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| Last Updated:: 09/03/2022

Historical Monuments of Kerala


A church, a temple, a mosque and the remains of a Jewish synagogue - all lying in close proximity is an ideal example of the ancient Indian tradition of religious tolerance and peaceful co-existence.


Dutch Palace, Mattancherry

Built by the Portuguese in 1557 and presented to Raja Veera Kerala Varma of Kochi, the Palace was renovated in 1663 by the Dutch. The palace with a Bhagavathi temple in the central courtyard is built like the typical Kerala style mansion - the Nalukettu - the home of the aristocracy, nobility and upper classes, with four separate wings opening out to a central courtyard.


Koyikkal Palace, Nedumangad

The Koyikkal Palace, situated far 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 in 1992 by the Department of Archaeology.


Meshan Mani

On the eastern side of Padmanabha Swamy Temple, installed in 1833 during the reign of Swathi Thirunal, is the Meshan Mani (clock). It has on its dial, a man’s face with two goats on either side. Crafted from mahogany by an artisan called Kulathooran, every time the clock completes an hour, the man opens his mouth and the goats hit his cheeks.


Padmanabhapuram Palace

A magnificent wooden palace of the 16th century, Padmanabhapuram Palace lies at the land's end of mainland India. An enticing piece to any lover of art and architecture this old palace of the Rajas of the erstwhile Travancore (1550 to 1750 AD) is a fine specimen of Kerala's indigenous style of architecture.


Pierce Leslie Bungalow

This charming mansion was the office of Pierce Leslie & Co., coffee merchants, founded in 1862. A representative of the Fort Kochi colonial bungalow, this building reflects Portuguese, Dutch and local influences. Characteristic features are wood panels that form the roof of the ground floor, arched doorways, carved doors and sprawling rooms. Waterfront verandahs are an added attraction.


Poonjar Palace in Kottayam

The Poonjar Palace is a glorious testimony to the regal opulence of a bygone era. Within the palace walls is an extraordinary royal collection of antiques and exquisite furniture including a palanquin, a thoni carved out of a single piece of wood for Ayurvedic massages, huge chandeliers, palm leaf engravings, jewel boxes, varieties of lamps, sculptures of Nataraja (the dancing Siva), grain measures, statues and weapons.


Poonthanam Illam, Kizhattoor, Perinthalmanna

This is the house of Poonthanam Namboothiri, an exponent of the Krishna cult of the Bhakthi movement, known for his work, Janappana (song of knowledge). Sreekrishna Temple where he used to pray is situated nearby.


Krishnapuram Palace

Krishnapuram Palace bears the stamp of Kerala's unique architectural opulence. It also houses Kerala's largest Mural panels. A museum of antique bronze sculptures and paintings is another attraction. The Krishnapuram Palace, which was the residence of the rulers of Kayamkulam kingdom, is a rare specimen of the Kerala style of architecture, replete with gabled roofs, narrow corridors and dormer windows.


Shakthan Thampuran Palace

The Palace of Shakthan Thampuran located in the district of Thrissur is a landmark in the annals of the Perumpadappu Swaroopam, the former ruling dynasty of Kochi. The palace is a major attraction, especially for those with a special interest on rulers and dynasties. At the Shakthan Thampuran Palace, one can come across and understand several interesting and remarkable aspects of the erstwhile rulers of Kochi.


Synagogue at Chennamangalam, Ernakulam

Kerala is one place in India, where the Jewish community made its presence felt in a strong manner. Their presence can be still felt in the port city of Kochi, where they are still involved in a variety of business activities. Among the prominent landmarks of the Jewish community in the region is their place of worship called synagogue. There were quite a good number of them in Kochi as well as in Kodungallur, an ancient port city not far away from Kochi.


Synagogue, Ernakulam

The Synagogue at Fort Kochi, constructed in 1568, is the oldest in the Commonwealth. Destroyed in a shelling during the Portuguese raid in 1662, it was rebuilt two years later by the Dutch. Mid-18th century hand painted, willow patterned floor tiles from Canton in China, a clock tower, Hebrew inscriptions on stone slabs, great scrolls of the Old Testament, ancient scripts on copper plates in which the grants of privilege made by the erstwhile Cochin rulers were recorded etc., are articles of interest here.

