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The Kingdom of Travancore ruled parts of southwest India from 1729 until 1949, existing as a vassal state of the British Raj from the late 18th-century onward. Encompassing much of present-day Kerala and parts of Tamil Nadu, Travancore was one of the more prosperous principalities of the sub-continent.
Ammachi Kottaram was constructed by Travancore Maharaja, Moolam Thirunal, sometime in the 19th-century. Nestled in the cool tea and coffee growing highlands, it was mainly used as a royal retreat for the wife of the Maharaja. Travancore royal titles were passed matrilineally, so brother and sister ruled as the Maharaja and Maharani. The Maharaja’s wife was thus given the title of consort rather than queen. It’s believed that Thirunal constructed Ammachi Kottaram for his wife, although the exact history behind its construction remains murky.
Today, the palace grounds still cover around 25 acres of land across the foggy hilltops. The building itself contains a wrap-around veranda, three rooms, two large halls for receiving guests, as well as bathrooms, kitchens, and dining areas. There are also two secret passageways, one for movement within the palace, while the other was used as a subterranean escape tunnel.
Recently, the structure has served as a location for Malayalam language films, including Carbon (2018) and Lucifer (2019). Unfortunately, the building and grounds seem to have suffered from neglect over the years. However, the crumbling structure amidst the gorgeous landscape is a satisfying destination for history buffs.
Know Before You Go
The palace in located on a dirt road that diverges westward from N183 at the Wild Orchid Restaurant.