Blessed with a rich stock of historic and cultural monuments, Kerala represents a unique mixture of various styles of architecture, sculpture, and art. The traditional architectural styles of Kerala include the styles based on the scriptures and silpa sasthras. The structures built according to these traditional architectural styles are a true portrait of the mythological structures embedded in the sasthras. Some popular architectural styles include 'Nalukettu' and 'Ettukettu'. A strong influence of Hindu architecture can be seen in the mosques, cathedrals, and other monuments of Kerala, though in regions like Fort Kochi, an interesting mix of Chinese, European, Jewish, and Arabic styles are also noticeable.
The monuments are adorned with mural paintings and carvings which are as beautiful and serene as the peaceful golden beaches and lagoons of Kerala. The traditions are passed on to generations by means of these intricately carved and sculpted monuments. Though the monuments are not as they were in the bygone eras as they have been refurbished time and again to keep the beauty intact and in the process, but they have become the bards of architectural history of Kerala.
Bolgatty Island This small yet luscious and beautiful island is situated near the mouth of Kochi Harbor, just off the Kochi Marine Drive. A long and narrow palm fringed island, you have to take a ferry ride from Ernakulam, which itself is an amazing experience.
Chendamangalam Monuments Nothing more can be a perfect example of religious tolerance and peaceful co-existence than the small yet impressive town of Chendamangalam. A church, a temple, a mosque, and the remains of a Jewish synagogue all sited in close vicinity of each other exhibit true Indian sovereignty. The rare combination of three rivers, seven inlets, hillocks, and vast expanse greenery makes this destination a unique geographical experience.
Edakkal Caves The thick flora and fauna of the Ambukutty mountain range give way to the primitive Edakkal Caves, about 25 km from Wayanad district, Kerala in the Western Ghats. This place was believed to be one of the earliest centers of human habitation, the caves lie 1200 meters above sea level and are a window to many queries about the evolution and living of human beings.
Fort Kochi A jewel in the crown of Kerala, Fort Kochi is located about 14 km from Ernakulum town with one of the finest natural harbors in the world, Kochi has become a sanctuary for seafaring visitors from all across the world. The European heritage and true cosmopolitan temperament blend to pamper your travel steps and soothe your senses. Kochi is considered to be one of the first European townships in India when the Portuguese settled here in the 15th century.
Kochi Synagogue The famous Kochi Synagogue is located at Fort Kochi, about 12 kms from Ernakulam in Kerala, constructed in 1568 by the Malabari Jew community in Cochin. The synagogue is the oldest working in the Commonwealth of Nations. Although it was partially destroyed in a shelling during the Portuguese raid in 1662, but was rebuilt two years later by the Dutch.
Koyikkal Palace Koyikkal Palace, a charming two-storied palace situated on your way to Ponmudi hill station and Courtalam Waterfalls 20 kms off the capital city of Trivandrum. Actually built for Umayamma Rani of the Venad royal family between 1677 and 1684, the palace is constructed in the traditional nalukettu style, boasting of slanting gabled roofs and an inner courtyard.
Krishnapuram Palace Krishnapuram Palace is situated at Kayamkulam, 47 km from Alappuzha a unique and distinct example of Kerala style architecture coupled with narrow corridors, gabled roofs, and dormer windows, this historical palace was the center of activity for the Kayamkulam king for several centuries. The king of Kayamkulam ruled his diminutive kingdom until he was defeated by King Marthanda Verma of Travancore.
Kunchan Smarakam Unlike the other historical monuments, Kunchan Smarakam is a memorial built in the memory of the famous poet of Kerala, Kunchan Nambiar. The Kunchan Smarakam is situated in Lakkidi, about 30 km from the Palakkad district. Apart from being a centre of learning for scholars, the fort is a great place to enjoy natural beauty encircling the historic monument.
Mattancherry Palace Mattancherry Palace was built by the Portuguese in 1557 and was presented to Raja Veera Kerala Varma of Kochi. The Dutch carried out a few renovation work and extension to the structure of the palace in 1663. Since then, the palace is popularly known as the Dutch Palace. Following the Dutch, a few rajas, residing at the palace, also made improvements, supplementing it with the unique tints from various cultures, thereby giving it a colorful yet organized look.
Padmanabhapuram Palace A typical specimen of Kerala's endemic style of monument, this magnificent palace was once the home of the Rajas of the quondam Travancore. A marvelous wooden piece of architecture situated at the land's end of mainland India. Such, is the feel and ambience of Padmanabhapuram Palace, which lies at Padmanabhapuram Fort at Thuckalay in the Kanyakumari district.
Poonjar Palace Poonjar Palace truly stands as a glorious proof to the monarchial elegance of the ancient era. The palace stands tall with all its beauty and majesty, narrating the stories of the past. Poonjar was a royal place that was once inhabited by the royalties of Kerala. The palace is an explicit example of traditional Kerala architecture with its sloping roofs and carved walls, adorned with paintings and artifacts.
Shakthan Thampuran Palace Shakthan Thampuran Palace, also referred to as Vadakkekara Palace, is situated in Thrissur district of Kerala. A landmark in the chronicles of the Perumpadappu Swaroopam, the ancient ruling dynasty of Kochi, the palace was built in 1795 in Kerala-Dutch style by Ramavarma Thampuran. Particularly for scholars having special interest in the history of rulers and dynasties, this palace serves as a major tourist attraction.
Mattanchery Synagogue Chennamangalam village is also quite popular and one of the biggest synagogues besides the famous synagogue at Mattanchery in Kochi, built some 175 years ago, this synagogue was recently restored to its original shape, and all the credit goes to the laborious efforts of the Kerala Tourism and Kerala State Archaeology Department.