Shri.J.Reji Kumar
Directorate of Archives
Nalanda, Thiruvananthapuram

          The State Archives Department was formed in the year 1962.  It functions as the custodian of all non-current records of permanent value of the State Government and various Departments.  Major responsibilities of the Department include custody, care and management of records received in the Archives, acquire documents of historical value, render technical advice and assistance on management and conservation of records to various departments and institutions.The State Archives was  formerly under the control of  Education Department.At present ,it is functioning under the control of Cultural Affairs Department.

          The State Archives Department in Kerala is only of recent origin. It has just completed a decade of existence. The department which has its Directorate at Trivandrum and three Regional Offices one each at Trivandrum, Ernakulam and Kozhikode with a total staff strength of 68 members, had a very small beginning. It started functioning as a separate section attached to the Education Department in the Secretariat in the year 1962, with the Education Secretary as its Ex-officio Director. It was only in the year 1964 that the State Archives emerged as a separate department, independent of the Secretariat. This does not however mean that there were no organised archival repositories in the State prior to this period. In fact, there were two well-organised repositories one at Trivandrum and the other at Ernakulam popularly known as the “Central Records” of the native States of Travancore and Cochin respectively. These institutions were directly administered by the State Government in the Public Department. The question of centralisation of the archival records of the State that were preserved in two different places and placing them under the administrative control of a separate department for their proper maintenance and preservation did not engage the attention of the Government even after the formation of the State of Kerala in 1956.

          It was at this juncture that the 34th Session of the Indian Historical Records Commission was held in Trivandrum in 1958. The consensus of opinion among the scholars and historians from all over India, including Dr.K.L.Sreemali, the then Union Minister for Education who participated in the Session, was that all the States should take immediate steps to establish a State Archives on modern lines for the proper administration, collection and preservation of records of enduring value to the State and the Nation at large. Naturally this influenced the State Government to take a decision on the question of organising the State Archives.

          A Special Officer was accordingly appointed in 1960 to work out preliminaries for the establishment of a State Archives. A high level Committee with the Chief Minister as its Chairman was also constituted the next year to advise the Government as to how best the preliminary works connected with it could be taken up and given a definite shape. At the first meeting of the Committee held on 13th April 1962 it was resolved that “A State Archives should be established on the pattern of the National Archives of India”. The Government accepted the recommendation of the Committee as per their Notification dated 23-8-1962, which ultimately led to the formation of the State Archives in Kerala. It was also ordered, that the State Archives should be attached to the Education Department and that the Education Secretary should be its Ex-officio Director. The post of a full-time Assistant Director was created to assist the Director. The Archives Advisory Committee at its subsequent meetings had strongly stressed the necessity for the construction of a modern building in Trivandrum for the State Archives for the centralisation and better preservation of the ancient record wealth of the State. The estimate and plan of the building have been finalised and it is hoped that it would be possible to start the construction work soon.

          In the year 1964, the 17th meeting of the National Committee of Archivists was held in Trivandrum under the auspices of the State Archives in which the Directors of Archives from different States participated. It was in this year that the Central Records at Trivandrum and Ernakulam with their staff were formally merged with the State Archives. These office were subsequently renamed as Archives, Trivandrum and Archives, Ernakulam respectively. A new Regional Office at Kozhikode termed as ‘Archives, Kozhikode’ was also formed in 1966. This was consequent on the transfer of the non-current records pertaining to the Malabar area, preserved in the Collectorate to the control of the State Archives Department. Thus, three Regional Offices came into existence. An Officer of the rank of Assistant Superintendent is now in charge of these offices.

          Besides the primary functions connected with the administration and scientific preservation of the record holdings already under its control, the activities of the State Archives largely extend to the following field also:

(1)   Scrutiny of records that are mature for destruction in public offices as a precaution against the risk of records of archival or historical importance being lost.

(2)   Issue of attested copies of public records to the applicants at prescribed rates (rules appended).

(3)   Making available to research scholars the required archival materials connected with the subject of their research (Research Rules appended).

(4)   Furnishing the required information to Government offices on various matters.

(5)   Rendering technical advice to various Stat departments in matters of proper maintenance and up-keep of their record holdings.

(6)   Survey and scrutiny of records of historical importance in private possession and their acquisition wherever possible for the sake of scholars-a project in collaboration with the Central Scheme of Compilation of National Register of Records.

