The Portuguese built the 16th-century structure as a gift to the then king of the Kochi dynasty, though it underwent significant remodels under Dutch rule, earning it its current moniker: the Dutch Palace. It's celebrated for its stunning murals, many of which depict scenes from Hindu epics, notably the Ramayana and the Mahabharata.
Though it doesn't look very palatial from the outside, this 2-story structure has gems of art inside, including beautiful coconut-shell floors, portraits of former rulers, and numerous intricate tempera murals depicting scenes from Hindu mythology. The palace also hosts a number of old royal artifacts, ranging from ceremonial costumes to palanquins.
Many Kochi city tours stop at the palace. Visiting with a guide can be useful, if you want in-depth information about the palace's history. Half- and full-day tours that visit the palace may also include a Kerala backwater boat cruise, Kathakali dance show, village visit, Chinese fishing nets, and more.
Things to Know Before You Go
- History lovers and art fans won’t want to miss a visit to this palace.
- Parents may want to note that some of the murals depict explicit lovemaking scenes.
- Most of the palace is difficult to navigate by wheelchair, as there are plenty of stairs.
How to Get There
Mantacherry Palace is located right next to the Mantacherry Boat Jetty, from where travelers can take ferries to Ernakulam, the main city on the mainland where many of the city's larger chain and business hotels are located. It's right in the heart of historic Kochi, and the city’s famous Jew Town and its synagogue are a short walk way.
When to Get There
Mattancherry Palace is a year-round attraction, though if you're sensitive to heat or humidity, you may want to visit in the dryer season, from around December through the end of February. However, this is also the most popular season for tourists, so attractions can be crowded. The hottest months of the year are from March through May, while June through November can get rainy.
Kerala has a long tradition of mural painting that dates back to at least the eighth century. While the relatively newer murals at the Dutch Palace provide a great intro to the traditional local art, there are plenty more in the area, from the frescoes to the Ettumanoor Shiva Temple to the murals of the rock-cut Thirunandikkara Cave Temple, in present-day Tamil Nadu.