Thevally Palace , Kollam - heritage site built by Queen Gauri Parvathi Bayi

 The palaces in Kerala built by the erstwhile  rulers of Travancore and Cochin princely states visibly differ from those in Karnataka, Rajasthan  or any other places.  Strictly following their native culture and traditional architectural styles - nallukettu plan  the palaces are made of quality teak wood and the base being mostly masonry work. Many follow Nallukketu design style, quite common here. Some palaces do have European flair, but no compromise is made on native architecture. The one near the city of Kollam   Thevalley palace  has a  blend of  Dutch, Portuguese and English architecture, throwing light  on their influence in this region. Each of them was a colonist in this God's own country for a while in the past.  You won't see any expensive embellishments in the Kerala palaces as one  will find in the palaces of northern states which mostly follow European styles or Indo-Saracenic style. Very much similar to the  design style of Hindu temples, rulers gave  importance to intricate wood carvings on the walls and ceilings in  some rooms and halls. Apart, they preferred the residence built near the water front or in areas surrounded by    lots of trees and plants   to keep indoors cozy and cool during hot seasons.  Simplicity personified, the primary concern of many of the Kerala rulers' was the welfare of the people, education, health care and agriculture and almost many of the royal families avoided palatial palaces for their personal  comforts and luxurious life.  

Kollam (Quilon) was an important and ancient sea port on the Malabar Coast of India  (along with (Muziris and Tyndis) for centuries and gained prominence as it served a  major port on the west for the Pandya dynasty of Madurai. While Kulasekharapatnam served as a seaport of the Pandyas on the eastern coast of Tamil Nadu. The western  region has a network of many backwaters  through which  many places can be accessed by boats. 

Thevally Palace  of Travancore ruler., Quilon

Thevally Palace in Kollam on the banks of the scenic Ashtamudi Lake was built  in 1819 during the reign of Gauri Parvathi Bayi from 1811 to 1819. The purpose of this palace was to use it as a residence of the Maharajah of erstwhile Travancore.  Kollam (Quilon.) was the capital of that state then.   Set in a quiet serene place in the midst of greenery  surrounded by the Western Ghat hills, lush green coconut groove and palm trees, lots of tourists visit this palace -Thevally Kottaram  that would have seen the heyday of Travancore Maharajahs including queen Gauri Parvati Bayi.  For the European guests in those days, it was a scintillating and pleasant experience to stay in the palace for relaxation and rest. No doubt it is regarded as the most famous monument of Kerala  showcasing its cultural renaissance. 

Kollam city, Kerala.

Thevalli  palace of  Maharaja of Travancore, kollam

This fascinating palace, apart from  being the former ruler's residence,  also served as an official  meeting place for the ruler with his officials including the British Resident  to discus  administrative and other issues of the state.  There is a temple dedicated to Lord Sastha (God Ayyappa) for the benefit of the royal members of the family to pray on festive occasions.   Located about  around 25 km from Kollam town this heritage palace can be accessed  by boat ride through the scenic waters of Ashtamudi Lake which is lined with many groves. 

Thevalli  palace kollam

Above image:   Trancvancore  Gowri Parvathi Bayi (1802–1853): 
Succeeding her sister Maharani Gowri Lakshmi Bayi,  was the Regent of the Indian state of Travancore in 1815-1829.  She finally  relinquished  her regency in favor of her nephew, Maharajah Swathi Thirunal.  Being the only  female left in the family, she ran  the administration with skill and wisdom until the legal heir ascended  the throne.   Raja Raja Varma of the Changanssery Royal family  and her husband, Raghava Varma, of the Royal family of Kilimanoor were of great help during her regency.  Being astute, compassionate and talented, Maharani Parvati bai was responsible for many reforms in the state such as :  01 Beginning of modern education in Travancore - 1817.   02. Lower castes people  of Travancore  were permitted to adorn themselves if wished  with gold jewelry.  03. Abolition of  Adiyara Panam   special licenses for the use of gold ornaments by higher caste  Nairs, et al.  04.  She made vaccination more popular as part of heath care introduced by  her sister Maharani Gowri Lakshmi Bayi.

What is quite impressive about this palace in this coastal town is it was built in a blend of English, Portuguese and Dutch architectural styles. So the palace is known for its unique architectural grandeur that is not native to this area. It is built mostly of laterite stone with lime plastering  and high ceiling for better comforts- it will keep indoors cool.

The palace was taken over by the state government after Travancore  had joined the Indian union after 1948 and it  housed the  Kollam /Alleppey headquarters of the N.C.C  Presently the building and the grounds around it are being used by the Kerala tourism department. The presence of groves on the banks of the lakes is an added advantage. However it is being maintained by the  office of the state  PWD. This idyllic treat far way from madding crowd is worth a visit for fun and peace of mind.