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Century-old "Puthenmalika" designed by Ravi Varma to get facelift

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Century-old Puthenmalika designed by Ravi Varma to get facelift
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Thiruvananthapuram: A time-worn mansion, designed and built by world-renowned painter Raja Ravi Varma at his native place at nearby Kilimanoor, is all set to have a facelift without losing its old world charm and grandeur.

The State Archaeology Department has launched a renovation programme to protect "Puthenmalika" (new mansion), the sprawling structure built by the artist within the compound of his ancestral home Kilimanoor Palace.

The tile-roofed mansion, one of the recent structures in the palace, had once housed some renowned paintings of Varma before they were shifted to other state-run museums.

Though the two-storey building houses no paintings at present, the structure, which can literally speak of some significant episodes about the life story of Varma, itself is a great archaeological treasure, a top official said.

"The entire Kilimanoor Palace complex is a protected monument under the state Archaeology Department. The Puthenmalika is also a part of it. We are now concentrating on the renovation of this mansion as we have come across some damage to its roof and the walls," State Archaeology Department Director G Premkumar told PTI.

Seeking to check leakage of the roofs, the department experts plan to fix some intermediate aluminium sheets in between the tiles. The damage of the walls, made of lime, would be given a new touch.

"We are planning to ensure the stability of the structure without affecting its original texture. An estimated amount of Rs 40 lakh is expected to be the total cost for the renovation," he said.

Some artefacts, including decades-old mud-jars in the building, would also be given a facelift as part of the renovation programme, the official added.

Though Kilimanoor Palace is a protected monument, its ownership is still in the hands of the royal family members.

Located about 50 km away from here, the Palace complex houses a number of traditional structures, ponds, art gallery and so on.

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