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Museum gets a facelift

Staff Reporter
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Renovation work carried out at a cost Rs. 40 lakh

New look:Kerala officials taking a look at the artefacts displayed in the museum at Padmanabhapuram palace on Tuesday.
New look:Kerala officials taking a look at the artefacts displayed in the museum at Padmanabhapuram palace on Tuesday.

The museum, situated within the famous Padmanabhapuram wooden palace, the erstwhile capital of Travancore state, has got a facelift at a cost of Rs.40 lakh. The Department of Archaeology (Kerala) decided to renovate this museum, known as the treasure house of the erstwhile rulers of Travancore state.

Inaugurating the newly renovated museum, Director of the Department of Archaeology Dr.G.Prem Kumar told the reporters that the department had submitted a Rs.2.58 crore project proposal to carry out maintenance work in the palace. The work will begin once funds were allocated.

The wooden entrance of the palace had been damaged by termites.

When it was brought to the notice of the department, steps were taken to renovate it while safeguarding its antiquity, Dr.Prem Kumar also added.

He pointed out that steps would be taken to renovate the granite stones of Navarthri Mandapam by the traditional method of cleaning and lime pointing.

To be preserved

He said the wooden wheels (old ones) of the temple car of Nainar Neelakandaswamy Temple at Padmanabhapuram, abandoned by the Kanyakumari Temple administration, would be preserved in the palace museum as requested by the public.

A few structures and articles were reportedly destroyed in the backyard of the palace.

Hence steps would be taken to preserve the remains of the structures, including sculptures and weapons in the museum.

Curator M.Sarath Kumaran Nair said the palace was constructed in 1601 A.D by Kulasekara Perumal who ruled Travancore between 1592 A.D. and 1609 A.D. It was known as the Kalkulam Palace and was situated at the centre of a fort on a sprawling area of 186 acres.

Anizham Thirunnal Martanda Varma, the founder of modern Travancore, constructed the Navarathri Mandapam in stone, in place of the wooden structure and the Uppirikka Malika, a four-storey building.

However, Karthika Thirunnal Rama Varma Kulasekara Perumal also known as Dharma Raja (1758-1798 AD) gradually shifted the capital from Padmanabhapuram to Thiruvananthapuram in the 1790s.

After that, the royal family had retained it as their ancestral property and it was in 1938 that the Government of Travancore declared it as a protected monument under the provisions of the Ancient Monument Act.

After the state reorganisation in 1956, the palace and its premises were retained under the administrative control of the Kerala Government.

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