Thiruvananthapuram houses World's only palm-leaf manuscript museum

Thiruvananthapuram houses World's only palm-leaf manuscript museum

Located in the Kerala capital of Thiruvananthapuram, the recently opened Palm Leaf Manuscript Museum is the world’s first of its kind and deals exclusively with both obscure and celebrated tales of the erstwhile Travancore kingdom that comes lauded as Asia's first to defeat any European power on Indian Soil. 

The museum houses 187 manuscripts and other artefacts related to the erstwhile kingdom dating back to a period of 650 years till the end of the19th century. It also contains documents from the regions of Kochi and Malabar.

Accounts of the famous Battle of Colachel in 1714 AD between Travancore ruler Anizham Thirunal Marthanda Varma (1729-58) and the Dutch East India Company are among the manuscripts of the museum. The battle resulted in the defeat of the European power by the valiant Travancore ruler at Colachel, 20 km northwest of Kanyakumari in present day Tamil Nadu 

This battle put an end to the expansionist designs of the Dutch in India and resulted in Travancore becoming Asia's first state to defeat a European power.

The museum houses eight galleries ready to be explored. These galleries represent different segments of Travancore history: ‘History of Writing’, ‘Land and people’, ‘Administration’, ‘War and peace’, ‘Education and Health’, ‘Economy’, ‘Art and culture’, and ‘Mathilakam Records’. 

These galleries also feature films and QR code technologies meant for securing information.

The museum is located in a three-century-old building that functions as the Central Archives under the state government. 

Key Takeaway

Palm Leaf Manuscript Museum is an invaluable introduction to the erstwhile Travancore kingdom. If you're interested in the history of the kingdom, this museum should be one of your stops in the state.