Koyikkal palace fades into history

The other portion is currently with the Travancore Devaswom Board which is going to witness a massive overhaul.

Thiruvananthapuram: A substantial part of Attingal Koyikkal palace is becoming history. A private party that bought it from the royal family early 70s has demolished it.

The other portion is currently with the Travancore Devaswom Board which is going to witness a massive overhaul.

The 18th-century structure is one of the 30 traditional palaces constructed by the royal family of erstwhile Travancore in the traditional Ettukettu style architecture at Kollampuzha. Murals adorn the walls of the palace.

It also had a significant role in the growth of the Travancore dynasty. The first ever united rebellion against the British was kicked off from the Attingal Palace.

The TDB now owns the first portion on the left side spread over close to seven acres. The palace has four temples inside, including the 700-year old sanctorum that houses the Palliyara Bhagavathy. Travancore royal family’s deity, Thiruvarattukavu Devi, is also situated in a temple here. It was during 1970 -71 that they sold a portion to K. R. Narayanan, a contractor who is no more, and Dr Sarada Devi, a gynaecologist who worked in Thiruvananthapuram Medical College.

For quite some time, they had run K. R. Hospital which was closed down in the 90s.

Historian M.G. Shashi Bhushan says former archaeology minister E. K. Imbichi Bava and his successor Paul P. Mani were not interested in taking over the palace as a protected monument.

“We cannot criticise the current government for alienation of the portion. It should have been taken up by the respective governments during the early 70s,” he told DC.

There used to be a Kshetra Kalapeedam under the TDB which used to coach people interested in traditional musical instruments. But over the years, it reached a sorry state with none to take care of it.

K. P. Sankaradas, a member of TDB, said it had awarded maintenance contract for the portion that belongs to it. “For long, the Attingal Palace has been ignored. But now we plan to revive the Kshethra Kalapeedam which would provide training to students interested in temple percussion instruments,” he told DC.

Local MLA B. Sathyan rued it should have been protected earlier itself, and if so, it would not have gone to private hands.

“The place itself is known as Palace Road at Kollampuzha. It used to be a heritage building and can evolve into a major tourist attraction,” he told DC.

But another veteran historian said things were not good between Kowdiar palace and its Bengaluru counterparts which witnessed civil case between Balarama Varma Vs Balagopal Varma. He recalled that the lack of unity within royal family resulted in a portion of the palace going into private hands more than four decades ago.

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