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Dutch  Palace, Mattanchery

 

Mattanchery Dutch Palace

Dutch  Palace, Mattanchery was established by the Portuguese and presented to the Raja of Kochi, Veera Kerala Varma in 1555. The rajas also made more expansion to it. Today, it is a representation gallery of the Cochin Royal family and notable for some of the best mythological murals in India, which are in the best traditions of Hindu temple art. The palace was built to calm down the king after they plundered a temple nearby. The Palace was later taken over by the Dutch and renovations were made after which it came to be known as the Dutch Palace. The palace is a quadrangular structure built in typical Kerala Nalukettu fashion,  with a courtyard in the middle. In the courtyard there is  a  temple dedicated to 'Pazhayannur Bhagavati', the defending goddess of the Kochi royal family. There are two more temples on both sides of the Palace, one dedicated to Lord Krishna and the other to Lord Siva. Certain elements of architecture, as for example the nature of its arches and the proportion of its chambers are indicative of European influence in basic Nāluketttu style.

The palace is decorated with excellent murals portray scenes from Ramayana, Mahabharata and other mythological figures. Royal costumes, palanquins and other royal  memorabilia are also displayed here. The dining Hall has carved wooden ornate ceiling decorated with a series of brass cups. The palace also contains rare examples of traditional Kerala flooring, which looks like polished black marble but is actually a mixture of burned coconut shells, charcoal, lime, plant juices and egg whites.

Portraits of the Rajas of Cochin, from 1864 onwards, are displayed in what was once the Coronation Hall. These were painted by local artists in western style. The ceiling of the hall is decorated with floral designs in wood craft. Amongst the other exhibits in the palace are an ivory palanquin, a howdah, royal umbrellas, ceremonial dress used by the royalty, coins, stamps and drawings.