Poonjar Palace

History of Poonjar Dynasty
The rajas (kings) of Poonjar are associated with Travancore royalty – 
Visakham Thirunal Rama Varma who ruled Travancore from 1880 to 1885, got his youngest daughter, Bhageerathi Pillai Kochamma married Sri Rama Varma of the Poonjar royal family. The Poonjar royal family leased 125,000 acres of land to Thomas Munro, a British planter in 1877. This is the Kannan Devan Hill Produce Company lease which passed to the Finlays in the 1930s and thence to Tata Tea Company in 1950s. Now the Poonjar royal family trust is in legal dispute to recover their land as the lease has now expired.

Poonjar Palace

The 600 year old Poonjar palace made largely of wood retains its traditional structure in its curved walls and interiors awash with frescoes and paintings and its gently sloped roof. Step inside and a museum gives a glimpse into the life of yore.

Poonjar Palace Museum artefacts:

·    Droni, the bed used in the traditional Ayurveda treatment carved out of a single piece of wood
·      Palanquins
·      Chandeliers
·      Jewel boxes
·      Palm leaf engravings
·      Grain measures used in cooking
·      Lamps
·      Sculptures of Nataraja (dancing Shiva)
·      Weapons
·      Unique Conch that’s brought out once a year for traditional rituals

Adjacent to the palace is a replica of the Madurai Meenakshi Temple.

There is a history behind the construction of this temple. Manavikrama Kulshekhara Perumal, the founder of the Poonjar dynasty left Madurai in Tamil Nadu after incessant civil war there. He crossed over to Kerala carrying with him one of the three idols of Meenakshi, their family deity (kula devta). It was consecrated in the Meenakshi Temple on the banks of Meenachil river. This is a river that flows over 87 km, through Erattupetta, Ettumanoor, Kidangoor, Kottayam and Palai. Near Kottayam it hives off into distributaries till it becomes one with Vembanad lake in Kumarakom.

Sculptures that reflect tales from ancient Puranas adorn its walls. Rare rock cut lamps can be seen here, called Chuttuvilakku (row of lamps) carved out of the nearby Sastha temple’s stone walls.

Getting There:
  • Poonjar is a small town in Kottayam.
  • Kottayam Railway Station 45 km
  • Eratupetta/Pala bus station 30 km
  • Kochi airport 80 km

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