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Kerala’s 18th Century East Fort is star attraction of tourists and art lovers

Built in 18th Century by King Marthanda Varma of Travancore Kingdom, the East Fort was constructed to provide security for Sree Padmanabha Temple (Pic. Courtesy wikimedia commons)

Located in Kerala’s capital city, Thiruvananthapuram, the East Fort is one of the cultural and historical landmarks of this metro.  Also known as Kizhakke Kotta it was built in the 18th Century by King Marthanda Varma of Travancore kingdom under the supervision of Thycaud Keshavan Nambudiri.

Apart from serving as a vital military base for the kingdom it also played a crucial role in keeping the invading forces at bay.

In his book, “Ananthapuri Puravum Puravrithavum”, Hari Kumar mentions that that the fort was constructed to provide protection for the famous Sree Padmanabha Temple built in 8th Century. It had 16 watchtowers to accommodate people and their tools and armaments.

The walls of the fort which are more than 30 feet high and a mile in circumference are made of laterite stones. It has many bastions and gates for defending the fort and its inhabitants.

The fort also houses the Sree Chitra Art Gallery which is located in the palace of the Travancore kings and has a collection of traditional and contemporary art from Kerala and other parts of India. Personal belongings of the kings like their swords, thrones and other artefacts are also kept on display.

The fort also has Sree Chithira Thirunal Centre for Performing Arts and several museums. Following Independence, it was the seat of State Government till the capital in 1956 moved to Thiruvananthapuram.

Today the East Fort is a tourist attraction, a must see for visitors from India and abroad.