Naming of Shakthan Thampuran Palace
Shakthan Thampuran Palace is named as Vadakkekara Palace. It was reconstructed in Kerala-Dutch style in 1795 by Ramavarma Thampuran of the erstwhile Princely State of Cochin, well as Sakthan Thampuran, who was known as the greatest ruler of the Cochin dynasty is preserved by Archaeological Department. The palace was converted into a museum in 2005 by State Government of Kerala.
Architecture of Shakthan Thampuran Palace
The main structure of Sakthan Thampuran Palace has a two-storied building and a traditional Kerala style Nalukettu. The high roofs, extra thick walls, spacious rooms and floors paved with finely smoothened Italian marbles are some of the structural specialities of this palace. The interiors of Shakthan Thampuran Palace, because of its unique construction offer comfortable and pleasant staying conditions irrespective of the prevailing weather conditions.
History of Shakthan Thampuran Palace
Sakthan Thampuran Palace once belonged to the Perumpadappu Swaroopam, the ruling dynasty of Kochi. Shakthan Thampuran Palace was the centre of power of King Rama Varma Sakthan Thampuran, who ruled Kochi between 1790 and 1805. His rule was regarded as the Golden Era of the Cochin dynasty. The palace is close to the Vadakkumnathan Temple in Thrissur.
Festival in Shakthan Thampuran Palace
Shakthan Thampuran Palace is credited with the introduction of the Thrissur Pooram festival. It is an annual festival in May with teams representing the Parmekavu Bhagavathy temple and Tiruvambadi Krishna temple competing for primacy in front of the Vadakkumnathan temple with elephants, percussion, drums, fireworks, etc. The palace was once known as Vadakkechira Kovilakam and it was the king who renovated it into the present form.
Museum in Shakthan Thampuran Palace
Shakthan Thampuran Palace keeps with it the chronological remnants of some important events like the visit of Tipu Sultan, a Muslim ruler of South India with his army. The last member of the royal family of Shakthan Thampuran Palace to reside here was Rama Varma Bharathan Thampuran, a grand nephew of Chowwarayil Theepetta Veliyathampuran. The palace has a very old Sarpakavu (sacred serpent grove) in its premises.
Displays in Shakthan Thampuran Palace
Shakthan Thampuran Palace displays Bronze Gallery where one can find bronze statues belonging to the period between the 12th and the 18th centuries, Sculpture gallery displaying granite statues from the 9th century to the 17th century, Numismatics Gallery, which systematically displays ancient coins, which were in circulation in the former province of Kochi and neighbouring kingdoms and the history gallery depicting some of the milestones of the Kochi dynasty and the Epigraphy Gallery showcasing the genesis and evolution of ancient writings. Other galleries of interest at the palace include, a Gallery for Household Utensils made of bronze and copper, used by the rulers of Kochi; and a Megalithic Gallery exhibiting remains of the great Stone Age.
Numismatic section in Shakthan Thampuran Palace
The numismatic section of Shakthan Thampuran Palace have coins used in Kerala from the 5th century B.C. Roman gold coins (from the Eeyyal hoard) and Travancore native coins (in silver), Veerarayans (gold coins) otta puthan and iratta puthan issued by the kings of Cochin are displayed. The coin board that measured coins in hundreds to thousands is unique. The coins issued by Tipu Sultan during his brief spell in Kerala, Indo-Dutch coins, Malabar coins (issued by the French), and coins of British India point to different periods of the history of Kerala.
Serpent Grove in Shakthan Thampuran Palace
Sakthan Thampuran Palace also has a very ancient Serpent Grove, which is a place for worshipping the serpents. Serpent Grove is located on the southern side of Sakthan Thampuran Palace is the Heritage Garden, set up recently to exhibit and preserve some of the indigenous varieties of plants and trees of Kerala.
Archaeological Garden of Sakthan Thampuran Palace
The archaeological garden of Sakthan Thampuran Palace is situated in the north-eastern part of Sakthan Thampuran Palace. It has collections from the Stone Age recovered from the outskirts of Thrissur.