Staff Reporter

KOCHI: The architectural splendours of the Hill Palace Museum, Thripunithura, will soon regain their glory. The renovation and beautification programmes of the palace, which was the seat of the erstwhile royal family of Kochi, are in their final stages.

The mansions of the palace sport a new look. A feel of freshness is there in the majestic structure of the palace. The restoration work of the Puthen Malika, the structure near the main building, has been completed. The works of Thekke Malika and Vadakke Malika are in the final stages.

The signs of old age have completely vanished from the buildings as most of the walls have been re-plastered. New floor and roof tiles have replaced the damaged ones. The total extent of the buildings of the palace is around 1.30 lakh sq feet.

The two ponds, which were used by the members of the royal family and the one reserved for the womenfolk, were also restored. They were de-silted and the retaining walls strengthened. A bore well was also dug to address the issue of water shortage, said P.K. Gopi, registrar of the Centre for Heritage Studies functioning from the palace complex.

The damage detected in the exterior and interiors of all the buildings including the wooden roofing was rectified. The buildings will not need any major maintenance at least for a decade, he said.

The Rs. 7.5-crore restoration work is being carried out by the engineering wing of the department of archaeology. KITCO is the consultants for the project.

Beautification works are being implemented in the terrace garden, another unique feature of the palace complex, which is one of the important museums of the State. New flowering plants will be planted there. The natural vegetation, including huge trees that have grown up in some areas of the palace compound, will be left untouched. The garden occupies around 45 acres.