(7)   Participation in cultural exhibitions with a view to making the public more and more archives-conscious.

(8)   Publication of a quarterly journal entitled ‘Kerala Archives News-letter’ mainly intended to high light worthy unpublished materials of historical interest.

(9)   Compilation of an Archives Manual.

 (10)Bringing out a series of Publications entitled ‘Selections from Records in the Kerala State Archives and also publication of monographs on various important events in the history of Kerala.

The department has made much headway in all its varied activities in the past.

There is a State level Archives Advisory Committee to advise and guide the activities of the department. It is headed by the Minister-in-Charge of Archives.

As per G.O.(Ms) 190/73/Edn, dated 29-12-1973, the Regional Offices under this Department have been redesignated as follows.

(1)   Archives, Trivandrum as Central Archives, Trivandrum.

(2)   Archives, Trivandrum as Regional Archives, Ernakulam.

(3)   Archives, Trivandrum as Regional Archives, Kozhikode.

The following Officers guided the destinies of the department since its inception and rendered yeomen service for its promotion.
Important officials


Sri J. Reji Kumar
Directorate of Archives
Nalanda, Thiruvananthapuram
Phone: 0471 - 2313759 (Dir) 0471-2311547(O)
9446573759 (mob)

Assistant Director Sri A.S.Kishorekumar
Directorate of Archives
Nalanda, Thiruvananthapuram
Administrative officer Smt. K.R.Pazhani Amma
Directorate of Archives
Nalanda, Thiruvananthapuram
Superintendent Sri.R.Joseph
Directorate of State Archives
Nalanda, Thiruvananthapuram
Sri.R.Joseph Directorate of State Archives
Nalanda, Thiruvananthapuram
Archivist Smt.S.Parvathy
Directorate of Archives
Nalanda, Thiruvananthapuram
Phone- 2311547 (off)
Superintendent(Secretariate-Cellar) Sri.L.Ani

Officers of Regional Archives
Central Archives, Thiruvananthapuram

Superintendent Sri S.Mohanakumar
Phone-2478728 (office)
Archivist Smt.S.J.Ambika Devi
Central Archives,
Phone 2478728 (office)

Regional Archives, Ernakulam

Superintendent Sri.P.Biju
Regional Archives,
Phone 0484-2369686
Archivist Sri E.V.Vasudev
Regional Archives, Ernakulam

Regional Archives, Kozhikode

Superintendent Sri. Sugesh Das V.M
Regional Archives, Kozhikode
Archivist Sri Abdul Majeed C.P
Regional Archives, Kozhikode
Phone-0495-2373701 (office)


1. To receive and preserve all non-current records of permanent value of the (a) State Government Secretariate, (b) various departments of state Governments, (c) all commodities and commissions set up by Government, (d) The State Public Service commission (e) any records or papers of historical value with private individuals and institutions

2.  To organise professional training/re-orientation programmes for the officers in charge of Department and officers of the various departmental record rooms.

3.  To assist departmental record officers to prepare ‘Retention Schedules for the records kept by them.4.  To render technical advice to various departments and institutions on management of records and their proper conservation.

5.  To attend ancilliary duties such as archival committies, commissions and creating archival consciousness in the state by conducting archives exhibition, seminars and workshops.

6.  To make records available for administration and historical research.


The State Archives Department emerged as an independent Department in 1962.The  accession and Conservation of all non-current records of enduring value of the State Government  for  future reference is the basic function of this Department.Archives Directorate located at Nalanda ,Thiruvananthapuram is the central unit of this Department.There are three Regional Archives under this Department.They are

1) Central Archives, Fort, Thiruvananthapuram -23  Phone No:0471-478728

2) Regional  Archives ,Near Maharaja’s College, Ernakulam-11 Phone No:0484-369686

3) Regional  Archives ,Civil Station,Kozhikode


NATURE : Palm Leaves, Bamboo Splints, Copper Plates, Paper Records,Micro Films, etc.

