Chittoor Kottaram (palace) of erstwhile Kochi Maharajah - a heritage resort on a fantasy island

The Chittoor Palace Cochin

If you want to experience a glimpse of royal dwelling not in a palatial and richly embellished  palace, but in a elegant, unassuming   and unostentatious place, your  right destination is God's own country- Kerala. On the lap of western ghat hills. close to the serene backwaters lined on either side with luxurious palm and coconut tree groves  you will find many such simplicity-personified palaces where you can let go your stressful life and be at peace yourself. 

The Chittoor Palace Cochin

The Chittoor Palace Cochin

The Chittoor Palace (more than 200 years old), 12 km from Ernakulam  is a Royal Abode on the banks Periyar river banks and is close to Cochin backwaters. Considering its location  and your preference for exclusivity, it is a perfect hideaway from the madding urban crowd and mundae life.  Once the  summer palace of the Maharajah of the erstwhile Cochin royalty,  now it is an  exclusive heritage resort. It is a two story structure made mostly of expensive wood from the native land. The second floor can be accessed through a beautiful wooden stairway.  Sitting in the  the veranda on  second floor with a serene ambiance is a thrilling one , according to many people. You get carried away by the crafty murals with different themes and vintage mirrors

In such restored past royal residences you can experience the royal flavor far from fantasy and free of artificiality. Such places never fail to make you wander into a time-warp where their exploits and eccentricities unfold before you, relegating their hidden pain and anxiety to the back bench. In the midst of  their amazing trappings that go with royalty, there lurks the fear of enemies within and outside  and the menacing English company, an alley of the state, waiting to exploit their weakness.

The rulers of Kerala were staunch Hindu devotees and would resume their  daily work after prayer. The Chittoor temple close to the palace on an island of  Cheranelloor is a popular one dedicated to Sree Krishna who  was the family deity of the royalty. It was  built by the Cochin ruler as  he had to leave Vannery - then his seat of power near Guruvayur because of raid by Zamorin rulers of Kozhikode. 

The access to the island was through boats. Here the 10 day annual festival in April was a popular one and during the heyday  it was long-held tradition that the Maharajah  of Cochin had  to attend the temple festivities and his visit along with his retinue was a spectacular event.  

The ruler and his innumerable guards and others would travel to the temple from their seat of power Tripunithura, nearly 10 miles away. The long journey with ceremonial reception on the way, etc being tedious, Chittoor Palace was used as a rest house during these visits, Way back in past once on a royal visit, while attending a part hosted by the chieftain of that place, as ill-luck would have it, there was an unexpected fire mishap. In a giffy, the nice palace was turned into smouldering wood and debris right before the people could wink their eyes. Undeterred, the ruler had a new  palace built in the same place like Phoenix bird out of ashes. This unfortunate event is mentioned in an old  book of fairy tales  “Aithihyamala”, first published about 100 years ago. The chapter is dedicated to the nearby Chittoor temple and its village chieftain, Cheranelloor Kartha.

Chittoor Kottaram, unlike other heritage hotels is a maverick; their approach to hospitality is different. Mind you you have to enter the hotel barefoot!! The package  is inclusive of Ayurvedic massage treatment, cruise in the scenic backwaters and sunbath in the special lounge. They call it  a single key hotel meaning  there are no  other guests but you and your companions only and the staff will take you on a nostalgic trip down the memory lane. They recreate the royal life of the ex-ruler of Cochin right from food to everything. No fantasies to spook you!!  But, Chittoor Kottaram offers you a nice opportunity to explore the native vibrant cultures and heritage of Cochin city with many historical events.  

Here,  at Chittoor Kottaram, recreation old royal style  is reminiscent of the old US TV series Fantasy Island,  an American fantasy drama  created by Gene Levitt (aired on ABC from 1977 to 1984). Ricardo Montalbán acted as  the mysterious Mr. Roarke and HervĂ© Villechaize as his assistant, Tattoo. Guests were granted so-called "fantasies" on the island for a price.