Must visit Museums in Kerala for history enthusiasts

If one is curious about the history and culture of a place, then museums are a must visit. Many towns and cities in Kerala have museums that showcase tools and artifacts from ancient times. This is a good way to understand the history of Kerala, the way of living of the earlier generations, the kings who ruled Kerala and how Kerala has evolved to be what it is today.

So if you are a history enthusiast, these are some of the museums in Kerala you must visit on your trip.

Hill Palace Archaeological Museum

Hill Palace Archaeological Museum is the largest archeological museum in Kerala. It is sprawled across 12 acres of land and this museum complex consists of 49 buildings. It is Kerala’s first heritage museum, built in the year 1865. It used to be the Palace of the Maharajas of Kochi, but was later taken over by the Department of Archeology in the year 1980.

This museum displays inscriptions, coins, sculptures of stone and marble, murals, oil-paintings, manuscripts, weapons etc. It also houses the belongings of the royal family of Kochi such as the ornaments, crowns, simhasana (throne), special royal seats, beautifully carved beds and other artifacts.

Hill Palace Archaeological Museum is located in Ernakulam, and can be visited on all days of the week except Mondays, from 9am to 5pm.

Hill Palace Museum

The Napier Museum

Napier Museum Kerala

Established in the year 1880, the Napier museum is named after John Napier -the former Governor General of Madras. It has a unique Indo-Saracenic architecture, which again depicts the rich cultural heritage of Kerala. This structure also has an in-built natural air conditioning system.

The Napier museum houses a rare collection of archaeological and historic artifacts, ancient ornaments, ivory carvings, bronze idols, a temple chariot etc.

The Napier museum is situated in the heart of Thiruvananthapuram and is open on all days of the week except Mondays, and Wednesday-afternoons. The timings are 10am to 4.45 pm.

Kuthiramalika Palace Museum

Kuthiramalika Palace Museum also known as Puthenmalika Palace Museum was built in the 18th Century by Maharaja Swathi Thirunal Balarama Varma who was the king of Travencore. The carvings, design and architecture of this two-storeyed Palace is typical Travencore style. It also has beautifully carved rosewood ceiling. The first hall contains 14 life-size Kathakali figures.

One third of this palace has been converted to a museum which displays paintings, weapons, an ivory throne, seats, gifts from foreign dignitaries and various artifacts belonging to the royal family.

The Kuthiramalika Palace Museum is located in Trivandrum close to the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple. It is open on all days of the week except Mondays. The timings are from 8.30am to 1pm and 3pm to 5.30pm.

Kuthiramalika Palace Museum Kerala

Kerala Folklore Museum

Kerala Folklore Theater and Museum was established in 2009 with the aim to preserve the marvelous folklore wealth of Kerala. The unique and magnificent architectural style of this museum is a combination of the architecture styles of Travencore, Cochin and Malabar. The construction of this unique three-storeyed museum took 62 specially-skilled carpenters and 7 years to complete.

Kerala Folklore Museum Kochi

Apart from the unique architecture and construction materials which have been sourced from all over south India, this museum houses some interesting artifacts and items. It displaces costumes of various art and dance forms of Kerala such as Mohiniyattam, Kathakali, Theyyam, Ottamthullal etc. and the musical instruments used by them. It also houses mural paintings of the state.

There is also a theater and traditional stage performances are held every day in the evening at 6.30pm.

Kerala Folklore Theater and Museum is located in Kochi and is open on all days from 9.30am to 7pm.

Bay Island Driftwood Museum

This is a very different and unique museum in Kerala established in 2001. It was started by a lady who was a school teacher by profession and lived in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. She used to pick up the drift wood of the trees which were deposited on the shores by the Bay of Bengal.

She gathered pieces of the trees comprising of trunks, stumps, roots etc. These were then cleansed; the dead parts were removed. After that they were scraped, trimmed and polished to create unique art.

Many of these pieces closely resemble animals, birds, fishes, amphibians and reptiles. This unique art is definitely a treat for the eyes.

Bay Island Driftwood Museum is situated in Kumarakom in Kerala.

Bay Island Museum