KOCHI: As Tripunithura has become a burgeoning suburb, many palaces, ‘kovilakams’ (palatial bungalows) and other buildings – which were once home to the members of erstwhile royal family of Cochin – are being pulled down to construct multi-storeyed apartment complexes. Increasing maintenance costs, numerous inheritors, their varied interests and financial circumstances resulted in the sale of such properties. The palace administration board (PAB) president Haridas Thampuran said: “In Tripunithura there were many palaces and palatial bungalows which belonged to the members of the royal family. Once the partition of properties were carried out, these became privately-owned buildings. Hence, no data or records regarding its upkeep is available.”
The Puthen Bungalow Palace, Amma Thampuran Kovilakam, Kalikotta Palace, Thekke Nalukettu and the crematorium of the members belonging to the erstwhile Kochi royal family are considered common property. “While PAB and Valiyamma Thampuran Kovilakam Trust (VTK Trust) has taken every possible step to conserve the four common properties, there is no way to protect privately-owned properties,” added.
According to a royal family member Vanaja Varma regular pujas and other religious rituals were being conducted at the Puthen Bungalow Palace and Amma Thampuran Kovilakam. Bodies of deceased family members were kept at the Thekke Nalukettu before being taken to the crematorium.
It is pointed out that when owners opt to live abroad or when there are only two or three persons to live in a palatial bungalow, they opt to dispose the building. Even land owned by members of the royal family is sold as there is none to take care of it. When old buildings are sold, the property value gets adjusted and the owners are given flats in the large apartment complexes that comes up in its place. “When a builder demolishes these old buildings, the scarp which include materials carved out of wood like windows and doors are sold to small dealers,” added Haridas Thampuran.
A resident spoke about an instance when a building was partially pulled down. “There were too many inheritors, and only 50 them of them agreed to demolish and construct an apartment complex. As they went ahead with the decision, other families who resided there had a tough time,” he said.
Credits ET Realty