Museums in Kerala
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Museums are the best spot to see a region's history, customs, arts, home wares and culture all at one time and museums of Kerala have stood up to the glory of the district. Some of the museums one time belonged to the royalty that were once utilized their castles or guest houses but with the transient time as the days of kings and queens came to an end, they have been converted into museums for the general public to behold their gorgeous splendor.
The government for the benefit of the visitors and the tourists has introduced other museums. Unlike the common conception, Kerala's museums are some of the most interesting places showing the colorful simplicity of the state. The Kerala people are pleased of their golden history which has paved the way for a prosperous and progressive future.
There are many museums in the state showcase the diverse facets of the civilization such as the communal, cultural, scholarly and creative development. These museums are not only noted for the display but furthermore the architecture and the conceiving of the each building are components of their allure. Some well known Kerala museums are:
Museum of Kerala History
Situated at Kalamassery, this museum has a priceless collection of various artifacts related to the art and culture of Kerala. It also displays spectacular audiovisual exhibits depicting the history of Kerala’s rich culture and tradition. The life size images of famous personalities of Kerala and various paintings are its added attractions.
The Hill Palace at Thripunithura, 10 km southeast of Ernakulam, was built in 1895 and was the official residence of the rulers of Cochin. The palace is set in spacious gardens, is now a museum with a vast collection of paintings, manuscripts and royal memorabilia. The exquisite floor tiles and sweeping wooden staircases have the grandeur of their own.
Parikshith Thampuran Museum
The rulers of Cochin used to conduct their durbars in this impressive building located within the Durbar Hall Grounds. Now it has been converted to a museum with a priceless collection of archaeological findings and relics including old coins, sculptures, oil paintings and murals. The building has been taken over by the Kerala Lalitha Kala Academy and now houses the Gallery of Contemporary Art. The exhibits in the museum have been transferred to the Hill Palace Museum.
This museum exhibits a huge collection of wood and metal sculptures, models of temples and reconstruction of megalithic monuments. The Art Gallery located adjacent to this museum displays paintings of Kerala’s cherished artist Raja Ravi Varma, who brought international reputation to the state. The museum is named after the great king Pazhassiraja Kerala Varma of the Padinjare Kovilakom of the Kottayam royal family. Pazhassiraja led the famous ‘Pazhassi Revolt’ against the East India Company and was known as “Lion of Kerala”.
Government Arts and Crafts Museum
Located in a well planned compound is a complex of museums and the city’s zoo. The government Arts and Crafts Museum, earlier known as the Napier museum is in a red and black brick Indo-Saracenic structure, designed by Robert Fellows Chisholm in the 19th century. The museum has a vast collection of bronzes, stone sculptures, exquisite gold ornaments, ivory carvings and a temple chariot. The Shri Chitra Art Gallery is located north of the museum. Housed in a beautiful building, the gallery incorporates the best elements of the local architecture. The pride of its vast collection is the huge works of Raja Ravi Varma, who was the finest Indian art of his period.
Natural History Museum
The Natural History Museum to the east of the government museum has a vast collection of replica of a typical Kerala Nair wooden house, naluketu, detailing the principles of its construction. The Kanakakunnu Palace where the royal family of Travancore once entertained their guests is adjacent to this complex, on the top of a hill.
Kuthiramalika Palace Museum
This interesting museum located in Fort Area is housed in an 18th century palace, built by Raja Swathi Thirunal Balarama Varma, a statesman, poet, musician and social reformer. The museum displays a rare collection of various artifacts from the royal era, including a solid crystal throne given by the Dutch. A fine example of Kerala architecture this wooden palace has polished floors and a sloping tiled roof. The wood carvings are very much fascinating.
CVN Kalari Sangham
This Training Centre for Kalaripayattu was established in 1956 to revive Kerala's martial arts tradition. Each morning, students gather in the gymnasium to perform a series of exercises that helps them develop the necessary combat skills. The Centre also has a shrine dedicated to the deity of martial arts, Kalari Paradevata, and an Ayurvedic Clinic where students are given oil massages.
The archaeological and art museum in Thrissur has a good collection of wood carvings, metal sculptures and ancient jewelers. Located near the Zoo, at a distance of 2 km from the Thrissur town, this museum is a treasure trove of various Veerakallu, temple models, olagrandhangal (manuscripts on dry palm leaves), megaliths like earthen pots and urns. The museum opens from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm on all days except Mondays and national holidays.