Shakthan Thampuran Palace, also referred to as Vadakkekara Palace, is situated in Thrissur district of Kerala. A landmark in the chronicles of the Perumpadappu Swaroopam, the erstwhile ruling dynasty of Kochi, the palace was built in 1795 in Kerala-Dutch style by Ramavarma Thampuran. Particularly for scholars having special interest in the history of rulers and dynasties, this palace serves as a major tourist attraction. Several interesting and outstanding aspects of the former rulers of Kochi are highlighted by this majestic palace. Maintained and preserved by Kerala's Archaeological Department, the palace was transformed into a museum in 2005 and opened for public viewing.
Shakthan Thampuran Palace is one of the few structures of Kerala that are built in an amalgamation of Dutch and Kerala architectural styles. The main structure of the palace has a two-storied building and a conventional Kerala-styled Naalukettu. Some of the highlights of the palace include high roofs, extra thick walls to maintain the difference in temperature, spacious rooms, and floors paved with finely smoothened Italian marbles. The uniquely constructed interiors of the palace provide a comfortable and pleasant stay, irrespective of the prevailing weather conditions.
The palace has a primeval Serpent Grove or Sarpakaavu, a place for worshipping serpents which was once highly practiced in Kerala. It is believed that there are live serpents which still live in this grove. On the southern side of the palace lies the Heritage Garden, a recent establishment which preserves some of the native varieties of plants and trees of Kerala. Plus, the archaeological garden, situated in the northeastern part of the palace, has a rich collection of tools and artifacts from the Stone Age, recovered from the outskirts of Thrissur.
The Shakthan Thampuran Palace also has an elaborate museum, built by the State Archaeological Department in association with the Kerala Tourism. On entering the museum, you can discover galleries exhibiting some interesting and exciting artifacts and remnants from the prehistoric times. The Bronze Gallery displays bronze statues dating back to the period between the 12th and 18th centuries. Further, the Sculpture Gallery demonstrates granite statues from the 9th to 17th centuries, while the Epigraphy Gallery showcases the genesis and evolution of ancient writings.
Other appealing galleries at the palace include a gallery for household utensils made from bronze and copper, used by the rulers of Kochi; the Numismatics gallery, displaying ancient coins that were in circulation in the former province of Kochi and neighboring kingdoms; the History gallery portraying some milestones of the Kochi dynasty; and Megalithic gallery depicting remains of the great Stone Age. Located in the district of Thrissur, reaching the palace is extremely easy. While the nearest railway station is at Thrissur at a distance of 2 km, the closest airport is Cochin International Airport, about 58 km away.
The Sakthan Thampuran Palace at Thrissur houses many museums of great historical importance.