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The Krishnapuram palace at Kayamkulam houses an archaeological museum.

Krishnapuram Palace Kayamkulam

A unique and distinct example of Kerala style of architecture, the Krishnapuram Palace is situated at Kayamkulam, 47 km from Alappuzha. Coupled with narrow corridors, gabled roofs, and dormer windows, this historical palace was the center of activity for the Kayamkulam king for several centuries. The king of Kayamkulam ruled his tiny kingdom until he was defeated by King Marthanda Verma of Travancore. Verma tried several unsuccessful attempts to capture the kingdom, but the powerful Kayamulam King defeated him. In the end, Verma used Ramayyan to find out the secret of the strength of Kayamkulam king and conquered the kingdom. Fearing death, the Kayamkulam king fled to Mankuzhi where he took shelter in a temple.

The palace was once the residence of the rulers of Kayamkulam kingdom. During the rule of various rulers, the ancillary units got demolished but the main structure remains intact till date. However, there are no evident records which state the exact age of the palace. The Krishnapuram Palace is, today, a protected monument under the Archaeology Department. The architectural highlights that deem this palace an amazing wonder include a courtyard, gabled roofs, thick-framed doors, narrow corridors and stairways, dormer windows, and low roofs. The palace is adorned with a number of artifacts, spread all over the expanse of the palace, but something distinctly different and exotic that immediately attracts the attention of any visitor are the mural masterpieces displayed at the palace.

The most attractive mural painting is Gajendramoksham, meaning "salvation of the elephant", which depicts a sequence from the Hindu mythology. Dating as old as the 18th century, this extraordinary piece of art, a fine blend of colors and artistic expressions, is considered to be one of the largest murals in Kerala. It is a typical example of a palace design akin to that of the local rulers in ancient Kerala. The magnificent palace is divided into sixteen blocks, with the highlight being the in-house museum which is a store of a number of scrolls, scriptures, and artifacts. The museum displays a unique collection of antiques, sculptures, paintings, weapons, megalithic remains, stone inscriptions, coins, and other bronze artifacts. The preserved scripture of Bible in Sanskrit language is another highlight of the museum.

Apart from the magnificent historical beauty of the interiors of the palace, the outdoors, too, offer natural beauty to mesmerize you. The palace compound is a beautifully landscaped garden with an exotic variety of flora, which is typical of Kerala, and a newly constructed Buddha Mandapam, where a recently recovered statue of the Buddha is housed. The palace is open for visitors on all days of the week, except Mondays, from 900 hours to 1700 hours. It is accessible via both rail and air. The nearest railhead is Kollam at about 39 km, while the closest airports are Thiruvananthapuram International airport at 103 km and Cochin International Airport at 132 km.

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