The Dutch Cemetery

The tomb stones here are the most authentic record of the hundreds of Europeans who left their homeland on a mission to expand their colonial empires and changed the course of history of this land. The cemetery was consecrated in 1724 and is today managed by the Church of South India.


The Kanakakunnu Palace

The Kanakakunnu Palace, situated near the Napier Museum in Thiruvananthapuram, is one of the last vestiges of the colonial era. Kanakakunnu Palace is a testimony to grand times and the resort of kings. This palace was constructed during the reign of His Highness Sree Moolam Thirunal. The palace and its sprawling grounds are today the venue for many cultural meets and programmes.



Thrithala, about 75 km from Palakkad on the banks of the River Bharathappuzha,  is noted for its monuments and historic ruins and hence, has great archaeological importance. The ruins of a large mud fort with a deep moat hewn from laterite and the Siva temple are notable cultural monuments.


Thunchan Memorial, Tirur

This is the birth place of Thunchath Ezhuthachan, the father of the Malayalam language. On Vijayadasami Day, many come here for vidyarambham, the ceremony in which children are initiated into learning. The iron stylus with which Ezhuthachan wrote his texts on palm leaves and the ancient kanjira tree under which he composed his poems are treasured exhibits here.


Vasco da Gama Square

Kochi, the commercial capital of Kerala, the last port of Vasco Da Gama, is a place with a fascinating history. The huge cantilevered fishing net, the Chinese fishing nets, seen here is a legacy of its spellbinding past. The Chinese fishing nets erected on teak wood and bamboo poles work on the principle of balance.  Records say they were first set up here between AD 1350 and 1450. Vasco Da Gama Square, the narrow promenade that parallels the beach, is the best place to watch the nets being lowered and pulled out of the sea.


Vizhinjam Rock Cut Cave Temple

There are rock cut sculptures of the 18th century in the cave temple at Vizhinjam, 17km away from the Thiruvanathapuram city. The granite cave here encloses a one-celled shrine with a loose sculpture of Vinandhara Dakshinamurthi. The outer wall of the cave depicts half complete reliefs of the Hindu God Shiva with Goddess Parvathi.


Anjengo Fort

 Anjengo stands for Anju Thengu or five coconut trees. The fort is some 36 kms north of Trivandrum and near the famous beach of Varkala. The English East India Company established the fort in Anjengo in 1684. Here you can now find the remnants of a fort and a nearby cemetery which contains the graves of the Englishmen and their families which once occupied the fort.



 The rock cut cave temple here dedicated to Lord Siva. This temple bears resemblance to the Pallava style of architecture and is believed to be built around the 8 th century AD. The sculptures and engravings here are some of the oldest in Kerala.


Palakkad Fort

 This is also known as Tippu's fort and is situated in the centre of Palakkad town. The fort was constructed in AD 1766. It was built first by Tippu's father Hyder Ali (1717 - 1782) when he captured the northern regions of Kerala. His son Tippu Sultan also fought the British in India. In 1784 the fort was captured from Tippu's forces by the British forces under colonel Fullerton after a 11 day siege.



The caves house ancient stone scripts, pictorial wall inscriptions of human and animal figures, symbols and cave drawings of wheels, bows, knives and so on. Similar cave drawings, considered to be 7000 years old, are found only in Stiriya in the European Alps and a few rocky places in Africa. The caves can be reached either after a 5 km trek from Ambalavayal or by a 1 km trekking trail from Edakkal.


Kannur Arakkal kettu

This was the residence of the former Arakkal Ali Rajas, the only Muslim royal family of Kerala. The Arakkal kettu is built of laterite blocks and wood. The complex includes independent units including the building once used as an administrative office and four mosques. The Arakkal kings were called Ali Rajas and queens were called Arakkal Beevis.


