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Mattancherry Palace

Mattancherry is the western part of city of Kochi in Kerala State. Earlier Mattancherry was the trade link to Ernakulam. Main Trade was on spices such as pepper and turmeric. Tea is also traded. Mattancherry deteriorated mainly since the porters working at various firms had some unaccounted trouble with the Merchants. Slowly the traders moved to Ernakulam as Mattancherry Cochin proved to be costly. Mattancherry welcomed every migrant community that came to her with warmth and provided them with ample opportunities to flourish.

Also known as Dutch Palace, the Mattancherry Palace with its medieval charm is situated at Palace Road, Mattancherry,10 km from Ernakulam city, Kochi, Kerala. As one may surmise from the name, the Dutch were not the original builders of the Mattancherry Palace. It was built by the Portuguese in 1557 as a gift to the Raja of Cochin, Veera Kerala Varma, partly as a compensation for a temple they'd destroyed and partly as a bribe to gain favors from the ruler. It was only in 1663, when the Dutch won over from the Portuguese, that they renovated the palace and thus, it is known as the 'Dutch palace' too.

The palace has an exquisite collection of murals collectively covering over 300 sq. ft of its walls. The themes of these murals have been taken from the Ramayana and the Mahabharatha, and mythology and legends about the Hindu Gods especially Guruvayurappan. Some murals depict scenes from Kumarasambhavam and other works of the great Sanskrit poet Kalidasa. Also on display are royal paraphernalia like weapons, swings and furniture which offer a glimpse of the lifestyle of the royal family.

The murals are extensive and among the best in India. They cover approximately 300 sq ft of wall. Among the more erotic paintings is a mural in the Ladies' Bedchamber that depicts Krishna making love to all of eight gopis simultaneously! The museum housed in the Palace exhibits a rich collection of regal memorabilia including costumes, palanquins, turbans and weaponry from the days of the Cochin kings. The Dutch palace remains more or less the same in structure and appearance even today.

The ceremonial dress of the Cochin kings with intricate lace work in golden thread woven into them is in display. Also in display are royal caps worn by the Cochin kings. The coins issued by the kings of Cochin and postal stamps are exhibited besides important plans of Cochin drawn by the Dutch in the 17th and 18th centuries.

Nearest railway station to the Dutch Palace is Ernakulam which is about 10 km away. Nearest airport also is Cochin International Airport which is about 20 km from Ernakulam town.

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