The Royal palace of Pandalam, Kerala where God Ayyappa spent his childhood

pandalam palace.

Royal palace of Pandalam,

The Royal palace of Pandalam,  a two-story structure situated on the banks of the Achankovil River, is  neither a palatial or richly embellished  royal residence. There is nothing special or quite inspiring feature about it. But historically and religiously, this palace has a unique place in this God's own country. Unlike grand palaces of splendor and beauty, this humble palace  is connected with divinity. In this respect Pandalam palace stands apart from other palaces across India.

Pandalam palace, Pandalam, Kerala/

Normally the rulers of Kerala never show off their opulence by way of building big palaces  or wearing expensive jewelry on them. To them the presiding deity of that place is the ruler and the Maharajahs are just custodians. For example, for the Travancore royal family, during their heyday, their head was Padmanabha Swamy of the local temple and the rulers were mere servants   They would rather spend  the money for the public cause rather than for their personal enjoyment. 

Pandalam, Kerala.

This royal residence of Pandalam family  showcases the typical   Kerala style of architecture followed centuries ago  and  is  made of a blend of  mud, wood, stones, and bamboos.  A model of  simplicity, it was  built by the Pandalam royal family in 900 AD and Lord Ayyappa. is said to have resided there    Originally built by the Pandya Kings of that time who had left this place for some reasons few years later  the Pandalam kings occupied the palace. It is said that Lord Ayyappa had spent his childhood days here.     

The lore has it Raja Rajasekhara of Pandalam, on a hunting trip to the nearby place,  accidentally  found a small baby by the side of River Pamba. The baby had a divine  aura about him. Being childless the Raja and his wife named the kid Manikandan and brought him up as their own child. Endowed with divine powers, he became the  'Yuvaraja' of Pandalam  When a dispute was on in the family to appoint the next ruler, Raja Rajasekarara found out that Manikandan had divine powers and later the young boy  transformed into Ayyappan and had a temple built, now a site of famous pilgrimage from many parts of India, in particular from the south. Being a celibate God Ayyappan is an epitome of righteousness, Dharma  and destroyer of evil forces.

The old Pandalam palace  comes alive and a center of religious activities every year during the Ayyappan temple mandala puja and padayatra for the simple reason that the temple God Ayyappa is said to have connection with the  Pandalam Royal Family.

Because of vagaries of climatic changes and rough monsoon seasons, the old palace is slowly facing structural weakness and damages. It has some archeological importance, due to the  presence of  Valiyakoikkal Sree Dharma Sastha Temple, Kaipuzha Temple, and the Theverappura  (the prayer rooms) within the  palace compound. the palace is in a scenic location surrounded by garden and lush greenery. Pandalam town is close to Chengannur in Pathanamthitta district, The nearest railway station: Chengannur, about 14 km  and  airport is Cochin International Airport, about 144 km away.