorting him to Chendamangalam. ). The Raja is believed to have stayed incognito in the place near the Kalari, hence the name Paliam Kovilakom (Palace). The Dutch in appreciation of the Paliath Achan’s services renovated this building in Chendamangalam and presented it to him.

The two storey (G+2) building can be termed as a highly efficient functional building of its times. In spite of minimum ornamentation it reflects the Dutch influence in the architecture. The building features, elaborately carved wooden staircases and balustrades and thick walls with splayed openings. A circulation space runs along the private area of the building, facilitating air movement, resulting in insulating the interior, making it cooler compared to the peripheral. In earlier times, women were not allowed inside. Only the elder members of the family could stay there. The Paliath Achans used to address the people of Chendamangalam from the Prasanga Peedum, which is on the top of the entrance passage of the Palace.

The Paliath Achans was the chief minister of the then maharaja who was ruling Kochi. During the period of 1600s the maharaja was dealing with issues of security threat owing to the presence of the Portuguese intruders. It was during this period that the raja was accompanied by the Paliath Achans upto Chendamangalam. After this incident, the Paliath Achans stayed under wraps for quite a long in a place near to Kalari. This further led to the establishment of Paliam Kovilakom palace in the 16th century. This approach of Paliath Achans impressed the Dutch rulers so much that they redesigned the Paliam Dutch Palace and gifted it to the Raja. Notably, during the ancient times i.e. 16th – 17th century women were restricted to enter the palace. However, the elder female were allowed to enter the monument. The building was extended by the elder family member during the year 1786 enable its use for the women of the family and the children. The big enclosure inside the palace has rooms where the family members used to gather together for dine and chat for hours. The entire used one kitchen within the palace to cook and eat at a common dining place together. There are general rooms within the fort that were used for the guests by the royal family. The entire family believed in community living. After the death of the last family member, the building was evacuated and took over by the ASI.

The number of tourist that attend the palace throughout the year is quite large in number especially owing to its ancient artefacts and the fusion of Dutch and local architecture. The weather within the palace is deemed to be quite suitable for the tourists especially the foreign visitors who are believed to be reluctant towards extreme weather condition. Furthermore, the portraits and art inside the monument is expected to catch the attention of the visitors and ensure their repeat visit.

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