Museums are the best place to see a region's history, traditions, arts, crafts and culture all at once and museums of Kerala have stood up to the glory of the region. Some of the museums once belonged to the royalty that were once used their palaces or guest houses but with the passing time as the days of kings and queens came to an end, they have been converted into museums for the general public to behold their gorgeous splendor. The government for the benefit of the tourists and the visitors has introduced other museums. Unlike the common conception, Kerala's museums are some of the most exciting places displaying colorful simplicity of the region.
Ambalavayal Heritage Museum
The Ambalavayal Heritage Museum is one of the best heritage museums of
Kerala. The museum boasts of one the largest collections of articles
that date back to 2nd century AD. Near the Ambukuthi hill region is this
heritage museum housing artifacts and belongings of the various tribes
of the land. The exhibits here include rare 2nd century artifacts such
as clay sculptures, ancient hunting equipments like bows and arrows,
stone weapons and other curios.
Krishna Menon Museum
Neighboring the Pazhassi Raja Museum in Kozhikode, the Krishna Menon
Museum houses a good collection of paintings by Raja Raja Varma and Raja
Ravi Varma. A section is devoted to the memorabilia of the late V.K.
Krishna Menon, former Indian Defence Minister and national leader. The
section in honor of the great Indian leader V.K Krishna Menon has on
display the collection of personal belongings and souvenirs gifted by
this world leader.
Museum of Kerala History
The Museum of Kerala History is at Edapally on the way to Aluva. As the
name suggests, it is the best place to have a quick glimpse of Kerala's
history in the past 2000 years. A statue of Parasurama, the sage who is
said to have created Kerala, greets the visitors. Life size figures
depict important landmarks of civilization from the Neolithic age to the
modern era. It presents one-hour light and sound spectacles of life-size
sculptures in concrete, of the makers of Kerala history, together with
the background music and commentary with glimpses of the vastness and
diversity of Kerala's history over the centuries. The commentary is in
English as well as in Malayalam. 87 figures who shaped the history and
culture of Kerala in the last two thousand years have been represented
here in Light and Sound Tableaus.
Pazhassi Raja Museum
The Pazhassi Raja Museum, located at a distance of 5 km from Kozhikode
at East Hill, houses a veritable treasure trove for historians and
connoisseurs of art. The museum is under the surveillance of the
Archaeological Department of the State. The museum and the art gallery
are named after the great Pazhassiraja Kerala Varma of the Padinjare
Kovilakom of the Kottayam Royal Family. Pazhassiraja led the famous
'Pazhassi Revolt' against the British East India Company during the
second half of the 1700s. Nicknamed the 'Lion of Kerala', Pazhassiraja
is also credited with introducing guerilla warfare in the hills of
Wayanad to resist the increasingly intolerable British colonialism. This
great freedom fighter was shot dead in an encounter on 30 November 1805
AD. The museum has on its display ancient murals, antique bronzes and
coins, megalithic relics such as diamond cysts, temple miniatures and
Science and Technology Museum
The Science and Technology Museum, situated in Thiruvananthapuram was
established with the prime objective of setting up of galleries with
working or animated and participatory type of exhibits, on all
disciplines of Science and Technology. The exhibits at the museum are
related to science, technology and electronics. The museum mainly
satisfies the curiosities of high school students interested in Science
subjects. The Planetarium has 40-minute science-related shows in English
at noon daily. The Observatory is situated at one of the highest points
in the city near the Museum complex, opposite the Kanakakkunnu Palace.
The observatory situated at an altitude of 60 m above sea level affords
a bird's eye view of the city.
Hill Palace Museum
Located at a distance of 10 kilometers from Kochi, Hill Palace, the
official residence of the Kochi Royal Family was built in 1865.
Consisting of 49 buildings, the palace is built in the traditional
architectural style of Kerala and is surrounded by 52 acres of terraced
land. All sorts of flora of Kerala including rare medicinal plants are
found here. A full-fledged ethno-archaeological Museum and Kerala's
first ever Heritage Museum are the major attractions. The huge expanse
of land that surrounds the royal palace has a Deer Park and has
facilities for horse riding.
Exhibited inside the museum are the thirteen galleries of oil
paintings, 19th century paintings, murals, sculptures in stone and
plaster of Paris, manuscripts, inscriptions, coins, belongings of the
Kochi Royal Family, Paliathachan's gallery and royal furniture including
the 'Simhasana' (the throne or the king's chair). There are on display
200 antique pieces of pottery and ceramic vases from China and Japan,
Kudalkall, tomb stone 'thoppikkallu', hood stone 'menhirs' in granite
and Literate memorials, rock cut caves belonging to the early iron, age
wooden temple models. There is an amazing array of plaster cast models
of objects from Mohanjodaro and Harappa of the Indus Valley civilization
of North India. The upper story houses a gallery of contemporary art.
The huge area over which the museum is spread provides the facilities
for other recreation activities as well.
Kuthiramalika Palace Museum
Situated neat the Padmanabhaswamy Temple in Thiruvananthapuram,
Kuthiramalika Palace Museum is a classic specimen of Travancore style of
architecture. The palace, with its excellent carvings and amazing
architectural designs, is by itself a slice of heritage. The museum has
a wide range of exhibits representing the erstwhile state of Travancore.
His Highness the Maharaja Swathi Thirunal Balarama Varma of Travancore
built the Kuthiramalika Palace. The Palace museum is adorned with
paintings and amusing collections of the erstwhile royal family.
The Museum displays the paintings and various priceless collections of
the royal family. The paintings and other curios offer a rare glimpse
into the private lives of the members of the royal family. The first
room of the palace is home to 14 life-size figures depicting various
scenes from the Kerala legends and Kathakali. Magnificent ivory cots,
thrones of kings, a musical tree that produces the eight 'swaras' when
tapped and other such wonders are a few of the attractions of the
An architectural splendor, the Napier Museum in Thiruvananthapuram
combines traditional Kerala style with the Chinese and Mughal influences
much evident in its architecture. The 19th century English architect,
Chisholm, designed the building, which houses a rare collection of
archaeological and historical artifacts.
Priyadarshini Planetorium is one of the most sophisticated and
versatile planetaria in India. This fabulous planetarium complex has a
centrally air conditioned Sky theatre of planetarium, conference hall,
workshops, sound - studio and other facilities. With a seating capacity
of 184, Priyadarsini Planetarium is rated as one of the best horizontal
domed planetaria of global standards. It is known for organizing shows
such as 'Man And The Universe' that deals with the origin and different
stages of development of astronomy, the structure of different planets
and the origin of the Universe, 'Myriad Suns' that deals with the birth
and death of stars, black holes, neutron stars, star clusters, galaxies,
nebula and supernova.
Sree Chitra Art Gallery
Located in the Napier Museum grounds in Trivandrum, Sree Chitra Art
Gallery displays select paintings of Raja Ravi Varma, Svetlova and
Nicholas Roerich and exquisite works from the Rajput, Mughal and Tanjore
schools of art in India. The collection also includes paintings from
China, Japan, Tibet and Bali. The art gallery housed in a traditional
building next to Napier Museum, houses the collections of the Travancore
ruling family, and include an interesting assortment of
turn-of-the-century Bengali school paintings, and Rajasthani and Mughal
miniatures. Kerala's favorite artist son, Raja Ravi Varma's works
include a number of portraits of kings and their families, British
residents and distinguished individuals. The paintings are so life like
that one can easily get a glimpse of a part of Kerala's history, by
looking at them.