Koyikkal Palace, Thiruvananthapuram
Location :Nedumangad, about 18 km from Thiruvananthapuram
city on the way to the Ponmudi hill station and the
Courtalam waterfalls, Thiruvananthapuram district,
Attractions :Palace, folklore museum and numismatics museum.
Visiting hours : 9:00 am to 5:00 pm on all days, except Mondays
The Koyikkal Palace, situated far of away from
the city, was actually built for Umayamma Rani of the Venad royal
family who ruled the land between 1677 and 1684.
The palace is a double stroreyed traditional nalukettu with slanting
gabled roofs and an inner courtyard.
Today, the palace houses a Folklore Museum and a Numismatics Museum
set up by the Department of Archaeology.
The Folklore Museum, a treasure house of quaint musical instruments,
occupational implements, household utensils, models of folk arts
etc, was set up in 1992. The exhibits here draw attention to the
rich cultural background of the State. The exhibits include rare
articles like Chandravalayam (not found in any other such museum
in Kerala), a small percussion instrument used as an accompaniment
while reciting the ballad Ramakathappattu (the story of Lord Sree
Rama); and Nanthuni , a sweet sounding musical instrument made of
wood and string used while singing the Onappattu and Nanthunippattu
during Onam the harvest festival of Kerala.
The Folklore Museum housed on the first floor of the palace also
has a wide range of household utensils including wooden kitchenware,
brass/copperware etc. representing the lifestyle of the Keralites
during different eras. Thaliyola (old manuscripts), Chilambu (a
sort of anklet) used by Umayamma Rani and Maravuri (dress material
made of the bark of trees) etc. are well preserved here.
Oorakkudukku a device for intellectual exercise used by the Yogis
as a pastime, Gajalekshmi - a lamp representing the goddess of prosperity
- Lekshmi-seated on her elephant (this lamp is usually lighted at
dusk and during the harvest season to welcome the goddess) are other
interesting exhibits. The Kettuvillakku - a ceremonial lamp (artistically
made out of coloured paper and locally available light wood splits/rails),
lit during festivals at the Bhagavathy temples of southern Kerala;
a model of the most impressive of Theyyams - the Muthappan theyyam
, a Patayani kolam model ; the headgear and dress used by Ottanthulal
artistes exhibited here give an insight into the performing as well
as the ritual art forms of Kerala.
The Numismatics Museum at the Koyikkal Palace is the only one of
its kind in the State. Occupying the ground floor of the palace,
the coins here belong to different parts of the world as well as
to different eras. This rare and historically valuable collection
is a vestige of the trade relation of the State in the bygone ages.
Among the exhibits are some of the oldest coins of Kerala - Ottaputhen,
Erattaputhen, Kaliyugarayan Panam etc. A Venetian coin named Amaida,
believed to have been presented to Jesus Christ, is also a property
of this museum. The most valuable among the Indian coins found here
are 'Karsha'. These are nearly 2500 years old.
Rasi, the world's smallest coins are also on display here. Sreekrishna
Rasi, one of the rasis (regional coins) issued by the local kings
of Kerala around the 10th century, Anantharayan Panam - the first
modern gold coin of Travancore in circulation in the 15th and 17th
centuries, Kochi Puthen - one of the coins of the Kochi kingdom
which also had variations like Indo-Dutch Puthen (1782 AD). Lekshmi
Varaham - the silver coins minted in Travancore, Rasi Palaka (the
coin board) - a wooden board with small niches used to count small
coins (counting up to 100 to 200 at a time), coin mints etc are
Nearly 374 Roman gold coins, each worth up to five hundred thousand
rupees today, depicting Roman gods and goddesses like Venus, Hercules,
Mars, Ceres, Genius, etc and rulers like Hardin (AD 117 - 138) are
also among the collection.
The museum also has coins used by various Indian dynasties - the
Gwalior royal family, the Nizam of Hyderabad, Tipu Sultan, Hyder