Krishna Vilas Palace and the Tank Shed Palace - remnants of Cochin rulers

Tank Shed palace.

The  Hindu temple festivals in Kerala are important events and in the case of major events the rulers of Kerala never fail to participate in them as they  were closely connected with the divinity. Such festivals and religious events preserve the sanctity of the temples involved.  In the case of Ernakulathappan temple festivities, the Cochin Royal family members whose seat of power is Tripunithura, would visit the place on festive occasions and reside in the palaces -

Tank Shed palace.

Krishna Vilas Palace and the Tank Shed Palace - adjacent to the Shiva temple:  They were stately residences meant for the ruler and his family members for stay  here at any time. That the Krishna Vilas  palace shared a common wall with the temple will confirm this. It is said  the palace accommodated  male members of the family, whereas women from the royal family and the princesses stayed at the Tank Shed palace which is well connected with  temple pond. Both structures were built at the same time - in the middle of 19th century.

The Krishana Vilas palace is pulled down and, as for Tank Shed palace  that is behind the Durbar Hall, was poorly maintained with thick growth of plants, etc., that hide  it from view. The Royal family of Cochin took over the administration in 1949, after the integration of the States of Travancore and Cochin. No construction was done and it remained vacant for a pretty long time.

According to Historian Venugopal,  the Darbar Hall of the palace was used briefly when a government inquiry was ordered into Coconut oil scam and in this regard the Chief Justice of Cochin State,  Sir C.V. Ananthakrishna Iyer, a retired Judge of Madras High Court and  M.C. B. Koman, ICS held the inquiry here. Whether the Tank Shed palace was exclusively meant for the women members of the royal family or whether male members were allowed to visit the palace is a bone of contention and there are different versions about the use of this palace. 

Two members of the  royal family, Kodungallur Kunjukuttan Thampuran and Rama Varma Appan Thampuran started  a magazine called Rasika Ranjini that was printed  at Vidya Vilasam Press in Ernakulam and the palace became the Magazine's office for a pretty long time. As the palace building became decrepit decision was taken to sell the palace estate.   In 2000 the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan bought the palace premises and and started a primary school Bhavan’s Bala Mandir with a view to preserving ans safeguaring long cherished Indian culture, tradition and ethos.

The  palace has not undergone any modifications and additions for a long time, hence, it's heritage value is not disturbed.  It  has fine architectural features  and interiors  with  well-decorated wooden stairway, pillars, wooden floor, etc. The blue and white Belgian tile flooring  is impressive. The private walled pond adjacent to the palace, visible from the rows of windows from the palace has still  retained its old charm.

In this transitory world, there is no room for permanency, the old royal palace is a vestige of the heyday of Cochin rulers.