Around 16 kms from Nagercoil lies the seat of the erstwhile rulers of Travancore, the Padmanabhapuram Palace. This masterpiece of indigenous Kerala architecture is located at Thuckalay, on the way to Kanyakumari. The wooden palace is well maintained and its murals, fabulous floral carvings and black granite floor continue to astound all who view it to this day. The interiors are beautiful relics with intricate rose carvings and sculptured decor. It has many murals dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries. The mahogany musical bow, windows of coloured mica, royal chairs with carvings from the Far East and the great ‘Thaikkottaram’, the Queen Mother’s palace with painted ceilings, all add a unique mysticism to the entire place.
There are many other splendid sights inside the Palace. The Durbar Hall with its shiny black floor made of a combination of egg white, jaggery, lime, burnt coconut, charcoal and river sand is a rare architectural feat. The place also has secret underground passages, the famous medicinal bed in the King’s bedroom, mural paintings, pictures of Lord Krishna, a temple dedicated to Goddess Saraswati, open air swimming baths, fish carvings and hanging brass lanterns that have been continuously lit since the 18th century. This palace dates back to 1601 C.E. and is a true testament to the resilience and perseverance of the land and our ancestors.