The magnificent Chittoor Palace stands tall on the banks of the majestic Periyar River cocooned in memories spanning more than 400 years. The impressive palace is situated on 50 cents of lush green land and its doors are open to travellers who want to take a peek into a bygone era. The tourists stepping into the palace in Ernakulam district won’t regret as they can sleep in the rooms once used by the Kochi King, have a sumptuous meal and get a feel of the royal past, among others. The palace provides an opportunity to give a regal touch to your holidays.
A temple like Guruvayur
The splendid palace is located behind the Chittoor temple. The nerve centre of the erstwhile Kochi kingdom was Vannery near Guruvayur. But the base had to be shifted as the Kochi King was forced to flee to Kochi after Zamorin conquered Vannery. The Chittoor Sree Krishna Temple was built as the King wanted a temple like the Guruvayur Sree Krishna temple for him to offer prayers.
The King and his entourage reached the Chittoor Sree Krishna Temple from the royal palace in Tripunithura on a boat through the Periyar River. The Chittoor Palace was built as a resting place for the King while he visited the temple.
A gate-house (padippura) made of wood welcomes one to the palace. As you open the gate-house, you can see a raised platform for people to sit to catch their breath. The front yard is carpeted with buffalo grass and has a narrow pathway and aesthetically placed lamps. The cool shade of the imposing Chandrakaran mango is refreshing to say the least. A ‘tulsi thara’ could be seen before the front door of the building. You can reach a pond if you could walk beside the ‘oottupura’ (dining hall). The King used to take bath in the pond before offering prayers at the temple.
The two-storey palace looks stunning as the ground floor is awash in pure white. The top floor is resplendent with intricate engravings and sublime glass windows. The doors and windows of the palace are teak based and the ceiling is made of wood from jackfruit tree.
The beauty of the alluring Athangadi tiles will strike you as you step inside the palace. As the palace was constructed following the principles of ‘vaasthu shastra’, you can see the Periyar River flowing by opening any of the windows or doors. You can also see all the four cardinal directions while standing in the living room of the age-old structure. The swings made of Indian rosewood and the cane chairs will take one to a bygone era. The rooms are situated on the sides of the palace, and the furniture and the elegant mirrors are coated with nostalgia. The bathrooms in the rooms are quite expansive.
If you come out of the rooms through the back door, verandas will greet you like on the front side. While sitting on the ‘charupadi’ (a decorated bench), you could see the Periyar River flowing calmly. The stairway to the second floor is from the front veranda and the second floor has an attractive drawing room. The crafty murals and the stylish mirrors are a treat for the eyes. The second floor has a bedroom with a bathroom with all the modern facilities.
Stay like a king and queen
You can stay like a king and queen in the palace, which is now a resort under the CGH Earth Group, and one can reach the retreat on a boat from Kochi. The resort is ideal for couples who are on their honeymoon. You can sit on the shores of the Periyar River and watch the sun go down in the evening. You can also taste the best Kerala cuisine dishes which are served on plantain leaves. Moreover, dishes made with fresh fish caught from the river are served for the guests. The visitors can have candle-light dinners on the veranda or in the garden on the banks of the river. It is noteworthy that ‘private’ chefs, who will cook your favourite food anytime, are available for the guests. Massages, art shows and backwater cruises, among others, are part of the resort’s stay package.