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iXiGOers Dec 09 2012

What are popular art galleries and museums in Kochi?

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One of the most densely populated cities of the southern India, Kochi has a vast and illustrious history like any other city in this chronicled extravaganza called India. People visiting this city of Kerala ought to have an enjoyable treat of art and history. There are many museums and galleries in the city to tend to the needs of the history buffs. Following are few major museums and art galleries in the city:

  • Museum of Kerala History

    God’s own country’, Kerala with its colourful history and culture can barely be captured in a buildings made of brick and wood. However, in the humble attempt of displaying the grandeur of Kerala’s past, this museum in Kochi could be considered to be one of the best places for orientation of the state. Museum of Kerala History was founded by a noted philanthropist of the state namely, R. Madhavan Nayar. Vivid visuals of ancient Kerala dating back to the ages of Mahabharata and Ramayana as well as the geographical and political identity of the state are portrayed in the museum. With life-like wax statues adorned in traditional dresses posing stances of the traditional dances is quite a sight to catch.

    The Gallery of Paintings and Sculpture is another place here that is sure to cast spells on the art buffs. The Gallery mainly depicts specimens of Indian Contemporary Art mostly Paintings and Sculptures over a period of the last two hundred years. Paintings of famous painters from all over the country are collected here in the gallery. The six halls in the gallery is full of exquisite Indian paintings and about 50 sculptures. Also in the complex there is a Gallery of Miniatures and a Doll museum.

    The museum remains open on all days except for Mondays and other public holidays, from 10am to 12pm and 2pm to 4pm. The Gallery of Paintings and Sculptures and Centre for Visual Arts stays open only from 10am to 5pm.

    Address: Madhavan Nayar Foundation
    Telephone: +91-484-2558296/2541326

  • Parikshith Thampuran Durbar Hall Art Gallery

    Standing in the heart of the city, the Durbar Hall Art Gallery that was formerly known as the Parikshit Thampuran Museum was once upon a time the durbar of the former kings of Kochi. It is named after the last Maharaja of Kochi. The historic proclamation of the new Constitution of Kochi was also made in the same place. It is today a renovated monumental building surrounded by a vast green lawn.

    The rich collection of paintings dating back to the 19th century, prehistoric monuments, age old coins, scriptures and mural replicas are some amazing things that the gallery displays. The chronicled Durbar Hall ground used to be a venue for many cricket matches played between the local clubs of the state and the British Army club. It is today a highly sought after place by art and history fans.
  • Indian Naval Maritime Museum

    This museum in Kochi is built to pay tribute to the dedication and selfless services rendered by India's brave and formidable naval force. It is one of the most awe inspiring places in this south-western city. The Maritime Museum, located at INS Dronacharya in Kochi exemplifies the inception, history, evolution and landmarks of the Indian Navy. Kochi being a major port city, it has always been an important centre for the Indian Navy.

    To feel of the grand maritime heritage of Indian Navy dating back to Indus Valley civilizations The Maritime Museum is the best place. The museum traces the trade links of Kerala with Arabs, the maritime hero Kunjali Marakkar is also given due tribute here. The influence of India's maritime power in Southeast Asia and Colonization of Indian sub-continent by European powers is also displayed in the museum.  

    There is also a section in the museum that presents the fascinating aspects of shipbuilding activities in India. It unravels India's expertise in shipbuilding, on the shores of
    Bali, Java and Sumatra between 3rd century BC and 12th century AD.

    The museum remains open for visitors 9:30am to 1pm and 2pm to 6pm.

  • Indo-Portuguese Museum

    The strong influence of the Portuguese culture on the art and architecture of the place is displayed in the museum. The Indo-Portuguese Christian art heritage that sustains till date is exhibited in this place. The museum was founded by late Dr. Joseph Kureethra, Bishop of Kochi who was committed to protect and preserve the invaluable collections of the Indo-Portuguese culture and heritage.
    The museum has been divided into five main sections, as per the nature of the items on display. The sections are called - Altar, Procession, Cathedral, Treasure and Civil Life.

    You can visit the museum from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. except on Mondays and all Public Holidays. There is free entry on the first Thursday of every month otherwise there is a very nominal that you will require to pay on entry.

    Address: Bishop's House
    Fort Kochi
    Telephone: +91-484-215400 / 215401 

  • Hill Palace Museum, Thripunithura

    At Thripunithura is the erstwhile the administrative quarters of the kings of Kochi that has now been turned into an archaeological museum. It was established in the year 1865 and is the largest archaeological museum in all of Kerala and is a sought after place among archaeologists and students.
    The place has 49 buildings constructed in traditional Kerala style in amplitude of 50 acres. Apart from the archaeological museum, in the vast expanse oh Hill Palace is a heritage museum, children’s park, a deer park as well as a pre-historic park. The priceless archaeological items of the Kochi kingdom are preserved in the museum.

  • What you just can't miss once in Hill Palace, is the display of the
    Royal Crown. It is crafted in pure gold weighing around 1.75 kg, studded with 95 diamonds and 2000 other precious stones! It was a presented to the Veera Kerala Varma by the Portuguese rulers on his coronation day. However, the simplicity of the Kochi Rajas found this act to be extravagant. Hence, it became a tradition among the rulers of Kochi that none of the Kochi Maharajas will ever wear the crown but only to keep it on their lap as a testimony of their humbleness and simplicity. Colonial powers like the Dutch, English, Chinese, Arabs gifted nearly ten golden crowns, which were never worn by the Maharajas.

    The place remains opens from 9am to 12.30 pm and 2pm to 4.30 pm daily except for Mondays and public holidays. Entry fee for adults is INR 1 and for children is INR 7 and if you wish to carry a camera along you will require paying INR 20.

These museums and galleries are the perfect places to unravel the past and present of the beautiful city of Kochi. So, if you are planning a visit to this chronicled city you must visit the museums to feel the vibes that the city withholds.  

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