At a roundabout on the leafy Kasturba Gandhi Marg, near India Gate, is hidden a jewel reminiscent of the architecture of a bygone era: the Travancore Palace.
Tall pillars and large rooms mark the 20,000-odd sq ft of building space amid the sprawling green campus belonging to the erstwhile king of Travancore, now a Government of Kerala property.
It was built around the same time
as New Delhi. After the princely states were merged with the Indian Union, this was transferred to the government. There have been no external changes to the whitewashed building, though several additions and alterations were made within. The façade, reflecting the colonial ambience, is marred by seepage and structural problems.
Today, it has a clutter typical to a government complex. It houses the Kerala Tourist Information Centre, offices of Non Resident Keralites Affairs (Norka) and Keltron, a State Bank of Travancore branch, a Kerala State Electricity Board outlet, Kaveri Cell, the Malayalam Mission Library and the Travancore Art Gallery, which is being renovated.
Pointing out to the "gross mis-utilisation of the place", 85-year-old Om Chary NN Pillai, a prominent Malayali resident of the Capital, says an overhauling project for the building is on.
Aiming to make it as a cultural complex showcasing Kerala's culture, there are plans for the adaptive re-use of this heritage building. One of the new projects proposed is one that will showcase the coastal state's culinary culture too: a Kerala Food Park.