Kerala Kaumudi Online
Wednesday, 29 May 2024 2.34 PM IST

Cheena Kottaram: Kollam's forgotten dazzling red brick palace


KOLLAM: What if we say that there exists a vintage palace in the heart of Kollam city, which is now a den to creeping insects, stray dogs and other termites? Cheena Kottaram, the red brick building with seven rooms which once belonged to the Travancore royal family was completed as part of the Quilon-Madras rail line. The once sprawling building that exemplified opulence is now in tatters. The building was included in the Travancore Heritage Tourism Scheme but nothing productive happened since.

Due to the spread of wild shrubs, the roof of the building collapsed and further parts are now awaiting the same fate. Adding more to the worries, the residents and other people in the area have now turned the palace into a garbage dumping spot.

In 2014, ancient Chinese coins and other items were recovered during dredging at Thangassery port. Much noise was made to keep these antiques within Kollam itself, and the demand for a museum rose to prominence.

Kollam MLA PK Gurudasan had no qualms while suggesting that Cheena Kottaram be turned into a museum. Even the corporation made some attempts to make the project a reality but failed eventually.

The municipal corporation had written a request to hand over the custody of the palace to build the museum, but the railway remained mute and ignored it fully. The whole control of the dilapidated palace still rests in the hands of Indian railways.

  • The palace was built as a resting place for the royal family members travelling on the Kollam-Sengottai route to Madras and other places.

  • Red sombre bricks have been used for construction to resemble traditional Chinese houses

  • Although the name came as Cheena Kottaram, the palace has no connection with China

  • The architecture resembles Moorish, Islamic and Chinese style

  • Built-in the Indo-Saracenic style, the palace looks like a two-storied building from the outside, but in reality is a single-storied one.
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