The Paliam Dutch Palace
The Paliam Dutch Palace
The Paliam Palace was once used as the residence of the Paliath Achans, who were the prime ministers to the former Maharajas of the State of Kochi. During the 16th century, when the security of the Raja was under threat by the Portuguese, the then Paliath Achan ensured the safety of the Raja by escorting him to Chendamangalam. ). The Raja is believed to have stayed incognito in the place near the Kalari, hence the name Paliam Kovilakom (Palace). The Dutch in appreciation of the Paliath Achan’s services renovated this building in Chendamangalam and presented it to him.The two storey (G+2) building can be termed as a highly efficient functional building of its times. In spite of minimum ornamentation it reflects the Dutch influence in the architecture. The building features, elaborately carved wooden staircases and balustrades and thick walls with splayed openings. A circulation space runs along the private area of the building, facilitating air movement, resulting in insulating the interior, making it cooler compared to the peripheral. In earlier times, women were not allowed inside. Only the elder members of the family could stay there. The Paliath Achans used to address the people of Chendamangalam from the Prasanga Peedum, which is on the top of the entrance passage of the Palace.
This classical structure was built by the elder member of the family in the year 1786, for the women and minor boys of Paliam. It has a big courtyard at the centre with rooms surrounding it and Purathalam, where the members gathered to chat and for recreational activities. There used to be a common dining hall and a common kitchen as all the members lived and dined together, under the protection of Valiachan. The boys, when they became majors, had separate bachelor living quarters and after their marriage, the administration provided them houses. This style of ‘community living’ continued till the partition of the join family.The last members left the Nalukettu after the family partition deed, and so the building is no longer occupied.The Nalukettu is a typical self-contained Malayali house, a quadrangle building consisting of four blocks, with a rectangular courtyard in the centre known as the “nadumittam”. The western block or “padinjattini” is divided into three rooms the middle one of which is the private strong room or “ara” where all the valuables and house hold deities are kept. The north east block or “vadakkini” is divided into two parts, the kitchen and the dining room. The other rooms in the north quarter houses general rooms. The whole or the middle portions of the eastern and southern blocks”kizhakkini and tekkini” are open halls where guests are received, the same on the upper floors consist of bedrooms for the women, where they are met by their husbands occasionally in the night.