District: Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala (India)
This architectural delight was built during the reign of Maharaja Swathi Thirunal Balarama Varma (1813-1834 AD)- the then King of Travancore, who was an art lover and a social reformer of that time. This palace was built by sculptors from Thanchavore, Tamilnadu. The construction of the palace was completed by 5000 workers in four years. The palace is made from teakwood, rosewood, marble, and granite. The roof of the palace is made of wood and 42 beams support the carved patterns. The roof is supported by granite pillars. Floral motifs dot the ceiling of the verandah. The floor inside the palace is made of egg whites, charcoal, and limestone, which make it cold and smooth even in hot weather conditions. The concert venue built in the palace premises uses traditional sound reflectors comprising fifty clay pots hung upside down from the ceiling.
The palace is now a museum and one-third of the building is open to public. The main 16 rooms in the palace is constructed in 16 different patterns with marvelous carved rosewood ceilings. The palace has a collection of treasures of the royal family including an ivory throne made from 24 Elephant tusk , weapons, paintings, Belgium lamps, Italian mirrors, Giant Belgian harpoon, Musical tree producing 8 sounds on tapping and gifts from foreign dignitaries. 14 Life size Kathakali figures stand in the dance room.
This striking monument of Kuthiramalika takes its name from the roof beams which are carved to resemble the faces of 122 horses-so the name Kuthiramalika came, (kuthira means horse and malika is bungalow in Malayalam). Swathi Thirunal, as a musician and eminent composer and great contributor to Carnatic and Hindustani classical music he spent much of his time in this palace composing many of his musical pieces. This enchanting, rambling old mansion is adjacent to Sri Padmanabha Swami Temple in East Fort, Thiruvananthapurm.
Every year the Swathi Music Festival is conducted here in the front courtyard. The five day festival in January-February features leading Carnatic and Hindustani musicians.
Visiting hours: 9 AM to 5 PM. And the palace is closed on Mondays
How to Reach:
Nearest railway station: Thiruvananthapuram Central (walking distance)
Nearest airport: Thiruvananthapuram Airport (TRV), 5 K.ms
Nearest Landmark: Padmanabha Swami Temple, Thiruvananthapuram