YOUNG WORLD

Simply Dutch

HEMJIT BHARATHAN

The Mattancherry Palace.

The Mattancherry Palace.  

KOCHI

The land of Fort Kochi and Mattancherry is immersed in its rich heritage. The many settlers — the Portuguese, the Dutch, the French, the English and the Jews — have left their indelible imprint on this soil. One such relic of the glorious past is the Dutch Palace situated in Mattancherry which, till recently, was the commercial hub of Kochi, where traders, merchants and dealers thrived on the lucrative spice trade.

Though known as Dutch Palace, it was originally built by the Portuguese as a gift to the king of Cochin, Veer Kerala Varma in the year 1555 A.D.. Historians trace this as a goodwill gesture by the Portuguese rulers to establish trading rights with the king. For the foreigners perceived this land as a goldmine of rare spices and herbs, that would fill their coffers. Later, when the Dutch dominated this region, they took over this palace and renovated it through extensions and repairs. From then it came to be known as the Dutch Palace.

Though at no time did the Dutch or the Portuguese stay there, this palace, also called as Mattancherry Palace, was the house of the royal Cochin rulers.

It is one of the oldest buildings in the State, which chronicles the history of Kerala as it displays a portrait gallery of the kings of Cochin.

Built in oriental style, the palace is a double— storied quadrangular monument.

Backwaters of Kochi...

Backwaters of Kochi...  

In the centre of the building is the coronation hall where the Cochin Rajas held their coronations.

The adjacent rooms are a treasure house of 17th Century murals depicting scenes from the epics Ramayana, Mahabharata and puranic legends.

The ladies bedchamber shows Krishna sporting with the milkmaids. Also on display are the palanquins, weapons, turbans and other accessories of that age giving us an insight into royal lifestyles.

This quadrangular structure surrounds a central courtyard with a temple. On either sides of the palace are two temples.

The palace which is a must see tourist spot is open on all days between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m., except on Fridays and national holidays.

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