Secretariat Building and its background:
The main secretariat building was constructed to accomodate the public offices of the former Travancore State during the reign of Ayilyam Thirunal (1860-1880) and it was formally occupied in the year 1869. The expenditure for the building when completed was roughly estimated Rs. 3 lakhs. Subsequent additions were made on the eastern side to accomodate the growing needs of the establishment. One of the notable additions to the original building is the Sree Moolam Assembly buildings which now functions as the Kerala Legislative Assembly.
Like a Prima donna it stands in the heart of Trivandrum city. Eventhough several modern structures have sprung up beside and in front of it, they have not been able to rival the majestic look or the simple beauty of the building which now houses the main wing of the Kerala Government Secretariat. Roman and Dutch styles of architecture have been beautifully combined and used in its constructions. The round solid pillars imposing height and the facade remind one of the Roman Art and the large doors and windows are patterned on the Dutch style. Built on solid granite foundation the superstructure is of burnt bricks. The building has a wooden flooring on the first floor and a flat wooden ceiling.
The Durbar Hall built in the Centre of the building with the Clock Tower atop is the most attractive portion. Costly chandeliers of exquisite craftsmanship hang from the ornate ceiling painted green and silver. Beautifully carved console tables with marble tops, table lamps of rare make and big size mirrors in guilt edged frames with the royal insignia of two elephants and the conch shell engraved at the top adorn the hall. The floor is paved wth marble slabs and bordered with red and yellow eucaustic tiles of intricate designs. In the past this hall used to glitter with pomp and pageantry when the Maharajas of Travancore held Durbars here.
It is now used as a conference room. In front of the building there is a well kept lawn and in the back of the building there is the Central Stadium. Facing the main road stands the Statue of Velu Thampi the Dalava, (Chief Minister) of Travancore who had fought against the English. In grateful memory of the services rendered to the state by Shri. T. Madhava Rao, Dewan of the former Travancore State during the period 1858-1872, his statue was raised by public subscription and it stands facing the Secretariat buildings for the construction of which, he was principally responsible.
A building was constructed in the southern end of the Secretariat campus in the year 1961 and the cost of construction was Rs.9 Lakhs. A sandwich block on the south was also constructed in 1971 and its expenditure was Rs. 10.49 lakhs. In the year 1974 another sandwich block was constructed on the northern side of the building spending an amount of Rs. 10 Lakhs similar to the sandwich block on the south. Another building (North Block) similar to the exterior south block was constructed and it was inaugurated on 11-2-1982. The total cost of this building was Rs. 67.63 lakhs.
Secretariat Building Structure:
Kerala Secretariat Complex consists of 3 blocks. The central block is the oldest structure. The Central Block has main door known as Ana Kavadam (Elephant Door), which opens to the grand Durbar Hall. This Durbar hall earlier was used only by Travancore Maharaja and his courtiers with limited public entry. Today the Durbar Hall is converted into State Ceremonies Hall where public meetings and state ceremonies are held.
There are 20 doors located in each side of the Durbar Hall. The Central block has 3 stories and houses offices of various departments. The Old Assembly Hall is located in ground floor of the Central Block at the right, which is now converted into a public legislative museum, depicting the legislative history of Kerala.
Apart from the central block, two new blocks were constructed on either side of the central block. The North Sandwich Block, located at North Gate, houses office of Kerala Chief Minister, offices of few cabinet ministers and cabinet rooms. The South Sandwich Block houses primarily offices Government secretaries, though a few offices of ministers are located here due to congestion in north block.
Outside to the main compound two annexes, named Annex I and Annex II, were constructed to overcome space congestion in 1995 and 2016 respectively.