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  • Writer's pictureBenjamin John

Did you know? The Dutch Palace in Kochi was built by the Portuguese

The Dutch Palace, also known as Mattancherry Palace, is situated in Kochi, Kerala, India. Despite its name, the palace's association with the Dutch is indirect. The reason for its name lies more in its historical timeline and renovations rather than direct construction by the Dutch.

Dutch palace in Kochi or Mattancherry Palace

The palace was originally built by the Portuguese in the 16th century as a gift for the Raja of Kochi. It was constructed in a traditional Kerala architectural style called "Nalukettu" with a courtyard in the center and has a mix of colonial and local influences.


Later, the Dutch made significant renovations to the palace in the 17th century. They carried out repairs and extensions, hence the association with the Dutch in its name. However, they didn't use it as a residence but rather as a gift to the Raja of Kochi in exchange for trading rights in the region.


The palace is massive and the whole structure does not give you an idea of a place from outside. But inside the palace you can see various intricate works on wood and the preserved mural paintings make the palace unique. The palace acts more like a museum exhibiting the belongings of the Kochi royal family. Photography is not allowed inside the palace.


The Dutch influence is visible in certain architectural elements and the maintenance work done during their time. However, the essence and core structure of the palace, including its decorative features like murals depicting Hindu mythology and portraits of the Kochi royal family, predominantly reflect the local Kerala style.


So, while the palace is known as the Dutch Palace due to the renovations carried out during the Dutch occupation, its historical significance and architectural features represent a blend of Portuguese, Dutch, and local Kerala influences. Today the Palace is known to be Mattancherry Palace by local people of Mattancherry.

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