A kovilakam needing conservation

The Erattachira Kovilakam, a historically important structure where the coronation ceremony (Ariyittu Vazhcha) of the kings of the ancient kingdom of Kochi took place, requires urgent conservation.

Although Kovilakam was declared a protected monument by the Department of Archeology in February 2016, it has not been repaired or maintained, says INTACH (Indian National Fund for Art and Cultural Heritage) , Thrissur, who recently led a heritage walk up to the kovilakam.

KMSCL Godown

The building remains inactive, with the exception of part of it functioning as a lowering of the Kerala Medical Services Corporation (KMSCL).

The KMSCL, which uses the property and the building, also did no repair or maintenance work because it lacks expertise in conservation. The building is leaking seriously, damaging the wooden structure and requiring immediate conservation measures.

INTACH suggested that the kovilakom and its premises be developed into a cultural space to enhance the cultural vitality of the city. It will also make Thrissur a major attraction for domestic and international tourists, he said.

INTACH asked the Archeology, Culture and Health Departments to organize an urgent meeting and decide on the way forward. INTACH says that he can give suggestions to protect the structure. According to the records, Erattachira Kovilakam was built in the 17th century. While the Kochi Kingdom's archives were kept, Shakthan Thampuran used to regularly visit the palace.

The palace is also related to his personal life. He remarried with Karimpatta Chimmukkutty after the death of his first wife. She used to stay in kovilakam. After his death, the kovilakam and the property were handed over to the state of Kochi.

Paired water plans

The palace received the name of Erattachira as there were two water plans (chiras) attached to the temple of Siva in front of the palace.

As it was a palace belonging to Gangadara Thrikovadikal, the Perumbadappu Mooppil who was responsible for the coronation ceremony, the palace also bears the name of Gangadara Thirukkovil.