Chittoor Kottaram (palace), Kochi, Kerala - once an elegant residence of Kochi ruler


Chittoor Kottaram, Kerala

Chittoor Kottaram, Kerala

Chittoor Kottaram/palace, cochin, Pinrest com. 

Unlike palaces in the northern states that are big and richly decorated  with fine lighting, marble flooring, etc.,   palaces in the SW part of India have distinctive and unique style in harmony  with the native landscape. Though simple looking, their  artistic splendor and grandeur  are quite impressive; equally eye-catching and  awe-inspiring are the  minute wood carvings that only experienced carpenters could handle. Kerala palaces don't boast of grand style with a few floors and projecting balconies or decorative chhatris, no large  durbar  hall and  no stone decorations. Nor are they set in the midst of a huge garden with  several water fountains, etc. The residences of few well-known  monarchs of Kerala  are made of   high quality wood  on a strong masonry basement and foundation. 

It is not that the maharajahs of Kerala could not afford such big palatial mansions as  those in the northern states with finest decorations and design to showcase their opulence and wealth. To the rulers of Kerala,  the divinity or the family deity is the real ruler and they ruled the land in the name of lord. Hence they had limited army power to confront  enemies. Royal residences or palaces were built mostly near  water bodies  to enjoy cool air and relax during the hot summer season. 

.Chittoor palace(kottaram), Kochi, Kerala state.

Chittoor Kottaram, Kerala.

Close to the Kochi main land on the bank of quiet backwater lies an impressive royal building with a sloping tiled roof   called Chittoor palace or Chittoor kottaram, once the royal residence of the erstwhile Cochin maharajah. One of the oldest palaces in South India,  it was  for three centuries a  silent spectator  to the  sharp turns and twists of historical  and political events connected with the royal family.  It is built in typical Kerala style architecture  and the main construction material being wood - quality wood  that is available in plenty in the local forests here.

The 18th century builder of this palace was an ardent devotee of Shree Krishna  and he himself personally chose a place with a serene ambiance in a small village called Chittoor  to build a temple dedicated to god.  When the construction was on, it dawned on him to  build  a residence  near the temple so that he and   his family  members   could stay comfortably.  The ruler  had an entourage  stationed  there so that  whenever he visited this place with his family they  would be taken care of well by them.  The residence is simplicity personified without compromising on regal look and elegance. Over a period of time Chittoor kottaram  became a famous royal residence, now a legacy of the once famous Cochin Kingdom. 

Chittoor Kottaram (

Chittoor palace (Kottaram)

In the 1960s after the abolition of privy purses to the princely rulers (whose kingdom merged with the Indian Union after independence) by the then Congress government at the center, the descendants of ex rulers  with  no doles (from the government) found it difficult to maintain the  royal properties not taken over by the  government. To supplement  the lost income  and to  keep their properties in good shape,  they began converting their palaces, big buildings, etc.,  into heritage hotels, particularly, in the states like Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, etc. This  ingenious proposal has given them the needed income besides keeping  the heritage structures in good condition. The Indian ex rulers'  families, in the last two decades  gave a new impetus to the hospitality industries in India.  The Cochin princely family followed suit and converted this fine  palace  into a heritage hotel.  

pond, Chittoor kottaram, Kochi.

Chittoor Kottaram, Kochi

Royal hospitality is the hallmark of this hotel.  Ride by special boat from mainland Kochi to the paddipura  or portals of the hotel and services in the hotel  here every thing has a  regal touch that will take you on a nostalgic trip to the past era and taste the ethos of the 18th century  Kerala.  

In 2005 Chittoor Kottaram underwent restoration work and it was done mainly to strengthen the entire structure.  This  two-story 300 old palace was restored in March 2018 and it was done under the expert guidance of a 84 year old French lady Helen Hamlyn  of  the famous Helen Hamlyn Trust (HHT);  she was singularly responsible 

conservationist lady Helen Hamlyn

for the recent  restoration  work.  She  carried  out the  conservation work without disturbing  the essence of old flavor. She carefully retained the old pond by converting it into a modern pool, but retaining the old laterite stones  with a concrete base.   She just made a minor modification -  a bit widening of the veranda that serves as a lounge.  She specialized in the art of conservation of  a variety of structures world over and had a good knowledge of intricate art preservation. Quite enchanting is sitting in the newly  refurbished veranda facing the quiet backwaters

The palace set near  a placid backwaters is a perfect  getaway for people who want to be free from  mundane existence and mad polluted urban spaces.