Hill Palace Kochi, the official residence of the Kochi royal family, became the first heritage museum and the largest archaeological museum of Kerala. It was built in 1865 and served as administrative office and residence of Maharaja of Cochin in the 17th century. This huge palace complex is built on a hill in Thrippunithura and has 49 buildings built across 54 acres of land. All the buildings in this palace complex are built in traditional Kerala style architecture. This beautiful palace has been the backdrop of many movies, the most popular one is the famous Malayalam movie Manichitrathazhu. Now the museum complex includes an archaeological museum, heritage museum, deer park, prehistoric park, and children's park.
In early days the official capital of the Kingdom of Cochin was Thrissur, which had the administrative offices and the court of the Maharaja. Since 1755 the queen preferred to live in Thrippunithura and the capital was shifted to Thrippunithura. The reason was that the royal family of Cochin had a matrilineal system, the queen was the sovereign of the state, and the king ruled under the queen's authority. The Hill Palace was built in 1865 to accommodate the royal office and royal family. After the death of the last king Rama Varma Pareekshith Thamburan in 1964 the royal family moved out and the Hill Palace Ernakulam lay neglected. The Archaeological department took over the palace in 1980 and succeeded in renovating the palace. It was converted into a museum and was opened to the public in 1986. The oldest building in the complex is a single-storeyed Kerala style Ettukettu with two courtyards with a pond and temple nearby.
There are 14 different galleries in Hill Palace Museum housing rare pieces that belonged to the royal family of Cochin. The museum also exhibits 200 antique pieces of pottery, 2 ceramic vases from China and Japan and an amazing array of plaster of Paris cast models of objects from Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa of the Indus Valley Civilization. Paliam Gallery contains collections donated by the Paliyathachans family. Paliyathachans were hereditary Prime Ministers to Cochin Maharajas for a long period. The Gallery of Cabinet Hall displays royal furniture including the Simhasana or royal throne. Exhibits in the Numismatics Gallery include Roman silver coins, punch-marked coins, and coins from the British period.
Oil portraits of the Maharajas of Cochin state are displayed in the Portrait Gallery. Wood carvings, wooden sculptures, and unique ivory items are displayed in Wood Carvings Gallery. Heritage Museum exhibits traditional household utensils, artifacts, and religious worship materials. Rare bronze and silver items belonging to 14th - 16th century is displayed in Bronze and Metalware Gallery. The Gallery of Porcelain displays nearly 160 items including pots and cups. Epigraphy Gallery exhibits stone inscriptions, copper plates, and palm leaf records. Chariots Gallery displays horse carts imported from England. Folklore and Folk Arts Gallery has old musical instruments and clay models. The Crown and Jewellery Gallery has the royal crown and gold ornaments decorated with precious stones used by the royal family. This gallery is opened to the public only on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
Inside the Hill Palace Museum Kochi, there is also a center for Heritage Studies, run by the Government of Kerala, which is a research and training institute. The museum is surrounded by a beautiful garden that has numerous species of flora including rare medicinal plants. Hill Palace Museum is open every day except Monday. Immerse yourself in the history and grandeur of the Hill Palace by planning a visit to Kochi with us.
Hill Palace Museum Entry Fee: INR 30 for adults, INR 10 for children and INR 30 as camera fee.
Hill Palace Museum Timings: 9.30 A.M. to 12.30 P.M. and 2.00 P.M. to 4.30 P.M. (Monday is closed)