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Kerala gets world’s first palm-leaf manuscript museum

Kerala has set up the world's first palm leaf manuscript museum in Thiruvananthapuram

Thiruvananthapuram, the capital of Kerala has added another feather in its cap as it has achieved the singular distinction of setting up the world’s first Palm Leaf Manuscript Museum.

The museum has eight theme-based galleries and has been developed at a cost of Rs.3 crores. Among the manuscripts exhibited in the Museum are ancient scripts such as Vattezhuthu, Kolezhuthu, Malayanma, and ancient Tamil and Malayalam.

The Museum offers insights into economic, administrative and socio-cultural facets of erstwhile Travancore kingdom spanning over 650 years which ended in the 19th Century while also having documents concerning Kochi and Malabar.

It was last week that the museum was opened and it houses 187 manuscripts that provide narrative based on primary sources – documents written on treated and cured palm leaves.

The treasured trove of manuscripts includes details about the famous Battle of Colachel in 1741 when the brave Travancore king Anizham Thirunal Marthanda Varma, defeated the Dutch East India Company. This victory – Asia’s first State to defeat a European power — was a turning point as Dutch expansion in India came to a halt.

The material in the museum was chosen after going through a large number of palm-leaf records numbering more than 1.5 crore across the State.

Apart from the manuscripts there are styluses and carriers of the Cadjan bundles and bamboo splints and copper plates in the museum.

The Museum includes feature videos and QR code systems enabling visitors to get information.