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In 1980, the palace was taken over by the Department Of Archaeology and later converted into a Museum. It was opened to the public in 1986. Set on top of a hillock and surrounded by terraced garden with fountains, ponds and lawns, this palace-turned-museum displays 14 categories of exhibits including paintings, murals, sculpture in stone and plaster of paris, manuscripts, inscriptions, carvings etc. Recently, the museum has been renovated by Archaeological Department with a few additions such as a two-metre wide walkway built around the palace complex lit by fancy lamps on decorated cast iron pillars and two hundred lamp posts to light up the locale during early morning and at night. Apart from repairing and restoring the doors and windows, Archeology Department also done Renovated with intricated wood carvings
Traditional 'Nalukettu' at the northern end of the palace has been renovated with intricate wood carvings, Kulapurars have been renovated by repairing the compound walls and replacing the tiles etc.
The other renovation works done by the department are,
The collections displayed in the museum are mainly from the Travancore Royal House, Paliam Devaswom and from the department of Archaeology. It has a gold crown embedded with precious stones and many valuable coins, ornaments, majestic beds and samples of epigraphy.
The museum also displays 200 antique pieces of pottery and ceramic vases from China and Japan, Kudakkallu (tomb stone), Thoppikkallu (hood stone), menhirs, granite, laterite memorials, rock cut weapons belonging to the stone 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 museum also houses a gallery of contemporary art.
Paliam gallery in the museum contains the collections donated by the Paliyathachan's family. Paliyathachan's were hereditary Prime Ministers to the Cochin Maharaja’s for a long period. This gallery was opened in 1991. The gallery of cabinet Hall displays royal furniture's including the 'Simhasana' (the throne or the king's chair).
Exhibits in the numismatic gallery are dinarius (roman silver coins), punch marked coins, coins during the period British period etc.
In Portrait gallery, oil portrait of the Maharaja’s of the Cochin State are exhibited. This gallery also contain certain thanjavur paintings. Various wood carvings which are part of Enadimangalam Temple belonging to14th century as well as unique ivory items, wooden sculptures etc are displayed in Wood Carvings gallery.
Heritage museum which was opened in 1995, exhibits traditional
household utensils, art effects and religious worship materials.
Rare bronze and silver items belonging to 14th - 16th century are displayed in Bronze and metal ware Gallery.
Gallery of porcelain contains about 160 items. This include porcelain or pots, Chinese dishes, cups etc. The exhibits of Epigraphy Gallery are stone inscriptions, copper plates, palm leaf records, grandhas, ’thora’ in goat’s skin in Hebrew language etc.
Chariots Gallery (Raja Rada Dhrishyavedi) displays
horse Carts imported from England and belonged to Maharaja’s of
Travancore and Folklore and Folk Arts gallery contains some old musical
instruments and clay models.
Numerous species of flora including rare medicinal plants
grow here. The museum premise has been converted into a botanical garden
with exotic tropical trees from Central America to
Timing & Entry
The museum is open every day except Mondays and public holidays. Working hours is from 9.00 A.M. to 4.30 P.M. Entrance to the Museum is by ticket, the admission charge is Rs.10/- per adult and Rs. 5/- per child. Camera fee is Rs. 20/- and for video camera it is Rs. 1500/-
Photography is prohibited inside the Museum Buildings.