St. Angelo fort

An imposing triangular fort at Kannur that has a moat and flanking bastions. The laterite fort was built first by the Portuguese Viceroy Don Francisco De Almeida in 1505. The fort changed hands many times before becoming a bastion of the English East India Company. It was an important military outpost of the British in Malabar. The fort offers a spectacular view of the Moppila Bay and Dharmadom island.


Thalasseri Fort

The 18th century Thalasseri Fort, constructed by the East India Company, which established its settlement on the Malabar Coast in 1683, was a military centre of the British. This imposing historical monument, built as a testimonial of European presence, was once the nucleus of Thalasseri's development. The imposing square fort has massive walls, huge, intricately carved doors and secret tunnels to the sea. Nearby is the beach that has a pier extending out into the Arabian Sea.


Bekal fort

 The 300-year-old Bekal Fort, shaped like a giant key-hole, is one of the largest and best-preserved forts in Kerala. Surrounded by a splendid beach, the historic Bekal Fort offers a superb view of the Arabian Sea from its tall observation towers, where a few centuries ago huge cannons used to be placed. There are backwaters, hill destinations and water sport facilities nearby.

Napier Museum

In 19th century English architect name Chisholm designed the building. It displays a rare collection of archaoelogical, historical artifacts, an assortment of bronzes, historical and contemporary ornaments, temples carts, ivory carvings and life size figures of Kathakali dancers in full costumes. Located at Thiruvananthapuram, an architectural splendour which combines traditional Kerala style with the Chinese and Mughal influences.

Bolghatty Palace

Bolghatty Palace is on an island, off Cochin in the Arabian Sea. The building was once a Governor's palace for the Dutch and later the home of the British Governors. The palace is two-storeyed and contains well-decorated bed chambers, a huge lounge wherein historical portraits are displayed. The ferry ride from the mainland Ernakulam to the island is a pleasurable experience. There is a golf course to boot.


Hill Palace

The official residence of the Kochi royal family was built in 1865. Consisting of 49 buildings, the palace is built in the Traditional Architectural Style of Kerala and is surrounded by 52 acres of terraced land. All sorts of flora of Kerala including rare medicinal plants are found here. A full-fledged ethno-archaeological Museum and Kerala's first ever Heritage Museum are the major attractions.Exhibited inside the thirteen galleries are oil paintings, 19th century paintings, murals, sculptures in stone and plaster of Paris, manuscripts, inscriptions, coins, belongings of the Kochi royal family, Paliathachan's gallery and royal furniture including the 'simhasana' (the throne or the king's chair). There are on display 200 antique pieces of pottery and ceramic vases from China and Japan, Kudalkall, tomb stone 'thoppikkallu', hood stone 'menhirs' in granite and Literate memorials, rock cut caves belonging to the early iron, age wooden temple models. There is an amazing array of plaster cast models of objects from Mohanjodaro and Harappa of the Indus Valley civilization of North India. The upper story houses a gallery of contemporary art.


Gundert Bungalow

20 km from Kannur, near Thalasseri town, on the National Highway at Illikunnu. Dr. Herman Gundert, the revered German missionary, scholar and lexicographer lived in this bungalow for 20 years from 1839. It was here that one of the first Malayalam dictionaries and the first Malayalam Newspaper - Paschimodayam - took shape. It is a historically significant place for all lovers of Malayalam Language. Home of Dr. Hermann Gundert (1814-1893), a scholar of the German Basel Mission, who compiled the first Malayalam English dictionary. The revered German priest and lexicographer lived in the bungalow for 20 years from 1839.



This was a palace built for the Raja of Kochi in1552 AD by the Portugese. But posterity remembers this monument as the Dutch Palace, mainly because it was renovated and re-built by the Dutch East India Company in 1663 AD. The palace has beautiful murals and a remarkable display of old Palanquins and armoury. Since then it came to be called the Dutch Palace, though at no time did the Portugese nor the Dutch stayed there. The palace is a double-storeyed quadrangular building that surrounds a central courtyard containing a Hindu Temple, enshrining the royal deity, Palayannur Bhagavati. Two more temples are situated on either side of the Palace dedicated to Lord Krishna & Lord Siva respectively.