CATEGORIES : Public Records, Private Records, Publications,etc



a)      Records relating to the erst-while princely State of Travancore (AD1424-1885). These records are available at the Central Archives,Trivandrum.

b)      Records of the erst-while Cochin State ( AD 1567-1949). These include Both Cadjan and Paper records.
This Collection is avaliable at the Regional Archives, Ernakulam

c)      Records of the erst-while Malabar District of the Madras Pr1805-1956) are available in the Regional Archives ,Civil Station Kozhikode.

d)      Records  transferred from Government Secretariat Cellar (AD 1728-1956) and Malabar Collectorate records (1803-1898) transferred Tamilnadu archives are available at Directorate of Archives,Nalanda ,Thiruvanathapuram


Records transferred from the various creating agencies are well arranged in the stack areas as per Ar chival Principles.Reference media for some of the series are also available.


The records are subjected to different chemical process and treatment for extending their longevity.
The processes normally carried out are fumigation,de-acidification ,mendingand blending.


This specialized library is being developed.The collection includes,

a)      Old and Rare books on multifarious subjects,

b)       Assembly  proceedings ,Census reports,etc,

c)       Research Journals,Gazettees, and news papers.

d)       Old rare boks relating to law


These records are open for research and reference to bonafide Research Scholars between  10.30 am and 4.30 pm on all working days.


Permission to refer the archival materials is granted to scholars for a period of six months on  the recommendation of the
Guide and on payment of Rs.100/-.This fee is valid for one year.The permission can be renewed for another six months.


Attested copies of archival Records are issued to applicants who remit the requisite  fee.


a)      Xerox copies of records are issued to bonafide scolars.

b)       Microfilm copies of records are available for reference.

c)       Photographs can be taken after getting prior permission


a)     Exhibition  of Archival Records are hosted periodically

b)     Open Forums are conducted for School and College students as part of the archival Awareness Programme

c)   Seminars are conducted to arouse archival consciousness among target groups.

d)    Original records are published as archival publication.These are available for sale at the GovernmentPress,Thiruvananthapuram and at the sales counters of the Book Marketing Society.

e)    Discussions with Teacher trainees at TTC,B.Ed and M.Ed level at their  institutes are introduced.


The Head Quarters of the department is at Nalanda, Thiruvananthapuram and the director is the head of the Department.  There is an Administrative Officer, Assistant Director,
Editorial Archivist, Archivist and Superintendent and conservation officer to assist the Director in discharging his administrative and technical duties.  There are three regional offices functioning under the directorate one each at Thiruvananthapuram, Eranakulam and Kozhikode.

The organizational structure of the State Archives Department is given in the organization chart attached below.


Administrative Officer

Assistant Director



Conservation Officer

Editorial Archivist

Central Archives Trivandrum

Regional Archives Ernakulam

Regional Archives Kozhikode


          Very meagre information exists on the old systems of civil Government in Travancore or the administration of its laws and usages in early days. From the early records we learn that the State Establishment in the latter half of the 17th century consisted of one Valiya Sarvadhikaryakkar (Prime Minister) one Meleluttu Pillai (Head Accountant) one Rayasam Pillai (Head Clerk) and several Rayasams and Kanakku Pillais (Clerks and Accountants). The Minister and his establishment held office in the Palace and the Raja presided over them. Every question whether petty or important was submitted to the Raja’s decision without whose order nothing was to be executed. Later on, the whole Kingdom was made into three divisions each under a Valiya Sarvadhikaryakkar. These again were sub-divided and placed under Sarvadhikaryakkars.Each of these was again sub-divided into districts and a Karyakkar was appointed over each. The districts were sub-divided into Maniyams, Kelvis, Adhikarams and Pravarties and placed under charge of Maniyakarams, Adhikaris and Pravirtakars respectively. This system of Government continued more or less till the middle of the 19th century. It was in the year 1773, that the Prime Minister was granted the title of Diwan instead of Dalava.

In 1811 Col.Munro, the British Resident assumed charge as Diwan. During this period every department in the State including Huzur Kacceri (Secretariat) was reorganized. The designation of the Karyakkar, Tirumukham Pidicca Pillai etc. were changed into Tahsildar, Samprati etc.

            The establishment of the Judicial Courts for the first time; the establishment of Chowkeys for the Collection of customs duties; the issue of Pattayams containing the extent, tenure etc., of each ryot’s holding; the compilation of a land register called ‘Pattayapper’; the abolition of many vexatious taxes; the censuring of the population of the State; the reorganisation of Police, Forest and Commercial departments; the prohibition of the purchase and sale of slaves; the arrangements made or the construction of bridges and jungars for through communication are other reforms with which Col.Munro’s name is associated.

