Just 18 km off the capital city of Thiruvananthapuram on your way to Ponmudi hill station and Courtalam Waterfalls, you will find a charming two-storied palace, known as the Koyikkal Palace. Actually built for Umayamma Rani of the Venad royal family between 1677 and 1684, the palace is constructed in the traditional nalukettu style, boasting of slanting gabled roofs and an inner courtyard. The lovely palace houses Asia's largest folklore museum and a numismatics (coin collection) museum, which make the major attractions here are set up and managed by the Department of Archaeology.
The folklore museum, established in 1992, is a treasure of fascinating ancient instruments and folk art. Stroll through the museum to discover charming musical instruments, household utensils, occupational implements, and models of folk arts. All exhibits at the museum connect directly to the rich cultural heritage of Kerala. Rare articles, like a small percussion instrument used as an accompaniment while reciting the ballad Ramakathappattu, the story of Lord Rama; and Nanthuni, a sweet sounding musical instrument made of wood and string used while singing the Onappattu and Nanthunippattu during Onam, the harvest festival of Kerala are the major attractions here. Plus, a wide range of household utensils including brass or copperware and wooden kitchenware can also be found on the first floor of the museum.
One-of-a-kind in the state, the numismatics museum displays an assorted collection of coins from different eras. This rare but unique collection is an indication of the state's trade relations in the past. Coins used during the reign of Nizam of Hyderabad, Hyder Ali, Tipu Sultan, and Gwalior royal family can be sighted here. Amongst all the displays, the oldest coins in Kerala include Ottaputhen, Erattaputhen, and Kaliyugarayan Panam. A Venetian coin named Amaida is also a property of this museum. It is a common belief that this coin was presented to Jesus Christ. Rasi, the world's smallest coins are also displayed at the museum. Besides the above-mentioned coins, there are several Roman gold coins exhibited in the museum.
A number of artifacts are also stored in the museum. The Oorakkudukku, a device for intellectual exercise used by the Yogis as a pastime; Gajalakshmi, a lamp representing the goddess of prosperity - Lakshmi seated on her elephant constitute other attractions. The ceremonial lamp, known as Kettuvillakku, artistically created from colored paper and locally available light wood splits, lit during festivals at the Bhagavathy temples of southern Kerala is also placed here. The Koyikkal Palace is open for visitors on all days, except Mondays, from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.
The Koyikkal palace at Nedumangad in Kerala houses the folklore and the numismatic museum.