Traditional home of the Paliathu Achans (Prime Ministers to the Kings of Kochi), it came to be called 'Kovilakam' or palace after the then Paliath Achan hid the King in his home, when the royal house was threatened by the Portuguese. In appreciation of the Paliath Achan's services, the Dutch renovated the home in Chendamangalam. He used it as his official residence, where a lot of major decisions were made and put into action.
The architectural style of Paliam Kovilakam is a hybrid of Kerala and Dutch styles. 'Paliathachan' is the title given to the Karanavar (Head of the Family) of Paliam Noble Family. During the 17th and 18th centuries, they held the posts of Prime Minister and Chief of Army of the kingdom of Kochi. As loyal Ministers, Paliyathachans defended Kochi against various domestic and foreign threats. During those times, Kochi was a land of battles over rights with the Portuguese, Dutch and English, Kochi also faced frequent attacks of Zamorin, the Mysore Army and threats from Thiruvithamcode. The stages of evolution of Kochi Kingdom and the importance of the Paliam family and the life of nobility in the 'Post-Swarupam period constitute the theme of this museum.
This Kovilakam was meant solely for the residence of Valiyachan (Eldest Achan) of Paliam. The two buildings nearby were used as his offices. Achan held court with people and listened to their complaints in the Durbar Hall at the eastern end of the first floor. Here, he received his subjects and officials.
The two storey (G+2) building can be termed as a highly efficient functional building of its times. In spite of minimum ornamentation it reflects the Dutch influence in the architecture. The building features, elaborately carved wooden staircases and balustrades and thick walls with splayed openings. A circulation space runs along the private area of the building, facilitating air movement, resulting in insulating the interior, making it cooler compared to the peripheral. In earlier times, women were not allowed inside. Only the elder members of the family could stay there. The Paliath Achans used to address the people of Chendamangalam from the Prasanga Peedum, which is on the top of the entrance passage of the Palace.
This history museum chronicles the historic records, letters of the family and important events that took place in the palace.