Kerala which is famous for palm fringed beaches, rich green backwaters, blooming hills, cool coconut groves, dense paddy fields, rain forests and also for its great collection of archaeological monuments. The history and the rich cultural heritage of the state can be seen in the historic forts and other archaeological marvels from the period. One can find the remnants of the architectural influences of Portuguese, Jews, Dutch and British in the magnificent forts, palaces and other architectural monuments. The history of the state is a treasure that gives you a deeper insight of ‘God’s own Country’ and the best way to experience it is to indulge in a tour of some of the Bert Monuments in Kerala.
1. Anjuthengu Fort:
Anjuthengu means five coconut trees and as the name indicates Anjuthengu is a place full of coconut trees. This fort is located in the groves of coconut near the famous beach of Varkala. It is here that the English East India Company first laid its foundation in 1684. The fort has got a significant historical relevance as it was the first base of the East India Company used for trading in spices, cash crops and other business and was also the first signalling station for ships arriving in Kerala. There is also a cemetery nearby which is the final resting place of Englishmen that first settled here. Today the fort is thriving a thriving settlement of local fishermen trading in the fresh catches of the sea.
2. Bekal Fort:
Bakal Fort is situated on the backdrop of the Arabian sea the in Kasaragod district of Kerala. Dating back to about 300 years, it is the largest fort in the state. Shaped like a giant keyhole, the fort houses observation towers with breath-taking views, a water tank with its stairway, a hanuman temple and an ancient mosque making it one of the unique forts in Kerala.
3. Hill Palace:
Hill Palace is the first and the largest heritage museums of Kerala. Owned and inhabited by the royal family of Cochin, the palace has been handed to government supervision in the 1980s and displays majestic beds, paintings, carvings, sculptures in stone and marble, weapons, inscriptions, coins, and samples of epigraphy that once belonged to the family. This elegant looking palace with traditional architecture is now a full-fledged ethnoarchaeological museum and also depicts exhibits from the royal family of Travancore. The museum is open for public viewing from 9 am to 5 pm on all days except Mondays.
Kerala is one of the few places the Jewish community made an impact in India. In the coastal city of Kochi, Jewish Synagogue or Paradesi synagogue is a major historical monument. The Jewish place of worship is considered to be one of the oldest Synagogues in the world. The interior of the structure is beautifully decorated with unique handmade Chinese tiles, Belgian glass, 4th-century copper plates that accentuate the magnificence of the Synagogue. The building is adjacent to Mattancherry Palace on Jew street. The visitors are allowed inside the synagogue from 10 am to 12 noon and 3 pm to 5pm on all days except Fridays, Saturdays and Jewish holidays.
5. Dutch Palace:
The Dutch Palace, also known as Mattancherry Palace, was built by the Portuguese in 1557 and presented to Raja Veera Kerala Varma of Kochi. The palace was later renovated by the Dutch in 1663, hence making it a historically significant and relevant place. The palace has a Bhagavathi Temple in the central courtyard and an exquisite collection of fascinating murals borrowed from the Hindu myology decorate the walls. The palace stands proud by the iconic Kochi backwaters and also displays articles of royal possession like weapons, swings and furniture, giving an insight into the world and lifestyle of the royal family.
6. Thalassery Fort:
Thalassery fort is situated at the heart of Thalassery city in Kannur district. The structure is a standing monument of colonial imperialism and once served as a military centre for the British rule on the Malabar coast. British East India Company constructed this fort with carved doors, secret tunnels and two underground chambers. The fort was once an important centre of trade, politics and defence and should be visited at least when on a tour of Kerala.
7. Kannur Fort / St. Angelo Fort:
Kannur fort is also known as St. Angelo’s Fort. Located in the city of Kannur overlooking the majestic Arabian sea, the fort was built in 1505 by Dom Francisco de Almeida, the first Portuguese viceroy of India. It is one of the most important tourist spot of Kannur along with other nearby attractions like The Moppila Bay Harbor and Arakkal Mosque. Today the fort is now well-maintained under the supervision of the Archaeological Survey of India. Tourists are allowed entry to the fort every day of the week between 8 AM to 6 PM.
8. Krishnapuram Palace:
Krishnapuram Palace is an 18th-century palace built by Anizham Thirunal Marthanda Varma in Alleppey district of Kerala and is one of the rare few architectural structures showcasing Kerala-style-of architecture. It is famous for having a museum that houses old paintings and inscription, coins, stone monument leftover, antiques created with wood and stone sculpture are undeniably outstanding. Among the museum highlights include a Bible in Sanskrit language, bronze sculptures, paintings, ritual utensils, oil lamps, attractive miniature figures and small stone columns sculpted with serpent idols. There are also well-maintained landscape gardens and are perfect for walks while exploring the palace.
9. Palakkad Fort:
Palakkad Fort is located in the town of Palakkad in Kerala and is also known as Tipu’s Fort. It was Built by Tippu Sultan’s father Hyder Ali when he captured the northern regions of Kerala. The fort like every other historical monument has a tale of its own. Tipu Sultan was known as the “Tiger of Mysore” and was a fierce patriot who fought against the British. In 1784, the fort was captured from Tippu’s forces by the British forces under Colonel Fullerton after an 11-day siege. Palakkad Fort is an important historical monument and is a must visit at least once to see the scars of the brutal history the walls of the fort saw.
Padmanabhapuram Palace is a magnificent wooden palace of the 16th century. With its exquisite floral carvings, black glossy granite floor, magnificent 18th-century murals, secret underground passage and coloured mica windows, the palace attracts an abundant group of local, national and international travellers along with archaeologists who come to study the structure. This palace showcases the richness of Travancore dynasty which ruled the southern part of Kerala and the 17th and 18th-century murals add elegance and grace to the palace. To experience this marvel, one can take a tour of Padmanabhapuram from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm on all days except Mondays and national holidays.