Sundara Vilasam Palace is a stately building situated near the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple in Kerala capital, Thiruvananthapuram. The palace is built in a blend of traditional Kerala and western neo-classical architectural styles. Even though it is not a very popular spot, the palace has several unique attractions.
Sundara Vilasam is a major palace among the nearly 20 such palatial buildings located inside the fort surrounding the Padmanabha Temple. Built as a residence of princes, the palace sports the conch, the symbol of the Travancore royal family, and images of elephants on its entry gate.
Beyond the gate is a large compound. The two-storeyed palace has a wide verandah at the front portion which is believed to be a later addition. Among the features making the palace attractive are the semi-circular windows having stunning artworks on wood. The stairs leading to the upper floor also have elaborate wooden carvings.
The last residents of Sundara Vilasam Palace belonged to the family of the young princess who was adopted by the Travancore royal family from the Mavelikkara royal house. The senior princess, Lakshmibayi, lived at Lakshmi Vilasam Palace, which is adjacent to Sundara Vilasam.
The palace was also the residence of Aswathy Thirunal Marthanda Varma, who was referred to as 'BA prince' as he was the first person belonging to a royal family to secure a BA degree in India.
Even though the basic architectural features of Sundara Vilasam Palace reflect the Kerala style, the western characteristics add to its beauty. As per historical records, the palace was rebuilt in 1930. The amazing woodwork is reason enough to make Sundara Vilasam Palace a not-to-be-missed destination during a trip to Thiruvananthapuram.