Thekkae Kottaram, otherwise known as nirappura, is a typical residential complex lying to the south of the Padmanabhapuram Palace complex. It comprises of three separate buildings, a thai veedu (core residential unit), thekkath (private worship place) and kulappura (bathing ghat and shelter). The kulappura overlooks a neerazhi (pond) located to the east of the complex. A public road separates these structures from the main palace complex. Though there are no records to reveal the true history and age of the Thekkae Kottaram, oral traditions place it as an integral part of the palace complex. However, unlike the palace complex that faces the west, the Thekkae Kottaram complex face the eastern direction.
The design and construction of the complex is strictly based on the principles set in the vastu canons. A popular oral tradition associates Thekkae Kottaram with Anizham Tirunal Marthanda Varma. It is said that Varma, after he vanquished the powerful madamp (nobles) who plotted against him, demolished their houses and used the excellent timber salvaged to construct the Thekkae Kottaram.
The intricate carpentry work is the most remarkable aspect of this complex. The entire complex, except for its plinth, is crafted in the indigenous architectural tradition, using timber. The elegantly carved gables, the pillar sand the ceiling of the poomukham in the Thai Veedu bear testimony to the dexterity in carpentry achieved by the local craftsmen. The detailing of lotus flowers seen on the ceiling, on close inspection, will reveal that each piece is unique in its design. The lintel plates are also most tastefully adorned with floral ornamental carvings.
Since 1993, Thekkae Kottaram functions as a heritage museum showcasing the old household articles seen in a traditional Kerala homestead.