Location: Mattancherry, Kochi (Kerala)
Founded By: The Portuguese
Dutch Palace is situated in Mattancherry, at a distance of
approximately 10 km from Ernakulam. The palace was originally built by
the Portuguese, who later gifted it to Veera Kerala Varma, the Maharaja
of Kochi. Initially the palace was known as the Mattancherry Palace of
Cochin. However, after the Dutch renovated it in the year 1663, it came
to be known as the Dutch Palace of Kochi. Presently, the palace has been
converted into a museum, where one can find paintings and murals
signifying the rich tradition of the Hindus.
Dutch Palace also houses a rich compilation of the paintings and
portraits of the Maharajas of Cochin. The beautiful frescoes of the
palace correctly represent the Hindu temple art. The medieval charm
associated with the Mattancherry Palace of Kochi definitely adds to its
mystical appeal. One can find domination of the Portuguese style of
architecture in the design of the palace. The entrance of the Dutch
Palace is flanked by two beautiful arches, which lets one enter into its
compound, a feature quite characteristic of the Portuguese style.
One thing that makes Mattancherry Palace distinct from the other
palaces of Kerala is that even though it has been designed as per
Portugal style, the pattern reflects traditional style of the state.
Nalukettu style has been followed in the construction of the palace. In
accordance with this style, there are total two stories inside the
complex, which has been built around a central courtyard. Giving the
Dutch Palace a European look are round-headed windows and doors, along
with the typical sloping tiled roof.
The interiors of the palace reflect much gracefulness and have been
beautifully decorated. The walls of the Mattancherry Palace have been
adorned with large paintings as well as exquisite murals. Inside the
premises of the palace, one can find two gorgeous temples. One of these
temples is dedicated to Lord Krishna, while the other is dedicated to
Lord Shiva. The rich collection displayed inside the Dutch Palace of
India includes royal headdresses, weapons, furniture, royal robes,
palanquins and other items used by the royal family.
The painting collection of the palace illustrates scenes from Great
Indian Epics like Ramayana and Mahabharata, apart from the sacred
Puranas. Almost all the paintings are ancient, with most of them dating
back to the 16th century. These paintings are huge in size and have been
spread over an area that measures almost 1000 sq ft. Even the flooring
of the Dutch Palace of Kochi is quite unusual. Though it looks like
polished black granite, it is actually made of a mixture of charcoal,
burnt coconut shells, lime, plant juices and egg whites.