Perched atop a hillock, close to the city of Kochi surrounded by beautiful gardens and fountains sits a regal edifice that still instills shear or in all who get to view it. This 150 year old marvel in Thripunithura was christened the Hill Palace Museum and is one among the finest architectural marvels in all of God’s Own Country. It was built in 1855 C.E. and was once the residence of the Kochi royal family. First constructed by King Ravi Varma who ruled from 1853 to 1864 additions were constantly made to the structure by subsequent rulers. Today the palace comprises 49 magnificent buildings spread across a sprawling area of 51.75 acres. Each part of the palace complex flaunts the brilliance of the indigenous Kerala architectural style tinged with a subtle Western influence There are several traditional structures as well. The glazed Italian marble tiles, elegant floral designed Victorian tiles and the ceramic tiles from England all point towards the Western influence in the mesmerizing final structure on display The Department of Archaeology acquired this property in 1981 and renovated and converted it into an Archaeological Museum in 1984. The museum was then open to the public in May 1986. The Hill Palace Museum is host to 13 different galleries each with a distinct character and exquisite exhibits. The royal throne in all its erstwhile splendor can be seen in the Cabinet Hall. Exquisite and intricate are the wood carvings. A notable exhibit in the gallery of wood carvings is a dilapidated portion from the Enadimangalam Temple belonging to 14th century CE that depicts scenes from the epic Ramayana. The portraits of the erstwhile Cochin rulers are displayed in genealogical order in the gallery of paintings The European and Tanjore paintings stand apart in this massive collection. In the jewelry gallery one can see traditional royal ornaments along with the prestigious crown of the Cochin rulers adorned with precious stones. The epigraphy gallery showcases one of the most unique exhibits on display here at the Museum. The Thora, the sacred texts of the Jews written in Hebrew on goat skin One can also see different types of stone inscriptions of various periods and palm leaf manuscripts. The innumerable bronze and silver items ranging from the silver royal chair, lamps, Thidambu and so forth on display makes the metalware gallery splendid. The museum exhibits rare and beautiful chariots, palanquins and doilies as well. The Numismatic Gallery, the Palliyam Gallery, the Gallery of Ancient history, the Stone Sculpture Gallery with hero stones and stone idols. And the Mannadiar Gallery display exhibits that are unique to this Palace. A heritage museum in the
traditional Ettukettu structure showcases the household articles and
utensils used during the bygone era. This edifice that stands tall as the pride of Kochi sheds light on a glorious chapter in the ancient history of Kochi and Kerala at large. One that has and will continue to enchant generations to come.