Trivandrum circa 1900

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These are the photographs of Zacharias D’Cruz, taken from British Library Online galleries ( as per the Terms and Conditions of Use for the Online Gallery Notes, Favourites, Personal Galleries, and Tag Features. Courtesy (c) British Library Board. All the Shelfmarks are below the picture

All these Photographs were taken in about 1900 by the Government photographer, Zacharias D’Cruz and added into the album entitled ‘Album of South Indian Views’ of the Curzon Collection. George Nathaniel Curzon was Under Secretary of State at the Foreign Office between 1895-98 and Viceroy of India between 1898-1905.

View of the Public Offices in Trivandrum, in the erstwhile Travancore.

Copyright (c) British Library Board
Shelfmark: Photo 430/45(6); Item number: 430456; Genre: Photograph

The Cantonment [Palayam], the Public Offices, the residence of the upper classes, European as well as native, are all beautifully located on small eminences, commanding beautiful scenery all round. This later became the centre of rule of Kerala after independence. The Legislative Assembly was housed here until a new building was made near Palayam.


East entrance and Gopura of the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple in Trivandrum, in the erstwhile Travancore

Copyright (c) British Library Board
Shelfmark: Photo 430/45(1); Item number: 430451; Genre: Photograph

This 9th Century Hindu temple is one of the greatest of Kerala and was the center of rule by the Travancore Kings for 291 years starting from 1700s. The temple Sreekovil, enshrines a large image of Vishnu, spread over three doors, and is built in the typical Kerala style. The surrounding walls and towers are similar to those of the Dravidian architecture of Tamil Nadu. The imposing gopura or entrance gateway consists of ascending storeys ending with a vaulted roof and reflect the contemporary Nayaka style of architecture.


The Band-Stand in the Public Gardens in Trivandrum

Copyright (c) British Library Board
Shelfmark: Photo 430/45(13); Item number: 4304513; Genre: Photograph

The idea of establishing a Public Garden in Trivandrum was sanctioned by the Maharaja Uthram Thirunal in 1859 and was to be accomplished under the direction of John Allan Broun, the Government Astronomer. Several interesting botanical specimens were reared in the garden from seeds and cuttings procured from Bangalore and other cities. In 1879, the Curatorship was abolished and the management of the museum and the gardens was placed under a Committee consisting of the British Resident and three European members. In 1897-98, the institutions were placed under an officer called “Director of the Government Museum and Public Gardens”. The Band-Stand shown here was re-built in the early 1900s.


A distant view of the Central Jail in Thiruvananthapuram

Copyright (c) British Library Board
Shelfmark: Photo 430/45(25); Item number: 4304525; Genre: Photograph

Central Jail building before the occupation of being a jail served as the barracks for the Nayar Brigade, where prisoners serving short-terms were confined. These prisoners were locked up at night and guarded by Jail warders and brigade sepoys. A large number of them were employed in the making and repairing of roads both at Trivandrum and at Quilon (Kollam). Others in small groups, were made to work day to day for garden work in the Palaces, Hospitals, Sirkar buildings and Public Gardens. There was also a hospital in a seperate building, attached to the jail premises.


A view of the Chief Engineer’s Office, Trivandrum in the erstwhile Travancore State

Copyright (c) British Library Board
Shelfmark: Photo 430/45(18); Item number: 4304518; Genre: Photograph

Christ Church and cemetry in Trivandrum in the erstwhile Travancore State

Copyright (c) British Library Board
Shelfmark: Photo 430/45(11); Item number: 4304511; Genre: Photograph

The Church, belonged to the London Missionary Society and is situated in the Cantonment area Palayam.


University College, Trivandrum in the erstwhile Travancore State

Copyright (c) British Library Board
Shelfmark: Photo 430/45(7); Item number: 430457; Genre: Photograph

Even though the University college was founded in the year 1834 by the Government of Travancore during the reign of His Highness Sri Swathi Thirunal Rama Varma, the building was completed in 1970 by His Highness Sri Ayilyam Thirunal Rama Varma Maharaja of Travancore. John Ross of the Edinburgh University was the Principal. This building still stands as the main block of the University College.


General Hospital, Trivandrum in erstwhile Travancore State

Copyright (c) British Library Board
Shelfmark: Photo 430/45(9); Item number: 430459; Genre: Photograph

This hospital was opened on 9th November 1865 by the Maharaja Ayilyam Thirunal Rama Varma in person.


Kowdiar Palace, of the Travancore Royal Family

Copyright (c) British Library Board
Shelfmark: Photo 430/45(2); Item number: 430452; Genre: Photograph

This is the front view of the Kowdiar palace that shows the main range from the driveway. It is the official residence of the Travancore Royal Family. Kowdiar Palace’s architectural work is famous and has over 150 rooms.


(Suresh Kumar is based at Thiruvananthapuram and blogs at

  1. November 28, 2011

    Nisha Sanjeev

    The script may lack dum, but lets take solace in the fact that it at least kicked up a ruckus across national channels on the ancient Mulaperiyar dam. But no sooner than the Singh slapped Pawar, his face made it to the breaking news. Sad, sad, sad! 

  2. October 16, 2011

    Suresh Kumar BR

    HI Padmini Sankar, I have posted a small insight into the University of Travancore. Hope it will be approved in a day.  It was the University of Travancore that was affiliated to the University of Madras.  As Mr. TS Sudhir mentioned, Mr. Shashi Bhushan, or Mr. KN Panicker, is a famous historian to be contacted.  But if you still need details of Travancore Mathilakam records, I may be able help you, based on availability of any particular records.  Please mail me at

  3. October 16, 2011

    Kreazy Matthew

    Excellent collection. Thanks for posting.

  4. October 16, 2011

    Padmini Sankar

    Thanks, Sudhir, for giving me the useful contacts. I will certainly call up! :-) Padmini

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