Architecture can be experienced while being within the chambers or while absorbing its magnificence. Architecture is best understood when a being is in its presence to experience the natural essence and aura of the place. For architects traveling is imperative to explore architecture and is analogous to growing in their field. Therefore, the profession demands a pursuit to travel and explore the unexplored. The following article sheds light on some of these unmapped places that have architectural importance and can be added to an architect’s itinerary. 

Padmanabhapuram Palace 

On the way to Kanyakumari, located at Thuckalay, is an indigenous masterpiece of Kerala Architecture, the Padmanabhapuram Palace. It is believed that the Padmanabhapuram Palace was constructed by Iravi Varma Kulasekhara Perumal in 1601 AD. The palace is divided into five, major structures, Mantra Sala: the King’s Council Chamber, Thai Kottaram: The Queen Mother’s Palace, constructed before 1550, Natak Sala: the Performance Hall, a four-storied mansion at the center of the complex, and Thekee Kottaram: the Southern Palace.

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Exterior façade of the palace _©Wikipedia
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Meeting Chamber, Padmanabhapuram Palace _©Wikipedia

The walls are usually made of laterite or brick & plastered over with lime. The halls are fitted with wooden screens called jaalis, which sieve the light & air. The palace has many other architectural features and splendid sights like the secret underground passageways, medicinal bed, and Durbar Hall with its shiny black floor made of egg white, jaggery, lime, burnt coconut, charcoal, and river sand. The mysticism of the Palace proves to be a window to the quintessential Kerala-style architecture. One must not miss this enchanted experience of witnessing a different era altogether.

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Kings’ bed made from 64 different herbal planks _©Wikipedia


Pattadakal is a temple complex of Jain and Hindu temples in North Karnataka. UNESCO has described Pattadakal as “a harmonious blend of architectural forms from northern and southern India” and an illustration of “eclectic art” at its height. It is considered an extremely important destination from an architectural point of view, and a prominent spot in the architectural study tour itinerary. The temple complex offers a varied style of architecture therefore, an architect knowing religious architecture would justify the importance of these monuments.

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View of the main group at Pattadakal _©Wikipedia

Pangna Fort 

Pangna is a village located in Karsog tehsil of Mandi district of Himachal Pradesh, India. Three hours away from Shimla, is a picturesque valley nestled between the laps of Himalayan mountains, a hidden gem untouched by commercial tourism surrounded by apple and apricot farms.

Pangna Fort displaying the vernacular architecture of the region has been overlooking the valley for years. The Kathkuni style of architecture is the main attraction for architecture students and professionals. “Kath” means wood and “Kunni” means angle or corner in Sanskrit. This type of construction is made in layers with interlocking of stone and wood. The roofs of these types of buildings are made of slate stone. 

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Entrance gate of the Fort _©The Himalayan Architect
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Pangana Fort _©Author
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Interlocking Method of the Kathkuni Architecture _©The Himalayan Architect

Not just the fort but even the residences of Pangna offer a unique experience of visiting Himachal Pradesh. Still untouched by general tourists, it makes a perfect destination for architects to explore the vernacular style of mountain architecture amidst the breathtaking views of the valley.

Kopeshwar Temple  

Situated seventy kilometers from Kolhapur in Maharashtra, the small town of Khidrapur is home to the Khopeshwar Mahadev Temple. Builtin the 12th century by Shilahara king Gandaraditya, the temple is an architectural marvel due to its unique features. This temple is a masterpiece of Chalukyan architecture and dates to the 12th century. This temple has recently come into the limelight, the reason being that it is the only temple along with a smaller Jain temple in its vicinity.

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48 Pillars of the Swarga Mandapa, Kopeshwar Temple _©Wikipedia

The entire temple is divided into four parts: Swarga Mandapa, Sabha Mandapa, Antaral Kaksha, and Garbha Griha. The first structure that one notices is the Swarga Mandapa. From an architectural point of view, the most unique feature of the temple is the Swarga Mandapa. It is open to the sky with a circular opening on top. Forty-eight hand-carved pillars support this circular disc. One would be awestruck looking at its intricately carved pillars. The name Swargamandapa comes from this window to the sky, as it is believed that you see the Swarga or heaven from here. 

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Swargamandapa, Kopeshwar Temple _©Wikipedia

The Sabha mandap and Antral or vestibule have similar carved pillars and ceilings with deities and characters from folklore. The Garbhagriha has 2 Lings, one of Shiva and the other of Lord Vishnu. The temple is significant for that episode in Hindu Legend, where Sati self-immolated at her father Daksha’s Yagna. The furious Shiva was brought to this place by Vishnu to calm him down. Hence the temple got its unusual name Kopeshwar (wrathful God). This explains why Vishnu is in the temple in the form of a ling along with Shiv ling while Nandi is absent in this temple as Sati rode on the Nandi while visiting her parents’ home.

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Kopeshwar Temple, Khidrapur _©Wikipedia

These offbeat places offering outstanding architectural experience can add value to an architect’s itinerary. The curiosity and fun of traveling lies within discovering untouched and uncanny places. As architects there always should be a thirst for exploring the unexplored and gaining knowledge from physically witnessing the marvels created by humans as well as nature. 


Kopeshwar Temple (2024) Wikipedia. Available at: (Accessed: 28 April 2024).

Goyal, A. (2023) Stunning architecture of Kopeshwar Temple, Khidrapur, Inditales. Available at: (Accessed: 28 April 2024).

Pattadakal (2024) Wikipedia. Available at: (Accessed: 28 April 2024).

Thehimalayanarchitect (2022) Pangna fort- the hidden gem of Suket, The Himalayan Architect. Available at:,in%20typical%20hill%20style%20architecture. (Accessed: 28 April 2024).


Always on the move, Akshata, is rather a poetic daydreamer, a storyteller and an archivist of overlooked details. Spaces create stories and she is all in to narrate them out to you.