          As the Chief Executive Officer who conducted the administration of the State, the Diwan was the sole channel of official communication with all Heads of Departments connected with the State and with the British Resident. In the Huzur Kacceri which the Diwan’s office, he was assisted by a team of officers including a Chief Secretary, Education Secretary, Under-Secretaries, Sheristadars, Superintendents, etc., besides a Law Officer to Government, who was known as the Head Sirkar Vakil.

          Later on for purpose of revenue administration, the country was divided into four Divisions. Each Division under an officer called a Diwan Peishkar who combined in himself the duties of a District Collector and Magistrate in British India. Each Division was sub-divided into a number of Taluks presided over by Tahsildars. They also exercised revenue and magisterial functions. The Village Officers subordinate to the Tahsildar were known as Pravartikar or Adhikari. The Village was the smallest unit of the administration in the country. The above is a short sketch of the system of administration that existed in Travancore during the earlier period.

(Adapted from the Travancore State Manual, Volume III (Nagam Aiya).


Reprographic Section  

           This department has a collection of 458 microfilm rolls.  These include rolls purchased from India Office Library, London and the remaining rolls wee taken from the selected records of the department under central gant in-aid programme.  In addition, Xerox Machine and a still photographic camera are kept here.  There is a photographer in charge of reprographic division in the department.

Conservation Wing

          Our repositories houses voluminous collection of valuable records (both paper and palm leaf and it is estimated that more then 50% of the total records (both) require urgent preservation treatments.  The conservation wing of State Archives is intrusted with task of maintenance of old and brittle records by following appropriate preservation techniques.  Conservation works mainly comprised the following treatments.

1.      Checking and pagination, cleaning and removal of stains, flattening

2.      Fumigation

3.      De-acidification (Both wet and dry methods)

4.      Mending

5.      Lamination, tissue repair, full pasting, inlaying, guarding, stitching, binding etc.

The quantum of work on the Conservation wing can be increased only by creating well-equipped conservation units with enough supply of chemicals, raw materials equipments and with trained persons.  Presently the State Archives Department purchase raw materials from the following institutions.

(i).  National Archives India - Acceted foil and Tissue paper

(ii) Khadi & village commission Bombay – Handmade paper

(iii) Silk weaving factory, Sreenagar  - Chiffon


To discharge the functions properly the following activities are conducted in the Directorate and regional Offices.

I.  Record management section is one of the key sections of the department.  Record Management section in the department is supervised by the Archivist.  He is assisted by Asst. Archivist Grade-I, Asst. Archivist Grade-II etc., The following works are incorporated in the section.

1.  Appraisal and transfer of records from Government Secretariate and various departments to the archives as laid down in Archival Policy resolution 1976, The department staff conducted survey and scrutiny of records at the stage of weeding out and after appraisal and transfer those records which are having archival value to the department for permanent keeping.

2. Preparation of finding aids.  Finding aids like check list, subject list descriptive list, index etc, are being prepared by the staff working in the record management section.

3.  Arrangement.  This is the most in important area of work in this section.  Records transferred from various departments have to be arranged properly so that anybody can locate the required document easily.  Thus the staff working in the section will be very keen to see that the records should be arranged according to archival principles (Principle of Provenance).  For this purpose name of the department, year, subject are displayed on separate boards.  Further these records are arranged chronologically.

4.  Survey and transfer of Private records.  Some records available with private individuals/institutions are transferred to the department.  In addition o the records management wind, separate publication and research wing is also functioning in the department.  The section is supervised by Editorial Archivist and he is assisted by Jr. Editor, Editorial Assistant etc., this section is entrusted with publication, conducting exhibition and seminars with the help of record management section.


            The basic function of the Department is the Preservation of the Archival wealth of the State. This include collection Conservation, publication, Research and Preservation of public Records, Semi public Records and Private records of the State. Exhibitions, Seminar etc are organised to arouse Archival consciousness. Training programmes are organised to those working in record rooms to increase the efficiency.

            The Kerala State Archives is a ‘A’ Category member in the International Council on Archives which is an International body of about 170 member countries in the world which is aimed to promote the Archival Heritage in the world.

            The Kerala State Archives is institutional member in the National level associations like Association of Indian Archivists, Indian Historical Records Commission, National Museum Association etc.

            The Director, Kerala State Archives is a member of the grant Committee of the Govt. of India for allotting Grant in aid to various states/UTs in India for the Preservation of the records.