Tuesday, Apr 08, 2003
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By G. Hari Sundar
The palace had not figured in the list of 20 buildings surrounding the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple, which had been declared as heritage monuments earlier.
The Dakshina Bharatha Hindi Prachar Sabha, which owns the palace, had brought the matter to the notice of the department.
The State Archaeology Director, V. Manmadhan Nair, told The Hindu that an official team had conducted a preliminary inspection of the building and ascertained its heritage value.
A decision on declaring the palace as a heritage monument would be taken soon.
Situated on 44.5 cents in Sankhuchakra Nagar opposite the Mithranandapuram pond, the two-storeyed colonial style building has 10 large rooms, some of them with floral designs carved on the walls.
Assymetrical patterns have been carved on the sides of the wooden staircase leading to the first floor.
The semicircular windows and doors have been fitted with Belgium glass in shades of violet, green, red and orange. Adjacent to the main palace is a small outhouse.
The redoxide flooring still retians its shine.
The building, which was owned by Indira Bayi, younger daughter of the regent Maharani, Sethu Laksmi Bayi, was purchased by the Hindi Prachar Sabha for Rs. 13 lakhs in 1988.
According to the agreement, the building was not to be sold or the name changed.
After carrying out major repair works, the Sabha had rented out the building to the erstwhile Public Men Anti-Corruption Commission. In 2000, the Sabha shifted its own office to the palace.
The Hindi Prachar Sabha principal, P. R. Krishnakumari, said a major portion of the ceiling had to be replaced, the walls plastered and the flooring relaid.
However, the repair work had been done without altering the structure.
The palace, which is also known as "Sankhuchakrathu kottaram'', was the place where some of the former rulers of erstwhile Travancore from the time of Ayilyam Tirunal Rama Varma used to take rest while accompanying the deity on the return to the Padmanabhaswamy Temple during the "Arat'' procession.
It is also said that the wife of Kerala Varma Valiya Koyi Thampuran had gheraoed the police officials in the early 1870s by lying in front of the police van stationed in front of this building during the arrest of her husband for writing an anonymous letter to the then Dewan, Seshayya Sastri.
A small tiled house in the same street situated opposite to the Saraswathivilasom Palace, at present housing the Titanium Workers Union, had been the "Nrithasaala'' where dance programmes and rehearsals used to take place during the period of Kerala Varma Valiya Koyi Thampuran.
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