Most tourists are curious to know something about the cultural background of a place; for them a visit to a Museum is desirable. In Kerala, most of the cities have a museum to preserve and exhibit the way of living of the early generations and the kings who ruled over them. The rich traditional arts and architecture are well represented.
Hill Palace Archaeological Museum
Hill Palace in Trippunithura, a suburb of Kochi is an archaeological Museum. It used to be the administrative complex of Rajas of Kochi; a vast area of 54 acres housing 49 buildings, built during later 19th century.
The Palace was taken over by the Department of Archaeology in 1980. It comprises an archaeological museum, a heritage museum, and parks for deer, and pre-historic objects. Rare species of medicinal plants are grown in the campus.
The erstwhile residing palace of the Cochin Royal Family displays the crown and ornaments, the special seats, the beautifully carved beds and other artefacts. There are old paintings, sculptures in stone and marble, coins of the day, weapons the men used; all these depicting the manner of life then. The gold crown encrusted with precious stones, and the ornaments worn by the women of the palace, hold our attention. The large pond which was used only by the royal family stays serene as a witness to past events.
Center for Heritage Studies (CHS) set up by department of Cultural affairs is located in the Heritage Museum. The significant work here is the conservation of manuscripts; it provides a Manuscript Resource Center.
Visiting hours are 9 am to 5 pm with a break of one hour for lunch between 1pm and 2 pm. On Mondays and other national holidays, the museum remains closed.
The Napier Museum
Image by Thejas Panarkandy via Flickr
It is an Art and Natural History Museum, in Trivandrum established in 1880. The architectural style is Anglo-Saracen, so you find Gothic roof and minarets. There is an inbuilt system that keeps the interior air conditioned. The building is a masterpiece that attracts students of architecture. There are bronze idols, ivory carvings, ancient ornaments and Kerala artifacts displayed. You can also know what a temple chariot looks like.
Sri Chitra Art gallery is a place for Art lovers; it holds portraits of royal family members of different kingdoms of India garbed in their respective types of finery, painted by Raja Ravi Varma. There are paintings by Nicholas Roerich, the Russian artist who lived in India for long and samples of Rajput, Tanjore and Mughal art.
Apart from the museum, a large zoological garden covering 55 acres forms part of the grounds. Museum is open from 10 am to 4.45 pm on all days except Mondays, forenoon of Wednesday and other national Holidays.
Kuthiramalika Palace Museum
Image by sreejith Kenoth via Flickr
This Palace built by the Artist King HRH Swathi Thrirunal Balarama Varma pays special attention to Travancore Architecture. The carvings and designs of the palace make it an amazing building to observe and appreciate.
The first room that you enter amazes you. The 14 life-size figures from Kerala legends and Kathakali definitely take ones breath away. As you enter the next halls, you see the paintings and collections of the royal family.
Ivory inlaid cots and seats, musical instruments and the tree of Music which produces the seven Swaras are all wonderful. It is located near Sri Padmanabhaswamy temple in Trivandrum
Kerala Folklore and Culture Museum
Image Credit: The Hindu Newspaper
The museum combines Kerala architecture and traditional performing arts of South India. The setting up of this museum is a national achievement. It took an effort of 62 special-skilled carpenters for 7 years to build it.
The collection of antiques from all parts of South India was spread over 20 years. There are unique window frames, hand- painted ceilings, folk art puppets, garments worn by the dancers, the typical musical instruments used by them, samples of architecture etc. If a performance is going on at the time in the hall, the guide may take you there.
The guests can find out in advance the time and days of the performances which are mainly Kathakali, Mohiniyattam, Bharatanatyam and Kalaripayattu with live music. The show of the four art forms lasts for 1 hr 15 min.
You can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to know more about the schedules. Altogether a visit to the theatre will give you an idea of the culture of South India with emphasis on Kerala.
Bay Island Driftwood Museum
Image Credit : Kerala Tourism
The remains of trees washed up by the turbulent Bay of Bengal aroused the artistic creativity in the mind of a lady who lived in Andamans island. She saw the hidden forms of animals, birds, fishes in the driftwood and brought them out after cleaning, scraping and fashioning her creations. These are exhibited in the Driftwood Museum in the village of Kumarakom. It is a treat for the connoisseurs of this art form.
Phone No: 0481-2525634
The Archaeological Museum,Thrissur
Image Credit : Kerala Tourism
The building, an erstwhile Palace houses a gallery of murals, (temple wall paintings) temple models cast in plaster of Paris, manuscripts on dry palm leaves often associated with medicine, and Veerakallu. The last mentioned are figures and weapons of heroes of history.
Open on all days except Mondays and national holidays. While in Thrissur, a visit to the zoological Museum is an additional attraction.
Science and Technology Museum
This museum in the State Capital houses galleries with working or animated and participatory models on different disciplines of Science and Electronics. Technology attracts all irrespective of age. There are science related shows explained in English daily at noon in the Planetarium. The high point of the complex is the Observatory at an altitude of 60 m gives you a bird’s view of the city. Priyadarshini Planetarium is a part of Science and technology museum, Trivandrum.
Priyadarshini Planetarium, Trivandrum
Image by Vijayakumarblathur via Wikimedia
The Sky theatre can seat 184; it is rated as one of the best horizontal domed Planetaria. They host some interesting shows on Stars, Planets and Universe. “Myriad suns” deals with the birth and death of Stars, Star clusters, Black Holes, galaxies and so on.
The Planetarium in Calicut in North Kerala also attracts a lot of crowds. They have working participatory models which are most interesting to children and adults, a Hall of Mirrors where you see and hear laughter, a 3D show which is a screamy treat for all.
Pazhassi Raja Archaeological Museum
Known originally as East Hill Bungalow, this building has been renamed as Pazhassi Raja Archaeological Museum in 1980.
We can see artifacts from Megalithic Age and Indus Valley civilization, samples of pottery, sculpture, coins and models of temples. Huge burial urns and umbrella stones which were the tomb stones of rulers are exhibited here. Panchaloha idols made of a special alloy of 5 metals and stone statues of war heroes are something special.
Image by Shijaz via Wikipedia
It is near Kannur in North Malabar. With the help of the Government, the Arrakkal royal family, the only Muslim royal family in Kerala, maintains the place. The old Durbar Hall has been made into the museum. The old types of pots, cots and seats, costumes, lamps used by the family are tastefully exhibited.
Apart from all these there are uncommon ones like Tata Tea Museum at Munnar, and Police Museum at Kollam which is the only one of its kind in India. The latter displays the growth of Police force in the country. The Teak Museum at Nilambur which is en route to Ooty is also a unique one.
Do include one from the above listed museums while planning your next Kerala trip! They are indeed spectacular!!
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