Commonly known as “God's own country”, Kerala is one of those states in India that are known for their exclusive religious status and nature. With numerous temples in its store, Kerala is a haven for those, who like to visit places popular for the Hindu deities. But of course, along with its spiritual and religious character, the natural beauty of the state is unparalleled.
With the western ghats fringing the small state on the west coast of the country, the coconut palms, and the crystal clear water, Kerala is indeed the most beautiful coastal state in India. Regardless to mention, the backwaters and the hill stations like Munnar add a distinct personality to the state that can rarely be found in any other state of the country.
However, along with the versatile natural landscapes, there is something more about Kerala that many people do not pay attention to and that is the amazing historical places & monuments Kerala. Kerala has been a prominent place for the rule under many Dravidian dynasties and even some foreign colonial powers. Their rule and stay here have left a distinct impact on the art and architecture of this place. Roaming about these historical places and monuments will give a tourist and traveler a deep insight into an entirely different Kerala that is more than just a religious place or place of natural beauty.
- Bekal fort
- Thalassery fort
- Padmanabhapuram palace
- Jewish synagogue, Ernakulam
- Dutch palace
- Palakkad fort
- Anchuthengu fort
- Thripunithura hill palace museum
- St. Francis church
- Krishnapuram palace
- Fort Kochi
Whenever you think of places of historical importance, forts are probably the first ones that come to the mind. While talking about forts in Kerala, the Bekal fort deserves to be named at first. This fort, located in the Kasaragod district of the state is the largest of its kind in the entire region and has also exchanged hands many times during its course of power.
It was the Shivappa Nayaks of Badnore, who built this fort during the mid-17th century. However, it was later captured by Hyder Ali, the ruler of Mysore and then subsequently became the base for the tipu sultan army, when they came to expand their territory in this region. Regardless to mention, after the death of Tipu Sultan, the Bekal fort was captured by the British East India company, until the independence of the country. Now, it is one of the most visited forts in Kerala, offering a stunning view of the Arabian sea. No doubt, it is a hot favorite destination for film-makers and video makers to shoot here in the beautiful backdrop. The trend was certainly started by the famous film director Mani Ratnam, who shot for the song “tu hi re” from the film Bombay, here.
While talking about historical places & monuments Kerala, the Thalassery fort should not be forgotten. This fort was built by the British East India company as their military center on the Malabar coast. With carved doors and underground chambers, visiting this fort will give you a glimpse of how life used to be during those times.
When you look at the images of the traditional homes and architectural structures of Kerala, the wooden homes are what will come to your notice. One of the most magnificent architectural evidence in all across Kerala would be this wooden palace that was built in the 16th century. Though geographically it is located in the Kanyakumari district of Tamilnadu, it is actually administered by the government of Kerala. The special features of the Padmanabhapuram palace that showcase the richness of the Travancore dynasty include colored mica windows, rosewood carvings, 90 different types of floral designs and patterns and mahogany carvings.
The spices that Kerala produces is unparalleled in its quality and this has drawn thousands of travelers, businessmen and colonial powers to rule Kerala, as well as India. As the jews came to Kerala, they built the Jewish synagogue that is also known as the Paradesi synagogue, which is adjacent to Mattancherry palace in jew street in old Kochi.
Along with its historical importance, what draws attention and attraction of the visitors and tourists are the 10th-century brass-railed pulpits, Belgian glass chandeliers, gold crowns, and copper plates. These were given by the then Hindu king of Kochin to the Jewish community as a token of the harmonious relationship between them.
Next, to the Jewish synagogue, lies the Dutch palace that is also known as the Mattancherry Palace. Though it was originally built by the Portuguese in the year 1557, the palace was gifted to the king of Cochin, as a compensation for their devastation of a Hindu temple, as well as to get permission for trading there.
However, in the year 1663, the palace was captured by the Dutch people, giving it the current name, the “dutch palace”. There is a very rare collection of the antiques that were used by the king of Cochin at that time, including furniture, costumes, palanquins, weaponry and even some life-size portraits of the king and his family. What is quite interesting is that despite its name and the simple exterior of the palace, the interior of the Dutch palace houses many mural paintings depicting the stories from Ramayana and Mahabharata.
