Arakkal Museum

Arakkal Museum, formerly known as Arakkal Kettu, was the residence of the Arakkal Ali Rajas, the only Muslim royal family in Kerala. Situated opposite the Ayikkara Moplah Bay, about three kilometres from Kannur town, this historic palace is now a museum showcasing the rich heritage of the Arakkal dynasty.


The Arakkal dynasty traces its roots to a Nair functionary of the Kolathiri Rajas who converted to Islam and took the name Mammali. Legend has it that Mammali rescued a girl from drowning and, to prevent her from being declared an outcast, married her. As dowry, the king granted her land in Kannur and the palace of Arakkal Kettu.

The Arakkal family once ruled over Kannur and its surrounding areas, as well as Malabar and the Lakshadweep Islands. Unlike other royal families, they followed a matriarchal system, where both male and female members could become heads of the family and the state. Male rulers were known as Ali Rajas, while female rulers were called Arakkal Beevis.

The Arakkal dynasty maintained cordial relations with Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan of Mysore, as well as with the Dutch and the Sultan of Bijapur. However, they lost their kingdom to the British in the late 18th century when the British conquered Mysore.


Arakkal Museum is a splendid example of Kerala’s traditional architecture with colonial influences. The palace complex consists of several units surrounding a large courtyard, including mosques and former administrative offices.

Built primarily with laterite blocks and wood, the palace features intricate woodwork on its beams and pillars. The two-story main palace building has long verandas and large halls with wooden floors. The windows have double shutters with coloured glass panes that create a beautiful play of light.

One of the blocks in the palace is considered sacred, with a perpetually lit lamp. This block also houses a cot and a chair, typical of Kerala’s traditional households. Such lamps, known as Kedavilakku, are common in Hindu homes.

Today, the Arakkal Museum is managed by the Departments of Archaeology and Tourism. It offers visitors a glimpse into the fascinating history and culture of the Arakkal dynasty, making it a significant attraction in Malabar tourism.

Arakkal museum

Arakkal Museum

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