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Monday Flashback 15 – Kanakakkunnu Palace, Thiruvananthapuram

Kanakakunnu Palace is built in the new British Era model. It has all the necessary modern equipments and amenities inside this palace. This palace is built on a small citadel which is above ground level. It is a single storied building. This is situated in a vast pasture land. Inside this palace there is a beautiful garden with unique landscaping work. This palace is constructed of granite stones, which is quarried from its nearby places. These are mostly used in the foundation works. The upper part of this palace used the laterite stones, these are the in large cut blocks and occupies the major portion of this structure. There are fine wooden works seen here. It has an amazing teak wood ceiling, which is still lasting. The roof tops are totally covered with fine terracotta tiles in the red color, which looks very beautiful. On the inside there are many carving activities on the marbles and woods found. It has one of the best latest furniture of that time made inside this building with highly skilled carpenters. This palace contains many complexes. These were specially built as theaters and auditoriums. A wide open air ground is also found here with a large stage. It do have a modern Tennis ground.

Across Southern Kerala, people sing praises of the architectural marvel that is the Kanakakkunnu Palace in Thiruvananthapuram. Located at the heart of the city, it plays a welcoming host to a multitude of cultural events, seminars and programmes. Kanakakunnu Palace was constructed during the reign of His Highness Sree Moolam Thirunal Maharaja, a famous Travancore king who ruled the Travancore Kingdom from 1885 to 1924. Located in the central city, this palace is owned and managed by Kerala Government.

There are two main auditoriums namely Sooryakanthi and Nishagandhi open-air auditorium (where the famous Nishagandhi Dance Festival is organised by the tourism department). Many events are held at these auditoriums, so make sure you check the event calendar with the Palace officials or the tourism department before planning a visit.

The Nisagandhi Open-Air Auditorium, within the Kanakakunnu Palace compound, is one of the most sought-after venues for conducting stage shows. A week long festival of Indian classical dances is organised here annually. Leading artists of Bharatanatyam, Mohiniyattam, Kathak, Odissi, Modern Ballet and other folk dances participate in this dance festival.

The palace location on the top of a small hill with green meadows surrounding it from all sides, is highly alluring that any tourists who visit this simply fall in love with the Nature-friendly atmosphere here. This would be the reason why the palace was used as a guest house and various cultural events are held at the palace for entertaining the guests.

Now too, various cultural events are held at the palace. All India Dance Festival, organized by the Department of Tourism every year (October to March) is one of the most prominent among them. Thus this period remains ideal time to visit the palace. As part of this event, classical Indian Dance Performances are also conducted.

The Sooryakanthi Auditorium is also a popular venue for conducting exhibitions, trade fairs and cultural programmes. Apart from that, a week long international food festival is held at the Kanakakunnu Palace grounds in which renowned hotels from across Kerala take part.

As you enter the palace, you would see large chandeliers hung on the ceiling and royal furniture adorning the interiors of the palace. If you are keen to see the lifestyle of the then kings and impeccable Kerala-style architecture, a visit here is a must.

Resembling the past when it was used as the guest house, these cultural programs too are meant to entertain the guests who gather here as visitors/tourists, flowing not in hundreds but in thousands everyday. Currently these cultural events are staged at Nishagandhi open-air auditorium and the Sooryakanthy auditorium which are built in the palace compound.

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