History

The Krishnapuram Palace is named after the Krishnaswamy Temple at Krishnapuram, a serene village that is about 2 kms south of Kayamkulam town.

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The palace was built by Anizham Thirunal King Marthanda Varma of Travancore in the 18th Centuryafter defeating and annexing Odanad in the Odanad–Travancore War of 1746. Before the construction of the palace, the King demolished an earlier palace at the site, which had been built by the King Veera Ravi Varma of Odanad. Initially, a small palace of a single story, known locally as Ettukettu, was built in the traditional style with an adjacent pond, temple and urappura under the management of Prime Minister Ramayyan Dalawa, which was later enlarged by Prime Minister Ayyappan Marthanada Pillai. The palace complex has many other buildings, which are a combination of traditional and Western architecture.

The Krishnapuram Palace, as one of the finest and rarest examples of a typical Keralite-style architecturewith interesting gabled roofs, narrow corridors, dorma windows and pent roofs, all examples of the unique Kerala-style. Though the main structure remains intact, several additional structures around the palace have been destroyed over the years. It was named after the nearby Krishnaswamy Temple, to honour the presiding deity. The present building, a three-storied structure within the complex, was renovated in the 1950s by the Archaeological Department of Kerala in modern style conforming to the scientific techniques prescribed for the protection of heritage buildings. As a protected monument, it houses the Archaeological Museum and its officesand also some of the rarest artifacts on display.

The palace complex, which now functions as an archaeological museum, is a treasure house of ancient paintings and inscriptions, coins, megalithic remains, artefacts made of wood, brass and stone sculptures. Some of the prominent displays in the complex are: The mural of Gajendra Moksham, Kayamkulam Val, Buddha’s statue of the 10th century and ceremonial utensils and many other artefacts.

It has on display the single largest Mural panel in Kerala, known as "Gajendra Moksha", among other antiques, paintings, sculptures, coins, weapons, bronze artifacts and stone inscriptions. The theme of the mural is mythological and depicts an elephant saluting Lord Vishnu in devotion while the other gods, goddesses and saints look on. It is said that Lord Vishnu was the family deity of the Kayamkulam rajas. This mural was placed at the entrance to the palace from the pond to enable the rajas to worship the deity after their bath.

Other attractions here are the beautifully landscaped garden in the palace compound where you have a variety of flora typical of Kerala, and a newly erected Buddha mandapam, where a recently recovered statue of the Buddha is housed. Other collections at the museum include rare antique bronze sculptures and paintings.So the entire structure looks all the more charismatic and graceful.Museum holds exclusive items made of gold, bronze and copper.