Chithralayam: Frozen Memoirs Of A Glorious Past
The photo gallery at the Ranga Vilasom Palace is a veritable education on history, culture and traditions of Travancore | Anjana George
On Jun 13, 2012


Imagine walking into a royal place in the heart of Trivandrum and having two hundred years of Travancore’s glorious past giving you company?

The newly inaugurated Sree Uthradom Thirunal Marthanda Varma Chithralayam at Ranga Vilasom Palace is no ordinary walk.  Rare photographs displayed here  takes  visitors through a historical journey of unimaginable richness.

Most of the photographs displayed here are taken by His Highness Uthradom Thirunal Marthanda Varma, a connoisseur in photography.  The rest were clicked by ace  photographers - William D'Cruz, N P Hariharan, S Rajan and B Jayachandran. The traditional ambiance in which the photographs are set, makes these images surreal and



“The visitors to the museum will be enlightened on the uniqueness of the state’s royalty and it will also generate a renewed interest in the history of Travancore,” said Mohan, Manager of the Museum.

The palace which was constructed in1839 by His Highness Maharaja Swathi Thirunal was the traditional and permanent art and picture gallery of the Travancore Royal family, inaugurated in 1935 during the reign of His Highness Sree Chithra Thirunal Maharaja.

“Earlier this was the museum of state portraits, paintings, carvings, costumes, weapons and artifacts. The museum was later shifted to Sri Chitra Art Gallery,” explained Mohan.

The 200 images displayed here are wisely selected from more than 6,000 documented images to showcase Travancore’s  rich heritage.


“Each picture portrayed here will inform and educate the visitors on the glory that was Travancore. Facts, context, character, time line and location were given top priority while selecting the images. The overall quality of the images were enhanced using oil colours and quality frames ,” he said.

The main man behind the gallery is B Jayachandran, Photo editor, Malayala Manorama. “He has given a lot of care in selecting the photographs and giving them the right setting with mood lighting. Interested visitors can also take with them a multimedia presentation of the photos,” said the museum Manager. The visitors would also be given an iPod, on request, if they wish to listen to detailed recordings and historical details of the artifacts on display.


The 'unrivaled craftsmanship' of the Ranga Vilasom Palace which has aesthetically carved wooden doors, giant pillars, beams and ornate ceilings would delight visitors as much as those magnificent photographs . 

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