Padmanabhapuram Palace is located in at Padmanabhapuram Fort, in Padmanabhapuram, Kanyakumari District, Tamil Nadu, India. Padmanabhapuram is the former capital city of the erstwhile Hindu kingdom of Travancore. It is about 20km from Nagercoil, and about 50km from Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. The palace complex is inside an old granite fortress around four kilometers long. The palace is located at the foot of the Veli Hills, which form a part of the Western Ghats. The river Valli flows nearby.
The palace was constructed around 1601 AD by Iravi Varma Kulasekhara Perumal who ruled Venad between 1592 and 1609. It is believed that the Thai Kottaram was built in 1550. The founder of modern Travancore, King Anizham Thirunal Marthanda Varma (1706–1758) who ruled Travancore from 1729 to 1758, rebuilt the palace in around 1750. King Marthaanda Varma dedicated the kingdom to his family deity Sree Padmanabha, a form of Lord Vishnu and ruled the kingdom as Padmanabha dasa or servant of Lord Padmanabha. Hence the name Padmanabhapuram or City of Lord Padmanabha. In the late 18th century, precisely in 1795 the capital of Travancore was shifted from here to Thiruvananthapuram, and the place lost its former glory. However, the palace complex continues to be one of the best examples of traditional Kerala architecture, and some portions of the sprawling complex are also the hallmark of traditional Kerala style architecture. The Palace though surrounded entirely by the State of Tamil Nadu is still part of Kerala and the land and Palace belongs to the Government of Kerala. This Palace is maintained by the Govt.of Kerala Archaeology Department. This palace may be the best to visit in anybody's pleasure trip to Thiruvananthapuram, if you are interested in history.
The Padmanabhapuram Palace complex consists of several structures:
Mantrasala; the King's Council Chamber
Thai Kottaram; the Queen Mother's Palace, constructed before 1550
Nataksala; the Performance Hall
A four-storeyed mansion at the centre of the complex