Location of Arakkal Museum
Arakkal Museum is located in Ayikkara, a small coastal village in the Kannur district of Kerala. It is distanced 2-3 kilometres from the town of Kannur.
History of Arakkal Museum
Arakkal Palace belonged to the only ruling Muslim family in Kerala, the Arakkal family. The Arakkal ruler had purchased the St. Angelo's Fort near the palace from the Dutch in 1663. The Arakkal rulers had control over the northern coastal region of Kerala and Lakshadweep. The eldest member of the Arakkal family was acknowledged as the ruler of the province irrespective of gender. The male rulers were known as 'Ali Rajah' and their female counterparts were called 'Arakkal Beevis'. By the end of the third Mysore War, Mysore had fallen into the hands of the British and that also marked the beginning of decline of the Arakkal family. The Arakkal Palace was seized by them by 1870 and they had built their military base on the Malabar Coast. They also constructed a tunnel connecting the fort with the Thalassery Fort, 21 kilometres from the Kannur Fort, which proved to be helpful in guarding from enemies and invaders. The tunnel was also used in transporting major residents to another location.
The durbar hall of the Arakkal Palace was converted into the elaborate Arakkal Museum, housing various items belonging to the Arakkal Royal Family, also depicting a story of relation of the Arakkal rulers with colonial powers, and their monopoly on spice trade.
Architecture and Attractions inside Arakkal Museum
The Arakkal Museum is a part of Arakkal Palace, the architecture of which bears resemblance with the monuments in Kerala, reflecting the traditional Keralite style. Though the palace is preserved and maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India, it is still owned by the Arakkal Family Trust. The museum houses the belongings and artefacts of the royal family.
The palace complex called Kettu, is an interconnected long block around a large open ground used to offer the Muslim prayers or ‘namaz’. There are warehouse facilities and trade related buildings around the palace. The independent units in the palace are situated around courtyards. One of these blocks is considered sacred and houses a cot and a seating chair, within which a lamp is always kept lit. One can also find four mosques around the main palace block. The palace is made of wood and laterite. Huge halls are located in the upper floor of the palace. The floors of the palace are made of wood. The windows are double shuttered with coloured glass panes of red or blue, providing a colourful display of light inside. The roof construction involves wooden rafter, purlin, reaper and tiles system. Rafters comprise wood and bamboo tied to the purlin and reapers. The two-layered roof tile encompasses fish tiles and Mangalore tiles.
The durbar hall of the palace, i.e., the Arakkal museum displays exhibits that throw light on the maritime activities of the Arakkal dynasty and its monopoly over spice trade. The museum also showcases items that indicate the Arakkal rulers' relationship with the European colonial powers. Some of the interesting items displayed in the museum include the family seal of the Arakkal family, Pathayam - a bed with chamber for storing valuables, Adhara Petti (document box), old styled telephone, swords and daggers, telescope and copies of the Quran.
Visiting Information to Arakkal Museum
Arakkal Museum is conveniently accessible by road, rail and air.
By Air: The nearest airport to the Arakkal Museum is Karipur International Airport, well connected with major destinations, domestic and abroad.
By Rail: The nearest railhead is the Kannur Railway station, distanced around 3 kilometres from the museum.
By Road: Road conveyances are also available throughout the day both to and from the museum and palace.
The government has taken keen interest in preserving the heritage of the Arakkal Family, which had played a prominent role in the history of Malabar. The Arakkal Kettu Museum houses a splendid display of numerous artefacts and heirlooms belonging to the Arakkal rulers, while also being popular among the tourists for its architectural splendour. A nominal entry fee is charged by the Arakkal Family Trust from the visitors. The museum is closed on Mondays.
Museums of Kerala
Kannur District, Kerala
St. Angelo's Fort, Kerala
Dutch Rule in Kerala
Archaeological Survey of India
European Colonies in India
Indian Archaeological Museums
Indian State Museums