Kanakakunnu Palace, Thiruvananthapuram. Close to the Napier Museum, and similarly built on a rise, this was constructed for the then Maharajah of Travencore (present day Kerala), Sree Moolam Thirunal. He ruled from 1885-1924, so the palace would have been built in the late nineteenth or early twentieth century. It was originally used for state banquets and accommodation for important guests.

Left: The hall at the end, with its pointed roof, and an ornamented tower just visible here. Right: Looking down the length of one side.

Although it is of red brick with white stone dressings, the palace is much plainer than the ornamental Keralan-Gothic style of other earlier Victorian-era buildings, gaining distinction from its low, sweeping form, and the contrast between the rounded hall at one end and the length of the sides. Quite unexpectedly, but in harmony with the formal approach, in the front (at the right in the top photograph) is an elegant neoclassical entrance portico.

Left: One of a pair of lions guarding the steps to the entrance. Right: A bandstand in the beautifully landscaped grounds.

Information about the Palace is mostly found on tourist sites, since both the building and its grounds have now become important venues for exhibitions and cultural events of all kinds.

Photographs and text by Jacqueline Banerjee. You may use these images without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the photographer and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one. [Click on the images to enlarge them.]


Nair, Rajesh B. "Kanakakunnu Palace: Diorma of Heritage, Economy." The Hindu. Last updated 2 June 2016. Web. 8 May 2019.

Created 8 May 2019