Bastian Bungalow - 450 year old heritage Dutch site, Kerala

Bastion Bungalow,Kochi

Bastion Bungalow.Kochi

 There is no dearth of historical monuments in the state of Kerala which was once a world famous center for spices that attracted innumerable foreign mercantile traders. Part of  coastal Kerala was once ruled by the Portuguese, Dutch and at last the British as far back as early 1940s.These foreign rulers left behind many historical monuments that need to be preserved for progeny.

Built in 1667 in  Indo - European style with major emphasis on Dutch architecture, the Bastion Bungalow is on River road, Ft. Kochi, Ernakulam, Kerala State. Deriving its name from its location on the site of the Stromberg Bastion of the old Portuguese -built Fort Immanuel in the early decades of 1600,  the bungalow has  a tiled roof and a typical first floor verandah in wood along its front portion.

 Bastion Bungalow.

The 450-year-old structure, believed to be one of the oldest buildings in Kerala, is  now a protected monument. It was the British who named it Bastion Bungalow. Earlier  it was part of the first Portuguese-built fort that was taken over by the Dutch. It was used as a a residence-cum-office for government officials during the British period. Today, the Bungalow is the official residence of the Sub Collector.

The museums are planned as part of the Kerala state government’s   funded program to preserve the heritage structures in that state  and showcase the legacy and tradition of the state  as well as colonial rulers. The information provided by the government  will help the future generation to appreciate  these monuments that  connect us with the past history. Incidentally, it is quite appropriate to point out that most of the Indian states give a damn to such old structures which are crumbling right under our nose and soon will be lost for ever. For example the Schwartz  Protestant  church built by the Maratha ruler Rajah Serfoji, and the outer  boundary wall (Mathil suvar) of the famous big temple at Thanjavur city, Tamil nadu built by the Chola king Raja Rajan 1000 years ago are not in good shape. They are under the ASI. Their negligence is quite appealing.

This historical Bastian Bungalow under went major modification at the initiative of the Kerala government and it has become a popular cultural center of Kerala. According to  Cultural Minister K C Joseph, “A 25-seat modern theatre, a souvenir shop, and touch screen kiosk will be added in the second phase of development of the museum. Slide shows and documentaries on the cultural heritage of Kerala and Kochi will be shown in the theatre,”.
The museum is about 13 km away from Fort Kochi and is located in the backwater of Vembanad lake in the Arabian sea.