Pazhassi Raja Museum & Art Gallery in Kozhikode, Kerala, an interesting place to visit

he Pazhassi Raja Museum, Kozhikode, Kerala.

The Pazhassi Raja Museum  located in Kozhikode, Kerala is being visited by lots of tourists during holidays. The museum houses rare  mural paintings,  valuable antique bronzes, ancient coins, small  models of temples, umbrella stones,  burial stuff with capstones, and similar megalithic monuments.  Numerous items and and artifacts  date back to  1000 BC to 200 AD.

 For the lovers of art and historians, it is a heaven for them   because on  display in the  Pazhassi Raja Museum & Art Gallery close to the museum  are popular and well-acclaimed oil paintings of Kerala's greatest artist Raja Ravi Varma (1848 - 1906).

Raja ravi varma, a great painter, kerala,

Raja Ravi varma's  oil

Ravi Varma's  stunning and inspiring  life-like paintings have  got the attention of international critics, collectors and  connoisseurs. His  paintings of Hindu deities are quite famous across South India, in particular Tamil Nadu.   When I was in my early teens, studying in a local school, I used to see  those impressive and divine paintings in the Puja rooms of my relatives  who lived in places like Chennai,  Bangalore, Kumbakonam, etc. As a matter of fact, if you visited any household  of a Brahmin family in any Agraharam in Tamil Nadu,  positively you could see a few paintings of Hindu deities, etc  by Ravi Varma. In those places  decades ago, his name was a household name. Such was the reputation and reverence his paintings carried.

Raja Ravi varma's painting. Goddess Saraswathi.

 Besides, on  festival days one would see Ravi Varma's paintings on Gods and Goddesses in the prayer room  often adorned with flowers, etc and the women and girls would be either chanting mantras or singing some divine hymns.  Managed by the State Archaeology Department,  both the museum and the art gallery are named after the great Pazhassi Raja.   

Ruler and freedom fighter. Pazhassi Raja,

Ravi Varma Raja (1745–1793) happened to be a Samantan Kshatriya warrior prince of the Royal House of Zamorins from Calicut of Kerala. His war exploits  for  two decades against the rulers of Mysore under Hyder Ali  and Tipu Sultan between 1766–1768 and 1774–1791 who killed countless Hindus and  indulged in mass conversion to Islam in Malabar, were an important part of Kerala's history.  He successfully blocked all efforts by Hyder and Tipu to subjugate his kingdom and had  the rare distinction of being the first Malabar prince to rise up in 1788 against the forced conversions and deportation of Nairs to Seringapatam conducted by Tipu. 

The great Pazhassi Raja diligently tackled  the then foreign invader  the  dishonest East India company in 1793 who had already become a big political entity  In India to reckon with at that point of time. The Thirurahgadi battle was a famous one. In 1790, under Colonel Hartley a British army  of 2,000 men  camped  in South Malabar to fight against  Mysore army of 9,000 Sepoys and 4,000 Moplays. Ravi Varma  sent the additional reinforcement of  5,000  Nairs  warriors to aid the English company and his timely interference helped  the  British win the Third Anglo-Mysore War. After 1792, longstanding  military alliance with the British came to an end  because the British never restored Calicut and other places to Ravi Varma as a precondition for his help to the British in their battle against Tipu. Quite irritated over this breach of trust, Pazhassi Raja  revolted against the English company,

In the famous 'Pazhassi Revolt against the British in the second half of the 1700s  Pazhassi Raja used guerrilla warfare in the hills of Wayanad to resist the increasingly intolerable British  colonists. In  his  long drawn struggle against the English company  during a skirmish he was shot dead on 30 November 1805.
It is quite befitting the museum and art galley is named after Pazhassi Raja, a great freedom fighter who had spent much of his time relentlessly fighting against two Mysore  Muslim rulers and later the invader from Europe. This interesting museum is in East Hill,  a serene, picturesque place  about 5 km from the Kozhikode town.