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The Museum Complex is located in the northern side of Thiruvananthapuram city. It is a huge garden comprising of Napier Museum, Sree Chitra Art Gallery, Natural History Museum, Sree Chithra Enclae and the KCS Panicker Gallery.
Napier Museum, better known as the Thiruvananthapuram Museum is a spectacular wooden building, established by Maharaja of Travancore 1855, make it the oldest museum in Kerala. In 1880, under Lord Charles Napier, the governor of Madras (1866- 1872), a spacious new structure was built in its place and rechristened the 'Napier Museum'.
The museum was constructed a combination of the Kerala, Mughal, Chinese and Italian architectural styles.
It displays historical and contemporary ornaments, temple carts, wooden carvings dating from 11th to the 18th century, ivory carvings and life-size figures of kathakali dances in full costume. Artefacts from Indonesia, China, Sumatra, Java, Bali and Sri Lanka adorn the walls and aisles. It has also famous collection of 8th-18th century south Indian bronze, a wooden chariot, Sculptures of Siva, Vishnu, Parvathi and Lakshmi in 'Silpa Sastras' and the 1847 built pushpaka vimanam with its intricated carvings depicting mythological figures, the Japanese shadow play leather figures, used to depict the epics of Mahabharata and the Ramayana, are also very interesting.
The visiting time is from 10am to 6pm, closed on Monday and forenoon of Wednesday, January 26th, August 15th, Thiruvonam and Mahanavami.
Entry fee: Adult Rs 10, Children Rs 4. Photography
with prior permission.
Close to this museum holds a Zoological Garden.This was established by erstwhile Maharaja of Travancore - Sree Chithira Thirunal Bala Rama Varma - as an annex to the Napier Museum. Covering a vast expanse of 55 acres of landscaped gardens with shaded pathways and a placid lake, it houses different varities of species - the Lion tailed Macaque, Nilgiri Langur, Nilgiri Tahr, One Horned Great Indian Rhino, Asiatic Lion, Royal Bengal Tiger, Giraffe, Hippo, Zebra, Cape Buffalo. A walk through the lush green zoo will be a memoriable experience.
It was established in 1857 AD as an annexe to the Museum by the Maharaja of Travancore. Huge trees like Frangipani and Jacaranda dotting the sprawling lawns and wild Fowls swimming in the lake, make it a small jungle in the heart of the city. A reptile house with different species of snakes is also located in the premises.
Open 10.00 am - 5.00 pm. Closed on Mondays.
Sri Chitra Art Gallery another nearby attraction is situated to the North of Napier museum. Established in 1935, it is located inside two brick and tile bungalows built in the traditional Kerala style and sporting French windows and cool verandas. It exhibits a large collection of Indian art with examples from early to modern schools. Paintings by Raja Ravi Varma , Svetoslav, Nicholas Roerich, copies of paintings of Ajanata and works from Mughal and Rajput miniature paintings, Tanjore paintings embellished with semi- precious stones and miniatures from China, Japan, Tibet and Bali are displayed. There is a Zoo and Aquarium nearby.
Timings: 0800-1800 hrs. Wednesdays 1300 hrs; Closed on
Mondays and a few holidays. Entry after 1300 hrs free.
Natural History Museum is situated to the east of Napier museum. It housed in a modern large double storeyed building at an elevated Ticket covers entry to all museum and galleries in the complex.
The museum houses a collection of ethnographic pieces, animal skeletons and stuffed animals and birds as well as an interesting replica of a Nayar wooden house built in the Kerala style.
Timings: 0800-1800 hrs. Entry free. Closed on
Mondays and holidays.
KCS Panicker Gallery, dedicated to Kerala's renowned painter K.C. Panicker. The gallery displays the beautiful works of K.C. Panicker.
Sree Chithra Enclave , dedicated to the memory of Chithira Thirunal Balarama Varma the last Maharaja of the Travancore Royal Family. It has an audio-visual presentation explains the evolution of the Travancore State and its georgraphical and socio- cultural history. It also displays personal belongins and artefacts used by the royalty.