Monuments, the true reflection of the history of a region, connect us to our past which in turn, helps us better understand our present. There stands a reason why monuments are considered to be a source of history for they are more than just a building, they are a source of inspiration erected in the commemoration of something worth remembering and will encourage and motivate generations after its completion. And when it comes to the monuments of Kerala, the only words that come to mind are awe-inspiring. It’s time to travel back in time to marvel at the beautiful monuments of Kerala.
1.St. Francis Church
Built in 1503, this monument is the first Portuguese church in India, holds great historical significance. Its founder is Petro Alvarez de Cabral, a European explorer, regarded as the first one to discover the country of Brazil. This church has served as a witness to the European fight for control over the Indian subcontinent and was actually given to the Church of South India after the British annexation of Kochi. The remains of great explorer Vasco da Gama were first buried in this church before being later moved to Lisbon.
2. Dutch Palace
A prominent monument of Kerala, the Dutch or the Mattancherry Palace was built by the Portuguese in 1555, despite what its name might suggest. It was only many years later that it was renovated by the Dutch. This mesmerizing palace was utilized as the royal palace by the ruler of Kochi. This place serves as a symbolization of the culture of Kerala in respect to its architectural style as well as its simple yet elegant portrayal.
3. Bekal Fort
Today, a popular tourist attraction of Kerala, it originally served as a vital military base for Tipu Sultan during his conquest of Malabar. It, unfortunately, was seized by the English East India Company after his demise in the Fourth Anglo-Mysore War. Its existence however dates way back into the medieval period. The fort remains well-maintained and is a must-visit for any history buff. Located near the beach, it has a plethora to offer. The gorgeous view from the fort serves as the cherry on top.
4. Jewish Synagogue
A famous monument in Kochi, the Pardesi or Jewish Synagogue is a must-visit. It holds great spiritual significance for it is the oldest synagogue among all commonwealth countries. The term Pardesi is used here because most people who worshipped here were foreigners. Built in 1568, it, unfortunately, got caught in the crossfire of the European powers’ struggle for control over India and was demolished by the Portuguese. The Dutch later rebuilt it. The synagogue houses various rare antiquities which add to the charm of this place.
5. Hill Palace
This magnificent place is quite an accurate portrayal of the traditional architectural style of Kerala. The palace serves as a major tourist attraction and is also Kerala’s first heritage museum, making it all the more special. The 49-building palace is a must for any history aficionado for this museum houses countless oil paintings, manuscripts, inscriptions, ceramics, and possessions belonging to the royal family of Kochi that is truly fascinating. Furthermore, it hosts a gallery that features some thought-provoking pieces of modern art.
6. Edakkal Caves
The infamous Edakkal Caves of Wayanad are a fascinating structure. These caves consist of two rocks and it is a popular belief that their formation was due to a larger rock’s split. These natural wonders are a sight to see, especially for geology enthusiasts. An interesting fact about these caves is that they are even thought to be one of the first centers of human habitation in the region. The best part is actually inside the cave where you can see prehistoric carvings on the rocks.
7. Padmanabhapuram Palace
Built in 1601, the architecture of this palace is breathtaking with intricate sculptures, murals, and eloquent rosewood carvings. This is a palace that is for anyone who is looking to escape the rush of the city and unwind while taking in the beauty of our past. Padmanabhapuram is well-known for being the capital of Travancore. The biggest allure of this palace is its intriguing nature. The hallowed halls, rooms filled with ancient artifacts add to the mystic of this palace.
8. Pazhassi Raja’s resting place
When talking about monuments in Kerala, how can we miss out on the resting place of its very lion? Pazhassi Raja or as he is more popularly known ‘The Lion of Kerala’ was a great military strategist and was a benevolent ruler. He fiercely fought and even won against the British. His mortal remains are situated near the banks of the River Kabani and thousands of people from all over the country visit the tomb to pay their respects to such a great leader.
9. Palakkad Tipu’s Fort
At the very center of Palakkad is located Tipu’s Fort. This well-preserved edifice was re-built by Hyder Ali and used as an important base by him and later his son. Tipu Sultan and that is actually from where the fort derives its name. However, it was tragically seized by the British. It is currently maintained by the Archeological Survey of India. The structure of this fort is quite admirable, to say the least, making it a must-visit.
10. Kannur Fort
The Kannur Fort or as it is more commonly known, The Fort of St. Angelo, has been a mute witness to history. This fort faces the Arabian Sea and as a result, offers a picturesque view. If this fort could speak, the stories it would tell! It was first built by a Portuguese viceroy, it was later captured by the Dutch and remodeled. However, after some time, they sold it to King Ali Raja but it was not in his possession for long as it was seized by the British. Today, it is well-preserved by the Archeological Survey of India.
It was best put by Joseph Joubert, “Monuments are the grappling irons that bind one generation to another.” These cemented bricks, even though they may not seem like it, are full of soul and life. They may be inanimate objects but these monuments still all have a story to tell and the monuments in Kerala have so much to offer but remain an undiscovered gem of our culture. Let’s change that, shall we? Also, let us know in the comments section below about the monuments of Kerala you would like to visit.