Also known as Dutch Palace, the Mattancherry palace with its medieval charm is situated at Palace Road, Mattancherry, 10km from Ernakulam city, Kochi, Kerala, India. (Photo by: MyLoupe/UIG via Getty Images)

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Mattancherry Palace

Top choice in Kochi (Cochin)

Mattancherry Palace was a generous gift presented to the Raja of Kochi, Veera Kerala Varma (1537–65), as a gesture of goodwill by the Portuguese in 1555. The Dutch renovated it in 1663, hence the alternative name, the Dutch Palace. The building combines European and Keralan styles, but the star attractions are the royal bedchamber's astonishingly preserved Hindu murals from the 17th to 19th centuries, which depict scenes from the Ramayana, Mahabharata and Puranic legends in intricate, colourful detail.

There are more fine murals further into the palace, too, including Vishnu sleeping on a snake. A small Mahavishnu temple sits within the palace grounds.