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Arakkal Kettu Museum

Ayikkara Govt Hospital Rd, Near District Hospital, Ayikkara, Thavakkara, Kannur, Kerala 670013, India


About Arakkal Kettu Museum

A Museum that reflects the history of Arakkal Kings and Queens.

Arakkal Museum (also known as Arakkal Kettu/ Arakkal Palace) was the residence of the former Arakkal Ali Rajas, the only Muslim royal family of Kerala. The museum is located in Ayikkara Mapila Bay,  about three kilometres from Kannur Town of Kerala State in Southern India. The museum now displays numerous artefacts and ornaments belonging to the Rajas and it is protected by Archeological and Tourism Departments. 

History of the Museum and the Arakkal Ali Rajas

The Arakkal Ali Rajas is believed to have their lineage from nair caste of the Kolathiri Rajas (ruler of Kolathundu, a feudal kingdom in North Kerala) who later converted to Islam with the name Mammali. A story about Mammali is that he once saved a girl from the royal family of Kolathiri Rajas from drowning. Consequently she was declared an outcast and Mammali married the girl. The Kolathiri Rajas granted her land at Kannur and the palace Arakkal Kettu as dowry.

The prominent times of the Rajas

The Arakkal family were well known rulers of Kannur and adjoining areas. They once ruled most parts of Malabar (North Kerala) and Lakshadweep Islands as well. The family and their kingdom had good relationships with the Mysore Kings Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan who invaded much of North Kerala regions in 1700’s. They also had good rapport with Dutch and the Sultan of Bijapur (parts of present day Karnataka State). When the British conquered the Mysore Kingdom during the last decade of the 18th century, the Arakkal Family had to surrender their land to the British. The Arakkal Kett, which was used to be the families administrative headquarters later became the office of the collector of Malabar during British times. 

The rulers and their descent

One of the unique things about the family is that when it comes to ruling and administrations, there was no gender difference. They followed matriarchal system of descent and admitted both males and females as head of the family and the state. The male rulers were called Ali Rajas and the females were called Arakkal Beevis

The present day Arakkal Kettu

Today, although the palace is renovated by the government, the Arakkal Kettu is owned by the Arakkal Royal Trust and does not fall under the control of the countries archeological department, the Archeological Survey of India. The government had taken keen interest in preserving the heritage of the Arakkal Kettu and the family which had played a prominent role in the history of North Kerala.

Architecture of Arakkal Museum and Palace

The Arakkal Kettu comprises of many independent units around a large open courtyard. It includes a mosque and a building which was once used as an administrative office. The structure was build of laterite blocks and wood and most of the rooms in the palace have intricate woodworks. The palace has long Verandahs in the front that speaks of a combination of local architecture with a colonial touch.

The main palace building is two stories and the upper floor has large halls with wooden floors. The double shutters windows of the palace has coloured glass panels that look amazing when they catch the light. One of the room is considered sacred and a lamp is present there which is alway lit. Such lamps are called Kedavilakku (the lamp that never extinguish) and prominently present in Hindu community of Kerala. 


Museum and its exhibits

The main building of the palace complex houses the museum opened by the government of Kerala in 2005. It mainly exhibits the artefacts and heirlooms of the royal family which includes the family seal, Pathayam (a wooden box to store grain),  a document box and a lot more.  The royal copies of the Holy Koran, an old-fashioned telephone, swords and daggers used by the rulers, and an old telescope are also on display. There are many other items too such as royal chairs and furnitures, glass wares etc.

Apart from these, there are exhibits that stand as testimonies to the Arakkal Rajas relationship with European colonial powers as well as those relating to their maritime activities and spice trade.


Getting to Arakkal Museum

The museum is only three kilometres away from Kannur Town from where you can get direct buses or you can take a taxi to reach. The nearest major railway station is in Kannur as well. Arakkal Museum is located in Kannur district of Kerala State in Southern India.

Attractions near Arakkal Kettu Museum

St. Angelo Fort Kannur0.95km from Arakkal Kettu Museum

A seaside fort which was under the influence of the Portuguese, the Dutch, the British and Arakkal Ali Rajas

Payyambalam Beach3.27km from Arakkal Kettu Museum

One of the five beaches that are collectively known as "Kannur beach". Being right near to Kannur City, the beach is a popular spot. In addition to the beach, the area has monuments that commemorate the lives of political leaders who belonged to Kannur.

Muzhappilangad Drive in Beach9.55km from Arakkal Kettu Museum

Longest drive-in beach in India and one among the best in the world.

Dharmadom Island12.7km from Arakkal Kettu Museum

An island that can be accessed on foot during low tides.

Parassinikkadavu Snake Park & Mini Zoo14.5km from Arakkal Kettu Museum

Witness and interact with King Cobras, Vipers, Crocodiles and many other snakes and reptiles.

Thalassery Fort17.1km from Arakkal Kettu Museum

The 17th century fort, a British stronghold during the colonial times.

Where is Arakkal Kettu Museum

Discover more attractions in Kannur, where Arakkal Kettu Museum is located

Kannur21 attractions

Forts, temples, beaches and wildlife sanctuaries and a long history of spice trade.

What visitors say about Arakkal Kettu Museum

This small museum is dedicated to the Arakkal Family, the only Muslim royal family of Kerala. This is a privately held museum, owned by the royal trust and the museum is only a section of the Arakkal Palace, the court rooms to be exact. It will take only an hour at most to explre the palace, and it was not crowded at all while we visited. The exhibits mainly include items from royal families posession.