A long phase of neglect is showing on Kanakakkunnu Palace in Thiruvananthapuram.

Standing atop a hillock and surrounded by landscaped lawns, Kanakakkunnu Palace is one of the most recognised historic buildings in the city.

But heavy rain has had its damaging impact on this palace.

It is at the risk of losing its grandeur as the authorities are yet to take up even the routine maintenance of this century-old building after the monsoon.

Mildew and algal growth are slowly destroying the wooden windows and walls of the main building. Paint blisters are visible on almost all windows.

There is water seepage and fungus in many corners of the main banquet hall.

Though the cushions of the furniture were replaced earlier, they smell dank and musty for want of proper cleaning.

Documented as a heritage monument by the Indian National Trust for Arts and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), the palace was constructed during the reign of Sree Moolam Thirunal. The palace was said to be the summer retreat home for the Travancore royal family, who also used it to entertain guests.

Today, the palace hosts a number of cultural programmes and government functions.

The surrounding gardens, Nishagandhi open-air auditorium and the Sooryakanthi auditorium are hang-outs for the local crowd as well as tourists.

A major renovation project was taken up by the State government a few years earlier, which gave the building and its premises a new life. But lack of timely maintenance is threatening to botch the whole effort. The building’s maintenance comes under the purview of the State government’s General Administrative Department.

Experts say timely repainting and maintenance are important for the preservation of historic buildings.

“The aesthetic beauty of the building will be compromised in the initial stages. But if maintenance is not taken up soon, wood decaying could intensify and leakage could affect the structural stability of the building in the long term,” said G.S. Abhayan, Department of Archaeology, University of Kerala.


Instilling national pride from a great heightJanuary 28, 2013