Kerala has many museums. It would be interesting to plan a tour to visit all these archaeological and historical museums in the state. Besides providing a window to the rich cultural heritage of Kerala, these museums also speak volumes of the state’s glorious historical background.
While you are enjoying your holidays in Kerala, you cannot afford to miss the museums in Kerala. It is a known fact that the state of Kerala has had a rich cultural heritage. The glory of the bygone eras of Kerala seems to come alive through the numerous archaeological artifacts displayed in the museums of Kerala. Whether a history buff or an archeological artifacts lover, these museums invite one and all to gain an insight into the vibrant past of Kerala. It is interesting to note that these Kerala museums feature some artifacts whose history dates back to the Stone Age. Given below are some of the most visited museums in the state of Kerala.
Ambalavayal Heritage Museum in Wayanad
It is one of the most frequented museums in the Wayanad district of Kerala. The archaeological museums display a rich collection of antiquities. You can also witness artifacts belonging to the 2nd century.
Cochin Maritime Museum Kochi
India has the eminence of featuring a naval force that ranks among the Top 10 Naval Powers in the world. The country is really proud of the hard work and commitment that the Naval Force of India delivers. The museum stands in dedication to the Indian navy.
Hill Palace Museum Kochi
While you visit here, do remember that you are at the Kerala’s first ever heritage museum. Constructed in the year 1865, the Hill Palace Museum of Kochi is one of the most seen museums in the state. The museum occupies a wonderful location on a hillock. Beautifully laid out gardens around the museums add much beauty to the place.
Indo Portuguese Museum Kochi
Colonial rulers have in many ways influenced the Indian art and architecture. Recognized far and wide, the Indo Portuguese Museum in Kochi is a big attraction for tourists. Even today, the Indo-Portuguese heritage survives. The museum is dedicated to this very art heritage.
Museum of Kerala History Ernakulam
This is one of the best museums in Kerala. It is located 8 km away from Ernakulam district at Edappally. The phenomenal statue of sage Parshurama (creator of Kerala) welcomes every visitor. The light and sound show is main attraction of the museum, which reveals the 2000 years old history of Kerala.
Krishnan Menon Museum Calicut
Krishnan Menon Museum is located in Calicut, Kozhikode, which is dedicated to the former defence minister and President of India – Shri Krishnan Menon. Here you can find the collection of his personal belongings and souvenirs of him. A section of museum also displays the beautiful paintings by Raja Ravi Verma and Raja Raja Verma.
Priyadarshini Museum Thiruvananthapuram
Priyadarshini Museum is one of the best sophisticated planetariums in India. In this planetarium there is a Sky theatre, conference hall, workshops, sound studios etc. This planetarium can seat 184 persons at a time and has global standards. There is a very huge projector here which shows all the visible parts in the Universe. As the Universe is displayed in front of us very closely, we forget the actual distance of it from us.
Several shows have been conducted here. One of the main show is the ‘Man and the Universe’ that deals with the origin and the stages in the development of astronomy, structure and feature of planets and the origin of Universe.
Thrithala Palakkad Museum
An important archeological museum, located in Palakkad district, the Thrithala Palakkad Museum is located on the banks of Barathapuzha River. The most fascinating aspect of the place is that it is an ancient archaeological site of the state that is well preserved till date. Thrithala is known for its historic ruins and monuments that date back to as early as the 9th or 10th century. The ruins of a large fort with a deep moat hewn from laterite and the Kattil Madom temple, a domed structure of granite slabs on the Pattambi – Guruvayoor Road are the prime attractions. The the temple probably marks the transition from the Chola to the Pandya style of architecture. Thrithala is famous for its Shiva temple that has an interesting story behind it.
Pazhassiraja Museum Kozhikode
The Pazhassi Raja museum and the art gallery of Kozhikode was named after the famous Pazhassiraja Kerala Varma of the Kottayam royal family. Copies of ancient mural paintings, antiques, bronzes, old coins, models of temples, megalithic monuments and umbrella stones are all present in the museum., which is a must visit place when in the city. The museum will be open on all days except national holidays from 10 am to 5 pm.
