Kochi’s museums are an eclectic lot. Some like the Naval Maritime Museum seek to shock and awe visitors with a massive display of naval power. Others like the Museum of Kerala History and the Indo-Portuguese Museum are trying to safeguard and showcase Kochi and Kerala’s rich history and culture.
But the really interesting ones are the former palaces of the Kochi Rajas, which are now museums and galleries. The Hill Palace Museum, for instance, has a priceless solid gold royal crown studded with precious stones. That, and paintings and other art and objects from the royal heritage of Kochi and Travancore. Oh, and a nice little deer park too.
Then there’s Mattancherry Palace Museum, also known as the Dutch Palace. It has an interesting history, having been gifted in the 16th century to the Raja of Kochi by the Portuguese, and then pounded into rubble by the Dutch Governor who apparently then felt sorry about going all Hulk on Kochi. So he got the palace fixed up and handed it back to the Kochi royal family. Apart from the exquisite murals depicting Hindu temple art, the Dutch Palace also has exhibits that include royal items preserved over the centuries, along with portraits of the successive Rajas of Kochi whose coronations took place in this same palace.
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