One of the most significant historical places & monuments Kerala is the Palakkad Fort. This fort is located in the center of the Palakkad town and was built by Hyder Ali, Tipu Sultan’s father. However, it was captured by the British army and has witnessed history from its close proximity. The trench around the fort gives it a unique character that very few other forts in Kerala have.
This fort is very well preserved by the archaeological survey of India. Visiting this fort will give you a vision of Kerala’s past, the bloodsheds during the battle between tipu’s army and the British army.
While talking about the forts, historical monuments and places of historical interest in the state of Kerala, the Anchuthengu fort needs a special mention. The fort has the unique name that literally translates as the five coconut trees, as locally ‘Anchu’ counts five and ‘Thengu’ means coconut trees. It was built by the British East India Company in the year 1699 with the purpose of promoting the trade relation of the British East India company with the many countries including India.
The Anchuthengu fort holds a special place in the history of Kerala as it had witnessed a number of historical movements during the rule of the British East India company in India. Revolting against the rule of the British, the local people of Kerala attacked and killed about 140 British traders, who used the fort for storing their military equipment. This revolt is known as the Attingal rebellion of 1721, which is considered as one of the first collective revolts by the Indians against the British. Though the rebellion was suppressed by the British, it then led the path to many other such rebellions in the years to come, until the British left India permanently. Along with the history, the scenic beauty of the fort deserves appreciation, as you look across the Arabian sea.
Along with the places of historical interest and monuments in Kerala, there is another place that is a must-visit for all the history buffs out there and that is the Thripunithura hill palace museum. As the name suggests, it is a palace that was built by the Maharaja of Kochi in the year 1865 and is located in the capital city of the state of Kerala, Kochi. However, the Kerala state archaeology department has converted the palace into a museum that is now home to many historical documents, relics and antiques that the students of history and history lovers frequently visit to have a notice of.
Amongst the many artefacts that are stored inside this museum, those that require special mention include the oil paintings from the time of the royal rule, collection of the artefacts that the royal family of Kochi possessed, the stone sculptures, ivory and wood items, palm leaf records, inscriptions, royal throne, ancient manuscripts, valuable old coins, horse carts and chariots, and many such things. This museum is one of its kind in Kerala and your trip to Kerala would be incomplete if you don’t visit the Thripunithura hill palace museum in Kerala.
When you are talking about the historical places & monuments Kerala, one place that demands a special mention is the st. Francis church, which is actually the oldest European church in India. Though the architecture of the church is not very modern or stunning, it is its simplicity that draws the attention of the visitors. The church has witnessed the colonial powers spreading over Kerala, since the year 1503 when it was built.
What gives the church a special significance is its association with the first Portuguese trader, Vasco Da Gama. The St. Francis church is the resting ground for Vasco Da Gama. It was here that Vasco Da Gama was buried, in the year 1524, when he passed away. However, 14 years later, the mortal remains of his body was taken back to Portugal. That is the reason, why this church still attracts so many visitors every year. Along with that, the gorgeous porticoes and stained glass windows also draw the attention of the visitors.
Every traveler and tourist that visits Kerala will certainly pay a visit to Alleppey, for visiting the backwaters. But, it is not just the backwaters that Alleppey is renowned for. The Krishnapuram Palace is one of the most important historical monuments in Kerala. It was built by the then ruler of Alleppey, Anizham Thirunal Marthanda Varma, in the 18th century. The palace is an example of the traditional Kerala style palaces and was home to the royal family of Anizham Thirunal Marthanda Varma.
The palace is now a museum and houses many mural paintings, stone sculptures, weapons, antiques, artifacts, coins and stone inscriptions. What demands a special mention is an inscription of the bible in the Sanskrit language that is truly a wonder to the eyes. You can also read the things to know before booking a houseboat in Alleppey.
This historical place in Kerala probably receives a maximum number of tourists and travelers every year. It is a place that exhibits dutch, Portuguese and British colonial impacts all within a single city. As you walk down the streets of the city and reach fort Kochi, you will feel the historical vibe around you. What adds a surreal feeling to your trip is the Chinese fishing net that constantly keeps catching fish right in front of your eyes. It is indeed a treat to the eyes to enjoy the beauty in the stunning orange backdrop of the setting sun.
All of these historical places & monuments Kerala have their own charm and beauty that cannot be compared to any of its kind. They are an intricate and important part of the culture and heritage of the state of Kerala. When you come to Kerala, visiting these places of historical interest in Kerala is a must in order to know the complete history of the state.