Munnar Tea Museum
Tea plantations are a major attraction for tourists in Kerala. Located at world popular hill station of Munnar, the Tea Museum is a wonderful endeavour by the Tata Company. The museum can also be visited during your tea plantation tours in Kerala.
A sundial, placed on a granite block, which was made in 1913 at Art Industrial School at Nazareth, Tamil Nadu, greets a visitor to the Tea Museum. Some of the interesting items on display at the museum include the original tea roller – ‘Rotorvane,’ dating back to 1905, used for CTC type tea processing. The ‘Pelton Wheel’ used in the power generation plant that existed in the Kanniamallay estate in the 1920s, a rail engine wheel of the Kundale Valley Light Railway that shuttled men and material between Munnar and Top Station during the first half of the last century are other items on display. A section of the museum also houses classic bungalow furniture, typewriters, wooden bathtub, magneto phone, iron oven, manual calculators and EPABX of the1909 telephone system.
A demonstration room for tea tasting is another attraction where one would come across different varieties of tea. Those eager to understand the nuances of tea processing can do so at the CTC and orthodox tea-manufacturing unit at the museum.
Trichur Archaeological Museum
Positioned on the Town Hall Road in Thrissur, the Trichur Archaeological Museum boasts an elegant architecture. At the museum are displayed an array of eye capturing murals and antiquities procured from all across the state of Kerala.
Thrissur Archaeological Museum is famous for its collection of murals and relics brought there from across the state. The museum also has big life-size statues of eminent historical figures. The museum also has models of ancient temples and monuments.
An interesting collection amongst the many artifacts is the “olagrandhangal”, which are parchments made of dry palm leaves. These fragile manuscripts are preserved till date with much care in this museum. Interestingly, most of the artifacts of this museum were recovered from the dense forests of Thrissur and Wayanad district of Kerala.
Napier Museum Trivandrum
The Napier Museum is one of the oldest museums of India. A contemporary of the Indian Museum Calcutta and Madras Government Museum, this beautiful and historic repository of the relics and treasured possessions of Kerala was built in 1857 at the bidding of Maha Raja Uthram Thirunal, His Highness Maharaja Raja Ramaraja Sri Padmanabha Dasa Vanchi Pala Marthanda Varma II, Kulashekara Kiritapati Mannaneya Sultan Bahadur Shamsher Jung, Raja of Travancore. The old building that housed the museum was demolished and the foundation for the new building named after Lord John Napier, the Governor General of Madras presidency was laid in 1874. The famous architect Robert Chisholm of Madras University Senate and Victoria Memorial fame was commissioned the project the construction was complete by 1880.
Natural History Museum
The Natural History Museum is housed in a spacious, modern, double-storeyed building at the eastern end of the Napier Museum and zoo complex within the museum premises. This museum was established with the personnel collection of minerals and books presented by General Cullen in 1885. The varied and rich collections are now on display at this new building built in 1964.
The museum has separate galleries displaying stuffed mammals, birds, lower vertebrates and invertebrates. The exhibits of fossil tree trunks near the entrance are another big draw. There is an art collection that highlight Kerala’s rich heritage in stone, wood and metal sculpture. There are index collections, a skeleton gallery and laboratory. Besides these archeological and cultural specimens, this museum has an excellent ethnographic collection.
Kuthiramalika Palace Museum, a classic specimen of Kerala Architecture is situated in ‘Kuthiramalika’. The palace, with its excellent carvings and amazing architectural designs, is by itself a slice of heritage. The museum has a wide range of exhibits representing the erstwhile state of Travancore.
The Kuthiramalika Palace was built by His Highness the Maharaja Swathi Thirunal Balarama Varma of Travancore. The Palace museum adorned with paintings and amusing collections of the erstwhile royal family. It is an example of Travancore style of architecture.
Sree Chitra Arts Gallery
Located in the Napier Museum grounds, Sree Chitra Art Gallery displays select Paintings of Raja Ravi Varma, Svetlova and Nicholas Roerich and exquisite works from the Rajput, Mughal and Tanjore schools of art in India. The collection also includes paintings from China, Japan, Tibet and Bali.
The art gallery housed in a traditional building next to Napier Museum, houses the collections of the Travancore ruling family, and include an interesting assortment of turn-of-the-century Bengali school paintings, and Rajasthani and Mughal miniatures