Thekke Kottaram was renovated in 2010
The Thekke Kottaram (South Palace) at Shanghumugham is more a backdrop for a parking area for beach-goers than a preserved historical monument that was once the retreat of the royal family of erstwhile Travancore.
The renovated building was inaugurated over two years ago, but the palace now stands unattended.
Owned by the City Corporation, the structure that suffered years of neglect was renovated by the civic body at a cost of Rs.55 lakh in 2010. The grand plans for the building involved turning it into a museum that would depict different stages of the Sate’s past.
Corporation works standing committee chairperson V.S. Padmakumar says the project envisaged long ago will materialise in a couple of months. “We are still collecting paintings and artefacts which trace the history of the State. The matter will be discussed with the Mayor. We will ensure that the building opens to the public soon,” he says.
Panelling of the floors, plastering of walls, restoring the woodwork, landscaping of the premises, and work on the roof are part of the project to restore the two-storey structure, built in colonial style with traditional woodwork.
The palace sprang to life for a week during Onam when the Corporation permitted the Society for the Protection of Cultural Heritage (SPCH) to host a painting exhibition there. “The society will write to the civic body and the State government. We propose that the building be turned into a venue for cultural gatherings, exhibitions, and art classes,” says J. Sasikumar of the society.
The exhibition we organised was immensely popular, he says adding that the location will flourish as a centre of art.
The caretaker of the building says minor works were done a week ago at the building. Shanghumugham Councillor G. Lathamageshkar says birds were found moving in and out of the building through some gaps on the roof.