The Natamalika

Walking across the forecourt one reaches the main gateway which is the portal to the most important section of the palace complex. The ornate gateway, flanked on either side with carved stone pillars is designed as a grand padippura with a natamalika, an upper floor acting as a corridor connecting different sections of the palace complex. An ornately carved overhead bay window is the crowning glory of the structure. The overhead corridor links the northern and southern wings of the complex. The view from this elevated passage makes one appreciate the ingenuity of the architects of yore who designed such a space from where the sentries could keep an eye on the activities both in the large quadrangle and also in the smaller yard in front of the poomukhamalika (entrance hall). On special occasions like navaratri, the kilivāthil (small windows) opening to the front quadrangle enabled the royal ladies to witness the celebrations and activities, seated comfortably, away from the teeming crowds below. The various recreational activities, like animal combats and wrestling, staged in the front quadrangle was witnessed by the king and his officials from the same bay window.

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